Marriage Makes You Fat!

I knew it existed. I knew it wasn’t my imagination. I knew after watching it happen to countless friends and family members that I was not crazy, but astute (as astute as other external observers to the ballooning epidemic). Being in a committed relationship and moving in together makes you fat!

The findings (read Marriage Makes You Fat for specifics), I’m sure, surprise no one. But seriously, what is wrong with us? The minute we enter a relationship that we believe to be secure and lasting, we bloat up like pigs getting ready for the slaughter. We feel settled, the pressure is off and pow! we stop exercising, stop planning outdoor activities with one another and feel justified in eating treats ad noseum because Little Debbie now lives in the cupboards. The trend is never far from, “I wouldn’t eat it if it weren’t in the house,” when the truth is, the person who says that first is the person who did the grocery shopping.

And I know what you’re thinking if you’re a guy, “I knew it!”, but guess what, you’re also to blame.  Men get fat too. And lazy. On average, everyone’s to blame.

Some articles try to cast the phenomenon as a freak accident of cohabitation, a wraith-like occurrence, an unrecognized dilemma that adds 20, 30, 80 lbs to our frames before we notice. I’m telling you right now that sugar-coating the truth helps no one. Hell yes we notice and so do our partners. But who cares, right? I’m married, I’m committed, and I can eat what I want because I’m safe. The psychology adding the pounds is not benign happenstance; it’s malignant apathy.

Want proof? Go to the gym and watch people. The ones on a mission, men and women, who seem driven to lose weight, who look better week after week, who seem unable to fail in their physique transformation all have a nearly universal in common: they just got out of a long-term relationship. Ask. Whether it’s divorce, a breakup, moving out, it’s the same scenario. They are fully aware of how bad they look. This could not have been a sudden epiphany the moment the relationship ended. Did you look in the mirror and suddenly say, after 10 years of being fat, “Holy crap, I look like hell. I wonder why I never noticed before”? I don’t think so.

A young friend of mine, new to the near-30 dating scene (he’s not even 25, but has a recent penchant for the 30+ year old woman), is witnessing this first hand. Both scenarios have been identical. He meets a woman in the gym who’s working hard and has made serious weight loss and physique improvements over the few months that he’s noticed them. They start dating. After their first sexual encounter, the woman stops going to the gym (saying they have no time to get to the gym) and stops eating healthily (again, saying they have no time to prepare meals). Now what makes no sense is that their time commitment didn’t change. They worked out at lunch, went to the bars with friends in the evening and either had classes or work during the day. After feeling secure, they stopped working out at lunch and spent the evenings with my friend. Their extra-work time commitments remained identical in function if different in form, and yet, somehow, several hours evaporated from their day, hours they once used to plan their meals and get to the gym. And here’s the crux: once they break up, he sees them dieting again and working out on a regular basis.

Men do the same thing. I have several friends who workout like fiends, dial in their diet and get pretty buff when they’re single. After two weeks of dating someone, they slip further and further from an active, healthy lifestyle and claim they have no time. They start getting soft. They get slow. They get lazy. They complain about walking too far. Then they break up. Guess who I’ll see in the gym religiously for the next few months until they find a new girlfriend.

I’m tired of society creating excuses to make us feel better about getting fat and being lazy. You wanted to present a well sculpted, healthy demeanor to a potential mate, and once you snag one, you let it all go to hell. That’s false advertisement. You should get sued. Working out and eating healthy should be a commitment you make to yourself for yourself, not as a temporary condition to get laid. And if you can’t make the long-term commitment to yourself, then make it part of the commitment you made to the person you claim to love.