LIFESTYLE
14/03/2018 11:12 SAST | Updated 14/03/2018 14:04 SAST

Being In Love Can Make You Fat – It's Science!

...and we wonder why they're called "love handles"...

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Being in a relationship may be the reason for your expanding waistline, says science.

Australian researchers from Central Queensland University have confirmed that a relationship does increase the likelihood of weight gain.

They reached this conclusion after analysing more than 15,000 men and women, including couples and singles, over a period of nine years from 2009 to 2014. The data compared the body mass index (BMI) of all the respondents.

Interestingly, the study – recently published in medical journal PLoS ONE – found that the weight gain isn't necessarily from an unhealthy lifestyle. In fact, couples were found to have fruits and vegetables in their diets, and weren't big fast-food eaters, alcohol drinkers or smokers. They also completed a fair amount of exercise.

So why were they gaining weight? Researchers said it may be because of the following reasons:

1. No longer needing to impress

Stephanie Schoeppe, lead author, told NewScientist that it could be down to couples no longer needing to impress potential suitors. "When couples don't need to look attractive and slim to attract a partner, they may feel more comfortable in eating more, or eating more foods high in fat and sugar."

2. Children

Schoeppe also warned that children can also add to a couple' weight. For example, "When couples have children in the household, they tend to eat the children's leftovers or snacks." This done repeatedly, and almost mindlessly, can pack on the kilos.

3. Indoor date nights

Binge-watching your favourite shows or movies – with a generous helping of popcorn, drinks and sweet things and minimal movement – can also easily lead to weight gain over time.

4. One partner's commitment to healthy eating

A recent study also showed that your partner can be your ally or enemy when it comes to achieving weightloss goals. If your partner struggles to lose weight, or is not that interested in exercise, your performance may take a similar dive. This is called the ripple effect, and may also be one of the reasons couples gain more weight together, compared to when they were single.