This just in: Relationships make you fat

Big Fat Deal just wrote up a hilarious story from that tome of excellence, USA Today. Seems that generations of crappy comedians are right: getting married will totally make you blow up like a blimp! Ha-ha! Perhaps next they’ll look into why those crazy women always go to the bathroom in groups!

Oh, and there’s such a clever lede:

Young adults might want to change their wedding vows to say they are taking each other “for better or girth.”

Hot damn! Married women sure are fat pigs! Ha-ha! Here’s a quote from one of the researchers:

“The weight gain in this age group is frightening,” says Penny Gordon-Larsen, an assistant professor of nutrition in the school of public health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Ooooh scary! Obesity epidemic! Scary! Funny! Scary! Funny! I don’t know whether to shit or go blind!

Okay, now let’s take a look at what the study, which incidentally was reported at “the annual meeting of the Obesity Society, a group of weight-loss scientists and professionals” (emphasis mine), really found.

Women in their teens and early 20s who continued to date but didn’t cohabitate gained an average of 15 pounds over five years; their male counterparts added about 24 pounds.

Newly married women in that age group packed on 24 pounds in five years; newly married men gained 30 pounds.

That degree of gain wasn’t seen in couples who were living together but not married. Women gained 3 pounds more than their single peers — 18 pounds — and men gained 24 pounds.

Yes, that’s right. It seems that everyone gains weight as they move from adolescence to adulthood (which of course makes NO SENSE AT ALL, because then the BMI would take age into account… right?). If you’re in a relationship, you may gain — or, if you’re a woman, “pack on” — a whopping THREE TO NINE more pounds, on average, than your single peers.

Three to nine. You guys, that result is so incredibly out of line with the headline and the spin that I just whipped out a calculator and punched in “24-15” to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. (For more on how girls are too dumb to do math, see our recent troll Tommy the Tweaker and the delightful time we had batting him around.)

But wait, it gets better. They’ve got some ideas as to what causes this massive weight gain:

“When people are dating, there may be more incentive to be thin,” Gordon-Larsen says.

Single young adults tend to be the most active, watch the least amount of TV and are the least likely to be obese, says Natalie The, a researcher at the University of North Carolina.

She says many factors probably contribute to couples’ weight, including having children, post-pregnancy pounds, having less time to exercise and eating out more or cooking bigger meals.

That’s right, folks: pregnancy and children “probably contribute” to weight gain. It’s just possible that if you gestate a child and then have an infant who impolitely obstructs your exercise schedule and selfishly sucks up your free time so you have to cook more prefab foods and “bigger meals” (which couldn’t have anything to do with the extra person), you may gain nine pounds. NINE POUNDS. On AVERAGE.

Now, it’s not like newly married couples have a monopoly on babies. But it is likelier that a newly married couple has a baby than it is that a cohabiting couple has one. (Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I would think that myriad factors would make it true.) And pregnancy weight alone would be enough to skew the sample to an average nine-pound gain (or a six-pound gain over cohabitants). Not to mention the fact that, as I said on BFD, I give thanks to oral contraception every time I go shopping: as a solvent non-parent, I am profoundly lucky to be able to buy fresh ingredients rather than easy, cheap, prepackaged meals. Switching over to chicken nuggets because you have a toddler who takes up all your time and won’t eat anything else might not make everyone gain nine pounds, but it’s plenty to cause such minor weight gain on average.

I guess Penelope Trunk, Slytherin House, would say that we should just abandon parenting duties so as to have more time to work out and track our food intake.

Of course, you don’t even have to bring kids into the equation to explain the whopping three pounds you gain from living together, or even the extra six from marriage. Gordon-Larsen is quite right when she says “When people are dating, there may be more incentive to be thin.” If you’ve been artificially starving and torturing yourself to below your set point because, like so many of us, you think you can’t be lovable otherwise? Then three to nine extra pounds is a perfectly reasonable gain when you loosen the reins a little bit. If the person you’re with can get you to believe, even a little bit, that your body might not be your enemy… well, you may “pack on” a couple of pounds as you move from dieting weight to sensible-eating weight.

And yes, when you live with someone, your habits change. When I was single, I never bought food or ate a real meal; now my fiance cooks dinner and we eat it together nearly every night. Regularly sitting down for a meal with someone you love — sounds okay, right? Is it really worth avoiding because of three pounds?

