You can gain a lot from a marriage – ongoing support, responsibilities, financial stability, a growing family, and, unfortunately for many - weight.
In fact, a OnePoll study, conducted on the behalf of Jenny Craig, found newlyweds gain an average of 17 pounds during the first year of marriage!
Want to know the secrets to avoiding relationship weight gain? Make a vow to these 12 tips in sickness fitness and in health to combat weight gain after marriage!
Why Do Couples Gain Weight After Marriage?
Weight gain after marriage or getting into a relationship is also sometimes called “happy weight.” Some health experts suggest this occurs when two people are satisfied and happy.
The reasons for weight gain after marriage are multifaceted, though the OnePoll study evaluated the top reasons for weight gain in relationships and marriage. These included the following:
• Eating more takeout instead of cooking
• Bonding over trying new foods and restaurants together
• Not exercising as much
• Starting a family
• Losing motivation to maintain physique
• Lack of sleep
• More stress at work
Overall, getting married can change the rhythm and sound practices of exercise and healthy eating routines. However, knowing this can help set you up for success to avoid relationship weight gain.
Make it a priority to put your and your spouse’s health first. Also be aware of spending time together not only eating out but meal prepping and exercising together.
12 Ways to Avoid Relationship Weight Gain
Just because weight gain commonly occurs, especially in the first year of marriage, does not mean you will fall into this pattern. Follow these tips to help you avoid weight gain after marriage and set yourself up for a lifelong pattern of health with your partner.
1. Get Back on Track After the Honeymoon
So you lost the weight you wanted for the wedding only to completely indulge during the honeymoon and when arriving back home. While it is certainly okay to enjoy life's special moments, it is important to not sustain such practices on a regular basis.
So hop off the honeymoon train and get back to a regular routine, including that workout regimen you built leading up to your big day. The more times you implement healthy practices, the more naturally they will become a part of your daily routine and lifestyle.
2. Vow to Eat Wholesome Foods
While you made the biggest vow on your big day, continue making a commitment to your diet and post-marriage weight loss efforts. Vow to consume wholesome foods that nourish the body, rather than continuously falling victim to highly processed, innutritious products.
Placing priority on nutrient-dense foods naturally supports weight loss, especially when balancing whole grains, lean and plant-based proteins, fruits and veggies, and healthy fat sources in your daily diet.
3. Take A Day to Meal Prep for the Week
So now it is known what types of food to eat, how can you ensure their intake amidst a busy schedule? A big contributor to weight gain after marriage is eating takeout due to insufficient time to cook.
However, making meal prep a part of your weekly routine can bridge the gap. Start by brainstorming meals and snacks for the week, creating a grocery list, and heading to the store with one another. Once the groceries are unloaded, divide and conquer the meal prep. Also, divvy up the portions for dinners and lunches to take to work.
4. Watch Portion Sizes
Overall, men have larger appetites than women. This can eventually have a lasting impression on women, especially as they tend to mirror portions of their husbands.
While women can still enjoy the same dinner prepared, be sure to watch portion sizes. Likewise, men should watch portion intake to lower the risk of gaining extra pounds.
5. Dine Out Sensibly
In the OnePoll study, the number one reason for the "love weight" phenomenon is due chiefly to the uptick in dining out when starting a new relationship - which was cited by 41 percent of participants! However, you can still try new foods and restaurants together by dining out sensibly.
To illustrate, rather than each getting a large entrée, split one and try a new appetizer. And instead of always adding dessert to meals, make that new ice cream place a special treat after enjoying a nutritious meal at home.
6. Communicate Health Goals with Eachother
Communication is a foundation of any sort of relationship, so be willing to communicate openly with your goals. Being upfront only helps you stick to commitments, but eliminates any misunderstandings and the risks of arguments later down the road.
7. Always Offer Support to Your Spouse
Along with communication, support is one of the most influencing factors when reaching any sort of goal, weight loss included. In fact, supportive partnerships can help keep weight down according to a 2018 study in Health Psychology.
More specifically, the study shows a supportive marital relationship is associated with healthier body weight in midlife.
8. Never Criticize One Another
Being critical of goals and choices of your spouse can be disheartening to their drive. If you start to recognize your partner might be losing motivation, and rather than critiquing their weight and eating habits, be kind, yet honest. Ensure them you are on their side and always looking out for their best interest.
9. Don't Get Too Comfortable
Though you should absolutely feel secure and comfortable around your spouse, being a little laxer with healthy habits can start reflecting on the scale.
Allow yourself to feel comfortable in your skin and around one another, while simultaneously recognizing health should equally take the front seat to prevent unnecessary weight gain.
10. Try Out Your Partner's Interests
Each month, take turns trying out new activities your partner has an interest in. For instance, if your husband has been dying to show you the way around the links, head to the golf course for an active afternoon. The next month, sign him up for that cycling class you've been itching to try.
Keep activities as something that you both enjoy doing together instead of getting into a rut of using all downtime watching tv or vegging out.
11. Reconstruct Your Date Nights
From experiencing a fancy new restaurant to snacking on a bounty of popcorn and candy at the movies, food is often a focus of date nights. While going to dinner and heading to the movies are certainly okay, try to take the emphasis off food and more on physical activities when spending time together.
Fun activities include challenging one another to a game of putt putt or a few games of bowling. (Winner gets to choose the next date night activity!)
12. Alternate Responsibilities So Both Have Time to Stay Healthy
When getting in a relationship and starting a family, you start to take on more responsibilities. In addition to splitting the tasks fairly, also take on and alternative certain tasks so your partner can have some time for themselves.
For instance, get the kids ready for school in the morning so your loved one can make it to the gym. They can return the favor by picking them up from school and starting dinner so you can make it to your spin class after work.
In Summary: Why Couples Gain Weight After Marriage
Weight gain after marriage can be common, especially in the first year of marriage. The weight gain might be due to a number of factors like an increase in eating out (or ordering in), a shift in free time for exercising, loss of motivation to workout, and less time for healthy habits when starting a family.
The good news is relationship weight gain does NOT have to occur. Help each other stay on track with health goals by offering communication, support, gentle encouragement, and interest in one another’s activities.
Most of us are carrying some love weight, study finds. digitalhub US. Published September 6, 2021. https://swnsdigital.com/us/2018/09/most-of-us-are-carrying-some-love-weight-study-finds/.
Chen Y et al. A prospective study of marital quality and body weight in midlife. American Psychological Association.Published 2018. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fhea0000589.