broadsideblog

Happily Married? Time For Bigger Trousers

In behavior, food, Health on June 13, 2010 at 2:35 pm
A picture taken, of A Green Salad.

Yummmmmm.....Image via Wikipedia

Not surprisingly, people who have found a partner and settled into a happy marriage or life with them, tend to gain weight, reports Abby Ellin — (author of a book on teens and weight loss) — in The New York Times:

Call them happy pounds, love chub or the marriage 15. No matter what, gaining weight during marriage is about as common as holding your breath under water.

A 2008 study in the Journal of Economics and Human Biology examined data from 12,000 men and women ages 18 to mid-40s. Compared with when they were single, the body mass index (or B.M.I., a height-to-weight ratio) 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.

“Marriage brings along with it social obligations: you eat out more, entertain more frequently, cook meals more frequently, and there’s also an element of being too busy to exercise,” said Laura Argys, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver and an author of the study. What’s more, for better and worse, married couples tend to share behaviors and activities, like snuggling on the couch with a vat of popcorn rather than hopping on the treadmill.

There are also incentives that could explain why the B.M.I. of couples who lived together without making it legal increased by only about 1 percent. If you’re married, the thinking goes, you’re somewhat settled. You don’t have to prove yourself; your spouse will ostensibly love you, all of you, muffin top notwithstanding.

The skinniest I’ve been since moving to the U.S., partnered, living in places that demand driving everywhere and  assaulted by American-style huge portions, was the week my husband bailed and I didn’t eat for a week.

Fifteen pounds — gone! Hot new boyfriend showed up three weeks later.

I’ve been with the sweetie a decade and we are both fighting this weight(y) issue. We love to cook, love great food, love eating out, know how much we make one another happy with a terrific meal shared in a restaurant or cooked well at home.

Other than the obvious, there aren’t a gazillion quick, easy ways to show your love; your hubby can tuck a brownie into his briefcase (or green salad, yes) but which — when homemade — most signals your love?

Breaking the calories = love link is a challenging one. No longer does the sweetie (sigh) bring home muffins. No longer do I bake. But, no matter how beautifully prepared it is, I just can’t get all misty-eyed over yet another bowl of leafy greens with a tbsp. of oil and vinegar dressing.

How do you handle the issue at your house? Have you gained (or lost?) weight when happily partnered?


  1. Oh gosh, I’ve gained some weight. So has my wife. We try to eat better meals, but the helter-skelter of daily life doesn’t make this easy. We prefer eating Mediterranean foods, olives, feta cheese, lots of salads, pita, and the like. Maybe it has a few lower calories and maybe it doesn’t. But on a summer evening, nothing beats it.

  2. So have we…Greek salad is great, the pita, not so much. :-)

    The sweetie makes a great chicken dish that is boneless, skinless breasts; olives, capers, tomatoes, artichoke hearts…No fat in it but lots of flavor.

  3. I”m 44 years old and I have been married since 1996. We have two kids, I work full time and I’m smaller than I was in high school. Obviously, some people have more difficulty with their weight and it’s obvious that genetics plays a role in appetite and satiety. However, the gaining weight after marriage smacks of complacency, which I don’t understand. Who wants to be overweight? Spouse or no spouse, I don’t.

  4. I’m not sure anyone *wants* to become overweight, but it does seem to happen and takes a lot of work to get rid of — as both people have to be on board for different eating habits and more exercise.

    • I know. No one wants to be overweight. However, I do think it is more of a concern for some and less for others. Of course, there are overweight people who actually try very hard to lose weight and keep it off. Again, I know I have genetics on my side.

  5. I’ve been living with my fiance for the last year and a half, and we’ve both gained a bit of a belly since I moved my things. He says it’s because I love baking, I say it’s because I love cooking for people.

    We’ve been trying to eat healthier, but he’s not a big fan of cooked veggies :( Leaves more for me, I suppose. On second thought, that might contribute a bit…

  6. My point exactly. No matter how healthy, I doubt any of us would offer up a bowl of broccoli for Sunday brunch or a romantic evening. Vegetables are totally healthy. Too bad they’re often so boring.

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