Is “Happy Fat” Real?

tumblr_m9y694AJqk1qiv9dfo1_500Hey Davey,

In the six  years of my relationship, I’ve put on what my friends call “happy fat.” Happy fat is the extra weight that a person gains during a relationship. Do you have any tips for reversing this trend or am I doomed to be happy fat forever?

From,
Duane

Hey Duane,

The idea of being “fat and happy” during a relationship is quite popular, but there’s a few points we need to clarify:

  • You don’t need a partner to be happy
  • Having a partner doesn’t need to result in fat gain
  • Having a partner doesn’t necessarily make you happy

Having said all of that, research does show that married individuals have a higher body mass index (BMI) than single people. All other variables held constant, a recent study found that the increased BMI for married men and women translates to about 4.5 pounds of extra fat. Another poll found that 62% of respondents reported gaining 14 pounds or more after starting a relationship.

We can certainly speculate at the causes. For one, the aforementioned study found that married individuals are less likely to engage in sport; decreased physical activity, especially as other family commitments increase, can certainly be a factor. In other instances, being “off the market” might decrease superficial motivations for staying trim.

Whatever the cause, the “happy fat” narrative doesn’t need to be your story. In fact, staying in shape as a couple can become a great bonding experience. During our current stay in Austin, for example, my boyfriend and I spend a half hour at a nearby playground doing a bodyweight workout each afternoon. For us, it’s a great way to connect while prioritizing our fitness goals.

To that end, here are a few tips to turn “happy fat” into “happy healthy”:

  1. Create opportunities for shared physical activity. Even if it’s small, commit to consistent physical activity. A few calories burned, when repeated over and over again, can result in transformative changes. Some ideas include going on a walk with your partner, doing yoga together, take a hike or have an outdoors bodyweight workout.
  2. Cook healthy food together. While exercise helps increase calories out, it’s important to be mindful of the calories going into your body. With your partner, go on a culinary adventure and explore healthy foods and recipes that you can enjoy together. Go to the market and get excited about fueling your body with the nutrients it needs.
  3. Take responsibility for your health. Your partner can not make you gain weight without your permission. You control what goes into your mouth. You control the amount of physical activity in which you engage. Having a partner isn’t a reason for gaining weight; it’s an excuse. At the end of the day, it all comes down to choices. If you’ve made choices that have resulted in fat gain, you can make choices that result it in coming off.

Having said all of that, it’s worth noting that BMI and body fat aren’t the only measures of health; overall, despite the fat gain, married individuals tend to enjoy better health when compared to their single counterparts. Indeed, married people live longer, eat better and drink less. So let’s keep it all in perspective.

P.S. If you’re looking for a fun bodyweight workout that you can do with a friend or partner, try Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout. As a free gift, you’ll also receive my Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter. Both programs are great tools for getting on track!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. Jordan Tooley says:

    Hey Davey,

    I’m Jordan I’m 23 years old and a proud fag. I’m a chubby guy and although I hate doing something to please everyone else I have never been in a relationship before and really want to but it seems that the only way for that to happen is if I look a certain way and lose 50lbs. I really want someone to love me for me but I feel that won’t happen because of my weight. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    Sincerely, Jordan

    • ABEL-COINDOZ says:

      Hi Jordan,

      Do you think you have to be anorexic to find love?
      Be yourself and well in your head..

      I ”m49 year old , and I know that….
      Good luck, Jordan!
      Sincerely,
      Luc. – France –

  2. Charles says:

    I believe there’s also research showing that being *unhappy* causes weight gain, due the increased stress hormone cortisol.

  3. Dylan Scott says:

    Being happy doesn’t make you fat. This is absurd. You get fat when you stop caring about yourself. Perhaps some people get comfortable with each other and looks do not matter anymore, and that is great. I was in a 12 year relationship and I still ate good food and exercised just like I did before my relationship. Actually, being in love gave me more motivation be desirable to my partner. Fat happy is just lazy. Just my 2 cents.

  4. Danny Luei says:

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