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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 salads.

"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.

Lee and Mercer offer these tips for avoiding post­wedding weight gain:

  • Keep a well-stocked pantry. Having no food in the house can cause too many trips through the drive-through.
  • Plan meals ahead. Go to the grocery store with a list.
  • Focus on seasonal fruits and vegetables. It'll help your budget as well as ensure a healthy variety.
  • Watch portion sizes. Men are usually larger and require more calories than women, so portion sizes among couples shouldn't necessarily be equal.
  • Make exercise a part of your new life together. Take a walk after dinner, or learn a new sport as a couple.

"Cooking and exercising together is a good way to support each other," says Lee, "and that's an important part of marriage."

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