If you’re new to a relationship and find your jeans to be fitting a little snugger than usual then you’re not alone. A survey of 2,000 cohabitating Americans found as much as 79 percent of respondents have packed on an additional 16 kilograms (36 pounds) in “love weight” since they started dating their partner – nearly 8 of which (17 pounds) were tacked on in the first year.
Sorry, guys, you bear the brunt of tipping the scales. According to a statement sent to IFLScience, men (69 percent) are more likely than women (45 percent) to gain weight. Almost half of this weight gain can be attributed to eating out more when starting a new relationship, with another 34 percent attributed to eating takeout and drinking at home together.
Most respondents (64 percent) say they started gaining weight because they no longer felt the pressure to look their best all the time. On average, this “comfort zone” occurs after just under 1.5 years together, but varies between age groups.
Getting married also triggered weight gain, with 57 percent of respondents reporting that they gained an average of 7.7 kilograms (17 pounds) in the first year of marriage. Again, men put on almost twice as much as women during this time, 10 kilograms (22 pounds) compared to 6 (13 pounds). The most weight gain occurred five years into the marriage as 42 percent of couples had children and started to pay less attention to their bodies.
The findings were published in a survey conducted by market research company OnePoll on behalf of weight loss diet Jenny Craig. It’s important to note that there are many overarching limitations of self-reported surveys. The survey did not control for what "stage" of a relationship respondents were in, or their efforts in terms of getting healthier.
Regardless, acknowledging the need to shift to healthier habits is a step in the right direction.