Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Love is in the air, and in the belly....

It's Valentines day!

Are you in love?

Are you comfortable in your relationship?

Have you put on weight since you were single?

I have to admit I wasn't actually that surprised to hear that 90 per cent of women put on weight when they settle down with a long term partner, with the average female gaining 16 lbs! This has been revealed in a new survey commissioned by weight management company, Lighter Life.

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.

I have to admit that in the time I have been in a settled relationship with my husband I have for the main part been heavier than when I was single or 'dating'.

Of the 1000 women surveyed by LighterLife, 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.

I can relate to all of these, but like twenty percent of these women, I believe the major factor for me is feeling comfortable in my relationship, after all isn't that one every woman wants? A man who loves them for who they are, not what they look light or what dress size they are? Well, to an extent, yes. But weight gain doesn't just affect your appearance and the size of your clothes. It has an impact on your health too.

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.

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

And whilst diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, this 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.

“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.”

The LighterLife programme is designed for people with a stone or more to lose, and combines weekly counselling sessions with nutritionally complete food packs and a management programme to help people maintain a healthy weight after reaching their goal.

LighterLife has recently seen an increase in couples starting the programme, whether to lose weight in the run up to their wedding or simply to support each other in their quest to get healthy.  Realising men and women want different things from their weight loss programme, they offer a specifically tailored ‘man plan’ for men who wish to shake off their excess in an easy and quick way.

So there's some 'food for thought' for you this Valentines day....

If you have any weight loss questions why not join Lighter Life on for their live Twitter chat with Dr Hilary Jones 1-2pm today?

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