Happy couples pile on the pounds

19 November 2013

Written by: Erin Lyons

Are you in a relationship? Have you noticed your pants are getting tighter? You’re struggling at gym class? Or maybe you’ve substituted your pilates session for a night with your partner watching your favourite reality TV series?

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

In a content and comfortable relationship there will be countless times in which you will find yourself in this situation.

Healthy relationships generally evoke happiness and this can often lead to a certain type of emotional eating.

According to an article in The Daily Mail UK, relationships are the number one cause for weight gain in Britain, ahead of comfort eating and indulging on a holiday.

The study conducted by Diet Chef shows that 62 per cent of people gained up to a stone after commencing a new relationship and another two-thirds of the people surveyed admitted to putting on weight together.

The survey showed that relationship weight gain happens because couples have a tendency to nest in the early stages of their relationship. This means numerous nights lounging around indoors.

However the key offender was the notion that women change their portion sizes to match the serving of their partners.


Siobhan and Elisha Glenister have been married for nine months and within this time period, Elisha admits to have gained over eight kilograms of what he defined as a “love gut”.

“I’ve always been slender but I’ve put on eight kilos since getting married nine months ago,” he says.

“I grew up in a home where treats were rare and sugary foods were all but banned. I guess I’ve taken advantage of the new rules and new lifestyle.”

Yet, Siobhan explains the reasons behind Elisha’s weight gain and lifestyle change.

“He has put on weight gradually, more and more since we got together. My family background encourages time and therefore, more food around the dinner table,” she says.

Despite Elisha’s weight gain over the past months, Siobhan states that she has great will power and remains cautious of her food choices.

“I’ve always been conscious of my weight and I’ve always been in a household full of sweets and snacks, I’ve learnt to resist or to moderate my intake,” Siobhan says.

With this in mind, happiness can influence your eating habits. For instance, when celebrating a big event, we have a tendency to splurge and binge because we feel good – and being in a happy and content relationship can have the same effect.

“I find happiness and enjoyment in sharing meals with my wife. Those little romantic snacks like chocolate and ice-cream are a killer,” Elisha says.

Research shows that sharing meals with you partner is a major cause of weight gain, especially for the women who often increase portion sizes to meet the serving size of their male companion.

Siobhan admits that in her circumstance, this has definitely been the case.

“I do increase my serving sizes, but generally only when it comes to take-away food. In my mind, I view it as a treat and I don’t want him to have more of a treat. I feel like it’s almost competitive eating.”

Nonetheless, Elisha admits that even though he has put on weight during his relationship he and Siobhan both agree that they would like to be more active together.

“We’re fairly active in the warmer months as we surf as often as we can. Thoughout the winter we tend to hibernate and don’t venture out as often. I’d like that to change,” Siobhan says.

So to prevent the dreaded relationship weight gain, cook dinner at home, go for walks together and (women) don’t eat his snacks. However, enjoy each other’s company and avoid spending too many nights indoors.

upstart-headshot Erin Lyons is a third year Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) student and a staff writer for upstart. You can Follow her on Twitter, @erinmaylyons.


Featured image: Flickr/UrbaneWomenMag