Gaining Weight in Relationships

It seems as though weight gain + new relationships go hand in hand.

It’s easy to pack on some extra pounds in a new relationship. Dates are often dinners out and you’re glowing in the love and happiness of a new relationship which leads to indulging, especially when you’re enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner.

Plus you want to spend all your time with your new partner/spouse. It’s easier to pass up workouts, yoga classes, early morning runs when you’d much rather sleep in snuggling with your honey. Workout routines suffer. The combination of eating out and not exercising is a recipe for disaster.

Another factor: some boys often have unhealthy food habits. How many of us have dated a guy who could eat pizza at every meal? And if you’re like me, pizza is a trigger food that is hard to pass up. Pizza is also hard to just eat one slice. My normal eating habits can go by the wayside when pizza is involved.

Then there’s the ups and downs of love. The stress of new relationships, the anxiety of relationship dramas…those are easy triggers for stress eating.

I read an article explaining why women tend to gain weight in relationships. It stated that in relationships women become less about “me” and more about “we.” Women want to take care of their man, they give up their self-focus for their relationship, the partner’s needs, the needs of their kids…I have several friends who had kids and gained weight because their whole life becomes about raising kids. Working out and taking care of themselves in other ways is less of a priority. It seems like a natural progression, but I don’t see why it has to be.

“Me Time” is very important to me. And my “me time” is often working out, or seeing some friends. Sometimes I combine both activities and work out with my friends. This balance is crucial to me and I’m reluctant to give that up.

It was quite the adjustment for me when I moved in with Michael two years ago. I’d been living on my own for almost 10 years and I was in complete control of the food that was in my house. I could avoid buying all trigger foods and keep my fridge stocked with low calorie foods. It was much easier to avoid temptations that way.

Sharing a kitchen with someone else is a challenge. I would never dictate what Michael can or can’t eat so there are treats and snacks in our house. There are days where they are hard to avoid too.



Avoiding Relationship Weight Gain:

1. Don’t make food the only thing you do together as a couple. Michael and I are both foodies and enjoy eating and cooking. That isn’t the only thing we do together though. I think we’ve found a healthy balance between good eats and physical exercise. On vacation we hike and bike. On weekends we fit in our exercising and often exercise together.

2. Ask your partner to respect your food choices. That doesn’t mean the partner can’t eat whatever they want but it does mean they shouldn’t be forcing their eating habits on YOU.

3. Stay strong! Eat your normal, healthy meals and fit in your workout routines as much as you can. If going to the gym after work doesn’t appeal to you, go for a run during lunch instead. That frees up your evening for a romantic date.

4. Join a gym together. Or take a fitness class together. Or train for a race together. One of my favorite memories of my relationship with Michael was our time spent together training for Reach the Beach. We rode our bikes every weekend together and explored parts of Portland we’d never seen. It was a nice way to get exercise and still spend time together.

5. Continue to track you calories or points.

6. Don’t match your partner bite-for-bite! I weigh 144 pounds and I’m 5’5. Michael is 5’11 and weighs a lot more than me. If I ate the same amount of food he ate I’d be about 40 pounds heavier. Plus I can’t drink as much beer or wine as he can because I weigh so much less. It’s just a matter of science. Stop trying to catch up with someone with a different body chemistry and metabolism as you!

7. When cooking together try cooking healthier meals. Thankfully Michael has supported my plan to cook low calorie dinners and we enjoy cooking them together!


A few tips for supporting each other:

1. Never bring trigger foods into the house/or as a gift if you know your partner struggles with that food.

2. Never criticize each other. Be positive and supportive instead. Words can really hurt and once it’s said it usually can’t be forgotten.

3. Don’t complain that your partner is eating bird food or on the flip side, junk food. Making each other feel bad about food choices isn’t helping anyone.


QUESTION: Did you gain weight when you partnered up? How do you prevent the gradual creep on the scale with a partner?

16 Responses

  1. this is a serious problem in my relationship. weve both gained weight. read your tips and immediately messaged the bf. thank you!

  2. Those are great tips!! Thankfully, upon getting married my husband was the “healthy eater” of the relationship. Slowly, he persuaded me to be more like him, and I learned I actually loved eating healthier!

  3. I did gain weight when it was just the two of us but the time in my life where I gained the most weight, was when I became a parent. Then one don’t have the time (or so I thought) to exercise and eat right.

  4. I think when I first started dating my husband I did fall into the weight gain trap, but I also just turned 21, so there was a lot more than him to blame!
    But, I’m fortunate enough that my husband rocks and he doesn’t bring too much garbage into the house. He gets me. He knows he can’t buy a package of cookies and leave it in the cubbard. We do a lot of physical activity stuff together, biking, hiking, tennis, etc.
    Great advice here!

  5. I gained all the weight I had worked so hard to lose when I first started dating then moved in with my Fiance. We both have a weight problem, so we are working on it together. Being on the same page foodwise (for the most part) is really good because we both try to keep each other in check.

  6. Great advice Lisa! You’ve got such great perspective, and I agree, the main thing is just supporting eachother and not criticizing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m lucky that Daniel eats well, and pretty much likes anything I make πŸ™‚

    1. That’s great! My boyfriend Michael is a good cook and we both try to cook things that are healthier. I’m getting a lot better at cooking things we’ll both like (my go-to food used to be casseroles…not his favorite and not that healthy honestly).

  7. Thanks for this post! Very helpful tips. I spend a lot of time with my BF, and we’re moving in together soon, so I’ll need to be conscious of my food choices since he’s also bigger than me and can eat more than me. Luckily, I’m usually the meal preparer in the relationship, so I can steer us toward healthy foods. But the temptations come when he brings “treats” home. I need to learn to just say “no” and that it’s OK!

  8. This is all so TRUE! I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 4 years and during that time I have gained back the 50 lbs that I lost before meeting my honey. In the last year we have sat down and discussed how I can lose the weight again. Which means getting exercise since we eat pretty healthy. I’ve lost my “Me Time”, my commute to work is an hour long each way, I only have 2 and a half hours from when I get home from work to cook, clean, hang out and then go to bed. Just recently I started taking the bus to work and now I’m able to log 4 miles of walking getting to work and home from the bus stops. I beat myself up a lot for not exercising more, and then I get depressed more. It’s a vicious cycle. You “sacrifice” yourself to take care of your family and home, but really you’re hurting yourself and your loved ones.

    1. The sacrifice is hard. Michael usually doesn’t make me feel guilty for working out but once in awhile I can tell that he wishes I didn’t work out so much. It makes it hard to plan, or be spontaneous. For example his mom wants to go out to dinner next week for his birthday (which was yesterday) and he booked it for a night I usually go to the gym. Sometimes I can be flexible but he could just tell that I’d prefer if we did it a different night. It takes a lot of time away from “us” doing things together during the week because of that.

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