Project Manager, Research and Development at Nutrisystem
If you are single and dreading Valentine’s Day this year, I offer you this glimmer of self satisfaction. According to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, your coupled up friends are more likely to be overweight and obese. Called “love
chub”, “love lard”, or “romance weight” – if you’ve noticed the more comfortable you’ve been getting in your relationship, the less comfortable your wardrobe is becoming. There are a few reasons why this is happening, and some easy solutions to help you avoid letting love sabotage your waist line.
You’ve traded in your evening work outs for dinners out or “together time” on the couch.
Love, especially new love, can be exciting, overwhelming and time consuming. While you’re blowing off your workouts for more time together and trading in your modest dinners at home for hefty portions at fancy restaurants, you’re growing more than just a relationship.
SOLUTION: Don’t center your relationship on food, plan more active “together time,” like going for an evening walk, or taking up tennis. Creating mutual hobbies together can help strengthen your bond, plus being active causes your body to activate the sympathetic nervous system which releases adrenaline and adrenaline can increase feelings of physical attraction.
You’re matching outfits, pet names, addresses AND eating habits.
Called “dietary convergence,” couples that cohabitate start to adopt each other’s eating habits and, most often for women, this means eating more than usual. There’s food in the house, like snacks, sugary cereals and sodas, that you’ve never kept around before and you eat when, what and as much as your partner eats. In fact, data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health showed that living together as a couple increased a woman’s odds of becoming obese by 63% and a man’s by 30%.
SOLUTION: Get in tune with your feelings of hunger and satiety and don’t try to match your partner bite for bite. If you can’t convince your partner to ditch the beef jerky or Doritos, keeping a stock of healthy food in a different location to help you avoid temptation.
Relationships cause stress, Ben and Jerry cure stress.
The average couple fights 312 times each year. It’s easy to turn to food to mitigate the stress caused by these squabbles. Higher carbohydrate foods like sweets, pasta and cereals can produce an increase in brain serotonin—and a subsequent calming or anxiety-reducing effect. Trouble is, just one extra 100 calorie cookie per day will make you 10 pounds heavier in a year, and likely no less annoyed that your partner doesn’t replace the empty toilet paper roll.
SOLUTION: Conflicts in relationships are inevitable, how you deal with the stress caused by these conflicts can make a big difference in your health. Again, physical activity can help, as can talking to a trusted friend or family member. If you can’t resist turning to food, pick healthier choices like almonds, whose monounsaturated fats and vitamin E have been shown to calm the mind and reduce blood pressure or peppermint tea whose scent has been shown to increase alertness and reduce anxiety.
And, when all else fails, to quote Mary Gregg: “There are no calories in Jewelry and Flowers!”
- Brown et al. Effects of having a baby on weight gain. American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume 38, Issue 2 , Pages 163-170, February 2010
- The NS, Gordon-Larsen P. Entry into romantic partnership is associated with obesity. Obesity. 2009;17:1441.