From wedding gowns and tuxedos to muumuus and sweats: studies warn that marriage may make you fat.
According to a study reported on Nature.com, “both married men and women are twice as likely to become obese as the general population. And the longer they live together, the greater the risk,” says the Business Week article, “Marriage Makes You Fat.”
Living together rather than tying the knot, however, is not the key to staying trim and fit. “Women co-habitating with a romantic partner have a 64% greater risk of obesity,” according to Business Week.
It’s not the relationship that is fattening, it is the food. Married couples usually eat the same meals – at least for breakfast and dinner. If the chef of the house favors rich sauces and high-calorie desserts or even if the couple loves fast food or night-time munchies, their waistlines will grow right along with their married bliss.
Once married, the slimming habits of a single lifestyle, like going to the gym, playing a sport, focusing on one’s appearance and skipping or eating light meals wane and that’s when the weight starts to pile up.
Cuddling on the couch with a liter of Pepsi and a bag of Doritos packs a double whammy: instead of expending calories by exercising, the couple is consuming more calories than they did when they were spending evenings being active while in “dating mode.”
The dating diet
From the first date right up to the “I do’s,” singles spend more time worrying about the way they look than most married couples. At first, appearance is an important factor in finding a suitable mate. Both men and women show a rise in focus on their personal appearance when they are single and especially when they are dating someone who they consider very attractive.
Even when the deal is done, the ring is on the finger and the reception hall is booked, the couple continues to worry about appearance. The bride must fit into her beautiful gown and the groom wants to look dashing in his tuxedo. Besides, the engaged couple is usually maintaining a frantic schedule right up to the nuptials. Lazy evenings on the sofa are few and far between as they attend to all the details of a wedding, honeymoon and frequently – finding a new place to live. For many people, at this time in their lives, staying slim is simple.
Happy marriage equals Happy Meal?
The Time magazine article, “First Comes Love, Then Comes Obesity?” reports that Penny Gordon-Larsen a nutrition epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) conducted a study the showed weight gain in women could occur by the couple’s first anniversary. Although the groom might stay the same weight as he was on his wedding day, the bride had a tendency to edge up on the scale. “The longer she lived with a romantic partner, the more likely she was to keep putting on weight.” A happy marriage had the same effect as a Happy Meal: extra pounds.
I do/ I don’t
Even if one of the spouses decides to shed some pounds, there are benefits for the non-dieting spouse too. If the husband decides to cut back on caloric intake while the wife feels uninspired to do so: she’ll still lose a few pounds according to Amy Gorin, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut. Gorin published a study last year that showed “if one spouse participates in a weight-loss program, the unenrolled spouse tends to lose about 5 lbs,” says the Time magazine article.
The study showed that married couples can look just as slim, trim and buff as they did when they were dating by sharing the desire to be fit, choosing to exercise over pursuing sedentary activities and by keeping to a diet that is low in fat and carbs and rich in nutrients and vitamins.
Split and slim
If you think getting slim is impossible after gaining marriage weight, think again. In many cases, both women and men who get divorced reverse the weight-gain trend and start losing pounds once they are single.
There’s no magic to this diet, just a return to the dating scene which starts the cycle all over. Personal appearance becomes important again and relaxing evenings in an easy chair are replaced with exercise and activity.