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Happy weight is not just a myth. In a recent study, 62 percent of people said they gained an average of 14 pounds after starting a committed relationship. What's more? Studies show the happier a person is in a relationship, the more likely they are to gain weight. While feeling happy, confident and in love is fantastic for emotional health, it can quickly derail fitness goals.
But not all the stats are bad. While two-thirds of the couples surveyed said they put on weight together, couples who join forces to stay healthy are more successful than those who go it alone.
Here are some common happy weight culprits and ideas for how to avoid them:
Stop Lingering and Start Moving
To make a good date last longer, we'll often order dessert or have one more drink at the bar before parting ways. Consider some lower calorie ways to prolong your time together. Grab a coffee to go and go for a walk. Make your walk spontaneous by playing a game of "heads or tails." Flip a coin to decide if you turn left or right, head into a bookstore or go to the park.
Another way to make healthier food choices together is to take walks around your local farmers' market or grocery store and pick up an array of ingredients that tempt you both. Once you are back in the kitchen, experiment with ways to prepare the food you bought. Cooking can be just as romantic — and sometimes sexy — as eating together.
Avoid Each Other's Bad Habits
Food is an important part of most modern-day relationships. Studies have found that couples spend a great deal of their time together staying in and watching TV, eating in or eating out. This can wreak havoc on your waistline.
Women are more susceptible than men to picking up poor eating habits from their partners. Many women see eating as a way of connecting with their significant other. The most common problem is portion size (He orders a huge burger with the fries and still can down two beers while you're struggling). One study found women admitted to eating the same amount as their partner, yet women burn 26 percent fewer calories than men.
The best way to break this trend is to practice more diligent portion control. When eating out, ask for an empty plate and serve yourself an acceptable portion instead of cleaning the plate you are handed. If you and your guy are snacking, don't just grab from the bag. Make yourself a serving and stop eating once the serving is gone.
If you are at his place and all he typically has to eat are chips and leftover pizza, throw a bag of nuts or a piece of fruit in your purse to ensure you have healthier options. Who knows? Maybe some of these healthy eating habits will rub off on him.
Get Creative with Your Plans
As your relationship progresses, it's easy to get stuck in a dating rut. You meet every Friday after work at the neighborhood pub and have your favorite take-out joint bookmarked on Seamless. But mixing it up on your date nights can get your heart pumping in more ways than one.
Get out and enjoy the outdoors with your partner. Introduce your love to your favorite hiking trail or bike route. Try a new activity like kayaking, paddle boarding, parkour or mountain climbing. If the weather is lousy or you are looking for something active to do after sunset, take a dance class or even play ping-pong. Believe it or not, a beginner can burn between 200 and 350 calories playing an hour of ping-pong!
Do you get more dinner party invitations than you can keep track of? Spending time with the important people in your significant other's life can be an opportunity for group fitness. Planning a bowling night or a day of paintball allows you both to spend quality time with friends while keeping your body moving.
Follow Your Passion
After a long day, it's very easy to plop down on the couch together and binge watch House of Cards. Make the extra effort to walk past the couch and straight into the bedroom. According to WebMD, you can burn up to two calories a minute French kissing. When you take things to the next level, men can burn 100 calories and women can burn 69 calories by having sex for 25 minutes.
Sure, it's much harder to get out of bed for your 6 a.m. spin when you've got an adorable guy laying next to you. Why not get each other motivated and take a class together? Try kickboxing, yoga, SurfSet, bootcamp, boxing or CrossFit.
If you are concerned that your sweaty appearance while working out will be a turn off, don't be. Exercise gets your blood pumping and endorphins flowing, which are natural aphrodisiacs. Sweating together actually heightens arousal and intimacy.
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