For thousands of couples, getting married results in not only gaining a life partner, but also gaining weight. While mostly true in women, men are also likely to gain weight after a marriage. There are many reasons for why this happens, but with a little education on the topic you’ll be able to learn how to prevent it from happening to you.

Much research has been done on this phenomenon and one of the findings is that the emotional shift that goes along with the commitment of marriage can actually change the chemistry of our brains, which can have a major impact on hormone balances. Also when you’re in the dating stage, your brain tends to produce more dopamine, which results in a more excited higher level of energy feeling. Once you begin to settle down your brain begins to produce more oxytocin which results in a much more low energy bonding feeling.

For most women, the time period spent between the engagement and their wedding day, is spent obsessing over losing enough weight – and keeping it off- to look great in their dress on their special day. After the honeymoon we start to have other things on our minds while adjusting to the married life. If you’re also trying to start a family, you will have even more on your mind. You forget about sticking to your diet, getting to the gym and keeping your weight in check. Before you know it you’ve gained five, or even ten pounds.

Once married, both the husband and the wife are less likely to continue cardiovascular fitness regimens. Whether this is because they are too busy or they just are no longer concerned about looking good enough to attract a mate, it happens. A 2010 study of 8,000 people conducted by Francisco Ortega, PhD found that the participants who were married dropped their fitness regimen within three years, while single participants actually increased their activity. Perhaps the biggest problem here is balancing personal time for yourself with time you spend with your partner. While it might be tempting to sleep in with your husband rather than hit the gym like you used to, you have to make sure you’re devoting time for yourself in order to life a happy and healthy life.

Many women also find that once they get married they tend to stay home more and begin to take on their mate’s eating habits. Women often begin eating the same sized portions as their husbands eat and snack more and indulge in desserts when they weren’t as likely to before they were married or when dining with friends. It is important to keep in mind that men generally have a faster metabolism and need to take in more calories per day than the average woman.

Some things you can do to help prevent post-marriage weight gain are:

  • Continue to set goals for yourself when it comes to fitness; whether it is an ideal weight, a dress size or even a certain distance you want to be able to run.
  • Get your spouse into the action by finding physical activities you both enjoy, whether its walking, jogging, hiking, kayaking or bike riding. There are tons of options.
  • Diet together. It can be hard to convince a man to diet, but don’t let that keep you from sticking to yours and achieving your goals. If he is the cook in the family, ask him to try low-cal recipes.