How Weight Gain and Weight Loss Affects A Relationship
What Your Weight Loss or Gain Is Signaling About Your Relationship
Dear April Masini,
My husband and I have made the same New Year’s resolution -- to lose weight and get in shape -- every year, for the past five years, but we never keep it. What's going on with us?
Signed, Weighty Problems"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Weighty Problems,
Your medical doctor can tell you about your particular weight issues for your body – and that’s a great place to start to make sure you’re healthy before you begin a change in diet and exercise. HOWEVER…there is more to weight than meets the eye. And what your medical doctor may not be able to tell you about is the relationship component to weight changes. People and couples have different reactions to love and the relationship dynamics that can be reflected in their weight and weight fluctuations.
Lose in Love:
Many people immediately lose weight when they fall in love. The reason is that love is not just a matter of the heart. It's a matter of chemistry, and it has been proven and written about by scientists that different emotions trigger different chemical reactions in people. These chemical reactions can be the catalyst for behavioral changes, including eating or not eating, that are reflected in how people and couples look.
The adrenaline that comes with the excitement of meeting someone terrific and then getting the feedback from them that is flirting, dating, and romance -- meaning that they really like you -- can cause many people to stop eating or eat less and get thinner. Very few people pack on the pounds when they meet someone terrific and are excited about a new relationship. In fact, it's pretty rare.
In addition, sex burns calories and having regular, vigorous sex can be an effective exercise work out like no other. So during the honeymoon phase of a relationship, which can last from a few months to a few years, depending on the couple, sex can cause weight loss and better bodies -- not to mention the benefits of emotional intimacy and self-esteem that can be byproducts of relationships.
So, what does this all mean?
That you should run out and get a girlfriend or a boyfriend if you want to lose weight?
No. What it means is that your challenges with your New Year's resolutions may have to do with your relationship dynamics.
Long-Term Relationship – Weight Plateau:
The trick is not to let things become "normal" and not let the relationship hit a plateau where everything is ho hum fine. That is when some people stop being concerned with looking good for "the dating world," and they stop being concerned about how they look to their partner. This is when some people start eating more, exercising less, changing their lifestyle from that "honeymoon phase" to one that includes that extra slice or two of pizza you have even when you're not hungry -- just because it's there -- on a regular basis.
Trust me, it happens to all of us. We've been through it at some point or another, and that's why I wrote Romantic Date Ideas. This book should help you fight off the ho-hum boredoms that can easily manifest themselves when we're all consumed in our every day lives.
The trick to keeping the pounds off as you add years to your relationship has a lot to do with your lifestyle and keeping the sizzle in your sex life, which means you will care about how you look and how you feel.
Some Changes In Relationships That Occur When One Person Loses a Lot of Weight At Once:
The person who lost the weight may feel like a new person and may experience new waves of confidence, and as a result, may begin to act in new ways. This can make a partner feel happy and motivated to join in or just watch and enjoy. It can also make them feel left behind. The person who lost a lot of weight may want to shed the old relationship and start a new one. The person who did not lose the weight in the relationship may become insecure because there is a change in the status quo of the relationship, and may start acting needy and/or lashing out and acting out.
Break Up Winners and Losers:
Break ups can trigger both reactions – weight loss and weight gain. Some people react to despair by losing their appetite. Others numb their pain by eating, an act that stimulates the senses so that if you’re heartbroken, you can think about the food and not the love lost. Other people feel that they are feeding their hurts by feeding themselves with food. Both reactions are normal and expected. However, if either one goes on for too long so that your normal, daily routine is interrupted or you become seriously unhealthy because of your weight change, you need to seek medical help. But the good news is that sometimes the weight loss that comes from a break up can make you feel svelte for the first time in a while, and can help you rebound from heart ache. Take advantage of this edge by putting yourself on a healthy diet and exercise routine – and reward yourself with some new clothes in your new, smaller size!
Give Yourself a Break:
If you do find yourself making the same New Year's resolution year after year -- and you aren't achieving it, you'd do well to make your resolution something like, "I'm going to give myself realistic goals that I can achieve." Then, instead of making your resolution a weight loss of 25 pounds, you can make it something more realistic for you -- for instance, I'm only going to eat desert after meals on weekends. Or, I'm going to switch from soda to water during the week. You may actually find, by doing this, that you inadvertantly achieve that big weight loss you were hoping for -- without giving yourself such a tough time.