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Bliss Life

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'Til Fat do us Part

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Written by Kate Thomas

There are significant events that happen in our lives that affect our fitness motivation, and marriage is one of them. When you say ‘I do,’ priorities can change and the gym falls further and further down the ‘to do’ list. Pregnancy can encourage weight gain and post-baby life can be even busier. According to Larry Barnum, a Reno-based Marriage and Family Therapist, women statistically put on more weight in the first year than men. When weight gain starts to affect your relationships, more specifically with your spouse, you need to understand why it has happened and what you can do about it.

Many factors come into play that prompt weight gain after marriage, some less obvious than others. Here are some of the most common:

  • We are no longer on the prowl
Humans have a natural instinct to find a mating partner for life and while on the hunt for the man of our dreams we put a lot of time and effort into looking our best to attract our mate. Once you marry the man of your dreams you feel secure and begin to relax. With this can come weight gain purely because you feel a sense of relief that you don’t have to work your butt five times a week anymore to impress a guy.
  • The ‘perfect’ home life
As we build our houses into homes, we naturally want to nourish the house and everything in it. We care about décor and cleanliness. B. Misty Wycoff, M.A, a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in Marriage and Family therapy explained how this could also show on the dinner table.

“I think newlyweds are often trying hard to have the "perfect" home life.” Wycoff said. “So creating three meals a day can be one of those things that we unconsciously think means a good home.”

Those three meals a day, which include dessert, begin to show on the hips and result in weight gain.

  • We eat as much as our man
This is a really easy trap to fall into and one many women have experienced in earlier relationships. When cooking for and eating for your man you eat the same amount as them. Men have a much more active metabolic mass in their body which burns more calories than women’s bodies. Typical. So, unfortunately, we do not burn as much of that food off as them.
  • Two become one
Newlyweds, excited to be starting a life together, instinctively want to spend all their time together. We all know it as the ‘Honeymoon’ period, and it typically lasts for at least the first year. Couples sacrifice the time they would use for independent exercise to spend with their new partner.

“Each one is silently choosing to not go on a bike ride with her friends, if hubby doesn't bike, or not doing the Zumba class for similar reasons,” Wycoff said.

So by dedicating yourself to each other, in turn, exercise is not top priority anymore.

  • Pregnancy
Pregnant women naturally eat more than they need to during pregnancy and become less active due to maternal concerns over the health of the baby. Also, after childbirth the baby has a tendency to take over and it is very difficult to find time in the day for exercise between dirty diapers and four hours of sleep. Healthy living becomes a motivation that will start tomorrow, yet tomorrow never comes.
  • Family focused food
Generally speaking, our children do not like to eat healthily. They want burgers, chicken nuggets, wings and potato skins dripping in cheese. Husbands too, prefer a burger to a slimming salad. With so much pressure coming from all directions, women begin to cook for their families and not for themselves. In many cases too, these meals are fast and easy to put together when you are a full-time working Mum with a family.
  • Lots of leftovers
It is a common sight to see a mother take one encouraging spoon full of yogurt for every spoon for her child. Women taste what they are cooking and finish food for their children. These calories begin to add up.
  •  Comfort eating
Hopefully the less common cause for weight gain during marriage is due to unhappiness but it could be the case. Women who are unhappy can turn to food to find comfort.

It is clear that it is very difficult for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle with so many dynamics working against you. However, if you recognize there is a problem, if your relationships are suffering, then it is your responsibility to take action. Identify the root of the problem and make steps to change towards a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Choose one day a week to cook a fabulous meal for your man with appetizer, entrée and dessert. Show off your culinary excellence and get his taste buds tingling. For the rest of the week, have a salad for lunch and cook a one-course healthy meal for dinner.
  • Take smaller portions than your partner. It is very likely that they are not going to notice, because, let’s face it they are men. This way you are being fair to your own metabolism by not overwhelming it with too much food.
  • Find a sport that both you and your husband can do together. “As a couple you can do activities together – be together, nudge each other,” Barnum said. Go hiking on the weekend, play tennis at the local club or take a 30-minute walk in the evening after dinner. Find a common ground where you can get active together. Not only will you look great, but the exercise will get your pheromones pumping boosting activity in the bedroom too.
  • During pregnancy feel free to eat more. It is your birthright. But remember that as much as you are eating for two, you also need to nourish that little baby and you must eat healthy. You can also preserve many of your exercise regimes until the final stages of pregnancy – think Charlotte in Sex and the City. She ran throughout her pregnancy.
  • Compromise is the way to work the family meal times. Once a week you can serve up burgers and fries, maybe as a treat on Fridays for a weekend celebration. The rest of the week, Mom rules in the kitchen and healthy vegetables rule the table. You will be setting a nutritious example for your children and will keep you and your family in perfect health. And put the leftovers in the dog bowl.
Ultimately, the most important thing in a marriage is communication. Make sure you communicate with your husband all that you are feeling.

“We bring many expectations to marriage that are hidden/silent, created in early life while watching how our parents did things,” Wycoff said. “Sometimes we have incorporated those values without awareness, and again it takes time to sort out what it is that actually works for the couple, meaning two distinct people, trying to live together.”

As partners, if you are feeling low on confidence, you should be there to support each other and help each other to work through problems within your marriage.

“Be caring and connected. Don’t judge each other,” Barnum said.

Talk to each other, pay attention to each other, keep an active sex life and speak encouragingly and compassionately toward each other. Do it together.


B. Misty Wycoff, M.A