Can Dating Make You Healthier? 46% of Daters Think Being in Love is Good For Their Waistlines

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Maintaining your health and looking attractive can go hand in hand sometimes. In particular, wanting to find a romantic partner can be a main reason for eating healthy and working out. Several studies have supported the idea that singles may feel more motivated to take care of themselves when looking to get into a relationship or when they’re already in a relationship.

Matchmaking firm for busy professionals It’s Just Lunch gave us their expert insights on this topic with their “Dating, Dining, and Push-Ups: survey. Here are some of the most interesting results.

Bar graph of responses in It's Just Lunch's survey

It’s Just Lunch’s “Dating, Dining, and Push-Ups” survey focuses on how dating impacts health.

In an online survey, the company asked over 4,000 respondents dozens of questions about specific behaviors (such as dieting and working out) and how it related to their love lives.

Overall, many took a favorable view on what dating could mean for a person’s physical fitness. About 46% of respondents (47.8% of women and 43.8% of men) answered, “Being in love is good for my waistline.” Just 6% of respondents said being in love was bad for their waistlines.

Being in a relationship may help people avoid unhealthy behaviors because they want to stay attractive. Committed partners have the power to influence diet choices by monitoring eating habits and voicing opinions. A majority of survey respondents (53%) said they would say something if they noticed their partners started gaining weight. In this way, many daters are held accountable for their health and physical fitness.

When you’re intimate with someone special, you have a pretty compelling reason to stay thin and make sure your body is in tip top shape.

Fitness: 1 in 3 Say They Work Out More When in a Relationship

Being in a relationship can be a strong motivating factor for going for a run in the morning or doing a few pushups before bed. It could be the reason you want to maintain your muscled abs or lean figure. According to the It’s Just Lunch survey, 33% of respondents said working out was “definitely more of a priority” when they’re in a relationship.

It makes sense that you’d want to maintain optimum physical fitness while being intimate with someone. Looking good matters more when you know someone is looking.

Photo of a couple working out together

About 24% of respondents in the It’s Just Lunch survey thought the gym or an activity-based club would be a good place to meet potential love interests.

Daters can feel motivated to stay fit for their own personal reasons or because of someone else’s. External encouragement can be a crucial factor for some supportive partnerships. The study found 47% of daters (men and women) consider themselves extremely likely to encourage a partner to be more physically active. Only 6% said they were not at all likely to support physical fitness in their partners.

Additionally, when asked if it was important that the person they’re dating stays in shape, 47% of men and 40% of women ranked it extremely important. Only 4% said it wasn’t important at all. Clearly, looks are a factor in dating, and it’s something that drives both men and women to the gym more often.

Diet: Some Daters Report Eating Less on a First Date

Restaurants and coffee shops are common venues for a first date, so eating habits often come into play and impact a date’s behavior. In It’s Just Lunch’s survey, women appear to be more prone to eating light and healthy when on a date. About 41% of surveyed women answered, “I eat less than I normally would on a first date.”

Photo of a couple eating together

If a woman eats a light meal on a date, 19% of men say they’re glad she’s watching her waistline.

In comparison, around 36% of men said they eat less on a date. Not everyone feels pressured to skip dessert, though. Most respondents, regardless of gender, said they eat the same as they normally would on a first date. And just under 1% of respondents said they eat more on a first date. On the whole, eating habits appear to either improve or stay the same when on a date.

If you’re wondering what the person sitting across from you thinks about your appetite, It’s Just Lunch can break it down for you by gender. The firm’s survey asked how daters felt about women who didn’t eat or picked at their food during a date, and the most common response was “don’t even notice.” About 39% of male respondents and 46% of female respondents reportedly don’t care how much or little a woman eats on a date. The next most popular answer (31% of respondents) was, “She is trying to impress me.”

If a man doesn’t eat on a date, 42% of women say it doesn’t matter to them, but a majority actually said it’s a turnoff for them because he’s either trying to save money or doesn’t enjoy eating out. Ultimately, having a hearty appetite on a date can be a good thing for a man — or, at least, not a bad thing.

Healthiness can indicate lifestyle compatibility with a potential match. According to It’s Just Lunch, daters don’t want a partner who is less fit than they are — when asked, “Would you rather have a partner who is more or less fit than you?” 99% preferred someone more fit or the same. That doesn’t mean you have to be insanely buff to get a date. In fact, most respondents (73% of women and 66% of men) said they want someone who is as fit as they are. Most singles are looking for someone who’s just their size.

A Majority of Singles Prioritize Getting in Shape to Get a Date

Dating  gives people a concrete reason to reach certain fitness goals. Your love life can impact your health in many subtle ways. Singles turn down appetizers. Committed partners do push ups. Both men and women feel motivated to look slim and trim for a date.

Photo of the It's Just Lunch logo

It’s Just Lunch, a premier matchmaking firm, uses in-depth surveys to assess today’s dating culture.

In the final question of the It’s Just Lunch survey on health and dating, respondents were asked whether they get in shape and then start dating OR start dating and then get in shape. Essentially, does dating make you healthier or do you get healthier so you can date?

The surveyed men and women were in agreement on this matter. Around 72% of women and 65% of men said they favor getting in shape before trying their luck in the dating scene.

Daters of all ages start paying attention to their waistlines before trying to woo a date. However, your measurements aren’t all that matters to your dates (at least, not to all of them). An overwhelming majority of survey respondents — 93% of women and 81% of men — said they value personality over looks. Staying healthy is a great way to attract someone’s eye, but an attractive personality is what keeps them around in the long term.

Sometimes a sense of humor can outweigh physical attributes and entice your love interest to ask you out again. According to the dating experts at It’s Just Lunch, “The best thing you can do on a first date is laugh… both men and women love dates who make them laugh and smile. Laughing makes people more attractive.”

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