x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Married life: Post-wedding weight blues

Why newlywed bliss equals inevitable weight gain.

I should have listened to my married friends when they warned me to be careful of weight gain after the wedding. "That would never happen to me," I said to myself arrogantly, tuning out the well-meaning bits of advice. "I've worked too hard all those years shedding kilos of weight that have accompanied me all my life to allow those same pesky kilos to creep up on me just because I happen to be married," I convinced myself, almost revolted at the idea.

I blush to think of my naïveté. What did I expect exactly, having cancelled any sort of physical exercise out of my life in favour of cuddling (read: slumping) on a couch with a husband who has the same sort of movie obsession I suffer from? Consider the ease of take-away or restaurant reservations, compared to all the work that goes into washing and chopping those various vegetables that make up a salad. Consider also all those dishes you are experimenting with to impress your husband with your newly found culinary skills, which require generous helpings of butter to improve both taste and texture, and therein lies the dreaded formula. Newlywed bliss equals inevitable weight gain.

And the dreaded kilos really did pile on cunningly. One day all is loose, flowing and comfortable in one of my many maxi dresses and the next day, my favourite jeans no longer zip up. And the problem was most definitely not a malfunctioning zipper. I panicked on the day those jeans decided to shrink a size or two, and decided to try on my entire honeymoon wardrobe. I watched in horror as dress after summer dress was discarded on to the floor. They were all just too snug, and I had no idea how I could have been so unaware.

The data is out there! Worldwide, there are studies speaking of weight gain post marriage, and particularly for women. A few months ago, I had met a doctor from Dubai who noticed that among his patients, women gained an average of 5.6kg a year after marriage. I remember rushing to Mr T with that statistic vowing that will never be me. Yeah, right. Now, I look at his slight paunch, and instead of feeling slightly relieved that I am not alone in my marital weight gain, I feel guilty and ashamed that I did this to my husband. A young marriage should not have to suffer the strain that comes on with body image problems and a refusal to dress up and go out socialising with other young, married friends, just because I don't fit into one of the dresses from my trousseau.

And don't get me started on that trousseau. I actually had one, courtesy of my mother, and it is made up of the most beautiful dresses, all hanging wretchedly in my forlorn closet. The solution was obvious. Put in the effort needed to make that salad, learn how to grill a piece of chicken breast without the help of butter and actually keep our vow to exercise. This past week, I am proud to say that Mr T and I bit the bullet and forked out the wad of cash required to join a great gym nearby. It happens to be in a hotel, and our membership affords us a 15 per cent discount on all the hotel's restaurants.

No, we haven't started working out yet. And yes, we had a great butter-laden dinner at the hotel's steakhouse.