Monday, 13 October 2008

Sam: Putting on the Pork

Our last ‘Something for the Ladies’ got me thinking – about a particular danger of being in a long term relationship – getting porky.

Let’s face it when single we generally make our best effort to look good. There is extra incentive to go the gym, make sure you are wearing the right sort of clothes, get a nice up to date hair cut and have got a good dose of the under arm charm on. Otherwise it all counts against you possibly getting your leg over when you are out on the prowl on Saturday night. But when you are in a relationship you can let yourself go. You know that even if you are looking a little chubbier, your partner still loves you and will still be up for a little action once you’ve both finished watching the latest episode of which ever TV series you happen to be addicted to.

There are a bunch of factors working against you and working to increase your waistline. You are less active. Much easier to have a comfy night in than go out dancing and much more tempting to have a lie in and a snuggle than haul yourself out of bed to go to the gym. You eat more, spending more time at home. Much more temptation to snack to your hearts content all weekend and have those extra servings to help you feel even more cosy. Also you have a partner in crime – if you are both getting a little more porky it is both your best interests to probably keep mum. Add to this the fact that couples actually have more sex than single people and you are getting the strong message that all these indulgences are helping your pulling power.

Personally, I put on 10kg (22 pounds) before I even really noticed and started forcing myself back to the gym and to pass up that extra serving of yummy dessert. When I asked my fiancée why she hasn’t said anything she replied it was because it made her feel better about putting on a little weight herself.  The cynical part of me wonders if helping your partner put on a few pounds also adds a bit of security in the relationship, after all there is nothing less attractive than a paunchy middle aged man. Far less of a flight risk than a toned fit gym addict.

It’s happened to pretty much all my friends who have shacked up on a long term basis – even one of my mates who is a professional acrobat, and uses his body every day for his profession has not been immune to the porkifying properties of a long term relationship. The only couple I know it hasn’t happened to are certifiable exercise junkies, who on group holidays are up at the crack of dawn going jogging and then can be seen in the pool doing laps later in the afternoon. Exception that proves the rule I think. Oh dear, perhaps we just have to resign ourselves to the porkifying effects of long term love.


badgerdaddy said...

If I didn't exercise, my wife would kill me, and vice versa - we're both just much nicer, happier people with exercise, and that's why we do it. We enjoy it, it helps keep us both calm in stressful jobs, and gives us both the horn.
I'm still porky - it's my attitude and general niceness that exercise brings that make it worthwhile.

lalita said...

On the other hand, there is nothing funnier than a woman reprimanding her man when they are in public "Honey, we talked about it...No ice cream." or sometimes it's just a look worth thousand words ;)

Homer said...

My first boyfriend put on half his body weight again in the decade we lived together. My current partner weighed eight until he moved in with me at the age of 38, and is now well over ten. Hell, even my cat got fat when I adopted her from the RSPCA. What am I doing wrong???

blueskies2day said...

the strange thing is the difference between attitudes of men and women when they start to put on weight.

women become distraught and self-critical, examining themselves from every angle in the mirror and torturing themselves by trying to fit into old clothes. but rarely do they do anything about it - they just make themselves more miserable.

men resign themselves to their increasing waistline, throwing away the clothes they've grown out of and merely accepting the fact that, as is decreed by their father's beer belly, theirs is beginning to emerge.

i think it's a lot healthier (mentally, not physically) to adopt the male stance of self-acceptance, even if you are getting podgier. however, this didn't stop me running into my parents' room this weekend while i was visiting, shouting "IF I LOSE FIVE POUNDS I'D BE ABLE TO FIT INTO THESE TROUSERS AGAIN!!!" while my mum was on the phone. after all, they're very nice trousers and i can't throw them away because one day i might fit into them again. if only i lost some weight.

Anonymous said...

My husband waited until he was drunk to tell me I 'could do with losing a stone or two'. I did as requested (stupid, I hear you cry) and he has since told me he did not find me sexually attractive as a size 14. Now he says I'm obsessed with my weight and if I lose much more I should prepare to be very lonely. It's scary how much weight is a factor for some people. I would never dream of saying anything to him, even though he has put on a, ahem, fair amount of poundage. For me it's the person, not the dress size.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

Weight and the role of food in society are funny things.

When you drastically change weight in a short time it's not unusual for your partner to lose sexual interest as what they've become comfortable with has been forceably removed. It takes time to re-adjust and to see the benefits. It's akin to a grieving process.

Also, food and drink play a large part in social interaction and if you separate yourself from that interaction (say to diet or to keep weight that you've lost off) then you can be seen as being aloof and separatist. There's great truth in the saying that a family who eats together, stays together.

Now, that's not meant to put you off staying healthy and getting in shape, it's just recognising that human beings are basically stupid and have gut reactions to stuff.

There's no easy path but if your husband loves you he'll come around in the end.