Is your marriage making you fat? Our guide to stay slim together

Is your marriage making you fat? Our guide to stay slim together

Scientists have discovered that couples’ waistlines can suffer after tying the knot. Our experts explain how you can stay trim together.

We often hear that marriage is going out of style but it’s still the most common way for us to live. In 2015 there were 12.5million married couples in the UK and more than 3million cohabiting partnerships, according to the Office for National Statistics. By comparison, just 7.7million adults lived alone. And there’s increasing evidence that getting hitched is about more than just a pretty frock and confetti.

Marriage-weight-gain-fat-obesity-health-734921Marriage, it appears, keeps us alive. A study from Warwick University over a seven-year period found that married men were 6.1 per cent less likely to die early than their single friends. Tying the knot was also good for women, reducing the risk of premature death by 2.9 per cent.

While being married brings many benefits, there are drawbacks, especially for our waistlines. Australian research found that within six months of their wedding, women gained almost 5lb – and this couldn’t be attributed to strict dieting before the big day (those who had starved themselves gained even more weight after marriage).

Weight gain doesn’t stop there, though, nor is it limited to women. According to a study at the University of North Carolina in the US, young women gain around 24lb in the first five years of marriage, while men gain around 30lb.Another study, published in the journal Health Psychology, found the happier a couple were, the more weight they gained. For every unit rise in satisfaction, men and women gained an average of one-tenth of a BMI unit every six months – roughly equal to 1lb a year for a 5ft 4in woman weighing 8st 7lb.However, unmarried cohabiting couples didn’t experience such weight gain. Why? Researchers suggest people tend to pay less attention to their weight in a committed relationship because they feel confident they’ll never have to impress a potential partner again. They may also hunker down in front of the TV with a big meal every evening.There’s evidence that married couples take less exercise than singles, too. Dr Andrea Meltzer, a professor of psychology who studied the weight gain of 169 newlyweds, says the people most likely to stay svelte are those who are “considering going back into the mating market”. Her tip? Rather than thinking about your body in terms of looks, consider how healthy you are.

Marriage-weight-728754

If you love eating together, cook lower-calorie meals and take up an activity you can do together such as walking, running or playing tennis. A US study of middle-aged couples found that when a wife met the recommended 150-minute weekly target of moderate intensity exercise her husband was 70 per cent more likely to achieve it too. Here we look at the most common reasons why your spouse might be helping you pile on the pounds and offer strategies for beating the bloat together:

 

DODGE THE FAT TRAPS

Trap one: He frequently comes home with “treats”. You don’t buy them as part of your weekly shop but he regularly brings crisps, biscuits and chocolate into the home. You know they’re loaded with calories and fat but if they’re in the house, you can’t resist them.

Slim strategy: Ask him to bring lower-calorie tasty treats that are better for both of you. A bunch of grapes, punnet of strawberries or a pineapple will satisfy a sweet tooth. By swapping a nightly 250-calorie bar of chocolate for fresh fruit you’ll save about 200 calories each day. In a year you’ll lose 21lb.

Trap two: He often cooks unhealthy meals. It helps you out but he thinks he’s auditioning for MasterChef and creates calorie-packed meals with loads of high-fat ingredients.

Slim strategy: Men love a challenge, so explain that you want to lose weight and set him the task of helping you to achieve it. Before you know it, he’ll be researching healthier recipes and asking you to buy lower-fat ingredients.

Marriage-weight-loss-728755Trap three: Your leisure time involves eating and drinking. Drinks at the pub, dinner with friends, popcorn at the cinema, coffee and cake while shopping are all just part of your life as a couple.

Slim strategy: Spend your leisure time being more active. A country walk, going for a sauna and swim or joining a dance class will all burn calories and remove you from eating opportunities. An hour-long lesson at a salsa or ballroom dancing class and then an hour of practising each week will burn about 800 calories.

Trap four: You eat the same amount as him Your portions are man-sized – and sometimes if he’s having seconds you will, too.

Slim strategy: Wise up to the fact that you need a fifth fewer calories than he does if you want to stay trim. Put a fifth less food on your plate – that’s 4tbsp rice to his 5tbsp. By reducing your portions of carbs and meat by 20 per cent, you’ll cut 200 calories off your meal. If your plate seems a little empty, add extra salad or veg.

Trap five: He disagrees when you moan you’re getting fat. He’s noticed a few extra pounds, but he doesn’t want to upset you by agreeing that your bum really does “look big in that”. Trouble is, as long as he keeps dodging the issue, you don’t feel motivated to shift those extra pounds.

Slim strategy: Dig out photos of when you first met and remind him how much slimmer you were then. He’s probably put on weight, too, so plan to slim down together.

 

Originally published on www.express.co.uk