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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Healthy Lifestyles

Is Dating Making You Fat?

Fall in Love Without Falling Off the Wagon

-- By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor
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Dating isn’t easy. In the beginning stages, deciding what to wear, where to go, and whether you should or shouldn't kiss can be stressful. Then, once you start to get more serious, you have big decisions to make, such as whether to be exclusive, to live together, or to get married. With so much to think about, your healthy lifestyle is probably the last thing on your mind.

Well, it shouldn’t be. According to research from the journal Obesity, dating and cohabiting can lead to weight gain. The 2009 study looked at 1,293 dating, cohabiting and married romantic couples, and found that over five years, women who were dating put on an average of 15 pounds, and those living with a romantic partner gained 18 pounds. Men also have an increased risk of becoming obese as they stay in a relationship, but not nearly as much as women.

Researchers say that when you find someone who you really like, you start spending more time with them and therefore adopt some of their less-than-healthy behaviors. Or you cut back on your usual workout time to spend time with your sweetie.

But you don’t have to be a statistic! Follow these five tips below to enjoy falling in love—without falling off the healthy living wagon.

Plan Active Dates
If your usual date night consists of dinner and a movie, it’s time to get moving! Active dates such as ice skating, hiking, running, laser tag, bowling and dancing give you the opportunity to burn some calories and get to know your loved one much more than you can watching the big screen. In fact, you can even have a date at the gym: grab two side-by-side ellipticals and chat each other up. Or, take turns spotting each other while you lift weights. After all, couples that work out together stay together.

Be Mindful of Portions
When you’re going on a lot of dates, it’s easy to get wrapped up in conversation and not notice how much you’re eating. You might even order foods you normally wouldn’t choose off a menu, such as heavy appetizers or decadent desserts. When the date of your dreams asks you out for ice cream, it’s hard to say no, right? So instead of saying no to certain foods, think small. When you’re out, be sure to put your fork down between bites, order healthy foods whenever possible, and remember to listen to your hunger signals. Your date won’t be offended if you don’t finish every bite on your plate, and you’ll feel much better leaving the restaurant pleasantly filled instead of stuffed!
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • My hubby and I refer to our added pounds as our "happily ever weight." - 2/10/2014 9:51:28 PM
  • Falling in Love that is a great concept until you find out how difficult it is.I have been married for 32 yrs.and finally have come to the decision I need to take care of myself as he doesn't know how and I have to take care him as he just doesn't know how.He has managed to lose a lot of weight but now he has gotten old and has a lot of health issues.I am still a little younger but I too have health issues but we respect one another and manage to get by.Love is really just a four letter word! - 2/10/2014 11:16:22 AM
  • MEGAHRENTAL
    but I prefer to remember the good times the first time I fell in love - 2/10/2014 3:44:32 AM
  • other than getting 'be my valentine's' in grade school - no one has ever treated me to anything - it is a non existent day as far as celebrations of any kind. so i guess i don't have to worry about anything. - 2/9/2014 1:10:50 PM
  • LOLA_LALA
    As long as I don't wrap the dates in bacon, I won't gain weight... - 12/5/2013 7:49:31 PM
  • It seems like the more secure you are in a relationship the more likely you are to gain weight, because often we keep ourselves in good shape to make ourselves more attractive, and if we have already attracted someone that becomes less necessary.

    The more food you shovel in at dinner the more likely it is that there will be a notable side effect as the food is digested, which can have a bad effect on the rest of the evening. Too much alcohol can have a dampening effect too. This is all in addition to making yourself fatter. Also, you're showing a prospective lover what kind of self control you have. I have friends who talk about having had too much to drink on a first date and because of that there wasn't a second date. - 12/5/2013 9:30:19 AM
  • I have definitely gained weight since getting married in 2010. Retiring this week from work and will be getting my weight problem straightened out now. More time to get up and work out. I like working out in the morning and I have the rest of the day to do what I need. My husband retired in May or this year so we can both work on a healthier life style. Excited about retirement. WE are going to South Carolina for the winter where we can golf and enjoy warmer weather. - 10/29/2012 6:10:49 AM
  • Well, since I haven't had a date in almost 3 years, guess I'm gonna have to find something else to blame it on. LOL - 10/28/2012 7:34:20 PM
  • I feel all of your pain becaause I am in the same boat 2. - 10/28/2012 10:28:48 AM
  • I don't think it's picking up the others bad habits rather I feel it's more about settling. When single you take care of yourself to increase your chances of landing a date (and ultimately a partner), however, after this is achieved there's less incentive to stay trim and over time you let yourself go ... - 10/28/2012 3:45:15 AM
  • I've gained at least 20 pounds since i started dating my current boyfriend 2 years ago, although I didn't really think about it till now. But I had a lot of lifestyle changes around the same time I started dating my boyfriend, so I don't really blame it on him or our relationship. - 7/10/2012 8:39:29 PM
  • COWGIRL888
    Relationship fat...... we've all been there! :) - 11/3/2011 8:50:45 AM
  • A few years ago I had a boyfriend who was in federal law enforcement and was in fantastic shape: healthy and muscular. Although many of our dates involved food (either at restaurants or cooking at home), many of our dates were at the gym too. He was a great motivator. Just when I thought I couldn't do one more rep he would say "one more, you can do it". And he was right. He also showed me how to eat healthy and yet still enjoy some of my favorite foods. I will always be thankful to him for what I learned from him. I know I can do it if I put my mind to it and have someone to encourage me. - 2/11/2011 4:10:21 PM
  • I've picked up a LOT of my hubby's bad health habits. This article motivates me to turn a few things around. ;) - 2/9/2011 12:54:07 PM
  • So true. I've picked up my hubby's bad snacking habits and now I need to retrain myself. - 2/8/2011 6:28:12 PM