By Alissa Medina > Freshman > Media and Cultural Studies > University of California Riverside; Photo by Caitlin Regan
It’s been a month into your newfound relationship and you’re definitely getting comfortable with your new beau. You’ve gracefully allowed yourself to overindulge in romantic dinners, swiftly taking the initiative to wave off any health food from your love coma. A couple of late-night meals and your comfort and happiness have been exposed through your glowing smile – and in the thickness of your hips.
That feeling, called “the boyfriend layer,” is unanimous amongst comfort in relationships. Weight gain becomes a natural habitat in which to confide when those late-night dinners get repetitive.
California State University student Sira Iacovides, a self-described victim of the boyfriend layer, attributed her weight gain to “slack on watching [her] diet” while in a relationship, as she grew more relaxed with indulging dinner outings.
Iacovides’ experience isn’t uncommon: a five-year University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study revealed that women in their late teens to early 20s in relationships gained more weight than single women of the same age group.
“I think its acceptable when a girl gains weight,” said Fernando Lozano, a student at Notre Dame University. “There is a certain level of comfort that exists between the relationship after awhile.”
Portland State University Senior Alex Zornizer created a personal blog to harbor this distinct distraction in college relationships. She titled the blog “The Boyfriend Layer,” letting her readers realize the importance of staying healthy while enjoying the contentment of food with romantic partners.
“I realized that when you get into relationships in the very beginning, you get really comfortable and you spend so much time with that person,” she said. “You kind of forget about activity, forget about eating healthy, and put on a little bit of weight.”
When Zornizer found herself gaining weight early in her relationship, she took action against the evils of overeating and laziness by maintaining her cooking and fitness habits. Originally inspired by her sudden weight gain and “cleverness” from the movie Julie and Julia, Zornizer said, her boyfriend gave her the idea to cook up variations of Argentinean and easy-to-make meals from scratch while blogging about her year-long relationship. She features homemade meals on nearly every blog post.
So what exactly gets rid of the gluttony of the boyfriend layer?
Zornizer advises fitness regimens with you and your beau. “It might be hard not to just sit and watch a movie together,” she said, “But instead, go out for a walk, or runs, or go on a bike ride and try to stay active. You’ll be having fun and you’ll also be getting fit at the same time.” Zornizer and her boyfriend run together three or four times a week.
To fit in healthy eating and workouts on a busy agenda, Zornizer said she plans out her days on a grid. From snack times to class schedules, she maintains a strict, written calendar to keep track of her day.
“I pack snacks for myself. I cut up vegetables or crackers and hummus or something healthy like that to get me through the day,” she said, adding that she uses grocery shopping and meal preparation as a bonding experience with her boyfriend. “We’ve inspired each other to get better, and live a better lifestyle.”
Zornizer also described plans to share specific recipes on her site.
“You know, you meet someone in a coffee shop or at school or through friends and you never know. It’s when you least expect it,” she said of finding relationships.
Catch Zornizer’s blog at www.boyfriendlayer.wordpress.com.