Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blame It On the Boyfriend...

Yesterday Gina tweeted an article about how women who have “mates” tend to weigh more. Then, today my friend Sarah tweeted about almost the exact same thing- whether marriage will make you gain weight. As a person with a “mate” and someone getting married soon, I was immediately interested. According to the first article, the ten year weight gain for a woman with a mate and a baby is 20 pounds, but for a woman with just a mate, 15! The only explanation offered in this article was that women with a mate may have a more “active social life” including eating out more often, which could contribute to weight gain.

The second article, talked about how both men and women gain weight when they get married. This article brought up two additional explanations: giving each other permission to have treats and dining together adds calories (apparently studies have shown this, I believe it). It also offered some strategies for avoiding this happening to you, which I’ll get to in a minute.

I think both of these articles are on to something. I do not blame Eric for any weight gain, but I definitely think that having a partner does make it easier to gain weight. For example, when Eric and I first started dating he introduced me to Dunkin Donuts (I was previously a Starbucks girl and remain one today). We used to go there and get French Vanilla Iced Coffee. For some unknown reason it did not occur to me to order a different drink than Eric even though I had been a Nonfat Vanilla Latte girl at Starbucks for years. This meant all of a sudden I was adding an unhealthy dose of CREAM to my morning a few times a week. CREAM?! I don’t think I had EVER had cream before in my life before I met Eric!

Another reason I think having a mate increases your weight gain is because everyone has different “vices.” For example, I like ice cream, but Eric is more of a Cheese It and Sour Patch Kids kind of person. I like Cheese Its too but I normally do not go out an buy them. However, now I had both ice cream AND Cheese Its around me and someone willing to eat them with me. Other reasons I think people with partners gain weight include…

· Eating out more often
· “Eating like a guy”- Eric is a full foot taller than me, I can’t eat the same amount of calories, period.
· Spending more time hanging out, less time exercising
· Feeling like you don’t have to “impress” anyone anymore

So are you doomed to gain weight when you have a partner? Nope. Since Eric and I moved in together 2 years ago I have maintained my weight the entire time. Here are my recommendations (and some I stole from the Weight Watchers article)…

Get over the “you don’t need to impress anyone” philosophy. In fact, you do. Your girlfriend, husband, whatever the partner is wants to be impressed. Sure, they are probably not going to leave you if you put on 10 pounds, but I wouldn’t say it’s unheard of either (not that I advocate that relationship haha). More importantly though, you need to STAY HEALTHY for your partner! You may have the “it won’t happen to me” philosophy about heart problems, diabetes and other things that are directly related to your diet and exercise, but the fact is, if something happens to you, it affects your partner. So stay healthy.

Stick to your own vices. This is a big problem for both me and Eric as I mentioned before. Eric really doesn’t even enjoy ice cream but I always want him to get it so I feel better about me eating it. That’s silly, I can eat my ice cream, he can eat what he likes and that’s it. Eric and I eat different dinners fairly often because we like different foods. That’s okay if it keeps us healthy!

Exercise together. Okay, Eric and I don’t really do this because we have such different schedules. But, we do try to be really active together on the weekends. We have been known to go on walks, go rollerblading and we are now trying to ice skate as often as we can together. We love to eat out, but it’s nice to do something healthy together for a change!

Watch your portions. Like I mentioned earlier, Eric is a foot taller than me so if he wants a little more dinner than me, he should have it. It doesn’t mean I can though.

Get creative in the kitchen. Do you love pizza or cookies? You can work together to find ways to make your favorite foods healthier. One google search and a trip to the grocery store and you will be one step closer to being healthy together.

So, spill your stories. Do you gain weight when you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? If you are married, did you gain weight when you got married? Did you ever lose it?


  1. I think I agree with this. In 2008 I lost 25 pounds while I was living in the dorms my second year of college - moved in with Eric for the summer and gained five pounds - lived alone in Kamloops for a month and lost five pounds - Eric moved to Kamloops I gained five pounds - Eric moves back home I lose five pounds - I go home and spend three weeks at home for Christmas (staying with Eric) and gain seven pounds.

    I'm not even joking either. LOL, I don't know what it is!

  2. I don't think that living with Brian changed my weight (I have been on a steady incline for a few years), but him also being 10"-12" taller than me means that I should NOT be eating what he is eating... at least in quantity. The good news is that both Brian and I are going on Weight Watchers now and are motivating each other. We push each other to be healthier and it is certainly easier when you have someone cheering you on along the way.

  3. I can definitely see how this happens. My husband doesn't enjoy food. He eats because he has to. (I don't understand this!) But he does have a couple of food cream and freshly baked cookies. In the summer, we always have ice cream in the freezer, and in the winter there is always cookie dough in the fridge. I have just had to learn how to resist these temptations. On the exercise end, he has run a couple of marathons and knowing that, has pushed me to run longer and harder than I would have otherwise. So I guess it evens out for us! I just have to be conscious of the fact that as a man, and as a person several inches taller, he can (and should) eat a bigger potion of food than I can. (This is so unfair, especially given that he could generally car less about food whereas I love to eat!)

  4. Yep, 21yrs of marriage, 21yrs of being overweight (something I've changed over the last year and plan to keep changing) - David is nearly a foot taller than me, we have both made bad habits together over those years, I'm changing them, he isn't - wish he would for his health's sake, but I can't make him.

    Anyway - for me, I was a tense shy teenager which made me too nervous to eat so I was skinny, met David, relaxed, grew more self-confident and all of a sudden put on weight ... and never ever got it off again - until now.

  5. Oh jeez. I love this post. It is SO hard to stay on a healthy track with my husband around. He is one of those people that can eat and eat and lose weight. It can be really discouraging for me.

    With him being in the military we really try to appreciate spending the time we have together. Normally that means vegging out but we also run together.

    Thankfully, I've figured out tricks and ways around unhealthy eating habits. I always get him out a regular sized dinner plate and I eat dinner from a salad plate. That way my portions are always smaller. I also never make enough dinner for me to have seconds.

  6. I definitely fall into the "eat like a guy trap." Chris can eat four pieces of pizza and two rolls at Bertucci's, why can't I. haha.. it only took me two years to realize that I really can't eat four pieces like him.
    Another thing is that it's like double the craving slip. Let me explain this.. say me and Chris both crave ice cream over the summer about once a week. Okay, then I have it once a week. But if me and Chris crave it on different days, and he wants to go out to ice cream but I could have done without it.. I'll go anyways because a) he wants me to and b) now that he has put the idea of ice cream in my head, I kind of want it to.
    haha oh my life.

  7. Recently found your blog and marked it as a "favorite."

    This is funny--I posted something about this in my own blog this morning! My story is---I succumbed to Chinese buffets when I began dating my boyfriend. A year later, and I've gained some weight. We've recently moved in together, and have started eating at home more. I think eating out was just a reason to go do something together. My hometown is famous for food and restaurants, so it's just too easy to go out to eat! However, now that I'm comfortable, I have been back in eating healthier mode. I never slacked off with exercise, but definitely with food!

    You are right-we should impress others ;-) lol

  8. Before I started dating my boyfriend, I wasn't in great shape or eating healthy, but I exercised regularly and never skipped the gym. Then, once we got into a relationship, it was so easy to skip workouts, because we wanted to hangout all the time. I probably gained between 5-10 pounds during our first year of dating, and I felt gross cause I was never working out. I totally changed all that up though...even though it's SO EASY to be "bad" when he's around.

    And like you, I'm obsessed with ice cream...and I always want him to have some when I do!

  9. I sort of stopped working out regulary when I transferred schools which was a about 4 months after starting to date my now husband. I didn't really gain weight (I noticed at least) until about a year or so into dating. We were going out every Thursday and eating like crap. I totally started eating like a guy. I kind of wish we made our own dinners because if we did I know I would eat less. Whenever I cook, it is waaay healthier! I've gained 40 pounds in the 6 years we have been together. I've only ever lost 5 pounds and then gained them back. I am in the process now to once again add excerise back into my schedule.

  10. Spike is a junk food junkie and ALWAYS has bags and bags of candy with him, what's worse is that he loves all the same candy I do! While I can easily forgo his disgusting Taco Bell habit, I just can't seem to avoid the Dark Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter cups he has an endless supply of! After last weekend I told him point blank he better not even THINK of bringing any candy with him this trip!!! LOL!

    Thankfully we are extremely active when we see each other. This past weekend we did a 10 miler in the mountains and easily walked at least that around the city. We chased each other up hills (cuz we're runner dorks) and walked everywhere we went after we parked downtown, we're stair takers over elevators, etc...

    I can see how easily it would be to gain weight in a relationship but I think the key is to finding the balance. Recognizing that you are not the same size as your "mate" and focusing on doing more activities together rather than eating out and snacking together.

    Excellent post! Very interesting!!!

  11. Dude I totally gained weight when I met the Fiance. All of a sudden I wasn't eating like a saint.

    Carbs and snacks crept back into my diet. And it showed.

    Then when the Fiance was away for work training (a couple of months) and then started his job in the Rockies (before I moved out). I worked out like a fiend, ate well, and lost a ton of weight.

    When I moved to the Rockies too I ate like him. PLUS I was sad to be here without any friends. I hated it. Say hello to 20lbs.

    Now I'm in the process of losing it all again but it's been a struggle. But the last gain was probably not his fault.

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  13. It is so great that you haven't gained since living together! My husband and I gained when we started dating, then lost weight together, but then I gained again. And it's true - I didn't care HOW i looked after the wedding! But now I have my priorities straight :)

    The exercise together tip is SO IMPORTANT! Just support each other! It is AMAZING how inspiring and motivating it is to work toward being health as a team!

  14. Fantastic post! I'm glad you read that article and found it interesting. I think it should have said "moving in with a guy causes weight gain", not just having a mate. It's totally different when you live with a guy....right??

    My problem is similar to yours, in that Nick can eat many more calories that I can, yet when he keeps eating I want to also! It's especially hard at night, when he gets home from work. I'm all nice and relaxed, but he's ready to start watching tv and snacking! Case in point: Last night I was in bed reading my book when he came home. He went straight to the freezer, got a scoop of ice cream and came into the bedroom and fed it to me!! Then I wanted more...but I was good and stopped.

    Anyway, great tips! Have a great night :)

  15. Great post, and working for Weight Watchers part time I'm glad to see you gave them some credit. I gained a LOT of weight after my wife and I were married 28 years ago. Her cooking was just too darn good! Fast forward to 2006, when she dragged me to Weight Watchers. By following their plan I ended up losing 35 lbs and running after a 20 year hiatus. 4 marathons and 4 years later, I'm still below my goal weight and still running. I will admit that it's a lot more difficult for women to lose weight. But stick to it and do it for yourself. I've seen many women succeed by dieting and exercising. Good luck to everyone.

  16. I definitely eat some of my fiance's food because it's there. Like you said, chips aren't really my thing, but if they're there, I'll eat them and the ice cream that I want.

    We also went out to eat A LOT when we first started dating and that contributed to some weight gain, though I think I've lost it.

  17. nice post Kelly! i agree with the article but i love how you handled it too, C and I used to eat out alot and even though i never gained weight per se; i defintely did not improve my fitness- by choosing to sit and watch movies on fridays instead of working i ate more meat and potatoes because thats what my sweetie liked. now that he is not at home, im eating to my bodys signals... which means less food, less pasta, less potatoes, less meat. which means less bloated and heavy feeling. loving it, lets hope i can keep it up after he comes home ; )

  18. Soooo true- the boy and I always go out to eat. I really can't say no esp if he pays...

  19. Great post! I noticed that a lot of my friends gained weight when they got married. I always wondered why. My guess was it was because people tend to eat more "meals" when they have a mate/spouse. Before I was married, I ate a little bit here and there. After we got married, we had nice, big meals.

    In any case, I agree that it's important to keep yourself looking your best for the one you love. :)

  20. I don't want to completely blame my ex-boyfriend for the weight gain that occurred when we were dating, but the relationship was a big part of it. It was tough for me to choose working out over spending time with him. i honestly think it would be easier to balance when you are living together or married because you go to the gym & then go home to a house that you SHARE. You don't have to worry about who is coming to whose place, etc. But who knows. I now know that working out needs to be a priority, so in my next relationship, I will not let is slide!

  21. I totally agree both people can gain weight without realizing it, for the exact reasons you mention. My husband and I were victims of it.
    To fix it though it had to be a team effort. Both people must have the goal to get healthy, otherwise it is too easy to fall off the train. We have managed to lose a total of 140 pounds between the two of us in just over a year. It can be done, and your mate can be the biggest help.

  22. I don't know, I have to call bullshit on this theory. I'm married AND live single half the year (while husbands is away at work for months at a time) and I have to say I have to really focus to maintain my weight at the times when I am single. Those are the times that I'm more apt to eat out and drink at home more - usally alone out of boredom. When he's home we cook together at home and I don't splurge as much out of boredom and loliness....

  23. p.s weight dosn't just "creep up" for me. I know when I'm out of control and I know as soon as my clothes start fitting tighter. It's my choice whether I do anything to nip it in the bud or let it go to the next size.

  24. I think this is a fabulous post! My situation has varied and I'm not sure if I agree with the theory.

    When I first met my husband I was losing weight and I actually got a little too thin. I did gain some back but lost it again. Now that we have been married for 4 months I have maintained my wedding weight or lost a couple more. I think it depends a lot on lifestyle since we are very active together and workout together. I would probably spend more time at the gym if I were single and he does slow me down a little, but my diet is better so it balances out.

  25. Yes, yes, yes! Although what makes my situation more difficult was that FI and I were dating when I started college so it's hard to tell if it was him or all the unhealthy campus food. FI is also much taller than me and a lot thinner than me. He doesn't really understand what it's like to have to lose weight or work hard to maintain weight. That being said, he can eat pretty much whatever he wants and not workout and not gain a pound. But I do worry about the long term effects that may have so we're starting to work on it.

    Personally, I'm at the stage of trying to get rid of that extra weight (before the wedding)! I did really well over the summer and as soon as I went back to school, which totally screws up my routine, I started gaining it back. Now I'm going the other way again and I'm hoping to do a better job this semester of keeping it that way!

    Great post, thanks!

  26. My hubs has the metabolism of a hummingbird and really never gains. Key for us is working out together - and by together I mean we go to our run/bike clinic in the same car but usually don't actually exercise together - he is a fasty!

  27. I think this is so interesting because I went totally the opposite way. I lost weight since I started dating my husband. I was so happy to finally have someone to DO stuff with (since I am not much of a loner) so he and I would go here there and everywhere together - roller blading (ALL SUMMER LONG) kayaking (SAME) and in the winter we bowl and I I ram ot up with more gym time!

  28. Good point, but to tell you the truth - I am trying to impress someone. My husband! I think people forget to do that and that's part of the reason why they 'let it go to shit' so to speak. I *want* my husbnad to find me more attractive than the day he married me. He deserves a wife that he can be attracted to, not a wife who consiously decides to gain weight every year.

    Fortunately, my hubby enjoys eating healthy high quality foods, but chances are I wouldn't have fallen in love with someone who fuels himself on crap and doens't really pay attention to his heath. I think these things are innate to some people and not so important to others. To those it's not important to - well, frankly they'll use anything as an excuse to rationalize thier weight issues.

    I hope this doesn't sound too aggressive. I have strong opinions about obesity. Obviously not all unhealthy lifestyles procure obesity, but I get really bothered with all the excuses as to why we (Americans) are so fat.

    I love all these comments! Very insightful.

  29. These are great tips!

    I think one of the reason I gained weight when I was with my last bf was in part because I was happy, and when I'm happy I like to eat!! lol! At least now I know that it's not because I'm happy that I need to pig out ;) And boys definitely introduce girls to lots of bad foods we didn't even know existed!!

  30. I actually lost weight when I started dating Sean. He taught me how to workout and how to eat better and I lost about 10 lbs!

  31. loved this post! I didn't really gain too much weight since being with Chris but I have gained mass since not having a crazy dance schedule and starting weight training more. You have some really great tips. Chris and I always like doing 'active' things together and always plan trips around that too :)

  32. I've actually gotten so much healthier since I started dating my fiance. We work out together and give each other motivation, which is always good! I have also started eating much better because of him.

    I can see how it's easy to fall into the weight gain trap- you start dating, eating out more than usual, less trips to the gym so you can spend time with one another, etc. In the end it all boils down to the same principle- you have to make fitness and healthy living a priority, both as an individual and as a couple.