Does Marriage Make You Fat?

Is there truth to the notion that we "let ourselves go” once we walk down the aisle? My new dress size seems to think so...

Does Marriage Make You Fat?

Is there truth to the notion that we “let ourselves go” once we walk down the aisle? My new dress size seems to think so…

-Emily Southwood,

eating in bed

The other day I tried on a bridesmaid’s dress that I’d purchased online and it was a rather gloomy experience. The style, which I’d selected myself, was nothing short of utterly unflattering. Or in my husband’s words: “What’s with the Mormon dress?” To boot, despite my vague attention to the sizing chart, it was distinctly snug. Lucky for my date and me the wedding is not until August. I packaged my little chaste dress back up immediately and hoofed it to UPS.

As I reselected another style, I was forced to face the numbers. And since measuring tapes don’t lie, the verdict was in—I’ve increased a dress size since my own wedding nearly three years ago. When did that happen? While I’m someone determined to focus on healthy living rather than dieting—vitality not pounds—it did give me pause to reflect on the bigger picture.

The truth is, hubby and I have both packed on a post-nuptial few. And so I wondered: is it just getting older and having to pay a little more attention to diet and exercise? Or, as I’ve often heard, does marriage have anything to do with it? Have we really gone soft? There was that time we took up boxing together for all of three months … a year ago. And hubby does make a mean spaghetti Bolognese.

As if thinking about forgoing pasta wasn’t depressing enough, I read a Time article, First Comes Love, Then Come Obesity? which claims: “New research shows that within a few short years of getting hitched, married individuals are twice as likely to become obese as are people who are merely dating.”

Yikes! The reasons they came up with include the usual “letting yourself go” rationale. As well as mealtime being a priority and no longer trying to look hot for your wedding. In fact, the only good news in the article for married folks was that we may live longer and are more likely to quit smoking. Lucky day.

Read How Often Do You Have Sex and Who Initiates It?

I thought about whether these conclusions resonated with my husband’s and my own behavior. There’s no question that we love to cook and eat together. And I was doing a few more sit-ups before walking down the isle in tummy-revealing silk, to be sure. Usually, I like to think that I maintain my figure for me. But I guess the rationale behind letting yourself go in relationships is complacency, aka: I’ve already reeled in my catch and don’t need to work on my six pack anymore. On the one hand, there’s an implicit, “skinnier is better” message behind this attitude that I don’t like to subscribe to. On the other hand, I don’t know a single woman who’s elated to go up a dress size.

In my experience, complacency is a close friend of contentedness. And hubby and I have definitely reached extreme levels of comfort with each other. So have I come to take his attraction to me for granted? Yes, to a certain extent I have. I’m pretty darn sure my man’s attraction to me doesn’t hinge on a few pounds. But all the same, it’s probably not wise to take anything for granted or let contentedness translate into a couple extra slices of pizza. At least not every night because the habits we develop together are important in the long run.

I guess the moral of the story is that there are reasons for couples to be mindful of their burgeoning pot bellies (besides the fact that Us Weekly seems to think they’re not great for bikini season). Still, I don’t think our marriage is en route to obesity. I’m what you would call petite—not quite little person status but verging on it. Hubby is a foot taller than me and naturally slim. We should probably just focus on spending as much time exercising together as noshing Brie.

And on that note, we’re heading out for a romantic hike up to the Griffith Observatory now. That is, right after I eat this egg and Parmesan breakfast sandwich that my man just made.

Oh and apologies to my bride—I know my duty was to compose a poem for the ceremony, not write a depressing article about marriage and weight gain. I promise from here on in I’ll stick to task.

Emily SouthwoodEmily Southwood is working on a memoir called Prude and blogs at She lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Emily is the author of the “I Married a Pornographer” series on BettyConfidential.

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0 thoughts on “Does Marriage Make You Fat?

  1. It doesn’t me unless who I’m with insists on cooking a bunch of greasy fattening things. I don’t eat a lot, but those things will cause problems anyway. But I want to look good for my guy and for myself, so I try to stay at a consistent weight.

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