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Can Marriage Make You Fat?

When Kevin and I started this blog, we really wanted to demonstrate how being in a relationship affects your weight loss, for better or worse. For some people, having a partner in crime when starting an exercise program can be encouraging and helpful. If your partner starts to lose weight, they tend to take you along with them and you both benefit. Unfortunately, the opposite can be quite true as well.

According to a study published in the Obesity Journal in 2002, just getting married or cohabitation can significantly elevate your BMI (a commonly used measure of health comparing your height and weight). Subjects in the study completed surveys about their height, weight and marital status, typical amounts of physical activity and common foods they ate. The same group of people was surveyed two years later, and the results are more than a little depressing.

A change in marriage status (getting married or getting divorced) led to a significant change in weight. Those who got married during the study had a significant increase in body weight and those who got divorced had a significant loss in body weight, which means that according to this research, marriage will indeed make you fat.

 There may be a few explanations for this phenomenon, all of which are definitely controllable. So, here are a few tips to avoid these common pitfalls of marriage pudginess.

Dangerous Dating Behavior: For people who are newly married, you can easily remember what it was like to be dating your spouse. You often did special things together on the weekends like going out to dinner, getting desert and extra popcorn at the movies. Your time together was special and therefore you probably tended to increase your caloric intake to celebrate. Now that you’re married, if you’ve kept up your dating behavior, those special reasons to eat poorly may be creeping up on you. Absolutely keep going on dates! However, try to keep track of how often you are treating yourselves with high calorie foods and try to find other ways to enjoy each other without killing your diet.

Unreasonable Portions: For all you ladies, if you eat meals regularly with your husband, you may be significantly increasing your portion size without realizing it. When we eat with someone else, we tend to subconsciously adjust our portion size to match theirs and can end up eating more food than we intended. If your partner is significantly larger than you are, that means they get more food!

Snuggle Time: Another habit of married people is to find it easier just to stay inside and lounge around the tv. Single people tend to go outdoors and join groups such as an ultimate Frisbee team or a soccer club, but married people tend to keep to themselves a bit more. This can really encroach on your daily physical activity. Make an effort to leave to love-nest of the couch and get outside! Go take a walk or play basketball! Your heart will thank you later!

Do you find that you’ve gained weight since you’ve been married? Would any of these strategies work for you?

-Sara

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