Relationship Weight

After beginning my first serious relationship, my talent of glutinously shoveling greasy food in my mouth two of three meals a day was soon realized. If we weren’t getting cheese fries from down the street, we were getting pizza delivered to our door. He didn’t discourage me from giving into my vice nor did I discourage him from eating the foods that brought him pleasure. Researchers studied the marital satisfaction, body size, potential stress and the covariates associated with weight gain of 169 newlywed couples. The members of the couples completed questionnaires assessing their satisfaction with their relationship; the research team related the reported BMI information of each couple member and the questionnaire results. The results suggested that those more satisfied with their relationships exhibited weight gain during the earlier years of marriage. 

I was under the impression that weight gain induced by too many dates to the nearest burger joint was characteristic of most all relationships. However, a recent study led researchers to believe that partners are driven by a desire to balance personal health with relationship health. Researchers investigate the diet- and exercise-related social control of 192 couples. The amount of social control exhibited by a partner was measured using the Butterfield and Lewis Health-Related Social Control Scale. Among the 16 social control strategies exhibited by couples were guilt, expression of negative emotions, persuasion and positive and negative social control strategies. Couple members completed a survey indicating the frequency at which they employ these strategies. Positive and Negative social control strategies were exhibited most often (70%). The alpha value for positive control employed by both men and women was 0.88, while the alpha value for negative control employed by both men and women was 0.84, suggesting that both men and women use positive social control such as expressing positive emotions and administering praise, to spark healthy decision making while in a relationship. 

The conflicting results of these two studies lead me to believe that we have much more control over weight loss or gain when in a relationship; it also may be a joint effort between partners. Personally, it is difficult enough to convince myself not to eat that last brownie or to stay in and study as opposed to going to the gym; convincing another person not to do the same seems impossible.

There are many ways to prevent overeating and promote healthy eating such as cooking at home and planning more interactive dates like hiking or exercising at the gym.

Reference Sources: 1, 2, 3

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4