We’ve all seen the process unfold at one time or another and heard the jokes that people throw around either at their own expense or someone else’s. You may have even felt the brunt of it yourself and questioned ‘is this just the process of getting older?’ Or ‘is this what is meant to happen?’
You don't need me to tell you that its quite common for couples to pile on the weight after marriage. One study carried out by The North American Association for the study of Obesity (NAASO), found that couples who transitioned from being single or dating to cohabitation or marriage were more likely to become obese than those who were still classified as dating. The obesity related behaviours were strongest for those who were married or living together for greater than 2 years.
Why does this happen? Are we too comfortable or lazy or do we no longer care? Or is there some innate reason as to why this happens?
Here are my 5 key reasons I believe couples tend to fatten up once they tie the knot and some suggestions to combat it!
- They are off the Market… They are no longer shopping and no one is buying… There is no longer a driving emotional force to keeping the rig in show stopping condition if you had previously been motivated more so by catching the eye of another single counterpart.
Action – Remember that being attracted to each other physically was probably one of the first reasons you started pursuing each other. Of course physical attraction transitions into so much more but it will always be an innate part of your relationship. Also I guarantee that your partner will love that you still want to make an effort for them, and for yourself. Also remember your children will mirror your eating habits, and you want to be around to see them grow up so being healthy is about so much more than just looking a certain way.
- Partners tend to divide their meals up evenly (which can be worse for the female in the relationship) and get caught up in each others late night cravings (chocolate binge anyone?)
Action – Be smart and tailor your portion sizes. I like to stick to protein the size and thickness of your palm at each meal, two fingers worth of healthy fats and two open hands worth of salad and veggies. Pre plan your meals for the week and do your ‘healthy’ shopping on the weekend so your fridge is stocked up with goodies and you’ll be better equipped to battle any sudden cravings.
- Instead of being out at a party or getting down on the dance floor, long-term couples tend to increase their couch time, which means snacking on things they shouldn't.
Action – I love a good movie night but it doesn't have to be 5 nights a week. In summer, get outside for a walk together after work to catch up on your day. In winter, try out couples dance classes or get involved in your local community sport club.
- Kids come along… Enough said.
Action – Just like when you fly and are told fit your oxygen mask before your fitting your child’s, you need to look after yourself first and foremost to be a great parent. There are plenty of excuses thrown around but you need to make yourself a priority. Make time for yourself and make your time with your kids active time – when they are stroller age, walk them. If they are walking age, kick the ball with them. Your kids are a reflection of your own habits…. So make them good ones!
- The exercise regime you used to have can take backseat when you start to feel guilty for leaving your partner waiting after work or running off first thing in the morning to hit the gym.
Action – There two ways you can go with this. If you have a similar timetable than why not train together? Group classes that offer different fitness and strength levels like Pump are great. Also body weighted training is great and can get you outdoors. You are able to train on the same equipment but at varying levels of fitness and support each other.
The other approach is to not let YOUR exercise regime be governed by your partners. Training with your partner is simply not for everyone. Sometimes by trying to accommodate each other you end up forfeiting your own training schedule and handicapping your own health goals.