Metro-East Living

Marriage can be fattening, but it’s worth it

Chip Gaines on making marriage work

Chip Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper talks about why his marriage to business partner/co-star Joanna Gaines works during an appearance at Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas (Star-Telegram video by Robert by Robert Philpot)
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Chip Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper talks about why his marriage to business partner/co-star Joanna Gaines works during an appearance at Nebraska Furniture Mart of Texas (Star-Telegram video by Robert by Robert Philpot)

“I’ve lost five pounds,” my husband, Mark, told me, recently. “Have you lost five pounds?”

“Yeah, five pounds and then some,” I said.

This would have been good news except neither one of us was dieting. We had been eating with abandon all summer and our clothes were getting tight.

And so ... we sat silently at our kitchen counter, nibbling Oreos and feeling perplexed.

“I think our scale is broken,” Mark said, finally.

I wanted to scream, “Nooo!” But my mouth was full.

“A couple weeks ago, when I stepped on the scale, it made a funny sound,” Mark admitted, between bites. “My weight dropped five pounds and it never came back up.”

And just like that, my weight loss became a weight gain. I turned to my stretch pants for comfort. Stretch pants never forsake you. They fit in good times or bad, for better or worse — sort of like marriage vows.

Speaking of marriage, I have decided marriage is fattening. My husband and I “feed” off each other. If one of us is hungry, the other one eats. The fact Mark is a great cook also doesn’t help. When I was falling in love with him, back in the summer of ’91, he prepared a dish called Shrimp Cardinale to seal the deal.

I was a size 2 then. I’m not anymore. Like I said, marriage is fattening.

“When you date, you’re in ‘attraction mode,’” my friend Sheila Shearlock, a Granite City native, explained.

Sheila has been married a few times and is my go-to expert on relationships. Like many women, her waistline has gone up and down. She maintains there is a reason for that.

“When you’re dating, you want the other person to think you’re dainty,” she said, “So you don’t eat as much in front of them. You tend to suck in your stomach more.

“Plus you’re not as hungry because you’re excited and nervous.”

Sheila’s theory is food for thought. However, this wasn’t the case with Mark and I. On our first date, I cleaned my plate and went after his. At the time, Mark found my healthy appetite adorable. These days, he tells me to slow down and chew my food. (I like to think it’s because he doesn’t want me to choke.)

“The longer you’re with a person, the more comfortable you get,” Sheila said, matter-of-factly. “You’re happy so you eat more.”

Such was the case July 18 when I stepped on the new scale I purchased at Walmart. Alas, my happiness took a nosedive when my weight flashed on the screen.

“You go try it,” I told my husband, as soon as he got home from work.

“Yup. Up five pounds,” Mark said, shaking his head.

And so ... we sat at our kitchen counter nibbling Oreos and planning our diet. We knew we had to finish the bag, so it wasn’t lying around tempting us.

And what about all those leftovers in the fridge? If we ate fast, we could finish them by Sunday.

Like I said, marriage is fattening. But if you’re hungry for love, it’s worth the weight.

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