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Women: Does Marriage Make You Fat?

A recently published study found married women are fatter than unmarried women. I'm been warning my clients of the fairer sex for years: "Ladies... He's going to 'plump you up'!" (using my best "Saturday Night Live" Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation) if you're not careful. And I have a whole chapter of tips and strategies to help in my book, Diet Simple.

My client, Linda, who successfuly lost thirty pounds and kept it off for years, is in the public eye almost daily. When she married her German husband about ten years ago, who insisted on drinking whole milk instead of skim, dining regularly on sausages and wienerschnitzel, and who did most of the cooking in the house, I could see it coming. And weight yo-yo'ing has been a problem for her ever since. But Linda's fate was easy to predict, given the circumstances.

There are other not-so-obvious examples of my married clients who often gained weight immediately after the wedding and who have a harder time losing weight than their unmarried counterparts - whether they've been divorced, widowed, or never married - makes no difference. And this study, published in the Journal of Women's Health, backs up my own observations during my 25+ years in private practice. The study showed that not only were married women more overweight, they drank more alcohol and had higher blood pressure, too. Could marriage be bad for your health? Well, I wouldn't go that far... But, here are some tips and strategies to prevent you from gaining marriage girth:

1) Keep in mind that your husband may be 50% heavier or even twice your size and need twice your calories (so you may only need to eat two-thirds or only half of what he eats),

2) Cook veggie-centric meals and soups so that both you and your husband are naturally eating fewer calories; he can always get seconds and eat more of the fattening parts of the meal,

3) If you get home earlier from work, don't wait for your husband to eat a full meal together. Eat a snack when you're hungry, and perhaps save the salad or the veggies you prepared and a little protein to eat with him, while he eats the full meal,

4) Take turns exercising. My client, Vickie, was too busy with her children before and after school to exercise. But then she and her husband decided they should trade duties. Her husband agreed to take care of the kids in the morning so that Vickie could exercise then, and he agreed to exercise in the evening, which helped him reduce work stress anyway.

Of course, all kidding aside, marriage doesn't have to have these negative health consequences. But caveat emptor!