I’ll leave you with my favorite part of the article:

Single young adults tend to be the most active, watch the least amount of TV and are the least likely to be obese, says Natalie The, a researcher at the University of North Carolina.

Hmm, “single young adults are least likely to be obese.” So the fat adults… are less likely to be single.

Shit, what were we all worried about through all of high school?

76 thoughts on “This just in: Relationships make you fat

  1. Hey, why did newly-married men only “gain” while newly-married women “packed on”?

    That annoys me.

  2. I love how they parade this out as “news” every couple of years. I remember seeing a dateline special on this back in highschool (8 years ago or so). I remember specifically because I looked at my mom and said “See? Fat people do get married and some of them probably have sex” and got slapped across the face…

    So, 8 years of looking at this all they can do is bring it back up and say “oh my goodness gracious, women STILL gain weight when we’ve been telling them not to?! Someone fetch the smelling salts, I think I feel a fit coming on!” And WE’RE supposed to be the ones who are useless and sucking up all of societies money??

  3. Excellent post!!!
    Some thoughts – Could it be that the health benefits of “coupling” (leaving marriage out of it for the moment) might offset the health impacts of the 3 to 9 pounds?
    I seem to remember that marriage is a protective health factor for men, but not for women.
    Having a child definitely makes it more difficult to exercise regularly.
    And could it be that the weight that pre-marriage people are at is “artificially low” — I mean that once people get married and “relax” they gain a few pounds because in a very positive way, they aren’t worried about having to control their weight as much. Maybe some people (just speculating, not talking for personal experience or anything like that) gain a bit more than that average because of the fear drummed into them from a very young age that being fat means you will never get married, so the pendulum swings in the opposite direction with some “permission” to eat, and, uh, it results in a rather large weight gain. A rather human response to the alleviation of an imposed fear. Again, not personal experience or anything :-)
    I would think that the way to address this “problem” might be to talk about how perverse the fear of gaining weight is.
    Wait, that’s what you’re doing already! Carry on!

  4. Perhaps next they’ll look into why those crazy women always go to the bathroom in groups!

    You know what I’d really like to hear someone’s take on? Airplane food. ‘Cause COME ON! Has anybody else noticed…?

    (Oh wait, airplanes don’t have food anymore. I’m old.)

    Hmm, “single young adults are least likely to be obese.” So the fat adults… are less likely to be single.

    Shit, what were we all worried about through all of high school?

    I love you.

  5. Maybe some people (just speculating, not talking for personal experience or anything like that) gain a bit more than that average because of the fear drummed into them from a very young age that being fat means you will never get married, so the pendulum swings in the opposite direction with some “permission” to eat, and, uh, it results in a rather large weight gain.

    Yeah, I think I covered this above, but regardless, I agree with you 100%.

    This also made me think: pre-wedding diets. Even if people aren’t serious starvation dieters in their dating days, many people go on aggressive weight-loss programs pre-wedding, plenty aggressive enough to make them rebound above their previous set point.

  6. I think a campaign for high school girls that says “don’t believe the crap they are telling you…” might be in order.
    I don’t know if I would have believed it, but that was back before I had access to the internet.

  7. You did cover it above. Was interrupted by a small person carrying flash cards with barnyard animals on them and lost my place in the post. Re-read post and felt stupid. Didn’t feel fat, though.

  8. Re-read post and felt stupid.

    No need — if there’s any point that needs reiterating, it’s that one. DEAR OBESITY RESEARCHERS, DIETING MAKES YOU FATTER, LOVE SHAPELY PROSE.

  9. WRT2, the good news is, I know there are some younger women/girls reading here — and there are definitely lots on Fatshionista. Not sure if we have any high school students here (if we do, hi!), but there are several over there, as well as a TON of college-aged women. It always thrills me to see the young’uns participating there and rocking their fat bodies without (most of) the 8 bazillion hang-ups I had at the same age. Change is definitely happening, albeit gradually.

  10. Was interrupted by a small person carrying flash cards with barnyard animals on them and lost my place in the post.

    Hee! That is an excellent excuse for distraction.

  11. Of course I gained weight after I moved in with my now husband. It’s much more difficult to be eating disordered when you share a small house with only one bathroom with another person.

    Young adults might want to change their wedding vows to say they are taking each other “for better or girth.”

    Is this like a fat clause to the wedding contract? If your spouse gets fat, its okay to divorce them?

  12. It’s much more difficult to be eating disordered when you share a small house with only one bathroom with another person.

