Marriage, fatherhood may cause men to gain weight

There is a common belief that once people get married, they begin to pile on the pounds. A new study suggests that this notion may hold some truth, after finding that married men have a higher body mass index than unmarried men.

Additionally, the research reveals that men – but not women – gain weight in the first few years after becoming a parent.

Study co-author Dr. Joanna Syrda, of the School of Management at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, and colleagues say that their findings help to shed light on the social factors that could lead to weight gain, which may help individuals to avoid becoming overweight or obese.

The study was recently published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

The researchers came to their findings by analyzing the data of 8,729 heterosexual couples who were part of the 1999-2013 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which was originally launched to study family income.

As part of the study, couples were required to provide information on their marital status, body mass index (BMI), and offspring. Data were collected every 2 years.

Married men 3 pounds heavier

The researchers found that, compared with unmarried men, men who were married had a higher BMI, weighing around 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds) more.

Parenthood also appears to affect BMI; the weight of married men increased in the first few years after becoming a father.

However, just prior to and after getting divorced, the researchers identified a reduction in men’s BMI.

The BMI of married women was not influenced by marriage or parenthood, the researchers report.

The team notes that previous studies have suggested that individuals who are single but who are looking for a partner tend to focus more on their fitness than people who are married. They believe that their results support such findings.

Furthermore, the researchers believe that their study strengthens the hypothesis that married people eat richer, more unhealthful foods as a result of greater social engagement.

However, the results oppose studies suggesting that married people are in better health as a result of greater social support from their spouses.

Being mindful after marriage

While further studies are needed to gain a better understanding of how marriage affects weight, the team believes that the current study offers some insight.

“It’s useful for individuals to understand which social factors may influence weight gain, especially common ones such as marriage and parenthood, so that they can make informed decisions about their health and well-being,” says Dr. Syrda.

“For married men who want to avoid BMI increases that will mean being mindful of their own changing motivation, behavior, and eating habits,” she adds.

“Given major public health concerns about obesity, understanding more about the social science factors that can cause weight fluctuation is important.”

10 Health Hacks

Every single minute someone somewhere has just made a health-related resolution, such as to lose weight, stop smoking, take less alcohol or join the neighborhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.

“Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”

Here are 10 to try:

1. Stop gaining weight. Even if you gain just a pound or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly.

2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.

3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. For a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast, top Whole Grain Total® with fresh fruit slices and low-fat or fat-free milk.

4. Switch three grain servings each day to whole grain. If you’re like the average American, you eat less than one whole grain serving a day.

5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.

6. Trim the fat. Fat has a lot of calories, and calories count. Purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a nonstick pan with only a dab of oil or butter.

7. Consider calcium by including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.

8. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.

9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge-lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.

10. Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.

Mindy Hermann.

Are Your Relationships Making You Fat?

I was on a lunch date with a lady sometime back and I asked what she was going to have for lunch,she said only water will do. I was surprised because she insisted she wasn’t taking anything aside water. About one hour into the date, she later told me she was dieting.

Are you constantly surrounded by temptation? Can’t say no to those fattening lunch dates, or those home-baked pies from your mother-in-law or to the huge box of chocolates from your partner? The diet is hard enough without high-calorie foods being pushed in your direction. How can you stick to your resolve?

WebMD experts offer five simple strategies to help you stick to a healthy eating plan (even when you’re surrounded by non-dieting friends and loved ones).

1. Make a Statement. It’s up to the dieter to make his or her feelings known. Directly ask your loved ones not to give you food as gifts or eat in front of you. No matter how strong you are, you can’t stare fattening foods in the face every day without your willpower breaking down.

2. Keep Temptation Out of Sight. Even if your loved ones agree to eat their fattening goodies when you’re not around, ask them to keep it in a cabinet where you don’t normally go for your diet foods – you’ll be less tempted to eat it.

3. Learn the Art of Substitution. Give yourself a taste treat of your own by preparing a less-caloric dessert that captures some of the essence of what your family members are wolfing down. Be creative and you’ll find that watching others eat the goodies won’t be so hard.

4. Share the Health. Make the foods that everyone craves in a more healthful and calorie-conscious way. Use no-fat yogurt in place of mayonnaise, use skimmed milk instead of whole milk. Creating a low-calorie shopping list will also help. Choose baked chips instead of fried, popcorn instead of cheese doodles, diet soda instead of regular, you will be helping everyone.

5. Be Reassuring. Even when they say you look good the way you are, reassure your partner that your weight loss goals are driven by health, not vanity, and that losing those extra pounds will help ensure a better future for both of you. Explain the serious health risks involved in being overweight.

No- you’re not weak-willed. You’re human. Just don’t let those around you get the best of you. Follow these five easy steps and you won’t fall off the weight loss wagon.

4 Easy Health and Fitness Tips

Of course the same could be said of the diet industry as well. There are so many different diets going around now you could pick one a month and in a years time still have more to choose from.

What is truly needed are some sensible proven weight loss tips that people can implement no matter what their present physical condition is. That said let’s dive right in.

#1 Drink more water. All too often humans are borderline dehydrated and so their bodies are working on the water starvation reflex and not flushing the toxins and junk out.

#2 Eat more often. I bet you thought I was going to say eat less. While it is true that to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you expend…you need to eat more often to get the metabolic furnace stoked up and burning right. Get it out of starvation mode. So start the day off with breakfast. Even an instant breakfast drink and a piece of fruit as we head out the door in the morning.

#3 Move more. Depending on your physical condition you need to be moving more. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, park farther out from the office or the store, go for a walk around the block, go dancing, play with your kids. Make it fun. Running is not the only way to burn more calories.

#4 Finally, determine your “Why”. Decide why you want to discard fat. Make your reason big enough to motivate you through the slumps that invariably happen.