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The Do's and Don'ts of Wedding Weight Loss

How to lose weight before the big day -- and avoid 'heavier ever after'
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Losing Weight Before the Wedding continued...

Once future brides and grooms set their minds to a weight-loss and fitness plan, Fleming says, they are usually successful. Many pick up healthy habits that last a lifetime.

"It is amazing to me how focused and motivated they become during this frantic, crazy, panicked period in their lives, and it's the one thing that they stick to," says Fleming. "If you need to use the wedding day to get you started, that's OK, but most people continue to work out, feel great, and look back at the pictures and say, 'Wow, I can do this.'"

Heavier Ever After?

Once a couple says their "I do's," they may be at risk for a honeymoon holdover effect. Research shows that newlyweds gain weight at a faster rate then their single peers.

"Married people are heavier than people who have never been married," says researcher Jeffery Sobal, PhD, associate professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University. "They are also somewhat heavier than people who have been previously married, divorced, separated, and widowed.

"Recently married people eat about half or more of their meals together," he says. "So marriage really is a huge influence on what you eat, its caloric value, nutrient composition, and all of those things."

What seems to happen, Sobal says, is that newlyweds eat more regularly, and more formally, than they did in their single days.

"The fact that you have dinner together is seen as one of the wonderful thing about marriage. You've got an eating partner," Sobal tells WebMD. "Those meals are usually more formal and consist of multiple courses."

Sobal says his research has shown that when you control for other variables, like age and having children, the "marriage effect" seems to go away to some extent in women while it persists in men.

"It suggests that there is something about being married that makes men slightly, but not hugely, heavier," says Sobal. He says more long-term studies will be needed to determine the exact nature of this marriage effect on weight.

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