The Do's and Don'ts of Wedding Weight Loss
How to lose weight before the big day -- and avoid 'heavier ever after'
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
"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
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
Say "I Don't" to Post-Wedding Weight Gain
"You're never as thin as when you get married because it's all leading
up to the big day," says newlywed Bonnie Lee of Mamaroneck, N.Y.
But in the two years since they exchanged vows, Lee says, she and her
husband, Wayne, have managed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, despite constant
temptation from the homework she did while studying at the French Culinary
Institute in New York. Lee recently completed the culinary arts program at the
cooking school and says her training has helped, rather than hindered, their
efforts to maintain trim, post-wedding waistlines.
"One of things that we love about our marriage is that we both cook
together," says Lee. In their single days, she and her husband used to eat
out a lot more, grabbing a pizza or burger here or there.
"One thing I've learned about restaurants after working in them is that
they don't measure the amount of oil they use," says Lee. "The food is
saturated in oil, and you don't even know it."
Instead of eating out and risking fat overload, she puts together quick,
easy meals that incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables, like stir-fries and
"Cooking doesn't require a lot of time once you learn to cook
efficiently," Lee tells WebMD. "The best and most inexpensive
ingredients are usually those that are freshest and are in season." Mercer
agrees, and adds that her own husband lost 20 pounds after they got married
more than two decades ago and never gained it back. But even if you're not
married to a registered dietitian, having a spousal support system can make it
easier to stick to a healthy lifestyle.