It is the weekend after Valentine's Day, and for those of you with a Valentine, I hope you had a special day with the special person in your life.
If Thursday was your cheat day and chance to really indulge and celebrate, that is awesome as long as you get back on track and continue focusing on your health and fitness goals.
I get a lot of emails and messages from people looking for help, looking to tell their story and find ways to change their lives.
One of the main topics I see being discussed in emails is how relationships and getting really comfortable with someone has backfired with weight gain.
A lot of people talk about being fit when they were younger, then they got into a relationship, got comfortable and completely forgot about making their health a top priority.
It is not until the extra 20 to 30 pounds creep up on them that people realize they have let themselves go. They also feel helpless because they forgot about staying healthy and fit.
It is obviously not a big deal if you realize you haven't been to the gym in a couple weeks because you have been enjoying your time with someone special. But it can become one if your life patterns change, allowing you to neglect your health and fitness all together.
If this person is going to be in your life forever, it seems unwise and unhealthy to stay on the path of unhealthy meals while cuddling in front of the television. This is why I encourage couples to get fit together.
This does not mean you have to go to the gym together every single time, even though having a workout buddy is great. But you and that special person can become health- and fitness- conscious together.
Working out gives you more energy. It is good for your heart, motivation, circulation and joints. It even releases endorphins, which make you happier and more positive.
Not everyone needs to be a fitness model and have six-pack abs, but everyone needs to be healthy, work out and eliminate all the reasons for getting too comfortable. If this person is your partner in life, they should be your partner in a healthy and fit life.
If you cannot make it to the gym everyday because of the kids and family schedule, perhaps make a deal that you go to the gym every other day, taking turns watching after the kids for an hour while the other one works out.
I have clients who are husband and wife, and work out together early in the morning in their living room before the kids wake up. A lot of gyms have child care available.
Sign up for short races, like a 5-kilometer, often with your partner and encourage some healthy competition with the goal of finishing each race a little faster than the time before.
I know that not everyone loves to work out, but everyone needs to. Make a pact with your partner that you will encourage and foster healthy habits within each others' lives this year.
Remove yourself from that comfort zone and take baby steps in the right
direction with the person that you love.
I love getting everyone's emails because their stories really motivate me and give me a better understanding of fitness challenges different people face in their day-to-day lives.
I appreciate all the feedback, and this week I challenge you to make a statement of passion to stay fit -- as a couple.
Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.