When you’re in a relationship, much of your time and many of your activities are shared with your partner. But weight issues are often one of the things partners find themselves engaging in together. In fact, research shows that 66% of couples say they have gained weight since getting together.
One of the most common reasons for this weight gain is that couples change their eating habits when starting to go out. Specifically, new couples tend to eat at restaurants or order take-out for date nights. And should a couple get married and focus on their new family, that weight gain is likely to continue.
It's safe to say that gaining weight together is an unintended consequence of falling in love. Unfortunately, the weight that’s gained together is not always easily lost together.
Weight Loss & Relationships: A Stressful Combination
The issue of weight loss can be surprisingly stressful on a relationship. In fact, a 2014 study at North Carolina State University found that many relationships suffered when one partner lost at least 30 pounds. Couples began fighting over food, nagging about exercise, and feeling annoyed about the time spent on weight loss efforts.
This isn’t to say that couples shouldn’t try to lose weight. However, couples should prepare themselves for the potential challenges and stress that weight loss can put on a relationship. Approaching this possibility with realistic plans and expectations can help couples support each other, minimize negative feelings, and contribute to a healthier relationship overall.
Want To Lose Weight? Have A Talk.
Whether one person or both parties in a relationship wants to lose weight, the most important thing they can do is ensure both people feel as if they’re on the same page. This requires a conversation. And ideally, the talk will happen before either person begins losing weight.
According to communication and weight loss experts, the best thing a couple can do is establish how each person can help the other. This is important because everyone is different. What one person may find encouraging, another may find hurtful. Setting up rules and boundaries in advance, however, can eliminate a lot of anger and potential fighting.
It’s also important for couples to discuss why they want to lose weight. All too often, fights can break out because one person in a relationship feels as if the changes the other person makes paint them in a negative light. One person saying no to a shared dessert, for example, shouldn’t be seen as a criticism or affront. (Unfortunately, that’s exactly what can happen.) Ideally, discussing the “why” behind weight loss can help couples avoid these types of squabbles, and keep the focus on the real reasons for one person (or both) wanting to make a change. Weight loss is a personal journey of health and self-improvement - and should never be taken personally by another individual.
While these important talks can’t prevent every possible fight, they can set the groundwork for couples to negotiate, compromise, and set boundaries. Time spent in the gym and changes in eating habits shouldn’t be a source of frustration. And good communication can at least reduce the chances of things like these becoming a serious problem.
When Trying To Lose Weight, Stay Realistic
Even after having a serious talk, couples will need to brace themselves for potential weight loss stress due to the following:
- Mismatched Metabolisms. Not everyone has the same metabolism. Age, genetics, gender, and lifestyle all contribute to metabolism rates. Unfortunately, this can lead to stress, frustration, and even resentment in a relationship. Understanding this and having a plan to cope with these feelings will allow you to focus on you - not on things neither you nor your partner can control.
- Body Image Issues. When trying to lose weight, many individuals feel particularly sensitive about their bodies. Unfortunately, when trying to make positive changes, those negative feelings can grow stronger. Feeling as if progress isn't being made only makes things worse. And when we feel bad about our bodies, we’re more likely to lash out, both at ourselves and at others. Communicating your feelings with your partner, however, can help as you both navigate this potential emotional minefield.
- Different Fitness Levels. If you and your partner are at different fitness levels when starting to lose weight, it can be tough for you to work out together. Couples should have a plan for this potential issue. Maybe you’ll do some things together, like walks in the park. Maybe you’ll schedule workouts at entirely different times, focused on your specific goals and needs. Either way, couples need to find a way to overcome this hurdle - and to not take it personally when one person finds exercise easier than the other.
Keep At It. It’s Worth It!
Weight loss is always intimidating - so trying to lose weight with a partner in the picture can be especially daunting. However, at the end of the day, it’s important to stay positive and to remember that it’s worth it. In fact, for many couples, weight loss and fitness can be just what they need to strengthen their relationship. More importantly, the health changes that come with weight loss can help couples come together.
Still have questions about weight loss? Struggling to do so? Consider making an appointment to meet with our team! Right Weight Center is a physician-directed medical weight loss program that offers affordable help - with no lengthy contracts and no hidden fees to deal with.
Instead, we provide straightforward weight loss solutions that help people achieve their weight loss goals. Our team includes board-certified family care physicians, physician assistants, and technicians - all of whom understand the challenges of losing weight and maintaining weight loss. With our custom plans and FDA approved tools - including Lipotropic injections and natural, proven metabolism boosters - our team can help you and your partner stay focused and achieve your weight loss goals, easily and safely.