If you eat a poor diet and don’t burn enough calories, there’s a good chance you’ll add a few pounds to your frame. But there are certain time periods in life when the risk of gaining weight is higher. These are usually times when major changes are happening to your body or your life. Being aware that you’re vulnerable to weight gain during these times can help you make the changes necessary to stay on course. Here are the times when you’re most likely to gain weight over a lifetime.
According to a recent study, women are more prone to weight gain after marriage, while men are more likely to pack on extra pounds after a divorce. Why is weight gain so common for women after marriage? Once men and women move in together, they’re more likely to mirror one another’s eating habits. For men, that can be a good thing since women are more likely to eat a healthy diet and have a positive influence on their spouse’s food choices. But for women, it can lead to weight gain.
Unfortunately for the female sex, men and women don’t have the same calorie requirements due to differences in body composition. Women who eat as much as their spouses are likely to see those extra calories stored as fat. Plus, new couples spend more time nesting and less time working at the gym after marriage, and they may not feel the same need to stay slender once they’re in a committed relationship.
How can you keep those extra pounds out of the picture? The key to preventing weight gain after marriage is to not let your healthy eating and exercise habits go by the wayside. You’ll both be healthier if you watch your diet and exercise. Invest in a couple’s gym membership, and discover the joys of working together.
After a Baby
Pregnancy weight gain is normal and necessary, but if you gain too much you could end up with it permanently. According to research published in the journal Obesity, excess pregnancy weight gain is linked with greater weight gain and a higher BMI 15 years after pregnancy. The risk of obesity also increases with each subsequent pregnancy. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that a woman’s risk of obesity rises by 7% for each child she delivers over a lifetime. The good news is women who breast-feed for at least 3 months after pregnancy have a reduced risk of weight gain after pregnancy.
A woman who’s already a healthy body weight should gain no more than 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Women who are overweight should gain a total of 15 to 25 pounds over the 9 month period. Women who gain more than this are at greater risk for having pregnancy-related health problems and for delivering a large baby. They’re also more likely to have problems taking the extra weight off.
Between hot flashes and mood swings, menopause is challenging enough. Add to it the fact that the average woman gains 10 to 15 pounds during the first decade after menopause. Most of that extra weight goes to their abdominal region as estrogen levels decline and insulin resistance increases.
To ward off menopausal weight gain, cut back calories by 10% and increase your activity level. A combination of strength and cardio is best, especially higher intensity exercise. Strength training builds lean body mass, which helps to boost metabolism. It’s also important to get enough sleep. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise during pregnancy, which increases abdominal fat. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night helps to keep cortisol levels in check.
The Bottom Line?
Now you know when you’re most likely to pack on extra pounds. Weight gain isn’t inevitable during these times especially if you stick to healthy eating and exercise habits. Be aware and be prepared. It could save your waistline – and your health.
USA Today. “Weight Gain Hits Women after Marriage, Men after Divorce”
March of Dimes. “Your Pregnant Body”
Health Magazine. “Fat-Proof Your Life”