Earlier this year researchers made an exciting discovery, revealing that falling in love not only brings us happiness and joy, but it can actually lower your blood pressure and improve your overall heart health! However, don’t start celebrating quite yet… A recent study reveals an often-overlooked price of love.
Researchers out of the University of Queensland in Australia combed over 10 years worth of data spanning from 2005 to 2014, hoping to better understand the long-term impact of a committed relationship on our lives. What they discovered was quite surprising!
The study followed the health and relationship status of 15,000 people, specifically focusing on the possible connection between a long-term committed relationship and the weight of each of the participants. Their discovery? The participants who were in a happy, loving and successful relationship experienced a weight gain of approximately 1.8kg for every year they remained in their relationship early on, leading to an average overall weight gain of approximately 5.8kg total more than those who remained single.
During the course of the study, each of the participants was asked to answer a number of questions about their overall lifestyle choices. This included how much fast food they consumed, how physically active they were, how often they engaged in behaviors like smoking or drinking, and how much television they watched.
“Marriage (or de-facto relationships) comes with spousal obligations such as regular family meals. While they may include more healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and less fast food, people often consume larger portion sizes and more calories in the company of others than they do alone, resulting in increased energy intake,” explained the researchers. “Marriage and cohabiting also carry the potential for encouraging unhealthy behaviors, as couples often perform behaviors like eating, watching TV, and drinking alcohol together.”
Early in our relationships, most people are highly focused on impressing their potential partner. This leads us to eat healthier, workout regularly, and pay very careful attention to our weight. As we find ourselves in a committed lasting relationship, the need to ‘impress’ one another begins to fade. We get comfortable with one another. We may dress up less, wear less makeup, and, in time, the intense need to go to great lengths to maintain our weight begins to fade.
“When couples don’t’ need to look attractive and slim to attract a partner, they may feel more comfortable in eating more, or eating foods high in fat and sugar,” stated Dr. Stephanie Schoeppe, lead author of the study. “When couples have children in the household, they tend to eat their leftovers or snacks.”
It’s not necessarily a terrible situation. We are simply moving into the next chapter of our lives. Priorities shift, and our focus moves to a new aspect of our lives – our growing families and the future that we are building together.