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Marriage and weight loss

Many of us know intuitively what research has proven - marriage can make us fat. But if we know the circumstances that lead to weight gain within a marriage, we should be better equipped to avoid or reverse it. This article explains why married life often leads to weight gain and what we can do about it.

Why married life makes many of us fat
Many of us are in the best shape of our lives on our wedding day. In fact, most of us make an extra special effort to lose weight and tighten up any flabby bits so we look great in our wedding dress or suit and wedding photos.

But for the majority of us, once the big day is over, we start a marriage routine which causes weight gain and has negative implications on our health and happiness.

There are many reasons why marriage can lead to weight gain, but the most common include:

  • We are no longer trying to attract a partner
  • Pregnancy occurs
  • We cook for gratification
  • We eat as much as our partner
  • We put our family's eating preferences above our own
  • We become the family's garbage disposal
  • Our partner sabotages us
  • We are in an unhappy marriage and turn to food for solace
  • We have unresolved issues

Let's explore these reasons in more detail and discuss what we can do if we find ourselves being affected by them.

We are no longer trying to find a partner
This is a common reason many married people begin putting on weight.

Many unmarried people watch their diets and stay in shape simply to attract a partner. Once a partner has been "secured" through marriage, they no longer feel the need to look their best and therefore discard many of the healthy lifestyle habits that kept their weight down.

When marriages end, many people find themselves trying to slim down again in the hope of attracting a new mate.

But marriages shouldn't have to end for us to want to take better care of ourselves and look and feel our best.

Let's never forget that weight gain is a very slippery slope and once we are on it, many of us find it very difficult to get off.

Pregnancy can be a bit of a double-whammy when it comes to weight gain.

Firstly, many women overeat during their pregnancy and become too inactive, believing that they need to eat a lot more than they actually do and that they need to slow down and relax more than they do.

Giving in to cravings for less healthy foods during this time only compounds the problem.

Secondly, once a woman gives birth, she often finds herself staying at home more and putting the needs of her child and family before her own. In extreme cases, some women don't just make their newborn the centre of their world, they make it the whole of their world and this can often lead to serious problems including significant weight gain.

Husbands too can grow pot bellies during a pregnancy, especially if they try to keep up with the eating efforts of their wives.

So what should expecting parents do to make sure they don't fall into this trap?

The expecting mother should watch her weight carefully during pregnancy, eat as healthily as possible and get an appropriate amount of the right type of exercise both during and immediately after the pregnancy.

If hubby can do the same, he shouldn't have any unnecessary weight gain problems either.

We start cooking for gratification
Many wives use cooking to impress their husband and keep them happy.

The problem with this is, the more the husband appreciates the food and praises the cooking the more likely the wife is to use food as a source of gratification and the more weight the couple put on.

Some women even lay guilt trips on their husbands if they aren't getting the gratification they need. Essentially, many wives indirectly say to their husbands, "I worked very hard preparing this food for you; you'd better eat it all and ask for more to show how much you love me."

Want to avoid this vicious circle?

Remember that appreciating you and your cooking and eating every last morsel of a meal you have prepared is not the same thing.

We eat as much as our partner
The larger we are, the more energy we need to maintain our body size.

When one partner is smaller than the other but eats the same amount of food that their partner needs to maintain their size, the inevitable result is unwanted weight gain.

This is often a problem for women who eat as much as their husbands but have much smaller bodies to begin with.

If you are smaller than your partner, you don't need to eat as much food as them in order to maintain your current bodyweight.

As well as eating different amounts of food, remember you don't need to eat the same sorts of food or use the same cooking method (grilled v fried for example) either.

We put our family's eating preferences above our own
Generally speaking, women tend to like to please others and their maternal instinct often results in them putting the needs of others before their own.

As far as eating is concerned, this often means that many wives end up eating foods that their husbands or children like to eat, rather than what they would prefer.

If your husband likes to eat food that you would rather not, don't. Prepare a separate meal for yourself and if he refuses to eat more sensibly, let him eat poorly on his own.

As far as children are concerned, it's OK to let them eat what they want once in awhile, but as their mother we have an obligation to set a good example for them and teach them healthy eating habits.

We become the family garbage disposal
Many women can't stand seeing uneaten food left on plates because they were taught to finish their meals as a child and their parents told them that uneaten food was a waste.

As a result, many mothers end up eating any unfinished food on their children or partners plate, not realizing how many extra and unnecessary calories they are consuming as a result.

If this is a recurring problem at your place, either serve smaller meals or force yourself to forget what your parents taught you and through away any leftovers.

Our partner sabotages us
This sabotage can take two forms and can be either conscious or unconscious.

The first form of sabotage happens when our partner encourages us to put on weight so we appear less attractive to other men or women. By making helping to make us heavier and less attractive, our partner feels that they won't need to compete for our affections in the future.

It also means that if they have a weight problem themselves, they won't be forced to deal with it.

If they don't currently have a weight problem but want to 'let themselves go', they can do so without fear of losing us if we are heavy too.

The second form of sabotage happens for the same reason, but relates to sabotaging weight loss efforts rather than trying to beef us up.

When one person within a couple tries to lose weight, their spouse may become jealous and try to undermine their efforts in subtle ways like bringing home chocolates that they know their partner will find hard to resist.

In extreme cases, partners can be accused of neglecting their children if they are spending time away from home exercising, etc.

If you find this happening to you, sit down with your partner and tell them why you are trying to lose weight and how important their support is to you achieving your goals.

Explain to them that you are trying to lose weight for health reasons and that they don't necessarily have to change their lifestyle habits, but they should at least support you.

The ideal solution to this problem is to encourage your partner and family to lose weight and get healthier with you. Then there will be no need for them to sabotage what you are doing and you can all adopt healthier living habits together.

We are in an unhappy marriage and turn to food for solace
Research suggests that happily married people put on less weight than their unhappily married counterparts.

This should not be surprising given that several studies have found that unhappily married people turn to food as a substitute for unfulfilled needs in a marriage.

If you think this might be you, perhaps you might consider getting marriage counseling or a similar form of help from a professional.

We have unresolved issues
There are a myriad of unresolved issues that can lead us to gaining unwanted weight during a marriage, some of which we have already briefly touched on.

Others issues may include things like wanting to be loved unconditionally, feeling that we don't deserve to be happy, feeling disrespected, rejected and unloved.

If you feel that you have unresolved emotional issues that are contributing to your weight gain or inability to lose weight, perhaps you should consider getting reputable professional help.

Many of us know intuitively what research has proven - marriage can make us fat.

But if we know the circumstances within a marriage that lead to weight gain, we should be better equipped to avoid or reverse the trend.

This article explored some of the reasons married life often leads to weight gain and discussed some ideas we can do to avoid or reverse it.

For more great articles on weight loss and leading a healthier life, visit www.weightloss.com.au.



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