Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In the News: Why Marriage Can Cause Weight Gain

When I graduated from high school, I admit that I was a little nervous about the Freshman 15. People talked about it as if it were inevitable – something that came with your college syllabus.

But according to a recent article by CNN, college isn't the only time that you're vulnerable to weight gain. Women are most likely to gain weight during life transitions, and one of the most common is marriage.

Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates that most weight gain occurs during the first year of marriage, when couples begin to mirror each other's eating habits. As couples eat together more often, the wife's portion sizes start to match her spouse's.

Your intake of carbs should be based on the size of your fist and protein on the size of your palm. Because his hand is likely bigger than hers, he gets the bigger portion.

Other weight gain triggers:
  • Holidays
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
Menopause is probably the most difficult obstacle to overcome in terms of weight gain. As you experience menopause, you burn fewer calories, possibly due to a drop in estrogen, meaning that you're more likely to gain weight.

But, just because the odds are higher doesn't mean that weight gain is inevitable. The article provides tips for keeping the pounds off at each of the four transitions.

As for me, I didn't gain weight until after I'd graduated from college and was married. My husband, Ben, is the cook in our household, and he tends to serve generous portion sizes. Once the food is in front of me, there's no turning back.

I lost most of the extra weight last year and have found that it's easiest to keep my weight in check if I brown bag my lunch. By limiting myself to only a few items and keeping portion sizes small, I reserve my calories for my biggest meal of the day. And since I don't leave the office for lunch, there's no risk of my heading across the street to the pizza shop.

Have you gained weight during a life transition? How have you battled the weight gain?

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