It isn’t unusual for a couple to gain weight while in a relationship as many people bond over food.
A study revealed that 79 percent of 2,000 U.S. adults have piled on the pounds since getting married or in a relationship, according to the Australian weight loss program Jenny Craig conducted by One Poll.
However, eating at restaurants, snacking and ordering take-out soon become an unwanted habit. Newsweek spoke to a Texas couple who decided to ditch their unhealthy lifestyle ahead of their best friend’s wedding.
Meredith, 28, and her husband Steven Hutson, 27, lost a combined total of 175 pounds for the wedding that took place on February 11.
The couple admits to previously never exercising and often opting for fast food.
Steven, who weighed 260 pounds on his wedding day, told Newsweek he didn’t “mind” how he looked on his big day. But when it came to his friend’s wedding, he wanted redemption, Meredith said.
The couple recently went viral on Facebook as Meredith uploaded a slide show of before and after images showcasing their journey. The video has racked up 557,000 likes since it was shared on February 13.
An excerpt of the caption said: “This was the first wedding my husband and I have been in together that we felt so confident in. Usually, I dread being in weddings, one because you don’t normally get a say in the outfit you get to wear but also because I was normally ALWAYS the “biggest” bridesmaid and that never felt good.”
Meredith, who weighed 256 at her heaviest, told Newsweek she started her weight loss journey in January 2020 and managed to lose 50 pounds before walking down the aisle at her own wedding.
Receiving an invitation to her best friend’s wedding in February 2022 spurred her to keep going. This time, Steven was keen to join the gym and swap convenient food for a nutritional diet, too.
Meredith now weighs 136 pounds and has even had a career swap from a hairdresser to an online fitness coach.
“Steven grew up with the bride Sarah so he was the ‘man of honor’ and I was the matron of honor,” she said about the wedding. “We felt amazing walking in and we had so much confidence when we had to stand up to give a speech. We felt like the hot topic at the wedding and it felt good. We are very proud of our accomplishments.”
The couple told Newsweek they have always struggled with their weight, but this time they’ve managed to find a sustainable diet and regimen that works for them.
“I have been overweight since a child as I hated home-cooked food,” Meredith said. “My relationship with food was bad for most of my life and I often found myself eating Mexican take-outs or microwave meals. I have tried every fad diet in the book. They would work, but the moment I stopped, I would gain all the weight back plus more.
“Steven’s relationship with food was slightly better, but he was very inconsistent. Sometimes he wouldn’t eat enough whereas the other days he would binge eat.”
Recently, Meredith has calculated how much money she used to spend on fast food. In total, she used to spend $800 per month.
“Most days I would buy breakfast, lunch and dinner but it was still an eye-opener finding out how much I used to spend,” she said.
Meredith estimates she used to eat 4,000 calories per day and Steven reckons he used to eat 4,500 to 6,500.
Meredith’s Food Diary Before
Breakfast: Stop at a doughnut shop, chocolate milk
Lunch: Sonic hamburger with large potatoes, large coffee
Dinner: Mexican restaurant for enchiladas, chips and salsa
Snacks: Sweets, chocolate or bag of Cheetos, mac and cheese
Meredith’s Food Diary Now
Breakfast: 10 ounces of egg whites, bagel, cream cheese
Lunch: Tuna, crackers and grapes
Dinner: Orange chicken, rice and vegetables
Snacks: Banana, protein drink
“Now, Steven and I cook together and meal prep for the week,” she said. “We only weight train and eat a high-protein and low-carb diet. But we do like to live a balanced lifestyle so we haven’t completely ditched date night. The difference is, we will eat in moderation at restaurants.
“We also spend six evenings per week in the gym together whereas before we would watch TV whenever we weren’t working. Our weight loss journey has definitely made us closer and our bond stronger than ever.”
It isn’t just their diets that have been replaced but their wardrobes, too. Meredith was once a size 24 and is now a size 4. Steven, who has yet to reach his goal weight, was a “snug 40-inch waist and a comfortable 42-inch” and he has now dropped four trouser sizes.
“The weight loss journey with Meredith was a mix of fun and not so fun,” Steven said. “I’ve always loved being active and lifting heavy weights, but this time it was different because I got to do it with my wife.
“The not-so-fun side of things was when people assumed I was slacking because my transformation wasn’t as significant as Meredith’s. This is because she started before me.”
Steven’s Food Diary Before
Breakfast: Kolaches, breakfast sandwiches and fast food
Lunch: Boxed pizza, microwaveable meals of all kinds, mostly processed foods
Dinner: Wide variety from chicken fried steak to more boxed pizza and the occasional chicken breast to make myself feel healthy.
Snack: Popcorn and ice cream
Steven’s Food Diary Now
Breakfast: 2 slices bacon, 1 egg, 8-10 ounces of egg whites and an English muffin.
Lunch: Buffalo chicken sandwich on whole grain buns, sometimes a patty melt with 97 percent lean beef and whole grain bread with low-fat cheese
Dinner: Chicken & risotto, taco/enchilada bowls
Snack: Fat-free yogurt with a Graham cracker and a few chocolate chips to resemble a “s’mores yogurt”
‘Deadline for Weight Loss Is Great Starting Point’
Laura Lee Crabbe, a certified personal trainer from Kansas City, Missouri, told Newsweek that external motivators are a good idea but individuals should be careful.
“Having a deadline for a fitness or weight loss goal, like a wedding, vacation, high school reunion, etc., is a great starting point for your fitness journey,” Crabbe said. “Losing weight often requires changes to our current lifestyle and the formation of new habits.”
She said that six to 12 weeks is “the perfect time” to form new habits once a set plan is in place. She advises tracking your progress week to week by taking photos or measurements.
“Chances are as time goes on in preparation for this event, you’re going to see the positive impact on your overall quality of life from this lifestyle change, and you’re going to want to keep up with these habits you’ve created long after the event,” Crabbe said.
Unrealistic Expectations May Lead to Burnout
Crabbe, a certified nutritionist at Caliber, a New York based-wellness and fitness service, advises people against a rigid diet and fitness regime.
“I think where people often run into trouble with external motivators for weight loss is doing too much, too fast,” she said. “If you set unrealistic expectations for yourself in a short amount of time in regard to working out or nutrition, you could burn yourself out quickly.
“The weight loss may not be sustainable, and there’s potential for you to gain it back after the event. So even though it’s tempting to go on an extreme exercise regime or diet, try to give yourself plenty of time before the special occasion to start your weight loss journey, that way you can focus on sustainable health and wellness habits, and keep the weight off.”
welcome to your health-fighters.us