Losing weight may be challenging for some people. But what happens when you’re trying to lose weight and your partner is more of a challenge than the actual weight-loss?
How do you navigate through healthy lifestyle modifications and keep your relationship in tact, and even thriving?
While losing weight as a couple has its benefits, it may also have some negative side effects. Having the support of your partner may aide in your weight-loss success, but it may also create a wedge between the two of you. So, before you begin your weight-loss journey, know your differences as a couple.
Making Comparisons in Relationships
Blame it on Mother Nature. Men tend to lose weight faster than women due to biology and physiology. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that women can do about that. Therefore, it’s best to know this before you begin so you can manage your expectations.
Preparing yourself mentally for this may help you in the long run. If you are in a heterosexual relationship, comparing your weight-loss progress can create anxiety, frustration and anger. So, if your weight management partner is a male, try not to get discouraged if you are making progress at different paces. Continue to do your work, stay on track, and be supportive of one another. Remember, you are both playing for the same team – health!
Getting Physically Active
Next, get moving! We all know that being physically active burns calories, but what we may not have known is that men will often lose weight more rapidly with workouts than women. If you are a woman in this situation, don’t get discouraged. If you are a man who is losing weight more rapidly than your partner, check in with them and see how they’re adjusting to your collective exercise routines.
For both partners, don’t be afraid to modify your workouts. One of you may have an easier time with resistance or strength training, while the other might have an easier time with cardio. One of you may have more endurance or more speed. None of this really matters. You can modify your workouts to fit you as an individual, but you don’t have to let those modifications keep you from working out alongside your partner.
You can also agree to find workouts that suit both of you at the same intensity, such as power walking or yoga. While you may not always do the same exact exercises, you will both be working toward your ultimate goal – weight-loss that leads to improved health.
It’s not uncommon for people to eat in response to feeling hurt, sad or depressed. Maybe sometimes, both you and your partner find comfort in emotional eating together. This may take a little more control, but you can manage this as well.
Communication is key. Let your partner know how you are feeling and ask for his/her support. Perhaps engaging in physical activity together (short walk, bike ride, etc.) will help take your focus off food. Be mindful of emotional eating triggers throughout your day. Keep a food diary and write down how you are feeling when you are eating and what foods you are opting for.
Then discuss these changes with your partner. Working to understand each others’ challenges will help you relate to one another. This type of support is key when making any lifestyle change.
Support and Relationships
No matter how you tackle your weight-loss journey, having a supportive partner is a huge benefit. Sometimes, taking a step back from the process allows us to examine our inner most private relationships. Being able to ask for help and support may allow you to make your relationship a priority again, or keep it that way. It will create an environment for encouragement, shared meals and experiences, and a new level of communication and understanding.
All the while, you are both getting healthier and managing your weight. So don’t let jealousy, anger or frustration get in your way of living your best life. Taking these small steps will still get you to where you want to be. Just keep the faith and keep going. You’ve got this!
About the Author:
Natalie-Jean Schiavone, PhD, has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. After receiving her Master’s degree in General Psychology, Natalie-Jean went on to complete her doctoral degree in Health Psychology with a specialization in obesity. Dr. Schiavone conducted her research and completed her dissertation on female adolescents with obesity and their social experiences. Using her education, experience and expertise, Dr. Schiavone works with patients to create a healthier lifestyle where knowledge is a key factor in this modification.