How Couples Can Support One Another to Get Healthier

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How Couples Can Support One Another to Get Healthier

If you’ve ever pursued a weight loss plan, you might have noticed something with regard to your romantic relationship: Either your partner supported you and made things easier, or you felt that they presented challenges. In some cases you might have wished your partner would join your efforts to get healthier. Or, you might have felt nagged by your partner to lose weight.

Weight loss can indeed present a challenge for couples, and one researcher at the University of Texas at Austin set out to determine how relationships can affect results. Dr Rene Dailey surveyed 389 people on their weight loss efforts and success, and found that couples tend to fall into one of the following four categories.

Synchronized couples view a weight loss plan as a joint effort, even if only one partner is trying to lose weight.

Autonomous couples aren’t necessarily “in it together”, and view weight loss as something they need to do for themselves. However, they don’t tend to get in each other’s way.

Contentious cooperative couples both understand that weight loss is a goal (for one or both of them). But, these couples disagree on how to accomplish that goal. For example, one might believe that a keto diet is the way to go, while the other believes in cutting fat. Although they disagree, these couples tend to engage in plenty of banter in all areas of their relationships. So, it’s just their style.

Lone battlers might also disagree with their partners on healthy lifestyles, but they don’t talk about it. A “team effort” does not exist in these relationships, and one or both parties might feel that any influence is nagging. They tend to find encouragement helpful in reaching their goals.

It might not surprise you to learn that synchronized couples reported the greatest weight loss, although the other three groups saw results similar to one another.

So, how can your relationship offer the best support for you, personally, as you pursue your weight loss plan? Ideally, you and your partner would agree on what a healthy lifestyle looks like, and you would pursue it together. You will eat the same diet and you would both exercise (together at times, if possible).

But, if you disagree, that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Just talk to your partner about what you’re trying to accomplish, and ask him or her to offer support in the form of encouragement. Over all four relationship styles, encouragement appeared to be the most effective motivator.

As for which weight loss plan to pursue, give us a call. We can meet with you, discuss your goals, and help you design an eating strategy and exercise regimen that will bring the results you want.