Many women report weight gain after moving in with a boyfriend, fiancé or husband. Does this really happen? Is it a myth?
According to recent studies conducted at the University of North Carolina and Ohio State University, women DO tend to gain weight when they begin living with a man. In fact, the results of the UNC study, which were published in the July 2009 issue of Obesity, suggest that women cohabitating for five years or fewer face a 63% increase in obesity risk.
Grow your relationship, not your waistline, when you move in with Mr. Right.
What are the reasons behind women’s post-nesting pudge? Some researchers say that when women spend more time at home with their mates, they tend to shift towards eating more and exercising less. (Beware of those upcoming cozy fall and winter nights when the TV and ice cream seem really appealing.) Women are normally the more health-conscious partners in a relationship and so if men influence them, it’s usually in the negative direction. (We excuse those guys who eat better and move more than we do!)
But by sticking to their habits and adopting even healthier ones, women can avoid relationship weight gain by staying focused on good habits such as these:
- Bring him into the wellness fold. Be the healthy-lifestyle LEADER in your relationship.
- Men often take their health cues and habits from women, so invite him to join you in becoming healthy and fit. (And compliment his progress to keep him going!)
- Pick some fitness activities that you both enjoy or discover new ones that you BOTH enjoy enough to do them together on a regular basis.
- Eat the amount of food you need, not the amount HE needs.
- Learn the number of calories that each of you needs in a day to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (www.myplate.gov is a good site for this.) Then follow recommended portion sizes and stay within your calorie limits.
- Pledge to support, and not sabotage, one another’s eating and fitness habits.
- Scientists have learned that partners who support and encourage each other in terms of diet and fitness habits are more successful at achieving their goals than individuals who try to “go it alone.”
- Don’t become a drinking buddy.
- It’s easy to crack open a beer or two (or three…) with your guy, especially after dinner in front of the TV. He will like relaxing the way he used to and will probably appreciate your company. Your waistline will soon show these extra calories.
- Limit yourself to a drink a day or better yet, if you would like to have a drink, go out for it and make it a date. Paying restaurant prices for every drink (times two!) should curb both of your desires to overindulge.
- Promise to help each other relieve stress instead of stressing each other out. Remember, stress alone can contribute to weight gain.
- If you need your hour at the gym in the evenings, let your partner know it and keep up your routine. If he feels left out, invite him to come along.
- If your beau needs similar time to de-stress and stay healthy, support him, and join him any time he welcomes your company.
This post was written by Christen Cupples Cooper, MS, RD
(www.coopernutrition.com) and @CooperNutrition on Twitter.