Some single people feel pressured by society to look good all the time. Otherwise, they won’t find a partner. But if we browse our feeds and come across couples, we tend to notice something common among all of them: they seem to be gaining pounds.
Of course, this isn’t to tell that bigger people don’t look good. But if we’re single and overweight, our peers have a knack for telling us that we need to get fit if we want to find love. It’s as if our future partners will require us to be skinny.
While it’s absolutely good to maintain a healthy weight, finding true love is work beyond “fixing” our outer appearances. Experienced matchmakers don’t just set up their clients based on their looks, after all. Even users of free dating apps don’t obsess much over bodies and weight unless they explicitly state preferring a specific body type.
But can’t we really avoid gaining weight after finding our one true love? Surely, you’d hate to see your workout progress fade to nothing, not after putting in hours of exercise and planning your meals.
What Studies Say About Couples Gaining Weight
After tracking the weights of over 8,000 people, researchers found that, on average, married women gain 24 pounds (ca. 11 kg) in the first five years of their marriage. On the other hand, women cohabiting with their partners only put on 18 pounds (ca. 8 kg). Women who live apart from their partners also gain weight, 15 pounds (ca. 7 kg), to be exact.
Married men and those in a relationship were also found to add more pounds, though the differences aren’t much between those married and cohabiting.
In conclusion, the researchers gathered that living together increases heterosexual couples’ risk of obesity.
Another study has found that young happy newlyweds also tend to plump up, while on the contrary, couples who aren’t as content in their relationships gain fewer pounds.
But a newer study published in the journal of Health Psychology opposes everything above. According to its one of its authors Ying Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a supportive marriage is linked to a lower weight gain in midlife, supporting the proven claims that a positive social relationship can make us healthier.
In other words, the better and more supportive your marriage is, the less likely you are to become overweight or obese in your middle age.
People in long-term “marriage-like” relationships were also surveyed in the study. The same results were observed in them as well, gaining about 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) fewer, with a 22% lower risk of obesity, the more supportive their relationship is.
These findings were likely related to the health benefits of social support, which may urge partners to encourage each other to seek healthier pursuits.
But that’s not true for every couple, though. The study about newlyweds gaining weight may be attributed to their eliminated worries about finding a partner. Middle-aged couples who add on pounds, on the other hand, may prioritize health outside of physical appearance, hence the weight gain.
How to Avoid Relationship Weight Gain
If you’re particularly health-conscious, it’s totally fine to stay fit throughout your relationship or marriage. It doesn’t automatically mean that you’re unhappy. Besides, we’ve just discovered that a supportive relationship should encourage you to be healthier.
Start by switching up your date nights. That’s actually easier nowadays, with numerous bars and restaurants still closed. But instead of drinking booze and indulging in junk food at home, try working out together, like doing yoga or going on a walk, which may be more romantic.
Establish a tighter bond by cooking together. Staying at home for long periods may urge you to order takeout more, but if you try making your own meals, you’d be more in control, and you’d see each other’s efforts in cooking a tasty and healthy meal.
Stock up on healthy snacks like Greek yogurt, nuts, and seeds. They may be far from your favorite fries and pizza, but once you discover what those healthy snacks do to your body, you’d learn to appreciate them more.
Find motivation to exercise by trying workout regimens together. You’re more likely to stick with a workout program if you do it with your partner or spouse. But if they refuse to join you, don’t make it a fight; find out what interests them more, and allow them to engage in it. For example, if they turn out to like sports more than the gym, find them an opportunity to play.
Healthy habits shouldn’t be forced. If you want to make your partner as fit as you, manage your expectations and respect them. Instead of pinpointing each of the flabs they need to trim, focus on the benefits, and you’ll make exercising and eating healthy a positive experience for both of you.