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We have all heard of the freshmen fifteen. Those nasty fifteen or so pounds of weight that sneak up on you the first year of college. I prepared well to face those and survived. Ok, so I only gained ten of the fifteen, but I still did something about it and came out generally unscathed. However, no one told me about the other sneaky weight gain that is even more damaging. Let me introduce you to what I like to lovingly call the Marriage Muffin Top.
The Marriage Muffin top comes into your life under the cover of darkness. It sneaks in undetected like the masked bandit in the night. Its intent is to make you fluffy, cause your clothes not to fit, and make you miserable. I mean after all, you haven’t changed a whole lot in your life so why should you be gaining weight? This was my thought as I watched the scale climb 10, 20, and then 30 pounds!
At first I was in denial. I thought there must be something wrong with me. Maybe I had a thyroid problem. Or maybe I was bloated from some underlying condition. Nope. There was no easy blame game here. It took over a year, but I finally fought back against the marriage muffin top. I still have a long road ahead, but I feel confident that I can win this war. You can too, with a little work and research.
Face the Reality and Set Reasonable Expectations
The age at which you get married or settle in with a significant other is going to affect how much you gain. If you are in your early 20s, you may only notice small weight gains. But if you are closer to or in your 30s the number of pounds will likely go up. This is because your body tends to change in your early 30s anyway, your metabolism naturally slows and you are more likely to put on the pounds.
Your genetics play a large role in your Marriage Muffin top. How are your parents and grandparents built? My mom is teeny tiny. She might wear a size three jeans on a “fluffy” day. Dad however, is built closer to a linebacker than a runner and both my grandmothers are bottom heavy. Its no surprise that I am pear shaped and have enough booty to rival J-Lo. I can not change my genetics, but I can make realistic expectations based on them. Make sure you do the same.
Look at the Small Changes You Made After Marriage
I didn’t feel like I made enormous amounts of changes when we moved in together. Looking back, I can see that it was really just a small amount that added up over time. These changes I was making were all hidden under the “happy marriage” category. They were things I did for or with my husband that I wouldn’t have normally done for myself.
I cooked meals. Notice I didn’t say breakfast, lunch, or dinner. New wives are often super excited to show hubby that we can cook! So there I was cooking full recipe meals, complete with sides and homemade dinner rolls. Of course, we then ate as much as we could. Why let good food go to waste? But prior to getting married I would only eat small meals, with lunch usually being my largest. Those extra calories add up.
As husband and wife we tend to catch up in the evenings over dinner and tv. My husband loves discovery channel shows. We are either watching someone build Alaska, buy Alaska, dig for gold, fish for gold, etc and so forth. I love “our time”, but I never watched that much tv before marriage.
House chores started to over shadow working out. Prior to owning a house, I would spend 45 minutes to 2 hours doing full body workouts. Once home ownership came into play there were so many things to do. Whether it was regular housework or home improvement projects, working out hit the back burner.
Beating the Marriage Muffin Top
Start by planning meals that are healthy, with smaller portions. It is ok to try new recipes. Pinterest is full of healthy, low carb recipes just waiting for you to try your culinary skills on. Just make smaller portions. Or freeze some of your meal to have on another day. Oh and skip all the sides and the dinner rolls, save them for the nights you have guests. I lost four pounds within two weeks of changing our diet and my husband lost seven.
Drink lots of water. In fact, don’t even buy a lot of other drinks. Funny thing happens when you stop buying soda and other sugary drinks, you stop drinking them. Don’t even give yourself a choice. I fought drinking water for a very long time. Finally, I bought myself two water bottles from Motivational Bottle with hour increments and it worked! You can get one like mine here. I am now an avid water drinking. I gained an enormous amount of energy just by adding water and quitting soda.
Plan morning workouts. Not only do you burn more calories in the morning, but you are more likely to not skip morning workouts. In addition, getting your workout in the AM means house chores won’t interfere with workout time. If your afraid that time will still be tight, do what I did and try a condensed workout program. I did pretty well with T-25, even following the modified workout at first. If your struggling with getting up early, try tips from my post on becoming a morning person.
Keep TV time minimal. Avoid the pitfalls of dinner or after dinner television. It tends to suck you in. Instead, eat dinner without tv and enjoy conversation with hubby. Then clean the kitchen after dinner and do any other house chores. Plan a specific time that you are going to spend tv time with hubby. Besides, all the good tv shows start around 8 or 9 anyway.
Plan date nights that involve being active. It can be as simple as going for a walk in the park, you will still be burning calories. Even if you are on a budget there are plenty of cheap or free date night ideas that you can try. Our favorite is to use Groupon to find introductory offers. We recently tried rock climbing this way and broke a crazy sweat!
Don’t Give Up
Whether you are trying to prevent the extra weight or you are trying to lose what you have gained,make a plan and stick to it. Pick healthy habits that you and your husband can practice together. Habit change is hard! You may fail a time or two before you reach success. Just don’t give up.