NEW YORK — It’s fairly common for people to let themselves go a bit, or occasionally skip the gym, once they find themselves in a satisfying, committed relationship. Now, a new survey of 2,000 Americans currently in a relationship finds that 79% say they have gained weight since they started dating their significant other.
Commissioned by the weight-loss company Jenny Craig, the survey reveals that the average respondent has gained a startling 36 pounds since their relationship began. Breaking down the weight gain further, the survey indicated that 17 of those extra pounds were gained in the first year of a relationship.
Men were far more likely to have gained weight during a romantic relationship than women. In total, 69% of men said they gained weight, while 45% of women said the same.
Of those surveyed, 42% said that dining out frequently is the primary cause of their weight gain. Another 34% blamed ordering takeout and cooking at home together while drinking. Still, there are a multitude of factors that may cause relationship-based weight gain. An additional 64% said that simply feeling secure in a romantic relationship and not feeling pressure to look their best all the time was a contributing factor to weight gain. According to respondents, most people begin to feel comfortable enough in a relationship to start gaining weight after around one year and five months.
Survey participants aged 18 to 24 years old reached this comfort zone in their relationships the fastest, in just over ten months. Those aged 45 to 54 took the longest, reaching their comfort zone in a year and a half.
Marriage is another common weight gain trigger for couples. A total of 57% of respondents said they gained weight during their first year of marriage, at an average of 17 pounds per married respondent. On average, men estimate they gain nearly twice as much weight as women during the first year of a marriage. Men said they gained 22 pounds, while women said they gained 13 pounds. It isn’t just marriage either; 42% of respondents said they cut back on taking care of their bodies and appearances after having children and starting a family.
So, is anyone trying to lose some of their “love weight?” According to the survey, the answer is yes. Over half of respondents (55%) said they have lost some weight over the past year, with the average being a loss of 16 pounds per every 365 days.
Many couples also seem to be losing weight together, with 52% saying the work out with their partner, 60% claiming to eat healthy with their partner, and 40% claiming to do both together. On top of this, the survey indicates that couples who diet and exercise together are twice as likely to report being happy and content compared to couples who don’t.
“The data shows that while people have gained weight in a relationship, they are recognizing that they need to lose it, and that is great news for their health,” says Monty Sharma, president and CEO of Jenny Craig, in a statement. “The best way to start weight loss is with the right nutrition and exercise.”
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.