If you’ve kicked off 2013 with a strict diet or detox plan that doesn't mean you have to avoid the dating scene!
Here’s how to improve your body and your love-life simultaneously, by Match.com's relationship expert Kate Taylor.
Whether you're simply avoiding booze for a while, are enjoying a juice fast, or have made rash vows to adopt a gluten-free-raw-Caveman-Vegan lifestyle, you might think dating is suddenly going to become a minefield. No more romantic dinners, no more calming glasses of wine. Should you just hibernate while you endure your cabbage soup penance? No! Here's what to do.
1. Adopt an attitude of 'Stealth Health'
Women can discuss the merits of different eating plans for hours and never get bored. Men? After 10 seconds, you’ve lost them. So don’t get into the ins and out of your diets on your dates. I know you’re excited about it, and you’ve spent the past three nights printing out LeeAnn Rimes’ bikini shots for thinspiration and mastering the egg-white omelette, but make it your own secret mission.
Any man who's on a date with you likes you how you are right now.
Self-improve away if it makes you feel good, but don't expect any support from the men in your life.
2. Boost your confidence without booze
Dating without drinking is possible. No, really.
If you feel you need to banish your pre-date nerves, try a workout. Levels of Cortisol – the chemical in your body which can boost your body’s endorphin levels by exercising, but not if you take it easy: strenuous physical activities like running, heavy weight-lifting and sprinting raise endorphin levels the most. Interval training helps too - intersperse your walk home from work with 30-second bursts of running.
Not up for that? Try meditation.
Research has shown that meditating for 15 minutes makes people genuinely feel more happy and calm.
3. Banish break-outs
A common side-effect of detoxing is getting spots. This happens when your kidneys and liver become overwhelmed by the number of newly released toxins stampeding from your body, and hand the job over to your skin.
In the days leading up to your date, drink plenty of water, try dry body-brushing twice a day, and take long, hot showers to speed up the elimination process. If you do have spots on the day of the date itself, don’t be tempted to cancel! Instead, cover it up as best you can, bring extra concealer along to do touch-ups, and don’t mention it. Your date probably won’t notice your blemish unless you make formal introductions.
4. Watch your mouth
Another charming effect of detoxing is bad breath. If you’re worried, slip strong mints into your bag and pop two before a goodnight kiss. If you’re really panicking, gargle with salt water – the best oral-freshener there is.
You can do this on the date – I have a friend who took salt sachets and a folded paper cup in her handbag along to an important first date, and gargled in the Ladies room.
5. Order stealth-healthily
I’m constantly on one fad diet or another, and I’ve found that eating-out is surprisingly easy. There is always salad on the menu – even McDonalds serves bags of fruit and carrot sticks. If you want to plan ahead, search online for the restaurant’s menu and plan your healthy choices in advance.
If you’re really panicking, choose soup and ignore the bread. Make sure you drive to the date as an excuse not to drink, or claim to have a busy day tomorrow so you’d rather keep a clear head. Most bars offer alcohol-free cocktails, and every pub serves tomato juice, grapefruit juice or fizzy water. Order herbal tea instead of coffee. Or, skip food-and-drink dates altogether and suggest an activity like paintballing, laser quest, the cinema (no popcorn for you, lady) or a walk around a beautiful park.
Bring along a thermos of peppermint tea and relax – by Valentine’s Day, you’ll be free to enjoy your giant heart-shaped box of chocolates.
Is your New Year’s Resolution to find love? Start your search now, at Match.com