Is there a link between marriage and weight gain?

Judith Wills / 21 November 2014

Diet and wellbeing blogger Judith Wills wonders whether her long, happy marriage could be the cause of her weight gain.



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Today it's all about the Husband. While he slaves away in the kitchen preparing us a (hopefully) delicious leek and potato soup from our giant leeks in the garden and the last of the stored spuds, here I sit, about to have a go at him. In a nice way, of course. About being the root cause of my surplus poundage.

There is plenty of research to show that if you are married or living with a partner, you are much more inclined to be overweight and out of shape than if you are single. The reasons for this are several.

1. If you are happily married, you have less inclination to fret about having the perfect figure or weight. Let's be honest, both sexes pay more attention to their appearance (and grooming) when they are on the woo trail. Once you have your partner, what's to worry about? And one's weight appears to mirror the length of your happy relationship. I reckon a pound goes on for each extra year you are together. Well it has in my case, almost exactly. 34 years and 2½ stone heavier than the 9-stone something I was on our wedding day...

2. You are much more likely to prepare regular meals and generally be more food-aware if you have a spouse. Eating is such a social thing, it's one of the only things apart from sex that is something you can do at home together, that you share and enjoy (as long as at least one of you is a passable cook). Cooking for each other shows love, it's the simplest way to show love, especially for the many men who find it hard to express how much they care about you in other ways. So cooking and eating a lot is wonderful – except for your waistline.

3. Treats. I'm rarely inclined to buy something like a box of chocolates or even a bar of chocolate for myself. But let Husband loose even for a couple of minutes in any food shop or supermarket and when we get home, it turns out he's managed to buy the 400g pack of salted caramels I had my eye on but decided to resist, or the 200g slab of Aldi almond chocolate which we both know is one of the nicest bars in the world, but had both agreed we would not purchase on this occasion. You can imagine what he's like if let out to shop on his own. OK, the treats he buys are not just with me in mind, they are to share. And once he opens the pack I have to share, otherwise a) I feel like a spoilsport and b) once you get that chocolately smell in the air it's impossible to resist.

Oh, there are other things, lots of other things, too – I'm sure you can think of some of your own. Making man curry and man pies when in truth your hunger level is only around about chicken salad or a piece of white fish. Eating the mid-morning bowl of nuts and dried fruit he's kindly brought into the home office for you even though it's only just over an hour until lunch. Watching him serve the meal and put 50% more on your plate than you want or need.

When a husband is retired and without a long list of out-of-home activities to keep him busy, this food/love/poundage scenario can only get worse.

Judith WillsAnd here's the really annoying thing. We've both been trying in the past few weeks to shed some weight and get fitter. I've lost a pathetic 4lbs on my anti-inflammatory, low-carb diet, and it's been a struggle.

He's lost over a stone on his diet of eating what I'm eating, only a bit more and with extras. And he's just been into the office to tell me he's making a loaf to go with the soup. And I can smell it, wafting its bakey way up the stairs, and it doesn't bode well.

I did promise you a photo of self and I do have one here, taken a few weeks ago in the last of the good autumn weather.

As you can see, I have cleverly disguised my huge bust and fat middle with some fur. Honestly, I just couldn't do the leotard shot this time, I just couldn't. I'd need to drape myself in a pet python for that.

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