    Not to mention having a stable foundation from which to stop hating and punishing yourself so much. If I wanted to throw up, I would find a way to do it (we have two bathrooms now, but seriously, when I was younger I was hardly above puking in a restaurant restroom). I just don’t want to.

    I also don’t want to go to the effort of cooking food just to get myself fed, which I’ve still not quite been able to frame as “important result that justifies action.” When I was single, that meant I didn’t own any food. Now, it just means someone cooks what I want for me.

  13. Righto to that fillyjonk. I ended a three-day water fast the day I met my husband, and haven’t starved myself since. It’s one thing to hate yourself and do horrible things to your own body. It’s quite another when you are in a relationship with someone who makes you feel valued and loved, and you have a responsibility to be there for them.

    Both my diet and my mental health are healthier than they’ve ever been. If I’ve gained weight for it, it’s a small price to pay.

  14. s this like a fat clause to the wedding contract? If your spouse gets fat, its okay to divorce them?

    I’ve seen far too many marriages break up because one partner did think divorce was an appropriate response to the other partner’s weight gain. It pisses me off so much.

    The dumped spouse is probably better off without such a shallow @$$ for a partner, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less when it happens.

  15. > When I was single, I never bought food or ate a real meal;
    > now my fiance cooks dinner and we eat it together nearly
    > every night. Regularly sitting down for a meal with someone
    > you love — sounds okay, right?

    Amen. I was thinner (though never thin) when I was single. I eat better and healthier now (see: real food prepared and eaten with someone I love) and I’m fatter. Meh.

  16. I’m going to talk from personal experience here.

    I gained 30lbs. after my husband first flew to the US to be with me (we met on zee internets). How? Going out to eat EVERY SINGLE day, and sometimes twice a day. I’d like to see ANYBODY do that and NOT gain weight.

    Now I have to be honest and say that getting married didn’t cure me of my “nobody’ll love me if I’m fat” mentality. I have to admit that I still struggle with it. But I have a husband who can recognize it and will do all he can to prevent me from rapidly sliding down the slippery slope to an eating disorder. (Example: he once smashed my scale into little pieces because I was weighing myself up to 3 times a day and was completely obsessed with what that number said.)

    All articles like this are going to do is perpetuate the “being fat is the worst thing in the world” mentality that SO many of us have.

    Why is it that these people are “SO CONCERNED” about the “obesity epidemic” and yet they seem to go out of their way to make anybody – from someone who’s 5 lbs. overweight to someone who’s 500 lbs. overweight – feel even more ashamed about their body? Do these people not REALIZE what they’re doing?

    I really need my clue-by-four today.

  17. Kelly L., have you really seen a lot of marriages break up over weight gain? I’m not doubting it happens, but it’s actually not something I’ve ever witnessed in my Real Life. I’m intrigued.

  18. I’m watching it happen to my friend right now, in a manner of speaking. She put on 10lbs after their wedding and he freaked. She’s now lost 25 and is nearly skeletal, completely resents him for it, but refuses to stop starving herself and running 7 miles a day because she “came this far, divorce is not an option.” Very fucked up.

  19. I’m watching it happen to my friend right now, in a manner of speaking. She put on 10lbs after their wedding and he freaked. She’s now lost 25 and is nearly skeletal, completely resents him for it, but refuses to stop starving herself and running 7 miles a day because she “came this far, divorce is not an option.” Very fucked up.

    My brain = asploding.

    The only weight this woman needs to lose is the dead weight she married. Maybe it makes me a bitch because I am completely unforgiving about those kind of things, but seriously…on what planet do you make your love conditional on someone having what amounts to an eating disorder?

  20. I refused to be one of those crazy brides dieting to get into a dress. She chose me fat- thatsa what she gets! True story- a friend played matchmaker and arranged for blind dating. The first thing she asked about me was “Is she fat?” WANTING me to have the curves and flesh. (And me- the first thing I asked about her was “Is she Italian?” wanting her to be Italian– lucky us! We both got our wishes!)

    The point where I gained the most weight in the most concentrated time was just after my partner had her gastric bypass. Eating became VERY disordered in our house.

    She had always been the cook of the house- and now couldn’t eat. She did not want to abdicate her role as chief cook and bottle washer. Instead, she cooked everything she was wishing she could eat. One night there would be a turkey breast, roasted with all the trimmings- then the next night would be pasta extravaganza! Even sicker, she developed a really weird attraction to watching the Food Network. I called it for what it was- food porn. Eventually, I got her to understand that a beautifully crafted salad is good for me to eat and pointed out things I wanted to eat.

