There are plenty of reasons why you should get out of bad, or even abusive relationships. The chronic stress that an abusive relationship can cause could affect you for the rest of your life, and even short term, an unpleasant relationship can make you unpleasant, hard to be around, and in general unhappy. According to science, there’s another side effect. A bad relationship could make you fat.
Researchers from Ohio State University have studied the idea, finding that a contentious relationship increases your risk of obesity, because it changes the way your body reacts to fatty foods. Who knew it could change your body chemistry that much.
Researchers took this question seriously, and the idea seriously. They brought in 43 couples who had been married for at least 3 years, and they asked them about psychological history such as depression and mood disorders as well as their marriage satisfaction. They then fed the subjects high-fat meals and asked them discuss or resolve one of the issues they had. They watched and broke it down into psychological abuse, distress maintaining conversations, hostility, or withdrawal.
Those with a history of mood disorders who also experienced hostile interactions in these confrontations burned fewer calories in the fatty meals they ate, and they also had more insulin in their blood. So it’s not just eating more fat. It’s actually not being able to process it as effectively.
Martha Belury, co-author of the study said,
Insulin stimulates food intake and the accumulation of fat tissue in the abdomen. And adding that on top of the lower energy expenditure creates a higher likelihood for obesity. But it doesn’t stop there: Elevated triglycerides lead to heart disease. Along with high insulin, elevated triglycerides indicate metabolism of sugars and fats is impaired. These are hallmarks of increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.
In short, if you live in an unhappy relationship, it may be time to cut the ties and get out. More than 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese, and it’s not all because of bad relationships. But for those who are experiencing this phenomenon, it seems obvious. Get out of the relationship.