Love fat-tually! Happy couples grow chubby together, claims science

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Piled on the pounds after marriage? Read this!

The traits of a happy couple are many. They love each other very much, they are honest and open with each other, and always respectful and caring when it comes to each others needs. 

But there’s another characteristic of a happy couple that will surprise you, and perhaps have you exclaiming, “Ah! No wonder!” When a couple are happy together, they tend to put on weight! 

Here’s what science says about healthy relationships weight gain.

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Healthy relationships weight gain: what does science say about it?

Healthy relationships weight gain is real

Several scientific studies have shown that one result of a happy relationship is weight gain for both parties. In fact, it’s a striking pattern noticed in many couples.

In one study,  researchers tracked 169 newly married couples over four years. During this time, they measured each person’s weight, as well as tracked their general happiness and how satisfied they were in their marriages.

The results? Those couples who reported they were in happy marriages also gained weight over the study period. Those who did not gain weight, on the other hand, were more likely to separate. 

A study undertaken by the University of Queensland, Australia is another example.

After tracking 15,000 people over 10 years, researchers discovered that on average, people in a relationship were 12.7 pounds heavier than their single peers. People who had partners also had gained a mean weight of 3.9 pounds per year.

Healthy relationships weight gain: Why do people in happy relationships gain weight?

In the first study we mention, researchers had an interesting theory. They suggest that those in happy, stable relationships no longer were under pressure to find/attract another mate. So, they literally let it all go, and were happy to be comfortable in their own skins!

In the next study, it was discovered that the usual unhealthy lifestyle habits – fried food, smoking, alcohol – aren’t the biggest culprits for weight gain in couples. As a matter of fact, couples in the study included a good variety of fruits and vegetables in their diets.

Rather, the researchers found a more behavioural basis for this weight gain. As people live together, they tend to imitate their partner’s lifestyle routines as well, and not all of these are healthy. 

For example…

1. Women Eating the Same Portion Sizes as Men

A good example of adapting to others’ lifestyle habits would be that women eat equal, if not more, portions of food than men. This warped understanding of portion sizes leads to weight gain as both genders have very different requirements for calorie intake.

2. Larger Portions of Home-Cooked Meals 

Couples commit to taking time to prepare meals. Living alone makes it difficult to prepare large meals (and hence single people are likelier to skip meals or snack).

Couples living together, on the other hand,  have spousal duties like family meals. Such obligations lead to more complete meals – with dessert or alcohol sometimes included – being made, and in larger batches. With marriage, such meals take on more significance because they are a way for couples busy with life and work to sit down together and enjoy each other’s company (and food). 

3. Prioritising Quality Time Together, Which Leads to a Sedentary Lifestyle 

Spending time together (which only a couple happily in love will want to do) means less commitment and effort to personal care.

For instance, newly married couples might go out to eat together often, on romantic dinner dates. After work, they’d prefer to hang out together rather than work out, which they might have done when they were single. They also enjoy their weekends or free time by watching movies and eating sugary snacks and drinks together, to go with the movie. Weight gain naturally follows. 

4. Having Children

A no-brainer here! Your children might also unintentionally cause weight gain. For instance, parents tend to to finish their children’s uneaten meals to minimise waste. If their kids are on a “mac and cheese” phase, then this is obviously not the healthiest meal option for parents. 

5. What Your Partner’s Health Goals Are

Another study also found that your partner’s lack of progress on their health goals could be to blame for you not fulfilling your own goals.

A partner who has difficulty trimming his or her waistline can also lead to a decline in your motivation or efforts. This ripple effect is one of the possible reasons why couples put on weight while together unlike the times when they were still single.

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Healthy relationships weight gain: Cooking at home more often instead of eating out is a way to stop piling on the pounds.

What can be done about it?

Sure, it’s really cute to know that couples happy together are also chubby together. But the reality is that it’s also unhealthy to pile on too much weight. After all, if you are in love, you surely don’t want to lose the love of your life to a health condition caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, right? 

So happy couples, here are some tips to slim down that growing waistline!

1. Cook at home instead of eating out 

One easy way to make sure you don’t accumulate unnecessary weight is by eating at home. Home-cooked meals are more often than not friendlier to your waistline. This is due to the simple fact that you know – and are in control of – exactly what goes into your meal.

This is not to case when eating out where you don’t know the exact ingredients restaurants are putting in to your food. The prime suspects are extra salt, fat, or sugar. 

Need some ideas to get started on dinner? Try out our quick and easy recipes for a simple, stress-free, and delicious meal!

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Healthy relationships weight gain doesn’t have to be the definition of a happy relationship. You can be healthy AND happy together.

2. Stay fit with your partner, as an exercise buddy 

Can’t bear to spend even a moment away from each other? No worries, just go to the gym together! Studies have shown that exercising with others makes you sweat greater and the whole time more fruitful.

Kim Larson, a registered dietitian and nutritionist for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends sitting down and thinking through recreational ideas you can do together. Hiking to picnic spots or going on walks are two great workouts you can do even with your kids. Cycling together as a family also counts. 

Too rigorous? Even a quiet stroll around the park after a meal works! If you have very young children who are cooped up at home, why not try using an exercise video? Or wear your baby/pop them in a stroller, and head outdoors. 

Just remember to be honest and actually do it. “Being proactive and upfront about your health needs and goals with each other will serve both parties better in the long run,” Larson says.

3. Stick to good lifestyle habits

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Berries are definitely much healthier snacks than junk food. | Image source: stock photo

When it comes to weight loss, it is important to remember that you have to stay the course: If you’ve started cooking at home and exercise, good job! But that doesn’t mean you should stop. The important part is consistency, no matter how small you start. 

Other good habits to keep would be to:

  • Replace all (or most, if you can’t resist) of your junk food and instant noodles with healthier alternatives, like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. 
  • Attend medical checkups as recommended 
  • Be responsible for one another’s health goals.

True love doesn’t have to be about getting fat together. It’s also making sure you spend a long, happy and healthy life together – agree? 

 

Also Read:

How to rekindle your relationships in just 4 minutes

Study: Couples who fight are happier than those who don’t