  21. It seems to me a marriage in which a 10-pound weight gain becomes a battleground is one that was likely already rife with problems.

    I would hope most “happy” relationships wouldn’t end over weight gain alone.

  22. Well, here I thought I might learn something new today! But nope, same old – people who really love eachother tend to focus on things beyond their partners weight and appearance- what a novel concept!

  23. My husband weighed about 110 pounds when we first met. He was on what he called the student diet – popcorn or ramen and pop for dinner and very little else. Then he went on the chemotherapy diet and dropped to 100 pounds but that’s a story for another day…

    He now weighs a wonderful 170 pounds. OMG!! TEH FAT! Yeah, well, how about three real meals a day and our combined resources that let him afford something other than ramen. He looks amazing.

  24. Wow, I can’t believe anyone would freak out about a partner’s 10-lb weight gain…or any weight gain, for that matter! I managed to somehow gain like 90 lbs, and my husband just doesn’t seem to give a rip. He’s thin as ever, so maybe I just PACKED IT ON for the both of us.

  25. I’m wondering how I can get some of this free research money to discover….foolishness. Much like the article I found yesterday about how the reason why fat people are ridiculed is that thinner folks see them as germs, this one don’t tell me a thing of importance.

  26. CJ, same thing with my fiance, he was seriously underweight due to the student diet when we met and I’ve fattened him up to a nice healthy weight =)

    Callicebus, that’s insane. What kind of asshole freaks out over 10 pounds?!

    My mom was thin when she first married my dad… she’s gained maybe 60 pounds since then and is now fat, but so far as I know, he’s never made it an issue (although she makes it enough of an issue for both of them). Personally, I’m glad I got fat before I got married, because this way I know fat is not a problem for him and I don’t have to worry about him leaving me if I gain weight.

  27. This isn’t common enough to effect the results, but my own situation is kinda funny — I gained a whole lot of weight when I started dating my now fiance, because I was on an antidepressant. The antidepressant was what made me emotionally competent to date someone in the first place.

  28. The antidepressant was what made me emotionally competent to date someone in the first place.

    I just had to lol at that… but that’s because I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about (I’m bipolar myself).:)

  29. I was fat when I met my husband.
    I was even fatter when we got married.
    I’m still fat now.

    The only time he mentions my body is to ask me what size clothes I would like for christmas/birthday/flag day.

    Because he is teh awesome.

  30. My mother has been on a diet since before I was born. She was thin until menopause, when my father (who hasn’t been thin since his 20’s or 30’s) started harping on her weight. Then he started on me, esp. once I hit puberty.
    Not only do we think we’ll never get married if we’re fat (or even seen as being fat, even if we’re not), we think we are unworthy of love FROM OUR OWN PARENTS!
    I am now happily married, 30 pounds heavier than I was when we met, and my husband doesn’t give a rat’s patootie. We have two great kids, both with autism, who are loved for who they are.
    And I’m working through my issues, and feelings of unworthiness.

  31. >Fat, on women, is “packed on in pounds.”
    Sounds like a very industrious process, like bricklaying. And somewhat dehumanizing.<

    ok, it’s goofy, but the first thing I thought of was “She’s a brick…HOUSE” Which to the Commodores, was a good thing! But I’ve also noticed that the language used in these articles take on a “shame, shame” tone toward women.

    As for dating/relationships and weight gain, well, people in happy relationships not only have kids and jobs but they also have FUN. Have the obesity researchers ever heard of the phenomenon known as fun, leisure, relaxation?

  32. I gained a whole lot of weight when I started dating my now fiance, because I was on an antidepressant. The antidepressant was what made me emotionally competent to date someone in the first place.

    Except for the fact that Al and I aren’t engaged, same here! He was the one who convinced me to go on Lexapro — and since that’s what makes me human enough to live with, he’s not bitching about the 30 new lbs.

  33. When we started dating, my husband was one of those guys who used to be able to get his thumb and forefinger to meet round his ankle. (OK, he’s a bass player, he has big hands, but hey, I could probably have gotten MY tiny hands round his ankle!) He can’t now (thought not by much), and he worries about his ‘tummy’….and I’m like ‘OH COME ON!!!!’ Like his tummy isn’t waaaay cute anyway. Like the rest of him.

