If you’re married or have been in a long-term relationship, chances are someone over the years has half joked about the weight gain you experienced in the first year or two (or ten). Some people attribute it to routine, others say they eat (and snack) more, others stop going to the gym and settle into their comfortable routines. But be prepared because according to science, a happy relationship can make you fat.
Whatever the reason, the researchers wanted to know if weight gain in relationships was a real thing, and apparently it is. In recent years, there have been two studies in particular that suggest that, yes, the things you love the most in life could carry you extra pounds and love handles it to prove it.
Can a happy relationship predict weight gain?
Some believe it can, but others are not convinced. Previous research seems to suggest that people who are satisfied in and with their relationships are generally healthier. In other words, happy wife, healthy life. The researchers call this the health regulation model.
But, in July 2013, researchers from Southern Methodist University in Dallas joined 169 newlywed couples on their wedding journeys over four years and found something quite the opposite. Over the course of the study, the spouses shared information eight times about their:
- Marital satisfaction
- Steps to Divorce
In contrast to the health regulation model, something called the mating market model turned out to be more true of couples’ weight gain. This model suggests that people who are less happy with their relationship are more likely to try to lose weight.
Researchers say this is because they have a desire to attract a (new) partner. Therefore, spouses who are satisfied with their relationship are actually less likely to control their weight because they are not looking to leave their partner, they are happy and comfortable with the way things have gone so far in their marriage, they are a happy couple .
“Satisfaction is positively associated with weight gain,” says lead researcher Andrea Meltzer. “Spouses who are more satisfied tend to gain more weight, and spouses who are less satisfied tend to gain less weight.”
At the beginning of the study, husbands had a slightly overweight body mass index (BMI) of 26 and wives had a healthy BMI of 23.
“For every unit of increase in satisfaction found, either by person or by partner, there was a 0.12 increase in BMI every six months, on average,” Meltzer said.
Happy in marriage, heavier on the scale
Another study spanning 10 years was published in February 2018 in PLOS One and collected data from 15,000 Australians. The researchers wanted to find out whether people in relationships were more likely to gain weight (and potentially be overweight or obese) than people who were single.
From a bird’s eye view, lead researcher Stephanie Schoeppe and her team found that single people had an average weight gain of 1.8 kg per year, while couples had an average weight gain of 5.8 kg. But why is this the case?
Interestingly, data from 2005-2014 revealed that although couples smoke less, drink less alcohol, watch less television, and eat less fast food than single people, couples still weigh more. Schoeppe also suggests that not dating and constantly “looking your best” can contribute to weight gain in relationships.
“When couples don’t need to look attractive and slim to attract a mate, they can feel more comfortable eating more or eating more foods that are high in fat and sugar. When couples have children at home, they tend to eat the children’s leftovers or snacks. ”
Of course, there are many factors that come into play when determining the cause of weight gain, as a single person or partner. This could include:
- Eating and drinking habits.
- Amount of daily physical activity.
- Daily habits (for example, seated work, lots of television.
Whatever the cause (s), it is important that people, especially couples, create an environment that helps promote a healthy lifestyle. It may seem challenging, but it is likely to increase not only the longevity of your relationship, but your life as well.