I’m a gluten free, vegan, Weight Watchers Leader, holistic nutrition student with Crohn’s Disease. Okay so maybe those aren’t the FIRST words to come out of my mouth when I meet someone new… but unless you knew something about me before we started talking or went out for the first time, I’m sure that collection of facts would come up pretty early in the conversation.
Like when we’re making plans to go out.
Or talking about what I do in life.
Or even just choosing a restaurant.
And in all honesty, how do you come off telling someone all of those things without sounding just a little nutty? (Especially when you go on to tell them that you even write a blog about the whole thing??)
I always took for granted that Joey met me the week I joined Weight Watchers and embraced my changes in eating as they happened. In dating new people, it has been an interesting experience to get to explain all of these things to people without the same background knowledge.
How much is too much?
In my meetings I always joke that I tell everyone in the world that I’m on Weight Watchers. I have always been a very open person and I’m pretty transparent about the fact that I’m gluten free and vegan and that I make these choices as a result of having Crohn's. (heck, I write a blog about the whole thing, don’t I?) I recognize that not everyone is as open as I am, and that my candour might be a little much for some, but I like to think that if someone is going to want to date me, that they will embrace everything about me. And if not, their loss.
Communication is key.
Now you might not want to come out and tell the person within 4 minutes of meeting them that you’re trying to lose weight (or vegan or whatever), but you also want to be honest about who you truly are. Your personality is going to be part of the reason that they want to date you in the first place, right? So don’t act like you’re ashamed of losing weight or love of exercise (because you’re making a healthy change in your life!) or the way you eat (because it works for you!) or how you live your life (because you’re trying to be the best you you can be!) There are maybe some things that can be saved for date #2, 5 or 12 (I try to skimp on the details of my Crohn’s diagnosis…) but I strongly believe that communication is really important
So, um, what do you eat?
If I haven’t scared someone off with my list of things I don’t eat, I make some suggestions on places to go and so far I’ve found people to be very accommodating and willing to try new things.This is awesome, because I’m not going to want to date someone who doesn’t “get it” and badgers me into a steakhouse or an all-you-can-eat buffet because Fresh or Live or Lady Marmalade doesn’t seem like a good idea.
Doing Weight Watchers? Maybe Jack Astors and the 51-Point “Grilled Salmon Provencal” might not be the best choice. Vegan? Barbarian’s steak house isn’t gonna work. Gluten free? No thanks on the all-you-can-eat-white-pasta. There are casual ways to make your opinions known and be confident enough to suggest places that will cater to your needs, so you’ll have one less thing to stress about on your date.
So you’ve gotten past date #1.
You enjoy this person’s company.
Date #2 or 4 or 7 is on the horizon… what do you do?
Just be yourself.
In everything that I’ve done in my life, this is probably one of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned whether it be on a date, a job interview, an audition or in life in general. Your personality with all its quirks and nuances makes you unique and with the billions of people in the world (and 2.5 million people in Toronto alone) it is going to stand you apart from the crowd. If you’re hiding part of yourself because of how you think this new person might react, it will probably just come back to bite you in the butt, and why would you want to waste time hiding the “real you” whilst getting to know this new person anyway? If they’re worth your time, they will be understanding, making them even sexier than they originally appeared.
So before you date me, you should know that…
I’m just me.
Take it or leave it.
How have your lifestyle choices impacted your dating life? Single peeps – how do you tell new people about your dietary/food/etc. choices? Coupled peeps – how have your significant others dealt with any lifestyle changes you’ve made? What words of advice would you offer to anyone who is in dating land and disclosing things like losing weight, veganism or other lifestyle choices?