“You’ve let yourself go now that you’re married.” “You’re looking very matronly.” “You’re getting mom-hips.” These are just some of the loving comments I’ve heard from my brothers since I got married fifteen years ago.
But are we destined to gain weight once we’re married? According to a study published last July in the journal Obesity, love + marriage = weight gain isn’t inevitable, but the odds are stacked in favor of some weight gain. The study looked at almost 1300 “romantic partners” and found women who lived with a partner for at least a year increased the likelihood of being obese. For men, the odds of being obese doubled after 1 year of cohabitation. The study also found that couples who lived together for two or more years were significantly more likely to have at least one partner be obese, and they were also less physically active than couples who were dating.
Many factors can contribute to post-marriage weight gain, including more regular eating habits and an increase in other obligations that can eat into time you formerly used for exercise. Some days I feel like I have to schedule time to go to the bathroom, let alone go to the gym. And skipping a meal even if I’m not hungry is not really an option when I’m trying to work on consistent family meals.
But not everything is pointing down the road to rack and ruin. Although we may gain weight together, we can also lose weight together. Another study, published by the National Institutes of Health, found that when one spouse went through an intense weight loss intervention program, the other spouse also lost weight, even though they didn’t receive active treatment.
After reading all this research, I’ve decided that we’re going to celebrate our anniversary differently this year. No cake. No box of chocolates. No romantic dinner. Maybe we’ll go dancing, or take a spin through the park on our roller blades.
And I think I’ll leave the pint of Chubby Hubby ice cream at the store.
—Erin Gudeux, sensory senior project leader