You've heard of the freshman 15 -- but did you know there's also a post-wedding weight gain? Studies show that couples are likely to gain weight after the wedding. But why is it happening and how can you stop it?
Post-wedding weight gain can begin as soon as the honeymoon starts or creep up months later. It can be a reaction to restrictive dieting tactics used before the wedding, or it can be the result of settling into long-term unhealthy habits. For many of my clients it boils down to a lack of energy and time, leading to a life of fatty, salty convenience foods or automatically ordering takeout. Couples are just too tired to come home and put effort into cooking, which many view as a chore. And if a couple has always assumed a designated chef of the house -- that's reason enough for some spicy arguments.
It's not that you automatically bear the badge of 'unhealthy' if you're eating out. In fact, the National Restaurant Association says that the average American dines out five times a week. The real problem is that these meals are generally higher in calories and fat than what we make a at home. Want the numbers? The US Department of Agriculture estimates that each meal away from home increases daily calorie intake by roughly 135 calories, adding up to 10 pounds a year!
Solution: cook as a couple for a healthier home. Kenmore did a survey and found that couples who cook together are actually happier and healthier than their counterparts!
Of the couples surveyed, 82 percent responded that they are more satisfied in every aspect of their life and see their marriage in a more positive light. Or perhaps it's changing how you view cooking.You need to eat at some point and opting to cook as a couple allows time to bond while working on communication and cooperation. Doesn't that sound better than adding 'make dinner' to a task sheet?
But of course, there are barriers to cooking and therefore an immense number of excuses. I took the top five reasons I hear why someone doesn't cook and gave you the tips and tricks to beat it:
- "I'm stressed and tired.": I hear you. Cooking is not enjoyable for everyone, so make your kitchen a happy place. Light a candle and turn on some music to start things off right. The real key is planning ahead. When you're not stressed, set aside an hour and plan a menu for the week. From there, create your shopping list. After shopping, do some prep work! Whether it's chopping produce or making soup to freeze, what you do on the weekend can make life easier Monday through Friday. And remember, it's okay to order out sometimes! Keep mixed greens and chopped veggies on hand at all times to make take out healthier.
- "I don't know how to cook.": It's becoming more and more common to be raised in a home where neither parent cooks. Sign up for classes with your partner or watch YouTube videos on the couch. YouTube is like having a cooking instructor on demand! If you're looking for a great comprehensive cookbook, I highly recommend The Joy of Cooking.
- "I don't know what to make.": To be totally honest, I feel this way sometimes too. But there's inspiration everywhere! Check out Pinterest and keep a few favorite cooking blogs bookmarked. Not personal enough? One evening, reminisce together about a favorite date or dinner. Did you go to a little cafe on your honeymoon? What did you eat? If you're more of a book person than a memory person, go to the library and check out the latest cookbooks for free!
- "I don't have time to cook.": This common phrase goes hand in hand with excuse number one. It's all about planning and prepping ahead of time. My favorite resource for the busy bees is the pre-prepped counter at groceries like Wegman's where they chop and produce for you. Rotisserie chickens or pre-seasoned pork loins are also smart time savers that can be used for more than one meal. Final resource? Try a crockpot and return home after work to a finished meal.
- " I don't have the tools or space.": So maybe you don't have a dish washer or microwave. In fact, I don't either in the midst of our house renovation and I'm still cooking! You don't need everything in a 'traditional' kitchen to make a meal. Evaluate what you have and write down what you feel you need to make cooking easier. If you often wish you could make soup at home, skip the standing blender and buy a small immersion blender. Love to make stir fry? Invest in a great medium sized pan.
Have you used one of the top 5 excuses? What tactics do you use to make healthy happen?
Follow Carlene Thomas R.D., L.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CarleneRD