Scientists Found That Couples Who Are In True Love With Each Other Tend To Gain Weight

Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but love’s presence proves to make the waist grow wider. You’re likely familiar with the notion that happy couples in love gain weight. Some call it a wives tale, but new scientific evidence is actually supporting the truth in happy couples being more prone to weight gain.

College Freshman Aren’t The Only Newbies Gaining Weight

You’ve heard of the “Freshman 15” to describe that extra weight put on by newbie college students? How much weight gain does a few years of marriage cause, though? University of North Carolina researchers conducted a study that followed weights of over 8,000 men and women to get the answer.

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For men, the researchers found that they gain weight when they transition from single life to coupledom. When they lived with their partner for at least two years, the men were twice as likely to gain at least 25 pounds than men living apart from partners.

The research found the average weight gain for married women in the initial five to six years of marriage was 24 pounds, cohabiting unmarried women gained 22 pounds, and women dating and living separate from partners gained 13 pounds.

While the study ultimately found a clear association between obesity and romantic relationship status, they pointed out that the results didn’t necessarily equate to a more unhealthy lifestyle overall. For example, it was found that long-term coupledom significantly decreased factors like alcohol and tobacco use.

Is Happiness A Factor In Coupledom Weight Gain?

A study by The National Institute of Health recently recommended couples to think of their weight in terms of their health, not appearance. 

Researchers set out to determine if marital satisfaction predicted weight gain in early marriage. Over a four-year timeframe, the research followed 169 married couples, and each submitted to biannual covariants like measurements, relationship statuses, emotional stability, and stress levels.

The findings of the study were that happily married couples were twice as likely to put on weight than their unhappily married counterparts. Unhappily married couples were more likely to lose weight.

The study concluded that satisfying relationships result in spouses relaxing their weight maintenance efforts because they’re no longer motivated by the need to attract a mate and that unhappy relationships inflict stress that causes weight loss.

Weight Gain Is A Contagion

It’s one thing for happiness to be contagious, but no one wants to hear that weight gain is contagious. Yet, according to this publication in The New England Journal of Medicine, weight gain is indeed contagious in marriages.

The New England Journal of Medicine published this massive study of over 12,000 people across four decades analyzed mutual activities, social environment, habits and rituals, and other such factors amongst couples. Researchers found that a partner has a 37% chance of weight gain when their significant other gains weight. Why?

The researchers concluded that spending so much time with another person causes food-related psychological influencing. In other words, the partners adapt/adopt one another’s eating habits. On the flip side, unhappy couples were less likely to spend a lot of time together and were thus not so much influenced by the other’s eating habits.

I’m Not Gaining Weight... Does That Mean I’m In An Unhappy Relationship?

The studies mentioned above are correlating the likelihood and chances of weight gain based on the statuses of couples. There are statistics on almost every facet of life these days, but that doesn’t mean those statistics apply or hold true to you specifically. There’s always exceptions. You could be married or coupled and also hold fitness and nutrition as a top priority, have a genetic disposition to being smaller or larger, or just be a light eater.

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Remember that the purpose of these studies aren’t to label. Instead, they’re conducted to give people an understanding of why certain phenomenons, such as happy couples tending to gain weight, happen in life. So, use the information to help explain your weight gain or loss, not as a litmus test for whether or not your relationship is healthy or not based on your weight.

How do you feel about happiness in a relationship increasing the chances for weight gain? Did this article provide you with helpful information? If so, tell us about it in the comment section and be sure to pass the info along to others who may be dealing with coupledom and weight gain.

Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation by your doctor. Your health is important to us!