Health

The newlywed 15: Four ways to fight weight gain after marriage

Forget the freshman 15: A recent study out of Ohio State University found that women are more likely to gain weight in the two years after marriage, and men are more likely to gain in the first couple of years after a divorce.

Masterfile

Forget the freshman 15: A recent study out of Ohio State University found that women are more likely to gain weight in the two years after marriage, and men are more likely to gain in the first couple of years after a divorce.

“Clearly, the effect of marital transitions on weight changes differs by gender,” lead researcher Dmitry Tumin said in a university news release.

Previous research found that women make their hubbies healthier, by nagging them to go to doctor’s appointments and modelling good eating. Could this be the opposite effect?

“Guys can eat more than women, and they’re usually not watching their diet as carefully, so when you get married, you start to drink or eat as much as he does. Women tend to adopt the patterns of their spouses, and kind of start losing perspective on portion sizes and what’s normal to eat,” says Eliana Cohen, a Toronto-based psychologist.

How do you stop the love of your life from dragging you down?

1. Create a healthy household from the start, says Harvey Brooker, a weight-loss coach for men in Toronto. “Healthy living is something that you should be doing from the beginning, when you’re setting up a household. No matter what the rest of the world is doing out there, design a healthy eating policy in your household. Just like we take our shoes off at the door or don’t leave dirty clothes on the floor, we don’t bring junk food into this house, and we stay away from things that are going to make us both fat.”

2. Cohen also recommends you take advantage of behavioural psychology by banning bad snacks and treats at home. (Into behavioural-based weight loss? Cohen says her favourite program is The Beck Diet, a book about all the psychological tricks that’ll help you slim down.)

3. If you realize it’s time to start a diet, Cohen recommends, of course, lots of communication — starting with a formal sit down. “It should be discussed, there should be rules and contingency situations. When are you going to go to the gym, what kind of food are we going to bring into the house, are you going to cheat a little on the weekend?”

4. Your partner, she says, can even be helpful — they can keep you from being discouraged after the inevitable slip ups and keep you accountable. “There’s strength in always telling each other ‘we can do it,’ and being optimistic with one another.”