Is Marriage a Reason to Pack on the Pounds?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you're someone who regularly follows my blogs, it's easy to see which topics are really interesting to me. I have an easier time writing about things I can relate to, which is why I had a hard time deciding how to approach this topic. I think the research is interesting and I'm sure a lot of people have had a similar experience. I just don't happen to be one of them.

I've weighed about the same amount for the past 15 years or so. Since having children, my weight is now distributed a little differently, but I'm around the same size as I was before I got married. I never felt pressure to be a certain size as a single woman. Being healthy and active has been a big part of my life for many years, married or not. But I know that I'm not the norm. Statistics show that both men and women tend to gain weight after they get married.

According to a study in the Journal of Economics and Human Biology which compared 12,000 men and women ages 18 to mid-40s, "Compared with when they were single, the body mass index of married men increased by 1.5 percent above and beyond what they would normally gain as they aged, and that of women shot up 2 percent." Another study published in the journal Obesity found that married couples were three times more likely to be obese than singles.

There could be a number of explanations for these results. People in the dating scene might feel more pressure to keep up certain appearances, versus those who are already "settled" in marriage. Married couples also tend to develop the same habits and engage in the same activities. If your spouse wants to sit and watch T.V. at the end of a long day, you might be more tempted to join them versus going for a jog around the neighborhood. Many women also start having children after they get married, so losing the baby weight becomes a struggle.

So how do you fight the weight gain? Make workouts an opportunity for you and your spouse to spend time together and catch up on the day. Try cooking some healthy dishes together. Don't abandon those healthy habits you had before you got married. There's no reason to change just because you've got a ring on your finger.

Did you gain weight when you got married? Why or why not?

