One of the greatest joys of singledom perhaps is that you have absolute control over your life. There is no need to make room for other people’s habits and lifestyle choices, and neither a need to change any of your own (phew!). But on the flipside, you might also have a longing to share certain important aspects of your life with an intimate companion; and this is exactly why and how you end up in a relationship.
This might be tagged as cynicism, but relationships aren’t all that fluffy. There is a lot of change to adapt to; and apparently this also includes a physical metamorphosis! So, does a new partner actually bring with them some extra weight too? Let’s find out...
Why You Might Neglect Your Appearance
Once in a relationship, it is natural to feel less pressured as far as one’s appearances are concerned. In other words, you’re not really looking to attract anyone new and hence all the work in looking good might take a back seat – you’re no longer hitting the gym five days a week, that devil of a biryani is back on your plate, and your regular cappuccino has been replaced by some godforsaken Red Velvet shake. Also, that slightly vulnerable feeling you got when someone undressed you for the first time...that’s perhaps long gone. Your partner has seen you naked and will unlikely pay attention to the slight weight gain.
According to the health regulation model of the Department of Psychology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA, quality relationships always benefit health, suggesting that spouses in satisfying relationships relax their efforts to maintain a healthy weight because they are no longer motivated to attract a mate.
Gym Isn’t A Priority Anymore
If your partner doesn't share your enthusiasm about going to the gym, then you will probably begin to adopt a similar thought process too. Also, if you are working long hours and are unable to make time for your partner, hitting the gym may become secondary. In other words, you skip the gym to spend time with them.
One of the commonest things that couples do together is experiment with food. With so many new restaurants, cafes and other hangouts opening up, there is always room for a couple of dinner and lunch dates in the weekly calendar. And of course, you know where that leads you; calorie counting isn’t exactly romantic when you’re sitting with a candle and flowers set on the table, right?
In an 8,000-person study conducted by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO), researchers noted that the journey from being single or dating, to getting married or living together, is positively associated with obesity. Women who live with a romantic partner have an increased chance of becoming obese within a year, and men’s odds increase within two years. As a whole, married couples are most likely to experience this weight gain within two years. This is called “concordance.” In a study by Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. and James H. Fowler, Ph.D, it was found that if one person in a married couple becomes obese, their spouse has a 37 per cent higher chance of becoming obese too.
The chunk of research on the topic of couples gaining weight agrees that the cause is quite simple: behaviour is contagious. When you’re living in close proximity with someone else, someone who you want to spend time with, you’re more likely to eat the same things, and engage in similar activities.
In a relationship, you must take care of each other, not just in a romantic way, but also in a healthy way. Motivate each other to exercise or hit the gym together!