Couples: what to do when one of you has a much higher calorie goal than the other?

My husband and I are both tracking calories and trying to lose weight. Additionally, due to various health conditions, he's trying to lower his sodium and make sure he gets enough potassium, while I'm trying to lower my sugar intake and make sure I get enough iron.

Here's the thing, his calorie goals are about 500 calories a day higher than mine. Meaning if we eat the same breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, I'll be right at my calories or 100-200 calories over, and he'll have enough calories leftover for a bowl of ice cream and fruit, or some cookies, or something. And if he has ice cream, I want ice cream.

Given the pandemic we're both working from home, so it makes sense to cook for both of us, and we are eating basically all our meals together. He's lost weight, and I've gained weight.

Any recommendations?
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Replies

  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,826 Member
    What about if you have slightly lighter breakfast or lunch? Or you can use add ons, extra portions and snacks for your husband. You can put things on the side like cheese, spreads to make his cals higher and you skip those things. You could also eat a bit less and save room for a small portion of ice cream or sorbet, something lighter.
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,581 Member
    My husband and I eat the same meals on weekends. He is NOT counting calories and I am. He is NOT trying to lose weight and I am. I weigh and measure my portions and eat significantly less of the same foods as he does. I continue to lose about 1 lb per week.

    You can eat whatever you want and you can eat the same as your SO, but you need to eat less than the SO if your calorie goal is lower. It’s that simple.
  • Redordeadhead
    Redordeadhead Posts: 1,188 Member
    Same general meals, different portion sizes. Or he gets something extra like chips/bread/cheese on the side.
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,496 Member
    All of the above, and I second getting that digital food scale and weighing and measuring. You cannot compare yourself to anyone else. His calorie needs are his--yours are yours. It's not fair, it's not easy, but it is what it is. Come to grips with the reality and you too can lose. Maybe you can join him for ice cream (weighed, and logged), once a week or so. Or, if you want to join him every night, you'll have to cut calories elsewhere, or buy lower cal ice cream. Good luck.
  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,866 Member
    Portion control. Your plate doesn't need to be as full as his.
  • mochapygmy
    mochapygmy Posts: 2,123 Member
    edited November 2020
    You could cook meals to your calories and he can add whatever else he wants to get to his calories.

    As for the ice cream... you have to make it fit in your calories or go without.
  • silverpl2525
    silverpl2525 Posts: 138 Member
    That's real tough. I'm in a similar situation and I have needed to simply have different foods for meals and snacks than my husband. He gets it...
  • helen_goldthorpe
    helen_goldthorpe Posts: 340 Member
    We have the same meals but he has extra snacks. I have no idea how he does it - he is lighter than me (even now I'm at GW) but whereas I'm still counting and weighing, he just eats everything in sight and never puts a pound on. Grr.
  • JessiBelleW
    JessiBelleW Posts: 773 Member
    My partner works for a moving company, so on an average day his actual calorie burn is probably 3 x what mine is. I've chosen to eat the meat and double the veg portion of dinner, and give him all of the carb component. You probably need to go down the same route, work out how to make your meals less calorie dense, (bigger portion of veg?). Other options include increasing your calories burnt - so exercise, or finding a less calorific option for ice cream/ dessert: halo top? berries instead?
  • DomienS
    DomienS Posts: 11 Member
    My partner and I have the same for lunch and dinner. We also have the same portion.
    I will have a bigger breakfast than my girlfriend and will eat some extra nuts and a protion shake during the day.
    This way we can enjoy the same delicous cooked lunch/dinner together.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,027 Member
    My BF doesn't calorie count, but I'm pretty sure his calorie needs are quite a bit higher than mine.

    We eat separate breakfasts, but similar lunch (bread - different portions and different toppings, I eat a lot less cheese than him) and same dinner (different portion).