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Three thoughts come to mind:
- don't people on average gain weight anyway when they age? What with the metabolism slowing down, desk jobs being more likely than more physically demanding jobs, the social effects of friends who gain weight over the years...
- raising children might make it more desirable to take the time to cook healthy meals. In reality, I fear, the opposite might happen, not the least because children are targeted like whoa by junk food & candy ads. Not so much baby fat as "my kids are dragging me to MacDonalds" fat.
- on a site dedicated strongly (not exclusively, I know) to weight loss, I think it's more likely to get "oh yes, I gained plenty weight" answers, so the responses here aren't necessarily representative Report
My husband is in the military and to cope with him being away I tend to binge eat. I gained A LOT of weight when we first started living with each other. Recently I have replaced binge eating with binge exercising and dieting. A more healthy approach to deal with stress! Report
Both hubby and I definitely gained weight after the wedding! I LOVE to cook and bake - and we both love my cooking! I am a rather accomplished cook, my Mother used to brag that I completely took over cooking all the family meals at age 11! I really love trying out new recipes as well. We also adore going out to eat! I am afraid we tend to use food to celebrate as neither of us drinks alcohol. Hubby has really ballooned as he also gave up smoking cigarettes and had surgery earlier this year. Thanks to Spark People, I am back on track and slowly losing the weight. Hubby is starting to work out again but is clueless about portion control. Report
I lost about 10 pounds doing my 'wedding day exercise and diet regime' and quickly gained it and about 12 pounds more immediately after our honeymoon (went to an all inclusive resort where the buffets were endless!). It wasn't until a year and a half later that I decided to do something. I've recently lost 40 pounds since getting married and haven't looked back since. I've had to fall out of some comfortable habits and fall into more healthy habits. But, while temptation to be a couch potato with my husband is so tempting...I haven't been happier with myself and my new found inner and outer strength. Report
I gained weight....I exercised regularly, etc. then my daughter was born, money got tight, and my husband also is a meat and potatoes man...when a salad, etc. would have been fine with me and he ate later in he evening...but now I'm getting back to Taking Care Of Me and in doing that I can take care of us all. I ONLY WISH I HAD STARTED SOONER.... Report
I actually have lost 60 lbs since i got married. I ballooned while dating my husband for many of the reasons stated above, and was not mentally ready to lose the weight until after the wedding. I guess i'm one of the weird exceptions. Report
I was thirty two and 125 lbs when I married the last time. I had a daughter 10 years old...I ate healthy but I ate anything I wanted. Within the first year of marriage I gained twenty pregnancies...I still worked outside the home and had the home to care for I was busy all the time. Money was tight . That may have been a factor but I was always pinching pennies. I went on my first ever diet....never lost a pound but as soon as I went off the diet I gained 10 lbs....that was the beginning of me being 200+. I know stress had a factor...but I had no idea why I was gaining so much weight and the more I tried to diet the worse it became. Report
This is my biggest fear about getting married(NEXT MONTH!!) We've been together for 8 years and I gained weight about 2-3 years into the relationship. The last 2 years I've been working hard to change my lifestyle and have lost 28lbs. I'm committed to this healthly lifestyle and he supports me 110% so I'll strive to not become part of this statistic. Report
I did gain weight. I think for me it was the getting used to one another's schedule. We wanted to eat togther and he worked late, so I found myself waiting to eat with him and putting on pounds. After being married for about 3 years I decided that I could not keep doing this, so I have a time limit in which I stop eating. Report
I'm not married but have been with my significant other for 12 years. I gained weight after we first moved in together, not a significant amount, but enough. However, 5 years ago we moved to a new city where we really didn't know anyone and since then I have put on at least 20 - 25 pounds. Not good! I think we tend to get into the habits of other people and because we love them we, whether we do it consciously or subconsciously, tend to accommodate them and this often includes eating habits.
Better question: Is marriage a sellout? Report
I gained weight after I got married. I know why though; first, I had back surgery that got me off of my walking routine; second, my husband is a "meal" person, and I'm a snacker. I can eat a tuna sandwich for lunch and be okay, and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and be okay. He needs to have meat/potatoes/vegetables at every meal. His breakfast looks like the ones on TV: eggs, toast, bacon, cereal, coffee, juice, and fruit. All at the same time! Of course he is always encouraging me to eat more; says I don't eat enough. However I have learned to eat less in spite of this. So now I am back on my downward spiral with or without his help. I also have gotten back to walking and exercising, so the pounds are slipping off slowly. I still enjoy a good meal with him now and then, but I put the breaks on seconds and sugary desserts. Report
I've been married for about 8 months and I've gained about 3 pounds - which doesn't seem terrible, but if this trend continues, I'm in trouble! I think for me it is due to my husband eating larger portions (as he should, he's a lot bigger than me), and for some reason me trying to "keep up." The good news is I've recognized this and now I automatically serve myself about half of what he eats. I'm even starting to get him to pay attention to portions! Report
Before marriage, we were dating. We went places like long walks in the park etc. to be alone together. After marriage, we had our own house where we could come home and just plop in front of the television. And, like posters before me, I got very caught up in the "cook meat and potatoes for your man" way of thinking. Only thing was, I was eating them too! Report
This is the exact reason why I joined Spark People. I got married 4 months ago and have already noticed about a 6 pound gain. I refuse to become one of the statistics! Its hard adjusting to having to cook certain foods because thats what my hubby likes. He's been very good about compromising on what we eat. We'll still eat some of the "junk" that he likes but we'll also have some really healthy meals mixed in. I also make sure I have very healthy and semi-low cal breakfasts and lunches so that I have the extra calories to use for dinners. We've also started playing tennis together a couple of times a week and now he's teaching me how to box. Report
yes, I gained weight after marriage. Cooking for the hubby 24/7 and sharing an inactive lifestyle contributed to it. Call it complacency. then came the baby and forget it. Down hill from there. A fit and healthy lifestyle should be a shared responsibility as any other in a marraige. Not that it can't be done solo but having that support is very important. Report
I have lost weight it has only been a few years and I have attempted to maintain that (one reason I joined this site). Before I lost the weight I worked at keeping the same size and shape that I was since I married, my husband however has gained weight which sometimes bothers me for a few reasons. 1 I try hard to maintain a nice appearance and it seems he doesn't care about that for me and 2 he has a huge problem with high blood pressure and his feet all that would be helped if he lost weight. Report
I gained about 30 pounds in a year and a half...which was insane for me. We were both college students and would get the munchies around midnight most days of the week, which of course meant cheap junk food. Before we were together, I would just ignore being hungry that late at night. Apparently, guys don't do the same, so I found myself eating late when he did. Finally, once I realized how much I really weighed, I was done with it. Thankfully I've been able to lose about 20 lbs, but I'd like to drop another 15 or so pounds and wow him on the beach :) Report
I was a starving college student. Of course I gained pounds and inches when I got married :-) We walked everywhere, so our overall activity level didn't change until we graduated. A lot of our socializing switched from beer and pizza to hosting simple dinner parties, so we ate more veggies. The biggest difference was making a point of eating three meals a day together, rather than grabbing something on the run.

