Tying the knot can come with a slew of benefits—but settling down might have one big downside: Being married could make you gain weight, according to a new study from the University of Bath’s School of Management in the U.K.
Using more than a decade of data from nearly 9,000 men in the United States, study author Joanna Syrda, Ph.D. discovered that married men had a significantly higher average body mass index (BMI) than men who were not married. And when looking at men who became dads, their most significant weight gain occurred right after the birth of their kids. (This new workout will completely change your definition of dad bod.)
But for guys whose marriages tanked? Their BMIs actually got lower following the divorce, potentially due to the effects of stress.
So why does shacking up bump up your pants size? Syrda believes her findings might support past theories about relationships and weight gain. For instance, you might start eating your meals more regularly after you get married. Or, being married could expose you to more social situations that involve richer (AKA more caloric) foods.
Plus, people who are single, but looking for a long-term partner, might have more of a reason to put in the extra effort to stay fit, Syrda suggests.
But letting yourself go can quickly become a problem. Being overweight puts you at greater risk for a number of serious diseases and health conditions, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s why understanding how different parts of your life influence your weight gain is important. It allows you to make better, more informed decisions about your health and eating habits, Syrda explains in a press release.
Just keep in mind that being a husband and father might not be the only thing contributing to the number on the scale—these 10 everyday traps can make you gain weight, too.