I Got a Little Chubby After My Wedding
This post originally appeared on Redbook.com. After our wedding, Nick and I got lazy. Together, we indulged in every delicious block of cheese and bottle of wine. We both stopped working out and we laid around the house basking in the happiness of finding the right person to spend our lives with. And we both got chubby!
I gained 15 pounds the year I went away to college.
As high school seniors, we’d been warned about the freshman fifteen, but that kind of weight gain didn’t seem possible until I met the make-your-own waffle machine in the dining hall, the one sitting next to the endless rations of Lucky Charms that were magically available for every meal.
My weight dropped off sophomore year and stayed more or less the same through my twenties and early thirties, up until the few months after I got married.
Women everywhere are warned about the freshman fifteen, but no one talks about the first year fifteen — that extra weight you mysteriously pack on during the first year of your marriage.
My married friends made light of it at first and then they commiserated when I told them none of my jeans fit.
“It’s happiness weight.”
“It’s married weight.”
“You’ll never lose it.”
This time I couldn’t blame the waffle maker or the Lucky Charms. I blamed my husband, Nick. He eats a lot more and a lot more often than I do. He’s also a pretty good cook and he always makes sure we have cheese in the house — the nice kind. It’s like the freshman dining hall all over again, just with a creamy Humboldt Fog or a well-aged gouda.
When we collectively gained the freshman fifteen, my female hall mates and I banded together in defiance of dining hall calories, eating little more than Diet Coke and gum. This time around, I didn’t have a girl gang to to starve with. I just had my husband, who shrugged when I told him about my weight gain.
“We should be working out more,” he said half-heartedly. “Tomorrow. Want to watch Deadwood?”
A study out of Flinders University in Australia found that the average new bride gained 4.7 pounds six months after her wedding. That makes me an overachiever. And according to research from Southern Methodist University, there’s a direct correlation between weight gain and marital happiness. Of course I’m happy. My husband buys me cheese.
This could be the part where I decide to run a half marathon and get my ass into shape. Instead, I just bought bigger jeans.
Here’s the thing: I don’t mind the new weight. I don’t mind it the same way I minded a few extra pounds when I was single, during the years when I’d suck in my belly for photos or every time a new guy’s hand brushed along the waistband of my jeans.
Earlier this year, I spent a couple of weeks in Paris interviewing very well-to-do Parisian women about the secret to a happy marriage. “Never let yourself go,” one of them told me. I had to ask myself. Was this what it meant to let yourself go? To stop caring if your love handles started get a little squishier, to worry less about the side boob fat creeping out the side of your bra?
I don’t think it is. In addition to being an excellent purchaser of cheese, my husband is also very good at making me feel sexy on a daily basis. I could complain about the fact that my newly round ass knocked over some guy’s martini when I tried to squeeze between our two tables, but Nick would just look at me like I’d started speaking in Esperanto.
Before you get married, other married people talk a lot about the benefits of being married — having someone to support you through sickness and health, having a constant companion, having someone to share the mortgage with. No one talks about the confidence boost a marriage can bring. When Nick tells me I look great or sexy, I feel great and sexy. It doesn’t matter to me that my pants are tight or my tummy jiggles more when I walk. I haven’t let myself go, I’ve let myself breathe. For the first time in a long time I feel entirely comfortable in my skin.
Will I lose the first year fifteen? Maybe. I want to be healthy. But I don’t want to lose the confidence I was able to retain when my body started changing. They must be called love handles for a reason, right?