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Common Lifetime Events and Weight Gain

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Updated January 31, 2014

When you regularly eat more calories than you burn, you'll gain weight. That's true for any age, but there seem to be certain times when the probability of unwanted weight gain goes up.

Weight Gain From the Freshman Fifteen

College is an exciting time for young adults, and it's also a time when people tend to gain weight. A study from Cornell University showed that the average freshman gained more than four pounds during the first 12 weeks on campus.

For many freshman, the temptation to indulge in junk food and pile on the portions in the dining hall leads to this weight gain. Another reason for the freshman fifteen is decreasing physical activity and combining study time with snacking time.

Tips to Avoid the Freshman Fifteen

  • Watch your portion sizes in the dining hall. Choose salads, healthy green vegetables, lean meats and whole wheat bread. Limit French fries, sugary sodas, desserts and fried foods.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand. Don't buy giant-sized bags of greasy potato chips, tortilla chips and cheese puffs. If you have a refrigerator, you can keep fresh cut vegetables and dip.
  • Choose whole grain crackers, rice cakes, nuts, fresh fruits, and dried fruits. If you want the higher-calorie, poor-nutrition snacks, buy them in single serving bags so you can control your calorie intake.
  • Stick to healthy beverages. Sugary sodas have no nutritional value other than the calories that can add up fast. Drink a couple of glasses of water between meals instead.
  • Get some exercise. I know study time is important, but you need to keep active. You don't need to go to the gym or do anything extremely strenuous.
  • Walking for at least 30 minutes five days per week is an easy way to stay active and burn extra calories.

Living Together and Gaining Weight Together

The next stage that often brings on extra weight gain is when you get married or move in with your life-partner. While married people tend to be healthier than single people, there is also a tendency to gain weight.

Why does this happen? It may be due to a reduction in physical activity because it's tempting to stay home and snuggle on the couch with a nice glass of wine. Also, when some people find a partner, they may no longer feel the need to pay much attention to their weight. Another reason may be due to the desire to take care of each other and indulge in comfort foods together.

Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain After Marriage/Moving In Together

  • Get off the couch. Make the time for physical activities that you can enjoy together. You might want to consider joining a health club together or making a commitment to walk or run for at least 30 minutes five days per week.
  • Choose healthy, low calorie foods and watch your portion sizes at mealtime. Serve a big salad as a meal a few times per week and avoid fried foods and high calorie desserts.
  • Indulge each other in sweet words and kisses rather than candies and rich foods.
  • Take a cooking class together and learn how to prepare healthy and delicious meals at home. Sharing the cooking and meal planning for two will help you keep each other on a healthy diet.

Weight Gain and Eating for Two

Weight gain during pregnancy is normal, and it may take more than a year after the birth of your baby to lose all that extra weight. It isn't always easy though. If your eating habits changed during the nine months of pregnancy, you'll have to change them back to return to your healthy weight.

Tips for Weight Loss After Pregnancy

  • Moms who breastfeed tend to lose weight more quickly than mothers who don't.
  • Post-partum exercise is important for regaining pre-baby levels of fitness.
  • Choose nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and legumes to get the calories you need.
  • Stay away from junk foods and high calorie snacks. Remember that over the coming years, you'll be a role model for your child's eating patterns.
  • Don't expect too much too soon. Super models can give birth and be back in a bikini in a month or two, but most of us take a lot longer.
  • It can take up to a year to lose the post-baby weight, so relax and don't give up on yourself.
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