Gaining Weight in a Relationship: 5 Causes and Solutions – Everyday Health

Find out how to stick to your healthy habits, start new ones, and (sneakily) encourage your significant other to do the same.
There are certain side effects of being in a relationship. While falling in love may give you the warm fuzzies, you might also see your health habits fly out the window — and therefore, gain weight.
“Surveys show that people who are part of a couple may no longer feel pressure to look their best. They may eat out more frequently or order more takeout, and adopt more sedentary habits,” says Angel Planells, RDN, a Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Planells points to a study that found that while couples were more likely to have healthy habits (like not smoking and limiting fast-food intake), they were still less likely to be a normal weight when compared with singles.
If this sounds like you, you can get your diet and exercise habits back on track. Even if they don’t result in weight loss, they’ll still make you feel good.
You used to eat at home and bring your own lunch to work. “Now your lunch routine may be disrupted, and you’re going out for dinner and not having leftovers,” says Planells. You’d be surprised at how many calories are in even simple restaurant dishes. Meaning: Eating out is going to lead to consuming more sugar, fat, and sodium, he says.

You had your eating and food prep down, and then you met your partner, and what and when you ate changed. “Sometimes eating behavior can be influenced by the new partner. You might try new foods or eat more frequently or later in the day [like them],” says Mascha Davis, RDN, founder of Nomadista Nutrition in Los Angeles.
If, for you, dating means meeting for drinks, that’s okay — as long as you’re sticking to one or two drinks (for women and men, respectively), says Davis. In a phenomenon that’s been called the “drunchies,” even moderate drinking before a meal increased the number of calories eaten by 11 percent, and people reported that they were more likely to crave high-fat foods, according to one study.
Finding a show you both love to binge-watch does bring you closer, according to a study, so it’s no wonder that you two are planting yourselves on the couch now. Likewise, you may skip yoga class after work to spend more time with your S.O., so you’re less active, too, says Planells.
RELATED: A Detailed Guide to Fitness — and Why It’s About Way More Than Hitting the Gym
If sleepovers are happening, just know that you’re probably not snagging the shut-eye you got when snoozing solo. Sleeping in the same bed as your partner can increase nighttime disturbances. Couples who sleep apart get an extra 37 minutes of shuteye a night, according to a Sleep Foundation survey.
And in part thanks to a snoring male partner, bed-sharing sleep issues are more common in women, according to the foundation. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is linked to a higher risk of weight gain, as it may affect the hormones that govern hunger and appetite, according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you’ve stepped off the healthy living path because you’ve been wrapped up in a new relationship, that’s completely understandable. But you can hop back on — even if your partner eats an unhealthy diet. “Just go by what you have always done and recognize that healthy eating makes you feel better,” says Ilyse Schapiro, RD, the coauthor of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel? and a registered dietitian nutritionist in the New York City metropolitan area.
RELATED: 5 Tricks for Getting Enough Fruit and Veggies
Going out to dinner and trying new restaurants can be really exciting, but if it’s getting out of hand, it’s time to get reacquainted with your own kitchen. “Have date nights where you cook healthy meals together. This way you can still enjoy a meal together but you know what you’re eating,” says Davis. A study found that people who cooked dinner most days of the week consumed fewer calories and less fat and sugar compared with people who ate at home one or zero times per week. Don’t know what to cook? Meal delivery kits make DIY meals feel fancy.
Your partner may be reluctant to go to the gym, and honestly, it’s not your job to drag them there — that’s a big ask. Instead, focus on your own behavior. One study found that when one partner changes their health for the better (for instance, starts exercising), the other is more likely to follow their lead. Another tactic is planning more active dates, including going on a hike or a bike ride.
RELATED: 10 Amazing Benefits of Exercise
Eating in can be a lovely, bonding, and healthy experience, but of course you’re going to go out sometimes. Schapiro recommends having a few restaurants in your rotation that you know have healthy choices. “Look at the menu prior to the date so you can plan ahead. It’s easier to make healthier choices with a plan in place,” she says.
If you’re a vegetable lover but your partner isn’t, you can let your preferences rub off on them. Maybe skip those they may balk at (like kale) in favor of friendlier picks. “Get creative. Cover broccoli with cheese on top instead of mac and cheese or make buffalo cauliflower,” says Schapiro. “The more exposure they have to healthy eating, the more it will rub off on them,” she adds.
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Originally posted 2023-12-09 09:30:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter