Falling in love is such a wonderful feeling. The excitement, the joy, the spark of chemistry. Falling in love is also, unfortunately, associated with weight gain in many societies. Studies in this area have shown that over 60% of people in new relationships will admit to putting on weight in the beginning stages of their courtship. When one really looks into it, it makes perfect sense doesn’t it? A new relationship often means going out on dinner dates more often than you normally would for a meal. Feeling comfortable with a partner means no longer having to hit the dance floor and nightclubs to meet a soul mate. Instead you might spend your quality time snuggling up on a couch eating chips, chocolate, pizza and drinking sodas. Late afternoon trips for a waffle or an ice-cream, and quick middle-of-the-week lunch dates to catch-up.
Many women and some men, when moving in with their Mr. Right, begin to eat more by matching portion sizes and simply eating more than they ordinarily would. Men eat more often than women do, in general. So when your guy comes home and starts noshing on a sarnie after his busy day at work, it can be hard to say no to that delicious cheese and bacon snack. And slowly you realise you are gaining weight.
But falling in love does not have to necessitate weight gain. There are a number of things that you can look out for and avoid doing to prevent weight gain. Yes, going out to restaurants more frequently while courting is entirely normal and, let’s face it, also enjoyable. Watch what you eat when you do go out. Choose restaurants that have more than pizza and pasta on offer. Swap the side of fries for a salad or bake potato instead. Change some of your date nights to picnics in the park with salads, fruit and fresh veggies. Try a picnic on the lounge floor with strawberries, champagne and candles. There are a variety of ways to mix it up and watch what you eat to maintain a healthy weight while dating. Then, of course, we have the movie nights where you snuggle up and eat all those delicious treats like chocolate, chips and sodas. Again, this is great as a “once in a while” treat, but try add some variety to your T.V snacking that includes healthier options.
Staying in and relaxing becomes a frequent activity for those who are dating so making sure that you balance this out with some healthy exercise every now and then is a good idea. Encourage one another to get out there and be active. Maybe you want to ride bikes down the promenade, or perhaps you could go for a jog in the park. You could take up hiking, or a sport and do this together. Not only does it add exercise to your lifestyle, but it also adds variety to your relationship.
Lastly, don’t lose sight of your portion sizes! Make sure that you only eat when hungry and stop when you are full. Don’t worry about what your guy is doing and how much he is consuming – your bodies are different and so are your nutritional needs. Keep sight of that and you shouldn’t gain too much weight. If you have relationship and weight concerns or if you have an eating disorder, we invite you to contact one of our psychologists here at the Centre for Human Potential.
Eric is a Clinical Psychologist whose approach is warm, open, and humorous. He works respectfully with his clients to help them understand their stuck emotional patterns and their way of being with both people and life events.