When you find yourself in the middle of a long-term relationship, you have probably heard all of the jokes about gaining weight during the first couple of years. Some people say that it is all about routine and others say they are freer to eat more frequently. Still, others may forgo their gym membership and lead a more comfortable life.
It really doesn’t matter what the reason is, researchers wanted to find out if there was a connection between weight gain and happy relationships. Apparently, it is true! There have been a number of studies conducted over the past few years that suggests that the things we love in life can add extra pounds to our midsection.
This video explains more:
Some people believe that there is a connection but others may need additional convincing. Some of the research that was done previously suggested that people tend to be healthier when they are satisfied with their relationship. Perhaps that is where the old saying, ‘happy wife, healthy life’ comes from. For researchers, it is known as the ‘health regulation model’.
A study took place in 2013 when researchers from Southern Methodist University in Dallas followed 169 newlywed couples for 4 years. They found that the opposite was actually true. During the study, information was shared eight different times about their height, weight, stress levels, marital satisfaction and any steps toward divorce.
In stark contrast to what was previously understood in the health regulation model, the ‘mating market model’ came into focus. According to this model, people who are less happy in their relationships will likely try to maintain a higher level of health. Researchers chalk this up to the desire to have a new mate. When a spouse is satisfied with their relationship, they are less likely to maintain the trim figure because they plan on sticking around. They are comfortable and happy with their marriage so far.
“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.”
When the study started, husbands were slightly overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 26. Their wives had a healthy BMI of 23.
“For each unit of increase in satisfaction found, either by the person or the partner, a 0.12 increase in BMI occurred every six months, on average,” said Meltzer.
PLOS One published a 2018 study that spanned 10 years. It collected data from 15,001 Australians in order to find out if people in a relationship were more likely to gain weight than those who were single.
Stephanie Schoeppe was the lead researcher and her team found out that single individuals gained less weight. On average, a single individual would gain 1.8 kg a year. Married couples, on the other hand, gained an average of 5.8 kg every year. Why the difference?
The data, which was collected from 2005-2014 showed that couples tended to drink less alcohol, smoke less and watch less television. They also ate less fast food than single people but they still weighed more. Schoeppe suggested that not having to constantly ‘look your best’ may have contributed to the weight gain.
“When Couples don’t need to look attractive and slim to attract a partner, they may feel more comfortable in eating more, or eating more foods high in fat and sugar. When couples have children in the household, they tend to eat the children’s leftovers or snacks.”
There may also be other factors that play a part in our struggle with weight. Regardless of whether we are single or are in a happy relationship, it could include our eating and drinking habits, stress levels, physical activity, and our daily habits.
It really doesn’t matter why it may be true, it is important for an environment to be created that leads to a healthier lifestyle. Most people find it to be challenging but overall, it can increase the longevity of your relationship and your life.