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Guard Against Extra Pounds After Marriage
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many newlyweds find themselves gaining weight after the wedding when efforts to please their new spouse overrule their better judgment at the table.
"Trying to please each other, either by cooking a lot or by eating all that is set before them, often results in weight gain," said Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at Mississippi State University. "It is important that couples be aware that can happen."
Mixon said the problems can begin in several different ways. If the wife does most of the cooking and was involved in family meal preparation prior to marriage, she may be inclined to cook food in larger than necessary quantities.
If she has little experience cooking, she may lean on a cookbook with new recipes to impress her husband, which is good unless it causes them to eat too much. The other extreme is the couple may eat too many fast foods.
Mixon said couples can avoid most weight gain by developing some good basic nutritional habits:
* Avoid too many fried foods, sweet desserts and fast foods.
* Try to include more fruits and vegetables (a habit few single people maintain).
* Limit alcohol which is high in calories -- almost as many as fat. Chronic use of alcohol suppresses the appetite, thus interfering with the consumption of nutrients.
* Grill, bake, broil or boil meats instead of frying them.
* Experiment with herbs and spices for seasoning instead of butter, margarine or bacon drippings.
* Try to use portion control. Cook or provide only enough for two people.
* Do not keep junk food around the house. Stock fruits, raw vegetables, and cheese and crackers.
* Increase the amount of exercise. Brisk walking is one of the best forms of exercise to incorporate into a daily routine.
* Shop carefully. Use a list and do not shop on an empty stomach. This also will help the family budget.
* Eat slowly and select foods that require a lot of chewing. Salads are good choices if low-calorie, low-fat dressings are available.
Mixon said the bottom line is to eat a wide variety of foods for a more nutritious diet. It is better to avoid putting the weight on in the first place than to have to take it off later.
If weight is gained after marriage, Mixon said quick-loss or fad diets are not the best method to lose the extra pounds.
The most lasting method of losing weight is to adopt healthier eating habits. Reducing fat and increasing fruits and vegetables in the diet are the best places to start. Increased exercise will help dieters drop extra pounds at a faster, safer rate.
"A person can lose weight and still eat three meals a day with one or two snacks between meals. If people skip meals, they will be hungrier at meal time and be more likely to overeat," Mixon said.
She said when food is eaten in smaller quantities evenly spaced throughout the day, the body is able to more efficiently convert the food to energy rather than storing it as fat.