    Me, I was big then, slightly bigger now, and he tells me he loves the ‘squeezy bits’ and not to try getting rid of them. Which in the eyes of many diet writers makes him a manipulator who wants me fat so’s I won’t run off with anyone else. Sheesh!

    They used to say it was ‘contentment’ that caused weight gain in marriage. Funny how that’s now a BAD thing, but then, hey, I suppose contentment means being happy with yourself, and that’ll never do, will it?

    You realize, of course, that what this study calls weight gain in newly married women, a lot of people call ‘letting herself go’. Or from my family ‘Well, if she didn’t go to the gym he might run off with somebody slimmer…’ (‘He’ was the speaker’s own son, who I’m pretty sure would never do such a charming thing. Lovely.)

  34. Somebody from Slytherin House is going to put teh spell on you if you don’t stop trying to put Penelope Trunk in there.

    (The Sorting Hat almost put Harry in Slytherin. Nice people can live there too. Remember Blaise?)

  35. Somebody from Slytherin House is going to put teh spell on you if you don’t stop trying to put Penelope Trunk in there.

    But where else would she go, realistically? I mean Penelope Trunk is clearly a Harry Potter name. But I doubt she’s brave, smart, or loyal. Ambitious, though? I’m no Sorting Hat, but with that brittle “fake it till you make it” mentality and her weird priorities, I think she has to go in Slytherin.

  36. Kelly L., have you really seen a lot of marriages break up over weight gain? I’m not doubting it happens, but it’s actually not something I’ve ever witnessed in my Real Life. I’m intrigued.

    I shouldn’t say “a lot.” I’ve seen several marriages, including my parents’, where it was one of several major points of contention. And a close friend’s father justified cheating on, and eventually divorcing, my friend’s mother because “she had broken their marriage vows” by getting fat. And no, they didn’t have some weird prenup that stipulated anything of the sort; he was just being an ass.

    There was also an internet acquaintance of mine whose husband stopped being intimate with her when she gained something like 25 pounds. I lost contact with her and don’t know what became of their marriage, though.

  37. edit: one of several major points of contention that eventually led to divorce. My parents fought for years about weight and lots of other things. It was money that finally pushed them to divorce, but I spent most of my late childhood and adolescence watching my mom yo-yo between what was probably her set point (about 160, and she’s 5’6″) and the weight my dad wanted her to be (more like 120).

  38. Wow…now I don’t need to worry about being single anymore…I’m already fat, and being in a relationship would just make it worse!

    [/sarcasm]

  39. OT: But, but … I thought larger women were supposed to be sooooo undesirable that they would never marry.

    Heh.

    The whole “packing on the pounds” linguistic meme — particularly since it seems in these articles to apply principally to women whether single or partnered, smacks almost more of patriarchy than fatphobia.

    I haven’t been reading diligently lately — busy — but hasn’t this theme already been covered here generally? Or is it just that the articles continue to appear so constantly and the journalists are too unimaginative to, oh, I don’t know, get a new topic? Like FISA or something?

  40. Kelly L., that sucks. That had to be miserable to witness as a kid.

    I was hoping that weight gain alone wouldn’t be something that would drive a couple to divorce; I think for some couples, weight/appearance becomes short-hand for all kinds of dissatisfactions and disappointments in a relationship. I think it’s easier to focus on and pick on than the real issues sometimes.

  41. I haven’t been reading diligently lately — busy — but hasn’t this theme already been covered here generally?

    Er, the theme of fatphobia in the general culture, bad research, and the media blowing things out of proportion?

    It’s kind of what we do.

  42. I too am so thankful that I was fat when I got married. Fat then, fat now, fat in between to various degrees. My husband doesn’t seem to care. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a universe where you have to keep off those 20 pounds or your spouse will harangue or cheat on or divorce you, and I have no interest in knowing. My husband is an especially wonderful man and good human being (in my totally unbiased opinion), true, but I consider accepting your spouse regardless of weight to be just basic human decency (not to mention, part of your marriage vows). I had about as little self-esteem and as much hatred for my fat body as any other fat girl, and I knew even as a young person that I was better off alone than with someone who would police my eating or my weight.

    I have to think that minefield is much more hazardous for thin girls, who might not have occasion to know whether their spouse will act this way until later on. Certainly there have to be other clues that someone is an asshole, but being fat is such an easy litmus test. I’m only half-kidding here.

