Like it or not, the holidays are here; which means your calendar is quickly filling up. Kids programs, work events and various parties seem to be coming at you faster than Rudolph can pull Santa’s sleigh. Plus there’s shopping, wrapping, planning and of course eating to fit in. And we’re not just talking normal eating, we’re talking holiday eating.
You know, the good kind, where everything seems to have just a little bit more sugar, fat and fun to it.
Thankfully the holidays are also full of family. Whether you are married, single, young or old, you probably have a better half that you spend the majority of your time with. They’ll be right by your side for the programs, parties, family and fun, which is a good thing. But did you know that having them right by your side for the food is one of the worst things you can do for your waistline?
Wedded Weight Gain
Whether you’ve been married for 20 minutes or 20 years; your spouse has more influence over your dietary habits than you could have ever realized when you shoved cake in their face on your wedding day. And while there are lots of great things about being married, one of the not so great side effects is an easily expanding waistline.
A 2012 study published in “Obesity” found that couples who have been married two or more years are more likely to gain weight than their single friends. “In fact, newly married women in their early 20s gain an average of 24 pounds in the first five years of marriage and men in the same age group gain an average of 30 pounds during that same time.”
So, what is making your happily ever after turn into happily ever fatter and how do you avoid it? Let’s examine a few common problems to wedded weight gain:
1.The Pressure is Off/Honeymoon is over
Chances are pretty good that you put a lot of time and effort into looking your best for your wedding day and honeymoon night. However, those events came and went and you were left with real life. And real life is hard. It has a way of sneaking up on you and handing you things like bills, stress and ice cream. With a comfortable and secure relationship it’s easy to feel settled down and lose sight of the goals and pressure you put on yourself to look your best on your wedding day.
2. Learning Curve
Marriage is a big change and it brings a lot of interesting adjustments to your life. Having a spouse brings a lot of new experiences. It takes a while to learn how to live together and it’s easy to let that take a higher priority than your health and weight. Maureen Murtaugh, PhD, RD, and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah, says, “Transition in relationships influences weight. It’s a time when you need to pay special attention to how much you’re eating and working out, before you wake up and think, Oh no, I gained five pounds.” Both newlywed and nearly-dead married couples should make it a priority to learn how to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into their lives so that they can be making healthy choices together for years to come.
3. Changes in Eating Habits
While marriage brings the benefit of always having someone to share a meal with, those meals have a lot of impact on how much you eat. The Chicago Tribune reported that the simple act of sharing a meal with someone can increase your food intake by 33 percent. Add to that your tendency to sneak a bite or 2, or 10, of any snacks your spouse may be enjoying and you’re setting yourself up to share a lot more than food. Instead of divvying up all the holiday goodies and treats that are delivered to your doorstep, try packing them away and instead you can each have your own holiday flavor inspired IdealShape shake instead.
A Few Final Thoughts
Sounds kind of scary: right? Don’t fret too much. There’s a reason your spouse is called your better half. And while that half makes it much more likely to gain weight, they also have the ability to motivate you and make things easier for you. So if you are ready to banish the bulge, don’t forget to use that better half as part of your weight loss journey. (Stay tuned for an article that shares the best ways to lose weight as a couple)