Losing weight has benefits. You can slip into clothing you thought you could never wear again, and you look and feel your best. It took lots of time and dedication to reach your weight loss goal and you’re proud of your accomplishment. Losing weight is no small feat! Hopefully, your spouse and family feel as good as you about your success – but not necessarily. A new study shows losing weight can sometimes strain relationships, especially relationships between husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend.
The Impact of Losing Weight Has on Relationships
This study carried out at North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at Austin found that weight loss can change the dynamics of a romantic relationship. They surveyed more than 20 adult couples, one of whom had lost 30 or more pounds of weight over 2 years or less, questioning them about how their relationship had changed. They found when one individual in the relationship had lost a significant amount of weight it often created “tension” between the couple.
As you already know, once you discover the power of eating healthy and exercise, it’s natural to want to share your knowledge with others, including your significant other. Seems this can create tension. Some spouses feel a sense of jealousy that their partner accomplished something they didn’t or worry that they would no longer find them attractive. Others are jealous that their spouse may attract more attention from the opposite sex. Some are simply uncomfortable with change.
Will Your Partner Interfere with Your Weight Loss Goal?
In this study, some participants went as far as thwarting their partner’s efforts by tempting them with high-calorie foods. The good news? A partner’s weight loss was less likely to have a negative impact on a relationship when both partners were open to the idea of healthy eating and supportive of their spouse’s efforts – so get your partner on board with you from the beginning. If you do, it could actually bring you closer. Partners that get healthy together, stay together. Just imagine those romantic evenings at a dimly-lit restaurant eating salmon, sauteed broccoli and salad.
There are some positives. Adopting a healthy diet and exercising could bring out your partner’s competitive spirit – the old “if she can do it, I can too!” The key is to get them excited about healthy eating and fitness early. How can you do that?
How to Help Your Partner to Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Plan meals together. Once you’ve agreed on the week’s menus, hit the grocery store as a team to get the items you need to make a healthy meal. Look for healthy recipes online together. Be sure to incorporate some of your spouse’s favorite foods into the recipes only in a healthier form and make sure they have equal say. A word of warning. Don’t smother your partner with “good advice.” They’re more likely to go along with change if it’s not too extreme.
Stock the kitchen with healthy fare so there aren’t high-calorie goodies around to tempt your spouse – or you. Find recipes for tasty snacks and dessert that are low in sugar and calories that you can prepare quickly. Example – oven-baked cheesy kale chips in place of potato chips.
Work out together. Keep a few DVDs handy that the two of you can tackle together. Choose a time that suits both of your schedules to work out. Log your workouts in a journal. Find active things to do on the weekend – bowling, hiking and horseback riding are some options. Put up a basketball net and shoot baskets together. Find activities you both enjoy that don’t involve sitting in front of a television or computer.
Reinforce the good and don’t nag about the bad. Don’t take on the role of “food police”. If your partner refuses to change their diet, accept it and lead by example. Give them reinforcement when they do make a healthy choice.
The Bottom Line?
Losing a significant amount of weight can change the dynamics of a relationship, but if you approach weight loss and eating healthy together, it can actually bring you closer as a couple – and you’ll be healthier too.
Science Daily. “Weight Loss Not Always Beneficial for Romantic Relationships”
Health Dynamics. ” Weighty Dynamics: Exploring Couples’ Perceptions of Post-Weight-Loss Interaction”
Related Articles By Cathe: