From before we even hit puberty, we are bombarded with images of happy couples in relationships that make us feel incomplete without a ‘better half’. Not surprisingly, we spend most of our teenage years and early adulthood on a quest for Mr. Right, believing that a meaningful relationship will be the answer to all our life problems. While a healthy relationship will certainly make you feel fulfilled and complete, it can also break your weighing scale! Whether you are in a live in relationship or married, being in a committed relationship is often linked with weight gain, especially in women.
A study by researchers from the University of North Carolina looked at around 7,000 people over a span of years and they found that couples who began to co-habit were twice as likely to gain weight as compared to their single friends. They also found that the risk of obesity for women kept increasing with the duration of the relationship, while men were only at risk of weight gain in the first two years of coupledom. So, why is it that women are so prone to ‘relationship weight’ gain? Is it because they let themselves go, need comfort foods, or is there something else at play here?
Causes For Relationship Weight Gain In Women
1. Putting The Relationship First
Women are inherently good at managing and working on relationships, while most men simply suck at it! Not surprisingly, psychologists and counselors find that women tend to lose their self-focus when they enter a relationship, obsessing over and prioritizing over the quality of the relationship and their partners’ needs, putting those above their own. There is also a lot of societal pressure on women to make relationships work and to juggle this huge responsibility with career goals and household chores, adding to the stress and self neglect.
2. Comfortable In Your Skin
Being in a loving relationship gives you a newfound sense of confidence and comfort that no amount of counseling can provide! When your better half is appreciative and smitten with you, with high levels of physical attraction, there’s no more room for body image issues and self doubt. This means you no longer have to struggle to hide those little skin blemishes, or little rolls of fat either, cause he’s going to love you and find you attractive no matter. As a result of this high level of comfort, many women start to indulge and enjoy life a bit more, which often equals snacking on unhealthy treats and neglecting other healthy activities like gyming. In most cases, both partners only awake to the reality of obesity once there’s no escaping it!
3. Your Ego Doesn’t Need A Boost!
If you have a loving and supportive partner you can be sure to receive plenty of compliments that make you feel like real princess. If your partner thinks you are perfect and you value his opinion highly, no one else matters and you start to feel good about yourself too. You no longer need the approval, appreciation, and praise of others. While it’s great that your ego is pandered to and you don’t have to constantly seek approval of others, it also often means that you stop paying attention to your appearance – yes, you may let yourself go a bit.
4. He Has A Bad Influence On You
It’s unintentional and adorable, because he just wants you to be happy and eat what you love to eat, but it’s also similar to bad parenting! You know precisely what happens if you overindulge a child or allow him to eat just what he likes – he’s going to fill up and fall sick. So, while a loving spouse may be great news to you, it’s bad for your weight. Additionally, sitting in front of the idiot box and eating meals, or dining out are among the most popular activities for most couples, and it once again does not bode well for your belly.
5. Lack Of Intimacy
Women are highly emotional and intuitive, but also subtle in their expression, while men are ‘not as’ emotional and are certainly no good at reading those ‘subtle’ signs. As a result, emotional distance and disconnect grows despite the fact that you are in a committed and loving relationship. After a few years of living together, a relationship takes a lot more work and women often experience loneliness, while men settle into a routine and are comfortable with limited social interaction and conversation. There’s a clear gap in emotional needs and many women find that these emotional requirements cannot be met from the relationship. Feelings of helplessness and loneliness cause depression and food becomes a coping mechanism.
6. Blame It On Female Metabolism
When it comes to human anatomy, no one can deny that women got the short end of the stick. Aside from being more vulnerable to a variety of health conditions like osteoporosis and breast cancer, and having to endure menstrual cramps every month, women may also be more prone to weight gain. Some studies even suggest that differences in metabolism make women more likely to gain weight, while men can shed weight faster! This becomes particularly problematic in long term happy relationships, because when you’re in love and together, you actually want to share everything, including meals. That’s a problem because men have higher caloric requirements than women and even a marginal increase in caloric intake can cause significant weight gain over time.
No matter what the cause of weight gain, it eventually starts to damage self esteem, and if not, it still poses a big health risk. While it’s great that you are in a happy relationship and can feel completely comfortable in your skin, try to get a grip on your diet and lifestyle. In fact, one of the best ways to get healthy and in shape is by taking it up as a joint project with your better half. If the two of you are equally committed and provide a balancing influence to each other, it can make achieving those weight loss goals so much easier.
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