Obesity: Is it Caused by Falling in Love?
Guest Post by Mary Jo Rapini
New research shows that within a few years of getting married, individuals are twice as likely to become obese than their unmarried partners who are dating. The study was published in the July issue of Obesity. The authors had originally tried to determine how romantic relationship affected weight gain. They studied 6,949 people for several years. They found that not only are married people more likely to become obese than those who are just dating, but young people who cohabitate with their partners tend to gain weight. The study also showed that unmarried women who have lived with their boyfriends for five years or less had a 63% increased chance for developing obesity. Men on the other hand had no increase of gaining weight during cohabitation.
Why does this happen? The researchers questioned 1,293 couples for a separate part of the study. It appears mealtime became more important than it was when the people were living alone. Secondly, workouts don’t get done the way they did in the past prior to living with the significant other. Individuals begin to feel loved and accepted for who they are. For some this may mean letting themselves go. They are no longer trying to find a perfect mate; they live with them.
Scientists have known for a long while that having a close relationship with an obese person, whether a friend or a spouse makes you more likely to become obese. Amy Gorin PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, published a study in 2009 showing that if one spouse participates in a weight-loss program, the unenrolled spouse tends to lose 5 lbs. Marriage does have benefits, including living longer and being able to give up bad habits. You don’t have to gain weight just because you decide to marry or live with the love of your life. Perhaps focusing on working together for a healthy life style is the key.
Ten ways to begin a healthy life style with the one you love:
1. Clean out your pantry, tossing anything you snack on that is in a bag or wrapper.
2. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
3. Make your home a “NO SODA ZONE.” Nothing will make an immediate change in your diet program as quickly as quitting soda.
4. Stock up on water, and whenever you are hungry drink a cup of water first.
5. Make a pact to try one new exercise a week. For example, Monday can be walking leisurely 2 miles. Tuesday can be going up and down the stairs for 10 minutes. Wednesday can be walking as fast as you can for 1 mile. Thursday can be chair marching for every commercial in an hour program on television. Friday can be walking leisurely for 3 miles. Saturday can be gardening or sweeping your sidewalks for one 30 minutes. Sunday could be reserved for a day of rest.
6. Instead of going out to eat, go out for appetizers and limit yourself to one drink.
7. Make a pact as a team not to eat past 7 p.m.
8. Tell each other how great the other looks.
9. Tell each other how grateful you are to be on a “Healthy Life Style Team” with them.
10. Whenever you want to snack, write down: why do I want this, what is it going to do for me, and is there a better food for my body?
Being married or living with the one you love is like having a built in “Fan club.” Motivating each other to live a healthy life style is not only good for your waist. It is good for your intimacy and sex drive. We all can change; it just takes one person in the relationship to be a catalyst for the other.
Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC is a psychotherapist specializing in intimacy, sex and relationships. She lives in Houston, Texas. Rapini is the author of two books: Is God Pink? Dying to Heal and co-author of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever.
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