Head Over Meals: How Love Makes You Fat

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Head Over Meals: How Love Makes You Fat
"Fat and happy:" the phrase exists for a reason. How to stay lean and in love.

PLATE ENVY
Problem: Matching him bite-for-bite.
"A few extra cookies a day equals a 10-pound weight gain over the course of a year," cautions Linda Spangle, RN, author of 100 Days of Weight Loss. Tamara, 34, can attest to that. "When I moved in with Mike, my portions got much larger in an attempt to match his," she says, and was amazed when she grew from size 8 to 14.
Solution: Downsize your dish. A 2007 University of Calgary study found that 17 percent of research participants who used a "diet plate," which demarcates healthy portions, lost 5 percent or more of their body weight. Tamara devised a similar strategy. "When Mike reached for a dinner plate, I went for a salad plate, so I couldn’t fit as much food," she says. Within six months, she was 50 pounds lighter—and just as much in love.

THAT’S EATER-TAINMENT!
Problem: Food-centered love. Our together time often revolves around eating—whether it’s a lavish dinner out, or Grey’s Anatomy and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. You’ve got to eat; the danger is making it your main source of fun.
Solution: Cook as a couple. Concentrate on meal creation rather than consumption. "My fiancé, Mike, and I ate out at least three times a week," says Ranee, 32, who blames gaining three sizes on cohabitation. "Now we cook together four nights a week." The switch helped the couple lose over 60 pounds collectively. Tip: You can find more than 950 low-fat recipes covering every course at 3fatchicks.com.

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
Problem: Late-night snacking. His Letterman habit could actually make you heavier. Women have a tendency to snack throughout the day, says Spangle, whereas men nibble at night. But by indulging his snack attacks and yours, you may, in time, unwittingly gain weight.
Solution: Call it a night. Turning in just an hour earlier could help you stave off pounds. Research from Université Laval in Quebec City found that sleeping may increase production of leptin, a hunger-suppressing hormone. Researchers found that people who slept 6 to 7 hours a night were an average of 11 pounds plumper than those who snoozed for 7 to 8 hours.