Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can Getting Married Make You Fat?

Sadly, according to new research, the answer is yes! That is, if you're a woman (for men, divorce seems to do the trick). Now, this finding isn't a fact set in stone, it is just a trend, but it seems that once all is said and done and the party's over, women start to pack on the pounds at a steady pace.

Now, before you go swearing off marriage, you should know that it's not just weddings that cause this little problem - it seems the culprit is the sheer situation of living together. Don't freak out though - there are things you can do to nip this trend in the bud and keep your rockin' pre-cohabitating bod as long as possible!

Researchers found that after couples tie the knot and move in together, there is a tendency for women to gain a steady amount of weight per year. That figure was clocked in as an average of 6-8 lbs over two years. In most cases, the amount of weight gain was not regarded as a serious health threat, but it may be for some women, particularly if the trend continues.

Among the reasons the researchers cited for the pattern that they observed is the fact that women tend to have a larger responsibility around the house than their husbands, meaning they have less time to exercise or be generally physically active. Other reasons include eating more foods with a higher sugar and fat content as well as eating similarly sized meals. On the flip side, those lucky men tend to get healthier when they share their lives and homes with the person they love. Now, that's not fair!

When you boil it down to the basics, the majority of our weight is determined by what we eat rather than how much we exercise. We know that for the same height and weight, men burn more calories per day than women because they have a higher amount of lean body weight versus fat, meaning that those men can afford to consume extra calories. Women and men are just built differently!

That said, it is clear that a couple's meals should not look identical! Unfortunately, what tends to happen after couples move in together is that their plates look like mirror images of one another. That means that even if the food is healthy, women start to gain weight while men simply reap the benefits of sound nutrition!

Couples need to pay extra attention to their meals and snacks and make efforts to properly portion their food to avoid overdoing it. For example, men tend to make fewer healthy snack choices than women, which often introduces new snacks and foods into the home that women didn't have on hand as readily when they lived alone. Having formerly 'forbidden' foods in the cupboard and watching someone happily snack on them guilt-free can really do a number on your willpower! Plus, it is much easier to start mimicking your man's eating patterns when you're around each other so much.

Also, couples should be careful to avoid making eating or snacking a way to spend time together as a recreational activity. Guys do it when they're together watching the game with a couple of beers, but popcorn, pizza or chips while lounging on the couch can be disastrous to your waistline!

On the whole, if you're warned and as prepared as possible for the weighty consequences of moving in with your partner, you'll probably do just fine. Adjusting to a different-looking fridge and pantry can be difficult and can most certainly test your willpower, but you can do it with enough determination! Stick to your guns and steer clear of the cookie jar!