    Snacks are usually different (I prefer salty and he prefers sweet) but we do sometimes eat the same snack e.g. sharing a pineapple or sharing ice cream. Ice-cream (proper ice-cream, not the lower calorie popsicles we also have at home) is actually something we never eat alone: we eat a tub of Ben and Jerry's in one sitting, 50/50. Because of the high calorie count, I'm the one who decides when we eat ice-cream, on days when I can fit it in my calories (for example after a longer run).
  • elisa123gal
    elisa123gal Posts: 4,143 Member
    We make items for dinner.without added salt and fat... . and then we portion and plate our own food at the counter and from the stove. So..there is no comparing. I also tell myself in my head.. "I shouldn't be eating as much as a man." I really think that's how women gain weight. We start eating right along with hubby...it seems okay and right. In truth.. if you're smaller.. you need to eat less.
  • brittanystebbins95
    brittanystebbins95 Posts: 559 Member
    I agree with portion controlling. You can eat the same meals as him, just in lesser amounts.
    That, or meal prep. I'm not sure how much time you have, but it takes me less time to meal prep 1-2 times per week than to try and cook dinner every night.
    If you aren't satisfied with the portions, you don't have to eat the same things. Just eat together. When you go out to a restaurant, do you typically order the same thing? I know most people usually don't. Eating together is a form of social bonding but you can still do that while eating different meals.
    I meal prep separate meals for myself and my husband because his calorie needs are close to 1000 higher than mine.
  • KNoceros
    KNoceros Posts: 316 Member
    We eat the same evening meal and fend for ourselves for the other two. He often has “space” left for pre-dinner nibbles (crisps usually) and after-dinner cheese or chocolate. I don’t. It doesn’t bother me.
    My TDEE is about 2000, his is closer to twice that.
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,236 Member
    Story of my life. We're both 5'7", but he's a man with much higher muscle mass. I do me. It bugs me sometimes. We're in our 50s now and he can still pull out a bag of chips before dinner and have a snack. Consider who you're working for: the future YOU. Take care of yourself. And when it reeeally starts to bug you, yes, back down on calories for another part of your day or week, and allow yourself to have the treat with him. Life isn't fair. But it never has been.
  • Not only does my husband burn more calories just sitting there than I do, he also exercises A LOT more. He's only 2 inches taller than me but can probably eat about 1000 calories more per day than I can. AND when he dishes up food, he's afraid to seem unfair so tries to give me the same amount that he's getting.

    So, I dish up the food. I give myself an appropriate portion for me and what seems like an appropriate portion for him, then let him go back for more if he wants to. The only irritating part is watching him eat EVEN MORE after dinner while we're watching TV. On the plus side, when he offers the extra stuff to me, it is easier to say no to his offer than if I were by myself and had to say no to myself, if that make sense :)
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    Even when couples eat the exact same foods, it's not at all unusual for them to have different serving sizes -- even if they aren't consciously aiming for weight management.

    His body has a different need for calories than yours. Some of this may be due to different activity, some of it is probably due to him being larger, some of it will be due to the fact that men tend to have different body composition. If he has ice cream, you'll just have to decide what you want more: to have exactly what he's having in the same portion size or to manage your weight effectively.
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,581 Member
    Not only does my husband burn more calories just sitting there than I do, he also exercises A LOT more. He's only 2 inches taller than me but can probably eat about 1000 calories more per day than I can. AND when he dishes up food, he's afraid to seem unfair so tries to give me the same amount that he's getting.

    So, I dish up the food. I give myself an appropriate portion for me and what seems like an appropriate portion for him, then let him go back for more if he wants to. The only irritating part is watching him eat EVEN MORE after dinner while we're watching TV. On the plus side, when he offers the extra stuff to me, it is easier to say no to his offer than if I were by myself and had to say no to myself, if that make sense :)

    It makes complete sense to me! My husband asked for 3 meatballs with last nights dinner. He had pasta, garlic bread, and 3 meatballs. I had some left over spaghetti squash that I made a couple of days ago, 1 meatball, and 1 piece of garlic bread. Then, when he got very full, he offered me a meatball which I turned down. Back in the fridge it went to be eaten another day 😊