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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Weight Maintenance

Keep the Weight Off After Saying ''I Do''

6 Ways to Avoid Heavier Ever After

-- By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor
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Take a trip with me to your post-wedding future, would you?

You found the perfect dress or the just-right tux. You had the big wedding and the fun reception. You spent time together on your honeymoon in total wedded bliss. And now you’re back at home enjoying the married life. You found your life partner and now you can just enjoy being married. The hard part (read: wedding planning) is over, right?

Well, maybe not. Sure, you may no longer be planning a wedding or preparing for the day when the eyeballs of everyone you know are fixed on you, but when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, marriage seems to put people through the weight-gain ringer.

According to research from the Journal of Economics and Human Biology, the body mass index of married men increased 1.5 percent above what they would normally gain as they aged, and married women's BMI went up 2 percent compared to single men and women. Another study in Obesity, found that married couples were three times more likely to be classified as obese than singles are.

Young adults may be particularly susceptible to newlywed weight gain. Findings from a 2007 annual meeting of the Obesity Society showed that newly married women (younger than 28 years old) gained 24 pounds in five years and newly married men gained 30 pounds. Compare that to an average of 15 pounds over five years for young women and 24 pounds over five years for young men who are in relationships but don’t live together.

But what's with all this marriage weight gain? There are a number of possibilities as to why people gain weight after getting hitched, but researchers (and common sense) seem to think it has to do mainly with comfort and picking up your partner's habits, for better or for worse.

Single people have been shown to be more active and spend less time watching TV than married folks, and single people may feel more pressure to look a certain way and be thinner when they’re dating, researchers postulate. Many newlyweds, especially women, start eating like their partners, too. So instead of having a salad for dinner, they may grab pizza. Or instead of having one beer, they may have two or three, if that's the habit of their spouse.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • I wonder if the studies take into account the fact that several women get pregnant within those five years after marriage. But, I do agree with several points with this article! - 11/6/2013 9:56:30 AM
  • EMMAWHITEMAN
    Also stay on Spark and get your spouse on Spark! If you are both aware of the pitfalls then it is easier not to slip up! - 2/9/2011 4:48:57 PM
  • I looked at these studies (not the original journal articles, but your links), and I think there are many variables in place here. There are many individual differences that people have, social contexts, the influence of others (who also have individual differences), the impact of time (historical, generational, maturational), and the interactions of these. Yes, I do think that friends or partners can have an impact, but it also depends on so many other factors, which influence each other transactionally over time, within a complex, dynamic system. I am a dorky developmental psychologist, so please excuse the rant. ;) - 1/9/2011 9:08:15 AM
  • One puts things through a "wringer," not a "ringer." - 1/1/2011 12:46:24 PM