Love Makes You Fat?
Evolutionary psychologists tell us that we're genetically wired to pair bond. Most us prefer to ride Spaceship Earth around the sun with a partner, preferably one that lets us rub our sensitive parts against their sensitive parts.
We, as humans, generally like long term relationships, which usually end up being marriages. Then we get fat, gross each other out, and get divorced.
Okay, not quite. But a new survey of 2000 Americans (conducted by Jenny Craig and OnePoll) has painted a pretty dismal picture of what happens when we find "the one."
- 79 percent of those surveyed have gained fat since they started dating their partner.
- In the first year of the long term relationship, the average weight gain was 17 pounds. The average respondent gained 36 pounds over time.
- Men in long term relationships gain more weight than women. Men, in fact, gain an average of 22 pounds in the first year of holy matrimony. Women gain around 13 pounds.
- Younger couples (ages 18 to 24) pork up fast when entering a serious romantic relationship. Older couples (45-plus) gain fat too, but more slowly.
Why Does This Happen?
You can probably guess, but here's what the people surveyed said:
- 64 percent said they became comfortable and content after scoring a mate. The hunt was over, so they relaxed.
- 42 percent said they cut back on taking care of their health and appearances after having kids. Priorities shifted. Also, kids sucked up all their time and energy.
- 42 percent blamed dining our frequently and 34 percent blamed ordering takeout or cooking together while getting hammered.
Get Fat, Get Divorced?
Ironically, while men and women feel complacent in serious relationships, that very same complacency can be a factor leading to divorce.
While cheating and money problems are always at the top of those "Why People Get Divorced" lists, weight gain usually comes in at around the number five spot.
It seems shallow, but remember, weight gain can lead to (or exacerbate) depressive symptoms and low self-esteem. Those things lead to mood and behavior changes, resentment, and arguments. Other studies have shown that the sex/intimacy well dries up when one or both partner gets too chubby. Being overweight can also cause erectile dysfunction.
How to Use This Info
Don't give up on wuv, true wuv, just yet. To avoid the pitfalls and fat pants, just adopt the "do the opposite" approach.
- Don't get too complacent. That's the big one. Even if he or she loves you for better or worse, all those preventable diseases caused by fat gain don't give a crap. Your body conditionally loves you, even if you have unconditional love for one another.
- Go to the gym together. Studies show that couples who exercise together stay together. They're also twice as likely to report being happy.
- Eat out less frequently. Cook most meals at home and avoid takeout. And not every meal needs to involve a bottle of vino.
- Don't have kids. Okay, that's not fair. We all know it's your duty to genetically bless future generations with that big nose of yours. So just be prepared to figure out how to train and eat right when Skylar has soccer practice and Daltan hasn't stopped shitting his pants for the last four hours. And don't forget to keep things spicy in the bedroom. Or the laundry room. Whatever works, folks.