Gaining Weight After Marriage

July 6, 2007 § 15 Comments

I was walking down the hall at work today and I saw the janitor for our floor – we are on the 1st floor of the hospital, near the executive suite – the janitor, a very nice middle-aged man, asks me if I have been working out. Immediately, when he said this I knew what he meant. It wasn’t the real question that he wanted to ask but as I said he is a very nice man and was trying to be polite. So I replied that I had not been working out and in fact have gained a bit of weight. He goes on to admonish me about the gain – which is roughly about 10 lbs. and suggests that I do something about it before it is too hard to get off.

Obviously, he is comparing my physique to the one I had when I first started here back in 2001, nearly one year after I married my wife. This was when I still had free-time, no children, I took a year away from my studies and my wife was not as demanding as she is now. With all that extra time I was able to go to the Palladium (NYU recreation center) or the Parks nearby and play basketball; I swam a lot and I worked out in the weight room regularly at the job.

However, today there is a very different set of circumstances. I now have three children, my university studies, more responsibility at the job which means less time at home; which means less time for my wife; which means more demands on and from her; which mean less time for me. This has translated into virtually no time to exercise and as a result I have gained a few pounds.

Then I started to think about whether or not I would have allowed myself to gain weight if I were still single? Of course not. The entire point of looking good, and having good health when you are single, is to feel good about yourself, but of equal importance to attract a mate. That is when I had to take a moment to reflect. At first I didn’t think it was a big deal but now I am reconsidering that position. Especially after reading an article from the Cornell Chronicle that suggests,

“Once married, obese husbands are less happy with their marriages than other men, but men who have lost weight report fewer marital problems than obese or average-weight men or men who have gained weight during marriage.”

Now after several years of marriage and a heap of responsibility, I find it difficult to make extra-time to work on my body: endurance and strength development. But it is very important and I think that I am doing myself a disservice by ignoring this essential aspect of life. In fact, I think that with all of the added responsibility, it is probably even more important to be fit.

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§ 15 Responses to Gaining Weight After Marriage

  • brnaeem says:

    AA- Hakim, I share your sentiments and struggles in keeping the waistline from its ever-expanding tendency.

    You quote the study: “Once married, obese husbands are less happy with their marriages than other men, but men who have lost weight report fewer marital problems than obese or average-weight men or men who have gained weight during marriage.”

    Do you think the marriage suffers/succeeds due to the weight gain of the man or more from the man’s self-esteem based on his physical appearance?? Big difference, I would say. I can see how a depressed husband would project his mood onto his marriage.

    And I would say that a spiritually healthy individual would be better protected from making a similar mistake (ie. he would be less prone to weight-related depression) as his world does not begin or end with his physical appearance.

    So go ahead and enjoy your next visit to Krispy Kremes! Its the spirit that counts! (at least that’s what I tell my wife)

    WA-
    Naeem

  • Irving says:

    Alas, the ever present struggle against fast food and snacks lol. Though 10 lbs. is not too bad a gain, I have found that the best way to lose weight is to go vegetarian for a few months. That doesn’t mean donuts lol. May Allah help you in your struggle.

    Ya Haqq!

  • As salaamu alaikum bro,

    I think Naeem is gonna get you in TROUBLE!

    Anyway, I think that Naeem is partly right in that a spiritually healthy man may be better protected from weight-related depression, however, I would also think that a spiritually healthy person would guard the stomach, no? Not that I’m good at it!

  • Hakim says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum all,

    Bro. Naeem, you said,

    “Do you think the marriage suffers/succeeds due to the weight gain of the man or more from the man’s self-esteem based on his physical appearance??”

    But, there are other factors besides the “self-esteem”, what about overall energy level. Or perhaps, the man’s attractiveness to his spouse. Its true the effects of weight gain are likely to cause a man to fall into depression but there are other aspects of life, marriage and family that can be strained due to 1) the weight gain itself or 2) the factors that contributed to weight gain. Such as poor eating habits and not guarding the stomach as our sister has suggested.

    In addition, spouses may also want to consider their mates weight gain and analyze if perhaps it is the side-effect of a man’s handling of stressors, believe it or not stress can make you fat!

    Oh and Irving, I just may take you up on that vegetarian diet, thats a good idea.

  • gess says:

    As-Salamu Aleikum,

    Talking about “lost in translation”, Hakim.

    Gain weight and campaign poster for awareness of helping starving people in East Africa on same page?

  • Hakim says:

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam,

    “Gain weight and campaign poster for awareness of helping starving people in East Africa on same page?”

    What is your point sis? Are you implying that this is an inappropriate discussion because the poster appears in the sidebar? Or should I delete the poster from the sidebar? What are you implying here? Is there something wrong?

  • gess says:

    Salaam

    😆 I was not trying to act a moral police. Calm down brother.

    I was about to write how I lost weight just walking to school in stead of taking the bus, and then the side bar got my attention. But it’s still your blog. Do what ever you want.

  • Hakim says:

    gess,

    I just wanted to know where you were coming from, because I really wasn’t sure. This was actually a serious article, having a family takes you very far away from your own needs sometimes and I thought it was a good item to write about. And I was right as it developed a few comments rather quickly.

  • brnaeem says:

    Salaam Hakim,

    I still contend that the state of the spirit is much more critical to the health of the marriage than the other factors. When it comes down to it, I would rather struggle for a healthy mind/soul than a healthy body. Ideally, we should strive for both, but as I said, if I had to choose….

