Before I started my blog, I expressed myself on the Self Forums. I used the forum to get tips and gain support from other women before I discovered this fabulous community. I met so many great friends through SELF and actually if it wasn’t for the forum, Namaste Mari would have never happened (this is where my fabulous guest blogger comes in). I have known “Mansana” (my nickname for her, her real name is Yelena) for about 3 years; we met via Self and instantly connected and have been fabulous friends ever since (she is my west coast sista). Mansana is actually the reason I started to blog…she started her page first and I decided to join in the fun (Thanks chica for introducing this to me!).
Yelena recently got married to her fabulous husband Mike and I asked her to write a guest post on how to stay healthy and fit during the “honeymoon” stage. I hope you guys enjoy this post! Mansana take it away!
Avoiding that First Year Marriage Gain
Hello to all the Namaste Mari readers! It is a great honor to be featured on this fabulous girl’s blog and although I was a bit hesitant to write on this topic, I’m going for it and would love to hear any feedback from all of you!
As you know from my ramblings and gratuitous photos at One Healthy Apple, I recently got married about seven months ago and am in the midst of the ‘First Year Marriage Experience!’ It is statistically known that women tend to gain weight in the first year of marriage. When I read this quote in a Time Magazine article, it quickly reminded me that the odds are against me, and the many women who are in serious relationships:
“It's full-on wedding season, but anyone about to pledge to have and to hold should pay closer attention to the bit about "in sickness and in health." New research shows that within a few short years of getting hitched, married individuals are twice as likely to become obese as are people who are merely dating.”
The article goes on to mention that women who live with their hunny for five years or less have a 63% increased risk of obesity. The article cited reasons for this weighty issue including the following:
-Diminishing gym times
-More importance placed on meals
-Loosening up a bit after all the pre-wedding crash diets
-Entering the ‘comfortable stage’
I think there are several truths and factors that contribute to these statistics. Fortunately for us, we have been living together for most of the last four years we have been together since I started covertly bringing clothes and toiletries to hubby’s bachelor pad, so marriage was not our first foray at cohabitation.
I’ll give you a quick history so we can put this in perspective as you read on. I was a chubby kid- a REAL chubby kid and went on my first diet at 11. When we met, I was 21 and in the middle of losing weight yet again to be more comfortable with my body. I lost about 15 pounds pretty quickly in our relationship by exercising a lot more and eating a lot of fake foods. When we moved into our first official apartment, I entered the “comfortable stage” of our relationship which coincided with a knee injury that sidelined me for about 9 months. I gained about 10 pounds- which was a lot on my 5’4” body. That summer, we went to Europe and while standing on The Kissing Bridge in St. Petersburg, Russia, my best friend proposed to me (Holy shnikies!!!!).
I thought about all the fake foods, quick fixes, and other tactics that led to my difficulties in the weight loss department. I began eating real foods and listening to my body and got to the weight that I was when I walked down the aisle, and the weight I stand at today. In my journey, I learned several things that helped me along the way.
Many of these lessons were taught to me by my husband, the person I would least expect to teach me about weight loss!
I’m clearly no expert and have gone up and down Oprah style, but I’ve arrived to a place that I feel comfortable for now. What the first year of marriage has brought is what any major life change brings and I hope they will be helpful no matter your relationship status. Ready, set, go!
Think like he does when he eats
I once asked my husband if he felt guilty while eating his 8th square of dark chocolate. The answer was:
“Nope! Why would I be guilty?!”
This taught me that men eat it and forget it. They eat when they are hungry, and that’s about it. Of course they love food, but the majority of the male version of our species enjoys a treat and moves on!
Don’t eat like him
The last I checked, I’m not 6’0” tall and 180 pounds of muscle. Are you? What I mean is eat what you want- even share the same meals, but understand that in the same way you can’t wear the same clothes, you can’t eat the same amount. Fill up on a little extra salad when you eat together and it will keep you full while he’s noshing on his third or fourth helping.
Give in and try new foods
I used to be so strict that I avoided foods that were not familiar to me. Since we started dating, I got dragged to Ethiopian, Korean, Indian, and many, many other cuisines that were outside of my comfort zones. Not only is trying new foods together fun- you can share a little bit of new foods and since most of them are spicy, you can’t eat them by the truckload
Start pumping that iron
Our second date was to the gym. I’m not sure what I had imagined in my little mind, but homeboy had me start lifting weights right along him. I couldn’t lift my arms for about 3 days and quit laughing because it hurt my abs too badly. I continued to lift and have not turned into The Hulk quite yet. Lift, ladies! Lifting is what shapes your body- cardio helps shrink it!
Take interest in his hobbies and participate with him- you just may like it!
Shortly after we met, the hubby began training for a Brazlian jiu jitsu tournament and I had no idea what it was! When he told me he would be wrestling and had to cut weight, I trained along with him. We ran miles in the park and I helped him cook healthy diet friendly meals! Not only did I learn more about what he likes, I got in better shape in the process
Someone is always there and indulging is harder that way
Think about the last time you binged on too many cookies. I bet you were alone. I know that when I have people around me, I am more conscious and don’t eat as much because food is more fun with company. Imagine a little friend who is around all the time and reminds you pleasantly that matching your body weight in chocolate is a challenge to take on ‘some other time’!
Go food shopping together
Get him involved in the healthy foods you eat together. Much like he helped me love Ethiopian food, I have my husband in near panic when we run out of hummus, pita chips, extra dark chocolate, or fresh veggies and fruit juice for smoothies. This will make healthy food more exciting and gives you help pushing the cart down the aisles and loading your groceries in the car!
Exercise together for fun
We take weekend bike rides, have had some failed attempts at volleyball (I have no depth perception), and LOVE hiking. When I’m feeling stressed, hubby ‘walks me’ (Mari: I crack up when says this) and we talk and get over the stress together. Of course you can go to the gym together too, but it’s not as fun as doing recreational sports together.
Walking on hanging bridges on our Honeymoon in Costa Rica
Stay healthy for each other
Yes, we exercise to look better, but we also exercise to feel better and to preserve our future health. We both want kids (not yet) and recognize how important long-term health is. When you think of it that way, the short-term quick fix way is not the answer, no matter what. On looking good- I married a hot potato and he thinks I’m cute. We plan on holding on to our youth for a little longer. And don’t ever forget to laugh together because life is too serious already!
Thank you so much for reading this post. Thank again to Mari for the opportunity to let me share some craziness with you all!
Thank you so much love for this fabulous post!!!! If I ever get married, I am going to use these tips to avoid turning into the typical stereotype! I hope you guys enjoyed this and took notes! Now go check out my West Coast Sista’s page!