    ‘Course, he’s gained weight in the 9.5 years since we got married too (he was in the underweight category to start with and is now probably “normal weight,” I’m not sure). I’m sure that’s because he’s married, especially what with my obesity being contagious and all (not that he doesn’t eat exactly the same way now as he always has… he ate the most balanced, “homestyle” meals you can possibly imagine in our college cafeteria. I swear the man has been 50 years old since the day he was born). Not, you know, because everyone in his family told him he would turn 30 and start gaining weight, and that’s exactly what happened. Happened to his (very thin as kids and young adults) dad and sister, too. Huh, you would almost think there was something to this crazy “genetic” idea of Kate’s. :P

  43. Note, I don’t mean to sound self-satisfied. Certainly I could easily have ended up with someone who would have been a dick about my weight, and that person might have hidden their jerk true colors until later in the relationship or I might have ignored the signs. There is so much chance and luck involved in finding a good partner. But I do think being fat makes a good asshole filter in general.

  44. I think for some couples, weight/appearance becomes short-hand for all kinds of dissatisfactions and disappointments in a relationship. I think it’s easier to focus on and pick on than the real issues sometimes.

    Goodwithcheese, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head right there. That, and there are some people out there with no attention span when it comes to relationships; once the chase and the novelty wear off, they’re not interested, and instead of facing that trait in themselves, they find a physical flaw in their partner to explain the drop in desire.

  45. But wait, don’t they regularly report that married people have a longer lifespan (or at least married men) which might mean–ZOMG–that teh fat is not killing us! It might not even be harming us! Shhhh–don’t let anyone know!

    And how are they going to balance the fat shaming and gender norming around marriage. On the one hand, marriage makes you fat, on the other hand, you don’t want to die an old maid! How ever shall we find a happy medium that is both fatphobic and sexist???

  46. I haven’t been reading diligently lately — busy — but hasn’t this theme already been covered here generally?

    Er, the theme of fatphobia in the general culture, bad research, and the media blowing things out of proportion?

    I think littlem was either talking about the theme of people in relationships getting fatter, which was recently covered here, or the “packing on the pounds” thing, which has been covered somewhere, but I’m too lazy to look up a link.

  47. Oh right, the “how not to eat Boy Food” article! I didn’t even think about that in relation to this. The target audience for that article wasn’t even married or cohabiting — they were in the 15-pound group! But I suppose that still qualifies as “scary” weight gain — 15 pounds between adolescence and adulthood, hoo boy.

    Well, littlem’s correct on both counts — we have covered something similar, and no, they can’t think of anything new.

  48. To me, “gained x pounds” implies they just gradually snuck on to a body of their own accord – whereas “packed on x pounds” has a deliberate, almost ornery ring to it, don’t you think?

  49. Oh, thank goodness! In this article at http://nz.entertainment.yahoo.com/071024/8/25×6.html they’ve found the answer – having covered this obscene post-marital weight gain phenomenon, they go on to discuss the solution…

    wait for it…

    chewing gum.

    Meanwhile, the conference organized by the Obesity Society, a body of researchers dedicated to ending what has become one of America’s most serious health problems, heard that chewing gum can also help control weight…”chewing gum suppressed ratings of hunger, desire to eat and cravings for high energy snacks,” said one of the authors…Sixty people asked to chew gum as they prepared a meal had fewer hunger pangs and in fact ate less, reducing their sweet snack intake by 46.5 calories, than those who cooked without chewing on any gum, researchers said… Several studies have found that chewing food also makes you feel fuller.

    Apparently, something that helps you ignore your body’s natural need for food is a good thing. And there appears to have been no research done into whether actual weight loss results from the reduced hunger pangs and subsequent lowered calorie intake. Sigh.

