Fit for Love Part 3: Couples Gaining Weight
By Ashley McIlwain
Have you ever noticed how a lot of people gain weight once they get married? In a recent episode of Dr. Oz, he reports that studies show couples are two times as likely to become obese after getting married. There are several contributing factors to why many couples are finding themselves gaining more than just a spouse after their walk down the aisle.
People have a tendency to work much harder at their appearance when they are looking for love than when they are in a committed relationship. After all, people who are married already got the guy or gal, right? This comfortable, casual attitude leads many to gain some extra pounds once they are feeling settled in.
While I personally understand this phenomenon and have unintentionally fallen prey to it myself, I don’t agree with it. There is a tendency in relationships to put forth all this effort to snag a spouse, but then after we have “caught” one we can kick back and enjoy. I agree with the enjoy part but not the kick back part.
Successful relationships require constant, day-in-and-day-out effort and work to keep them alive and well. Can it be tiring and frustrating? Yes! But that doesn’t get us off the hook. You want to know why so many marriages are falling apart? Because people fail to understand that the real work begins after you find that special someone, not before. Gaining weight to me is just an outward example of that inward, nonchalant attitude. Granted, I know there are other factors involved like stress, responsibilities, exhaustion, etc., but if we are honest with ourselves, there is a tendency to put forth a lot less effort into our health, appearance, and relationships once we get our significant other to commit to us.
One of my husband’s and my favorite things to do is snuggle up together to read, watch a TV show or movie, or just talk. We may even throw in a snack here or there. Sitting on the couch eating isn’t exactly an effective weight-loss plan, but like us, that’s what a lot of couples find themselves doing.
The single life lends itself better to an active lifestyle than being in a relationship does. We naturally are up and out trying to mingle when we are single. Once we find that special someone, we tend to stay in together, do dinner and movie nights, and find ourselves opting for generally less active activities. Obviously some couples are naturally active people, but even those couples can find themselves staying in more than they used to. This inactivity and more relaxed itinerary naturally leads to the potential for weight gain.
Children are clearly a game changer. They alter everything in your personal and relational life, and it can be tough to just keep everything afloat. Having kids changes everything.
When my sister first had her daughter, I would call her to catch up, and many times it would be approaching dinnertime. Despite how late it was in the day, many times she hadn’t had time to eat much more than a cracker. I’ve talked to many women (and men, although women are usually the primary caregivers) who say it’s tough to make time to go to the bathroom let alone workout, get dressed, put on make-up, do your hair, or make a healthy meal. It’s very clear that children add a huge obstacle to caring for yourself.
On the Dr. Oz, Is Your Marriage Making You Fat?, episode, he talks with a couple who had gained a significant amount of weight during the course of their eight year marriage. One of the biggest reasons the couple mentioned for their unhealthy lifestyle was their special needs child. They were so focused on putting her first and meeting her needs that they had completely neglected themselves and their own health. Crying, the wife said, “We’re here to put ourselves first … for her.”
Parenting adds an added challenge to managing everything, but it can’t become an excuse for neglecting your health. You have to find time to maintain your marriage and health because those are two of the greatest gifts you could give your children – a solid foundation with a strong, thriving marriage, and a parent that is alive and healthy. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself or your marriage. In fact, neglecting those two areas can lead to some of the most painful, damaging experiences for your children if something happens to you or your marriage falls apart.
These are just a few of the major contributing factors to why so many couples are finding themselves gaining weight once they get married. It’s easy to slip into a comfortable, inactive, whirlwind lifestyle where you are neglecting your health and appearance.
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