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New Couples Really Do Tack On Extra Pounds – Here's Why


Madison Dapcevich


Madison Dapcevich

Freelance Writer and Fact-Checker

Madison is a freelance science reporter and full-time fact-checker based in the wild Rocky Mountains of western Montana.

Freelance Writer and Fact-Checker

Gaining weight in a new relationship? You're not alone. Rawpixel/Shutterstock

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.

Sorry, guys, you bear the brunt of tipping the scales. Pathdoc/Shutterstock

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.


“The data shows that while people have gained weight in a relationship, they are recognizing that they need to lose it, and that is great news for their health,” said Monty Sharma, president and CEO of Jenny Craig, according to SWNS Digital. “The best way to start weight loss is with the right nutrition and exercise, and Jenny Craig incorporates both into our program alongside dedicated support for each individual. Our program promotes couples to develop a healthy relationship with all foods, which we know is something people want today.”

Weight gain aside, couples tend to be healthier than singles in general. Earlier this year, a survey of more than 15,000 Australians found pairs are more likely to be non-smokers and meet recommendations for limited fast food, alcohol consumption, and fruit and veggie intakes.

Top 6 Reasons Couples Gain Weight In A Marriage

  1. 1. Starting a family (43 percent)
    2. Eating takeout because there's not enough time to cook (30 percent)
    3. Comfortable in the relationship (30 percent)
    4. Stress at work (24 percent)
  2. 5. Lack of sleep (22 percent)
    1. 6. Relationship stress (17 percent)
      1. When One Gains The Most Weight During Marriage
      3. 1. Five years in (30 percent)
        1. 2. 10 years in (19 percent)

3. The first year (14 percent)
4. 20+ years in (12 percent)
5. 15 years in (12 percent)
6. No particular time (13 percent)


Top 9 Reasons People Start To Exercise And Eat Healthily

        1. 1. Clothes not fitting (54 percent)
          2. Not feeling good (43 percent)
          3. Seeing an unflattering picture of yourself (43 percent)
        2. 4. Health scare (23 percent)
        3. 5. Partner (20 percent), friend (15 percent), child (13 percent), or stranger (11 percent) making a comment about your weight

6. Unable to be active with kids (11 percent)


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