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Love, Lust and Lies: And you were worried about the Freshman 15

Patricia Cifani | Interrobang | Lifestyles | October 17th, 2011

Most students worry about gaining what is known as the Freshman 15. This is usually caused by excessive partying, fast food and late night eating that first-year students tend to indulge in. Some students also become less active and spend most of their free time sitting down in a library studying or sleeping, which doesn't help the problem, either.

It's not only the Freshman 15 that scares people; the holiday weight that people gain also becomes an issue. I like to think it's because we need to store some fat for the winter to keep us warm. I mean, if eating a couple extra pieces of pie will keep me warmer at night, I'm going to do it. Although as soon as January 1 comes around, people begin to put down the gingerbread cookies and head straight for the gym so they can start losing the five to 10 pounds they gained over the holidays.

We are a culture that unfortunately obsesses about weight gain, and we dread the times when we know we are going to gain it. Although the one thing I have noticed no one ever really talks about is what I like to call the Relationship 15. It is a known fact that people tend to gain weight when they start dating someone. Unless you are dating someone who eats ridiculously healthy food and has strong willpower, you are destined to gain weight. So why does this happen?

One reason people tend to gain weight is because the classic dates all involve food, such as dinner and a movie. Restaurants are not very healthy — even something as nutritious as a salad may be hundreds of calories depending where you go, not to mention how many calories are in movie popcorn. I know Cineplex now plays a commercial before the movie that shows us exercises we can do in our seats during the movie so we can eat our popcorn guilt-free. Seriously though, who would ever do that while watching a movie? Also, no way those exercises will even come close to burning off as many calories as we are eating. I am not saying that going out for dinner or eating movie popcorn is bad, but if you start doing it two or three times a week, it can be.

Not only do you eat out more, but you also tend to eat more and usually later at night. If one of you gets hungry, somehow it turns into both of you eating. With the last guy I dated, I found myself eating two dinners three times a week for the first few months, and I gained 10 pounds. This was because every time we stayed in, one of us would always get hungry late at night and we both wound up getting some sort of fast food, even though one of us wanted to eat. I know personally there is no way I can watch someone else eat while I just sit there; I don't have enough willpower for that and I know most of you don't either. That is a huge problem: not only do we eat more when we aren't hungry; it also never seems to be healthy food.

It's not just about how much more food we consume when we are in a relationship, it is also how we spend our time. In the beginning of a relationship, couples tend to be less active. We find ourselves making time to hang out, which means cutting other things we may do in our spare time, like going to the gym. Even just staying in and watching TV or a movie is time you are spending on a couch. I know some of you might find some active things to do with each other while staying in, but sex on average burns 100 calories for anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes. If that's what you consider being active, it really isn't going to make that much of a difference.

It's hard to avoid the Relationship 15, yet even though most of us know that it will happen, we don't obsess over it like we do with the Freshman 15 or holiday weight. Why is the Relationship 15 something people never really worry about? Maybe it's because some things in life are more important to us than how much weight we put on, and having a good relationship with someone who cares about us is definitely one of them.
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