In our years of supporting individuals as they pursued a weight loss plan, we’ve noticed that their romantic partners tend to react in one of two ways: Either the partner offered invaluable support, or they become a challenging factor in lifestyle change.
As with any other personal change, weight loss can prompt a bit of instability in some relationships, or bring to light issues that previously went unnoticed. A researcher at University of Texas at Austin, Dr Rene Dailey, has actually studied the different ways in which couples worked together – or against one another – when one member of the partnership is following a weight loss plan. After surveying 389 couples, Dr Dailey was able to describe four categories into which couples tend to fall.
Synchronized couples view a weight loss plan as a joint effort, and pursue the goal together (even if only one person actually needs or wants to lose weight).
Contentious cooperative couples agree that weight loss needs to happen, for either one or both of them. However, they disagree on the exact methods of accomplishing this goal. They might banter over which eating plan is best, or how to fit exercise into their schedules. Dr Dailey found that these couples tend to debate many topics in the course of their daily lives, so it’s more “their style” of communication rather than a serious point of contention.
Autonomous couples don’t pursue lifestyle changes together. Each person does their own thing to get healthier (or sometimes not), but they also don’t argue about it. Each member of the partnership pursues the eating plan and exercise habits that work for them.
Lone battlers don’t agree on the changes that need to be made, but they also don’t argue about it. One or both of them might feel that discussions border on nagging, so they avoid them.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that synchronized couples report the most weight loss. On the other hand, among the other three couple styles there doesn’t seem to be much difference in success.
What this tells us is that when couples agree on the changes that need to be made, working together can boost their results. But if the two of you don’t agree, you can still succeed with your weight loss plan. Just be honest with your partner about the support they can offer, if they don’t want to join you. Across all four couple styles, encouragement consistently ranked as a powerful motivating factor.
As for the weight loss plan itself, we can help with that part. Give us a call to schedule an appointment, and bring your partner if you wish. We will discuss medically indicated methods of losing weight, and help you learn how to keep it off for good.