Are Couples Obligated to Stay in Shape?
Two sets of strangers open up about if they need to maintain their physical fitness over the course of a relationship.
More about this episode
A Conversation on Couples Staying in Shape
There are many mixed opinions on whether or not couples are obligated to stay in shape as their relationship progresses. Some people find that it is unfair to demand your partner keep the same physique over the course of the relationship, especially when more than three in four Americans pack on some "love weight" — an average of 17 pounds in the first year — once they're in a relationship. This natural increase in weight tends to come as people become "more comfortable" with each other and no longer feel the need to keep up their appearance.
On the other hand, others believe that prioritizing one's health is a show of respect to their partner. Studies have also proven that, when couples work out together, it increases happiness within the relationship. Additionally, when couples work out together, it helps both partners more readily achieve their fitness goals. So, if one partner prioritizes fitness and pushes their significant other to do the same, both will see greater results for it.
Wherever you side on this debate, the most important thing is to remember how you deliver any comments you may have about your partner's weight. Always come from a place of mutual understanding and respect—rather than negative comments, focus on positive goals.
Opinions. We all have them, especially when it comes to love and sex. So what happens when two people get to share their opinions in an open and honest conversation, maybe they learn something about the other person and maybe they learn something about themselves.
I'm Dr. Judy and this is “Well, In My Opinion.” Today, we're asking the question, are couples obligated to stay in shape?
I'm going to let you handle this one.
Do you need..?
Go ahead babe, you got this.
Shut up. You'll get so mad.
Uh, I think you should, but it's not for the reason people think. It's not because you owe it to that person, it's to yourself.
You owe it to yourself.
And we were losing weight right before the pandemic. We got in great shape.
We were in the best shape we've ever been in.
Oh my God. And then it hit. And then like all of a sudden, my brain was just like, "The world's ending, eat brisket." And I did. I'm like, yes, world or yes, mind, you know.
My Snickers and wine.
Oh my God, this girl and Snickers.
Snickers and wine.
Holy shit, dude. Holy shit. You look fantastic. I just look a… I looked like Spencer Pratt on a vicodin bender, but you know.
I think it's important to try to stay in shape and look your best. And obviously when you look your best, you feel your best.
I think that you should for yourself. I think a lot of people, I think the common question is like, should you stay in shape because that's kind of what you sold yourself as when people met. It's like, first of all, people change over time. They just, you just look different. You know what I mean? So that's like, if you're signing up for a lifetime, you're signing up for, you know, no one's ever saying like, I'm going to look like I did at 20 in my whole life. You know what I mean?
I think that like over time, whenever I do get in a zone where I want to get in shape, it's because of a health problem or it's because of an energy problem, really. It's like, because really you don't fight because like, "You don't look as sexy as you once did." You fight because you've put on weight and then because you put on weight, you might be more tired in the day. Because you're more tired of the day, you don't get as much done. And then you fight over like, you know, "You're so tired." Like, like, cause on one day I'll be energized and you're not. And our energies don't match.
So it ends up being like, you kind of owe it to yourself and to the couplehood, not to the person. If we can wake up together and I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to have less than six sodas today." But like, if she tries to eat kale and whey all day and I'm fucking over here, slammin' Dr. P's…
Always what happens.
No, that's not. Sometimes it's the vice versa.
No, we switch.
You'll be like, "Oh I wanna hike," and I'll be like, "Ah, I just feel like sitting on the couch and watching movies."
Whenever I want to hike, she wants to watch the ID channel. You know? I'm like, "Let's get cardio." She's like, "I want to see what, how this woman killed her husband in Cleveland in 84." Fuck. Okay. I'll watch it with you. You know? And then two pizzas later...
So, if couples find that working out solo is a challenge, maybe they should try getting in shape together. Men tend to be the one packing on the pounds at the start of a relationship. On average, 69% of men gained weight in the first year of a new relationship, as opposed to only 45% of women.
If we go into the relationship, and you started off at 110 pounds, you're not getting into 160. There's no way, I wouldn't even allow it.
That's so misogynistic of you.
No, it's not. No, it's not because I'm into skinny girls. You know what I mean? I like, I prefer skinny girls. I'm not really into thick the girls. And it doesn't have to be fat. I'm just not into girls that are thick. I like girls that kind of match my physique, if that makes sense. So, if we start the relationship, and obviously we wouldn't start if you weren't skinny, as my preference, you can't… I can't just sit there and watch you get here. I'm not going to be a dick and be like, "yo, you're getting kind of fat. What are you doing?" I would not say that. I promise you I won't. But like, I'm definitely going to tell you, "Hey, you know, maybe chill out on that pizza. You want to go jog? When's the last time you took the dog out on a jog or something?"
I just couldn't wait to get married so I could get fat.
Oh my goodness.
So, I've actually been the same size since like high school. Um, so I think for me, it just kinda like is a given. Like with my old partner, um, he did gain some weight after we, you know, got into a relationship and then…
Did that bother you?
It didn't bother me. When I date somebody or when I'm looking for somebody, you know, physical appearance is definitely a thing, but it's not like at the top of my list. Personality is definitely a thing because they need to, I need to have somebody that matches my energy, matches my personality that can keep up with me.
Of course. Cause there's going to be some time where you're not really paying attention to their attractiveness, you're going to want someone to talk to you. You're going through something.
Exactly. Physical appearances are like towards the bottom part for me. Um, but it's not the things that I prioritize. So like I wasn't, I wasn't bothered by it. I would try to encourage him to like, you know, exercise and do whatever it is that he needed to do. But it was never like, "Uh, your fat, chill out on the pizza."
Oh my goodness. I think it really hurts me more just because I'm really picky about that. Like I'm just into skinny girls, so there's no way…
Is it that you just can't handle a thick woman?
Oh my god, it has nothing to do with that. I've been with thick girls before. But I'm talking about, if I'm gonna date, then it has to be skinny. But it has nothing to do with, you know, just their physique. It's just, I just am into that. I don't know why, but it's really important to me that they have to be like that.
So if I'm them, over time, if I feel like I see them gaining weight, I'm going to say something. I will. And it's like, and I think it's, you know, I'd want to be in a healthy relationship, too. I'm really big on, you know, just going to the gym and stuff like that, and I love going on jogs with my dog, I love taking long walks and stuff like that. It's just really peaceful to me. And I've never actually done it with someone. And I would love to do that with my partner, you know, go on long walks or go on jogs and stuff like that. So I'd want to live a healthy style, you know, lifestyle. And I wouldn't have like a lot of stuff where it could get us to that point where we'd start gaining weight and you know, losing ourselves. I just don't want to be one of those dads that I see with a big belly.
Oh god, no.
I hate seeing that. I am like, what happened to you? Like in high school you were… what happened? What is this? I don't want to do that.
You know, I didn't go to my, um, ten-year high school reunion because I was looking through like people's photos and I'm like, "Damn like, you got bald, you got fat, you have like 10 kids." I'm like, am I like really thriving out here? I should have gone, should have gone.
They would have seen you and be like, you look the same, what the hell?
Yeah. I should've.
I believe that it is a sign of respect for yourself and your partner to keep yourself in physically healthy shape. And it's not just about the aesthetics. It's about the fact that if you take care of yourself, physically, you'll live a longer life. And ultimately if your partner loves you, that's what they want from you. They want to spend more time with you where you can do things that both of you enjoy. So respect your body, respect your partners. And if you need to, challenge each other by working out together.
I'm Dr. Judy, and this has been “Well, In My Opinion.”