Is Your Partner Making You Fat? 5 Ways to Stop It (Without Breaking Up)

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One of my clients recently told me that she felt like she had to choose between her relationship or her weight.

After settling into coupledom, she gained 15 pounds, and every attempt to lose it was crushed by couple-time routines, which nearly always involved eating, drinking, and skipping the gym.

Romantic relationships are extremely influential on your waistline (you can either be partners in crime or partners in health), and several studies indicate that for women, being coupled tends to lead to weight gain. One Ohio State study found that the risk of gaining a large amount of weight gain is higher for men after a divorce and higher for women after marriage.

Another found that after moving in with a man, women tend to eat more high fat, high sugar foods, and a third study revealed that on average, newly married young women gain 24 postnuptial pounds over a five year period.

So how can you remain happily attached without giving up your weight loss and health goals? Try out these five fixes. Each requires some comprise, but results in a worthwhile outcome.

Eat different foods, together
Chances are, your body’s needs are quite different from your partner’s. First, the average American woman is 5’4” while the average man is 5’9 1/2”, and taller people burn more calories. But even at the same height, men carry more muscle mass and less body fat, and muscle requires more fuel, even at rest. The minimal amount of
body fat that’s considered “necessary for normal physiological function” is four times higher for women than men (yup, four). So in a nutshell, if a man and a woman are both average height and moderately active, he’ll need over 30% more calories to maintain a healthy weight. You can probably see where I’m going with this – splitting a pizza, or any meal, just isn’t practical. If you’re getting takeout, order two separate dishes. For example, sticking with an order of Shanghai shrimp in garlic sauce rather than splitting chicken pad thai saves over 300 calories (45 minutes on the elliptical).

What’s your take on this topic? Has your relationship affected your weight, either in a healthy or unhealthy way? Please tweet your thoughts to @CynthiaSass and @goodhealth

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

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