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Exercise And Healthy Meals Help Newlyweds
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Newlyweds can avoid the common problem of gaining weight by eating healthy and exercising as a team.
"Exercise is important for everyone's physical and emotional condition," said Linda Patterson, extension health specialist at Mississippi State University. "It's a great way to relieve stress and control weight."
Patterson said early in a marriage is a good time to develop a habit of regular exercise.
"Partners can be important in following through with exercise programs," she said. "But couples may have to try several different activities before they find an exercise they both enjoy and can do together."
Patterson said walking and jogging as a couple can be difficult if their gaits, or speeds, are not similar. However, if a couple has access to treadmills, they can workout side by side at different speeds.
"Tennis can be a good form of exercise, whether they choose to play singles or doubles," Patterson said. "It is always good to diversify your exercise program to benefit different muscle groups."
Patterson said a daily stroll together is good, but not as beneficial as a brisk walk. Regardless of the level of exercise, couples should seek a lifetime of activities they enjoy.
Poor eating habits are often a cause of post-wedding weight gain for couples. Recognizing the risk is a step toward avoiding extra weight.
"Trying to please each other, either by cooking a lot or by eating a lot, often results in weight gain," said Dr. Melissa Mixon, extension human nutrition specialist at MSU. "Cooking too much food for only two people can be another cause."
When food is eaten in smaller quantities evenly spaced throughout the day, the body is able to more efficiently convert the food to energy rather than storing it as fat.
"The most lasting method of losing weight is to adopt healthier eating habits. Reducing fat and increasing fruits and vegetables in the diet are the best places to start," Mixon said. "Increased exercise will help dieters drop extra pounds at a faster, safer rate."
Mixon proposed several tips for healthier eating:
- Grill, bake, broil or boil meats instead of frying them.
- Experiment with herbs and spices for seasoning instead of butter, margarine or bacon drippings.
- Try to use portion control. Cook or provide only enough for two people.
- Eat slowly and select foods that require a lot of chewing. Salads are good choices if low-calorie, low-fat dressings are available.
- Do not keep junk food around the house. Stock fruits, raw vegetables, and cheese and crackers.
- Limit alcohol, which is high in calories -- almost as many as fat. Chronic use of alcohol suppresses the appetite, thus interfering with the consumption of nutrients.
Mixon added that food safety should be a priority for all cooks.
"There's no point in testing that `In sickness' aspect of the vows if you can avoid it," Mixon said.
Many cases of foodborne illness can be avoided by thoroughly washing hands and utensils after handling each raw food item. Never put foods on trays or cutting boards that held raw meats.
Another important food safety consideration is the time factor. Discard perishable foods that have been at room temperature for two hours. Keep hot foods at 140 degrees and cold foods at 40 degrees.
For more tips on exercise, nutrition and food safety, contact your county's extension home economist.