    Actually, this whole topic of “marital weight gain” brings to mind a question I’ve often wondered about over the past few years – it seems relevant to this topic, where age and pregnancy weight gain are all getting conflated with “weight gain caused by marriage”. When NZ media trot out the statistic that the average NZer is increasing in weight by a pound a year (which is a stupid stat just for the reason that WE MEASURE IN METRICS) I always wonder what “Average NZer” means. There’s a world of difference between “the average of all NZers” and “A NZer who is average or typical”. If it was the first meaning, there’d be cause for concern. But it CAN’T be. It is simply not possible for the average weight over a population of 4 million to increase that much from one year to the next, assuming you still have babies and elderly and every size and age in between, and people losing weight even temporarily, for various reasons. Which we do. Which only leaves the latter option, “a NZer who is average or typical” is gaining weight by a pound a year. Which suddenly doesn’t seem like nearly such a bad thing (or shouldn’t, if you think through it carefully), particularly depending on when the measurement starts. It can’t measure from babyhood, because the average person gains far more than a pound a year, averaged over their entire lifetime. But it could be from age 10. Or 15. Or something amorphous, like puberty. And if it is, they’re including perfectly normal weight gain, associated with perfectly normal growth, in the statistic. Makes me so freakin mad, but I’m sure that’s that what the stat represents – it just can’t represent anything else, I’m sure it can’t. In which case that’s such wilful misuse of statistics that I just can’t get my head around what might motivate it. Seems like that’s what’s happening in this “marriage equals weight gain” argument too – a complete glossing over all the very normal physiological reasons why people gain weight. Age. Pregnancy. Growing taller. Fuck me.

  50. downside-up, maybe they’re averaging over the course of your lifespan. Certainly you gain way more than a pound a year as a child, and then the gain slows considerably in most people until middle age… perhaps it all works out to a pound a year?

    As for the chewing gum thing, godDAMN, next they’re going to tell me cigarette smoking keeps your weight down.

  51. Hey, why did newly-married men only “gain” while newly-married women “packed on”?

    Well, men just eat food, see, but women get mason’s trowels full of fat and just slather that shit on. Once it sets up to 3,000 psi at 28 days you can’t get it off without a jackhammer, either. (That’s the real reason diets don’t work.)

  52. Well, men just eat food, see, but women get mason’s trowels full of fat and just slather that shit on. Once it sets up to 3,000 psi at 28 days you can’t get it off without a jackhammer, either. (That’s the real reason diets don’t work.)

    Is it possible to die laughing?? :D

  53. Thank you, Kate, I was referring to the theme of fat and relationships.

    My fault for not being specific.

    And thank you for putting up the link.

  54. My fault for not being specific.

    No, it would have made a lot more sense if the “how not to let your boyfriend make you fat” article hadn’t completely slipped my mind.

  55. So…how long before the anti-obesity militia starts touting divorce, childlessness, and avoiding marriage as the new “cure” for teh fat?

  56. Hey, Nadai, fat is kind of like my cat’s tartar then! Makes as much sense as anything else.

    I wonder if my high-strength fully-cured fat coating is bulletproof. That might come in handy. Maybe I could add some rebar to the next layer.

  57. fillyjonk (in re: pre-wedding diets): Precisely what I was thinking. The pre-wedding diet couldn’t possibly have skewed this data – of course not, that would be too LOGICAL. I hate it when data is used as a manipulative tactic.

  58. In other news, how much do I love your new banner?!

    Thanks!

    I wonder if my high-strength fully-cured fat coating is bulletproof. That might come in handy. Maybe I could add some rebar to the next layer.

    BWAH!

  59. I hate it when data is used as a manipulative tactic.

    Especially when I’m not even sure what they’re trying to manipulate people to do — not get married?

    I don’t think the pre-wedding diet itself skewed the data, just to be clear — if it was a longitudinal study from adolescence to marriage (or lack thereof), they’d be looking at the endpoints, not the highs and lows. What I mean is, I don’t think anyone in the study was artificially thin from pre-wedding diets when a data point was taken. But bounce-back from the pre-wedding diet? Oh HELL yeah.

  60. I can’t remember the last “alarming new study” results I’ve seen that were anywhere close to scientific.

    In other news, in an alarming new study, 2 of the dogs on my block bark at each other when their owners start chatting with one another. Scientists suggest all dog owners should stop speaking to one another.

  61. Which young adults are they polling who watch LESS TV?!? I watch NO tv and I’m ‘overweight’ and 22 (which, I believe, is relatively young). I’m also an anomaly among my peers who watch at least an hour a day. All of whom come in different shapes and sizes.
    In the first 1.5 years that my man and I lived together (in sin, just to clear that up) I gained 20lbs. Gasp! BUT I had spent two years losing 40 lbs by way of vomiting and living on Lipton’s cup o’ soup. For the last year and a half I have maintained my weight, become more active (we do a lot of outdoorsy stuff), FINALLY started to like my body, and been told on a daily basis how beautiful I am (by above boyfriend). Now, I don’t know about USA Today, but I’m willing to trade thinner me for healthier happier in-love me.

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