Why married women are fatter
According to a recently published study of 6,000 women, when a woman says 'I do' she tends to pack on the pounds. Falling in love, it seems, makes her more wobbly than womanly.
The women studied were between the ages of 18 and 23 at the beginning of the research, and over a 10-year period they completed an annual questionnaire about their lifestyles and their eating, drinking and social habits.
The 300-question survey focused on "weight and height, age, level of education, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol consumption, medications used and a wide range of other health and healthcare issues".
And by the end of the 10-year study most of the women had 'partnered' with a man and about half had given birth.
So what did the study, which aimed to find out the reasons behind women's weight gain, discover? The results showed that the women who remained single gained the least amount of weight over the 10-year period, 11 pounds on average.
Those who had given birth had gained an average of 20 pounds since starting out.
Meanwhile, the women who were partnered up but who hadn't given birth still managed to gain four more pounds on average than the single women.
By the end of the study period there were fewer smokers and risky drinkers than at the beginning but there was also an increase in the number of women who exercised little, plus a larger proportion of the women were without paid employment.
The findings, published in The Journal of Preventive Medicine, also found that almost all of the weight gain happened with the first baby -- subsequent births had little effect.
Possible reasons for the weight gain cited by the study's researchers included a 'more active social life'. It was discovered that married women went out more than their single counterparts. One explanation was that, having settled down sooner than their single peers, married couples tended to have more disposable income to spend on social occasions.
Other possible reasons cited included the increasingly sedentary lifestyles adopted by many married women and a growing sense of complacency because they no longer needed to find a mate.
So you think you have found a soulmate for life (in spite of increased divorce rates) and you don't think you need to attract your man anymore. Although you ate chicken and salad while dating, as a married woman you are more likely to give in to a burger and chips.
And there are many different lifestyle changes that also happen after you marry. You get into the habit of snuggling up beside your beloved on the sofa, watching your favourite TV programmes, while often sharing a bottle of wine. You used to go to the gym in the evenings so that you would look fit and toned on dates.
In spite of modern women not identifying themselves as the family's prime cook, many want their hubbies to think they are as good in the kitchen as Nigella Lawson. So the recipe books which gathered dust while they were single, gain finger marks when they marry.
Women also eat as much as their husbands, first by accident and then because they've grown to love food. And that includes all the snacks he has while watching the football or reality TV shows.
It becomes harder for the wife to resist the cheese and crackers he eats with his wine, or the pizza he enjoys with his beer, when she is with him every night of the week and not trying to slim down to fit into a wedding dress.
Meanwhile, women find themselves cooking more for both their families and friends. And they give preference to their families' choice of dishes, even if those are fattening and creamy sauces and calorie-rich desserts. Their aim is to please all the guests in their marital home.
You perceive yourself to be on a budget after you marry, after all you are now working on creating a home with the man of your dreams. So this means you eat the left-overs, not because you are hungry but because you don't want to waste food, and you think in some way you are saving a few euro.
Joyously, you become pregnant with your first baby, and it's a chance to enjoy food without feeling guilty. So you do. And then have a little bit more. And just another mouthful. You gain surplus pregnancy weight, and struggle hard to lose it. But sure, you'll be having another baby, so what's the point of losing the weight if you are going to be gaining it all over again soon?
Interestingly, psychologists also claim that married women sabotage their attempts to lose weight because they desire to be loved unconditionally. They want to feel that they are loved and desired by their husbands no matter what weight they are.