That was 26 1/2 years ago, so I guess it was worth it. Report
Our fifth wedding anniversary is coming up, and throughout the years I have gained alot of weight!
I gained a tremendous amount of weight with my first pregnancy (it was due to caving into my cravings and eating all that poutine!). Before losing any weight I got pregnant with the second. Now I am trying to lose it all. Report
Definitely gained weight after marriage, and especially after childbirth. Spent so much time taking care of everyone and everything else that I didn't have time to take care of me. Things are much better for me and everyone else that I am taking care of me. The house is a little bit dustier and messier - but there's much more happiness. Report
Yes, I would say that marriage and having a child did make me gain weight. Today is that child's birthday. Report
Ever since I have been with my BF I eat more and pack on the pounds. I wish I could find a way to fight it? Report
I've only been married almost 3 years but so far I generally weigh less than I did before getting married! I think that often weight gain post-marriage can happen because "the pressure's off" and you know you'll love each other anyway - but for me it's so cool to look my best for him as well as to stay active and have the most energy. Also I find married life less stressful than single life because I have such a great friend helping with cooking/chores/etc. :o) Report
My weight came on when I 1. quite smoking, in order to be healthier and heading into motherhood, 2. I had children very soon after that 3. I had adopted my husband's habits of eating in front of the TV and was also always having to prep food for the kids, "clean up" after them etc. I had some realizations to come to. LOL! Report
Yes, thankfully I gained back the weight I lost before our marriage. The stress of all the details, the running of extra errands, etc all took their toll. So for me, this was a good gain. Report
I got married 10-10-09. I lost weight the wrong way before my wedding. I was taking adipex and taking the B 12 shots. I wasn't working out. I was barly eating. After I got married I packed on 15 pounds. Of course I quit smoking 6 months after we got married. So, of course I packed on some more. Of course i'm currently in the process of loosing it!! :) Report
some very interesting reads here.Here's what happened to me my first marriage was a very unhappy marriage and food was a comfort - after the divorce I lost 60 pounds and kept the weight off for over 10 yrs. Remarried and my eating habits did not change - I noticed a 20 pound weight gain almost over night it seemed....We were trying to start a family as well. I missed the first , then second cycle, when I went to the MD because all my EPT were negative and I had this weight gain the MD (midwife- MD asst.) told me I was "getting fat" because I was happily married. She recommended a book about family planning and for us to do exactly the opposite of the book...... TOO BAD SHE DIDN'T LISTEN the weight gain had nothing to do with being had to do with ovarian failure..... I was only 32. Report
I agree with Broadbush that we make ourselves fat. I can't say that it happened to me but I have seen quite a bit of that in my community where women especially get fat after they get married. We usually say that the person doesn't think that she has a reason to stay sexy because she thinks that she is married and off the dating scene. It should be important though if that person wants to remain attractive in her husband's eyes. We should think that our lives are important enough to stay healthy. Report
I"m 24 and I am a month and a half away from our one-year anniversary. I lost about 35 lbs. before our wedding b/c I couldn't fit into my dress which was the perfect size for me when I bought it. I lost enough weight and more so my dress fit perfectly and I didn't have to have any alterations on my gown. After the wedding, I got busy with school and stopped eating healthy like I had started to do to lose the weight before our wedding. I also stopped going to the gym. I've gained all the weight back now and I'm starting to get back to the gym to lose the weight and to keep it off this time but it seems to be harder to lose the weight since after the wedding. Report
I packed on the pounds my first marrage, he never gained a pound, this marriage has been the same, Im gaining and he is not. HUMMM may be its because I know they will love me fat or skinny Report
I never had a weight problem when I was a kid and it wasn't until I hit 40 and married that I put on 50 pounds. Lucky for me I was under weight and so I only have to lose a few pounds. And they are the hardest to lose! I am so pleased I found Spark People and the support. Thank you Spark People! Report
I gained about 30 pounds after I got married... but just because it was an absolutely miserable situation. Then I decided that I was the only one who was going to take care of myself, so I focused on getting healthy, eating like I had some sense, and finally getting back on track with exercise. I've lost those 30 pounds again, and had it not been for my focus on me for a change I would have gone absolutely insane. My marriage still sucks, but at least I'm not letting it take me down with it. I am dedicated to my health regardless of what's going on around me. Report
I gained between 5 and 10 pounds after I said "I do". i did not notice myself putting on the pounds until the season changed and I could no longer fit into my summer wardrobe. That is one reason I joined SP. I think the biggest reason for the weight gain is that I cook alot more than I did when I was single. Since joining SP my husband and I started a weight loss comp with our married friends to see which couple can lose the most by Dec. We are not so much interested in winning as we are in getting healthy, this little comp just pushhes us to make better choices and work-out together. We have a side goal of our own that when we get down to our target weight and maintain it for a year we will take a trip to Spain. Im losing weight and learning Spanish b/c I'm determined to win. Report
