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Does falling in love mid-life contribute to mid-life weight gain?

Article by Fabafterfifty

If you start a relationship in your 50s, it may not be just changing hormones contributing to that fat around the middle!  It seems getting comfortable in a new relationship may also be partly to blame.

90 per cent of women put on weight when they settle down with a long term partner, with the average female gaining 16 lbs, a new survey has revealed.

The study showed that a 56 per cent majority started to gain weight four to six months into the relationship; with most citing that this was when they reached the ‘comfy’ period.

Romantic dinners for two

Of the 1000 women surveyed 35 per cent cited an increase in cosy nights in as a key reason for their weight gain. One in five women said it was because they felt comfortable enough not to worry about their figure, whilst one in ten blamed more calorie-laden romantic dinners in restaurants . 19 per cent said that it was due to matching portion size with their partner.

Mandy Cassidy, Psychotherapist for LighterLife, comments: “I regularly hear women say that their weight crept up a few months into a long-term relationship.

“When single or in the courtship stage, butterflies and a desire to look you best mean that staying trim is high on the agenda.

“As soon as things start to get serious many women realise that their partner will be there for them no matter what they look like. This, combined with lifestyle changes and matching male portion sizes, all result in excess weight.

“We have coined the term “Love Stone”, as something that embodies the extra pounds British women associate with the comfy stage of a relationship.”

Of the 90 per cent who said they gained weight after meeting their long-term partner, two thirds put on between one and two stone. A quarter gained less than one stone and a worrying 12 per cent put on over two stone, placing them firmly in the overweight or even obese category.

And whilst diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, this extra stone most definitely is not. More than half of the women are still trying to lose the extra weight one year on, whilst 28 per cent have already shed their ‘love stone’. Of this 28 per cent, one in three lost weight to look their best on their wedding day.

Practicing GP and TV personality Dr Hilary Jones says: “There’s nothing wrong with a few treats now and then and it’s important to feel comfortable with your figure whatever size you are, but eating portions that are too large or not healthy will ultimately have an impact in the long term.

Matching portion sizes with those of your partner

“Women need 500 less calories a day than men, but when meals are prepared together it is easy to match the size of the portion. Just a few extra calories a day is enough for weight to creep on over time, as this survey demonstrates.”

So it is important then to be aware of portion sizes if you find yourself cooking for two after a period of living on your own.

LighterLife has seen an increase in couples starting their programmes, whether to lose weight in the run up to their wedding or simply to support each other in their quest to get healthy. A healthy middle age is essential if we want to healthy in old age.

So for all mid-life romantics , don’t love be the cause of your mid-life waist expanding.



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  1. Gill Buchanan

    February 16, 2012

    So true! For me it was portion size and also more chips and fatty foods. I’ve gone back to small portions and cut back on the fatty foods for about a year now but it’s like trying to shift cement!

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