    I can easily see a healthy fit man having an unhealthy relationship due to internal sicknesses of the heart, while the opposite would be less likely (ie. an overweight person with a good heart struggling in his marriage). Am I being too naive or am I just missing your point?

    “Or perhaps, the man’s attractiveness to his spouse”

    That is another problem in this society where our concepts of beauty are too much affected by Hollywood and supermodels.

    Take care,
    WA-
    Naeem

  • Hakim says:

    Salaam,

    Br. Naeem, there is no contention, you said:

    “I still contend that the state of the spirit is much more critical to the health of the marriage than the other factors.”

    I think the majority of us, including myself believe this. And as you have suggested some of the issues, if not all, that I have discussed in this article are matters of a sickness and that sickness is of the heart – as we say as part of our Islamic colloquialisms – but the fact remains that these issues exist or no one would comment on this item and it would certainly not be on the Top Five list to the right of this comment in the sidebar.

    So we can put forth our ideals but if those ideals do not address real-life circumstances what good are they? I do not at all believe that our Prophet (s.a.w.s.) or his Companions conducted themselves this way, nor do I believe that they understood their religion this way.

    “When it comes down to it, I would rather struggle for a healthy mind/soul than a healthy body.

    How does one do this – struggle for a healthy mind/soul – if one cannot maintain his own health and the body/blessing which Allah ta ala has given us. It seems to me that one would proceed the other.

    For example, can we all agree that waking up for fajr prayer takes determination and strength. But if we are 30 pounds overweight, staying up late at night watching television and eating – halal – snacks well into the evening this is going to take its toll on that determination and strength.

    I do not believe that we can conduct ourselves in this poor manner and wash away the effects by a daily ablution or a even a dua for that matter – not that we cannot make dua to assist us in changing our behavior – but supplicating Allah to reverse the order which he has created is not good thinking on our parts if this is in fact what some think.

    This thinking reminds me of Jews who believe that despite their deeds they will be pardoned of the Hell Fire, because of birth.

  • brnaeem says:

    AA- Hakim, thanks for your input.

    I do think that we are both saying the same thing, or at least that we both agree on the basic premise of the other’s argument.

    “How does one do this – struggle for a healthy mind/soul – if one cannot maintain his own health and the body/blessing which Allah ta ala has given us. It seems to me that one would proceed the other”

    You think so? Are you saying that a sound body is a prerequisite for a sound heart?

    Please note that I am in no way advocating an unhealthy lifestyle (my Krispy Kreme joke was just that…a joke). I strongly believe that a strong Mumin must keep his body in check. I just think we ought to prioritize. And in this culture obsessed with the outer appearance, we Muslims should be taking a stand and calling everyone back to the ways of the heart, not reinforcing the ways of Jenny Craig.

    “but the fact remains that these issues exist or no one would comment on this item and it would certainly not be on the Top Five list to the right of this comment in the sidebar”

    I think people just like to read about us old fat married men getting even fatter. 🙂

    WA-
    Naeem

  • Hakim says:

    WA,

    Naeem, you are a really good commenter. You pick up on the points that I leave open – intentionally – for controversy – very smart.

    “You think so? Are you saying that a sound body is a prerequisite for a sound heart?”

    I do not know? wa allahu a’alam. But it – ones physical health – is certainly an important factor.

    “I just think we ought to prioritize. And in this culture obsessed with the outer appearance, we Muslims should be taking a stand and calling everyone back to the ways of the heart, not reinforcing the ways of Jenny Craig.”

    I read you loud an clear. By stating that I was gaining weight I was raising a very broad issue and loosely alluding to its root causes, but not really.

    The fact is that I think overall, we fathers and mothers should stay fit so that we can manage the great task that we Muslims have at hand. Its cannot be done by the college students alone, they can make a bedlam and get the attention needed. But in order for Muslim voices to have authority and authenticity they must come from established mature pillars of the community. Which don’t have to be fuqaha, in fact I think more people need to here the opinions of regular Muslim family, if they have a good opinion to share.

    “I think people just like to read about us old fat married men getting even fatter. :-)”

    You may have a point there 🙂 too funny!

  • HijabiApprentice says:

    Bismillah,

    Asalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    Br. Hakim,

    I really don’t have anything insightful to add. But I will say YIKES! I was lamenting with a good friend of mine that after I converted I gained a ton of weight. With wearing loose fitting modest abayas and shalwar khameez and the like I didn’t really notice all the weight I put on. Now for health reasons and because I’m getting married I’m trying to get this weight off post haste!!! I really will need to be diligent after I get married, insha Allah, to carve out at least 20 – 30 minutes daily for cardio and practice portion control.

    I think outer appearance is quite important and there are at least 2 sahih hadith that (even with my limited knowledge) I know of where someone’s not so hot appearance (one was a big tummy and one was wild hair) was remarked on by the Prophet, sallahu alaihi wa salam. And we know from reading hadith and seerah that our Nabi took care of his appearance. So I do not believe it is for vanity’s sake to want to look nice, shed pounds etc but because our body has rights over us, as our spouses have rights over us, as our children have rights over us. Being healthy in mind, body and spirit is the best way to fulfill those rights.

    Insha Allah you’ll be able to shed those pounds brother! For me I just had to limit my carbs, up my water intake, decrease my portions, and get some kind of cardio daily and I’ve lost about 15 lbs!

    ma’a salaamah,

    ha

  • Hakim says:

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

    Sis HA, thank you for your comment, oh and congratulations on your marriage, baraka’allah feekum.

  • Jazak Allah kheir. Please keep me in your dua.

    ma’a salaamah,

    ha

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