When I got married I didn't have a job at first. I love to cook and we both gained 10 lbs in a month! I have the stretch marks to prove it! I then found Body Electric on TV and have been exercising daily ever since. I lost the 10 lbs and exercised through 4 pregnancies. My weight slowly crept up until I realized I had gained 35 pounds. I have lost all but 5 of that with Spark People! Report
Ive been married for 3yrs I let myself go after i had my son but got back on track but i have always had a hard time managing my weight....but now im more active than before... I never used to worry about what I ate and what not...Im the opposite now, i watch what i eat and i work out harder than ever, I just refuse to be overweight like ive always been. Im still trying to lose 50lbs. I have lost 15lbs. so far. Both my husband and I are very active. Report
yes i did gain alot of weight since i got married will be 16 yrs in oct. i just hate how i have gained since i got married. i cry alot how i could have done this to me. wish i would know why i am gaining after being married. i just keep trying better everyday to try to loose this dratted weight. Report
We both did. The weight just seemed to creep on. I was cooking dinner every night. When I was single I might just've had salad or soup, but now I was eating full meals. Also, we went out to eat as a part of our social life. Pizza, pubs... all the calories packed on the pounds. Report
Yes we both did and the reason why was because we ate too much and didn't exercise enough. Report
my boyfriend and i both packed on pounds once we moved in together--hmmm....'magine that. Report
Yes I did pack on 60 pounds during the marriage. One of our favorite things to do together was go out to eat. I worked until 7p most nights an twice a week until 10p. We ate take out all the time. Our activity together was sitting on the sofa watching TV. One of the things that happened is I had enough. I started this program, starting cooking good foods. Stopped wanting to go out to dinner. When one of our only activities together stopped, so did the marriage. Not eating together was only one of the reasons, but I am down the 60 pounds of my weight and the 350 of his. (we have been living apart for almost a year now) We just didn't want the same things any more. He didn't want me. Report
I didn't gain weight b/c I got married. I still want to look good for my husband (and for me). I gained weight from other factors, like the stress of grad school, becoming hypothyroid, and, more recently, working too many hours & not having enough free time or energy to exercise as much as I should (and used to). Report
Yes and no. When we were still dating I had one semester in college where I put on about 40 lbs from a lot of fast food and no exercise. After being at my heaviest for about a year or so, we decided we were going to start running and in the two or so years from that decision until the wedding, I actually lost about 45 lbs. After we got married I kind of slacked off from being so strict with myself and ended up gaining about 10 lbs back but managed to maintain that for a while until this past November when I got pregnant, so now I get to start all over! But definitely looking forward to getting back into my exercise routine to start baby early on healthy lifestyle! Report
I have gained weight EVERY time that I got into a long term relationship. I think there are multiple reasons. The first stage is where you are still in the honeymoon stage and you are going out to eat all the time but you are now over the 'He's going to think I'm a pig if I eat all that' and so you add a couple pounds there. Then you go through the stage where even though you are doing cool things out together you are spending more 'together' time alone at eachother houses which usually entails movies and munchies that's a couple more pounds. Then you move in together....Now you don't have to go out to see eachother because the other person is there when you get home and you start to realize that all that money that you were spending out all the time has added up so now you sit at home and watch TV while eating dinner......yeah I'm pretty sure that is how it has gone, lol. Report
actually my weight was very stable after 3 children, and then I hit the age of 41 and everything changed....the weight crept on and I half worked at taking it off, now I'm 40 pounds overweight and working hard to get back to me...marriage was not what caused the weight gain... Report
Both my hubby and I gained weight after we got married but now I weigh less than the day I got married (lost 45 pounds) and my hubby has shed 65 pounds and is getting close to his single days weight. Thanks SparkPeople! Report
No I didn't gain weight when I got married the first time. I weighed 112 lbs from my freshman year of high school until I was 38. At that time I became more sedentary and I started gaining weight. When I married for the second time, I didn't gain at first, but when he was diagnosed with cancer I started gaining and ended up at 178. In the 12 years since he died, I have been down to 158, up to 178, down to 135 and for the last year or so, I have varied between 148 and 152. I think it is water and constipation that is causing the variance lately. I haven't really lost any weight that I can count. Part of the problem is I haven't really been working at it. One of these days I will get frustrated enough to get back to work on it. My biggest problem is I don't like to cook and I don't really care enough about food. I just eat what is easiest, like pasta. I have changed to whole wheat pasta and leaner sauces. Report
I definitely put on weight after I got married, but the gaining trend had begun before then. Unfortunately, we both enjoyed eating out and we did- all the time! We still enjoy a meal out, but not as often and I pay closer attention to the nutritional information of what I am ordering. Report
My obesity began after I got married. Most people joked that my wife must be a really good cook, but in reality, the opposite was true: She didn't like to cook, so we ate out all the time. All in all, I gained 75 lbs since I got married. Report
Yes. I gained about 25 pounds in the first 2 years after my sweetheart and I got together. The extra weight really was causing me some problems. I'm now back to the weight I was before we met, which I'm very happy about. I still have 100+ pounds to go, but I'm heading in the right direction. And this is a journey we are taking together. Report