Going steady, getting heavy: How love and romance can cause weight gain

Delicious chocolates and romantic dates are a few of the things to love about being in a relationship — but there is more that comes along with dating. Studies show that couples in serious relationships are likely to gain weight. Can you afford the love pounds?

You’re single. Maybe you’ve been looking for a relationship for a while. You know physical attraction plays a part in couple compatibility, so you try to stay in shape by working out in your free time and watching your food intake. Then it happens — you meet someone. You hit it off and once you’re comfortable enough with each other, you start caring less about your weight and before you know it, you’re eating out at restaurants instead of going to the gym. The vicious cycle continues as the relationship progresses.

Jeanette Andrade, a registered dietician at the University, clarified that weight gain for both women and men is in fact very common in relationships. Couples tend to eat out more or cook larger meals since they are no longer providing for themselves individually.

Madison Wilkinson, freshman in Business, attests to this. She and boyfriend Tyler Fowler, junior at Rochelle Township High School, have been together for over a year. They participated in a wide range of activities together such as hiking, fishing, bike riding and tennis. The physical activity was strong, but it was counteracted with their dates to restaurants or movie nights at home.

“We hung out often and ate whenever we were hungry. Sometimes I ate more. I feel like I did gain some weight and I was always with him in my free time, so I didn’t go to the gym as much,” she said.

With Fowler back at home, Wilkinson has gotten back into the habit of exercising in her free time. “Now that I’m away in college, I have time to work out more and have lost some weight.”

Andrade said spending time with one another in a relationship can be used to stay healthy. She recommended exercising on a daily basis: walking together or joining a sport. Creating a plan in which the duo logs exercise hours can help them stay on track.

Some couples on campus work out together to burn off the dessert they shared on date night. Customer Service Assistants at the ARC frequently see pairs hitting the gym together. Kyle Janczak, graduate student in Business, said that couples often opt for a cardio workout or lightweight activities, such as basketball, while visiting the gym.

Brianna Goen, senior in LAS, also said students work off the love pounds by joining each other in a game of racket ball or badminton. Pool facilities are also available at the ARC for couples to take advantage of.

Andrade suggested some other tips to keep in mind to prevent weight gain during a relationship:

* Cook from home more often; know what’s going into your food and choose healthy ingredients.

* Use measuring cups and spoons when plating up your food; watch your consumption and only eat enough to satisfy.

* Don’t be tempted by seconds.

* Reduce your alcohol intake because alcohol stores fat in your body.

* “When going out to eat, only eat a small portion they are giving you and choose healthy items like vegetables, baked chicken, salad, water, fruit or broth-based soups like chicken noodle,” she said.

And we thought love was all we were getting in our relationships. If done right, exercising together and making healthy food choices can make the perfect power couple.