Weight Loss and Your Relationship

Some couples undertake a weight loss journey together. This is wonderful because you have a built-in accountability and workout buddy.

Weight Loss and Your Relationships

By Rachel Smith, Program Director, Weight Management at The Group

Weight loss and the lifestyle changes it brings cause positive and negative relationship disruption. It is important to recognize that this lifestyle change has the potential to impact your relationship with yourself, your partner and with your friends and family.

In any relationship there is potential for us to be the influencer or the one who is influenced. Will your healthier choices about food and exercise inspire healthier behaviors among your friends and family or will they feel threatened by your healthier self?

Have you ever experienced a situation that felt like ‘dietary sabotage’ inflicted by a friend or family member? Perhaps this sabotage is unintentional but many of my patients report having a friend encourage them to have ‘just one little cheat.’ Maybe you have experienced a well-meaning colleague who brings a healthy treat to the office and gets offended when you abstain from partaking in their offering because it doesn’t meet the requirements of your diet plan.

Your weight loss will very likely affect your relationship with your partner. These effects depend on many factors.

If you are undertaking the journey to improved health on your own, your partner, regardless of his or her weight, may feel insecure about the changes. As you lose weight, your sense of self changes. Is your partner certain that this new body confidence won’t lead you to trade him or her in for a newer model? 

Having an open and honest discussion with your partner about your reasons for wanting to lose weight may go a long way towards reassuring him that you aren’t going anywhere.

Your partner may support you fully and embrace the improved energy and vitality that better health brings to the relationship. Or, they may feel left behind in their unhealthy habits or that the two of you no longer share common interests. Again, it is important to talk to your partner about your desire to lose weight and communicate openly about what it means for your relationship and daily life. Will Friday night pizza be a thing of the past? Will they join you on your weekend hikes or bike rides or sit home alone without you?

When only one member of a couple begins a weight loss transformation, the other member often reports that their dieting partner wants to talk about health related topics more frequently. If they are health-minded as well, this can be a good thing, something that brings them together.

If they are ‘left behind’ in an unhealthy lifestyle, they may interpret the health talk as nagging. The dieting partner may feel as though the other is secretly trying to sabotage their efforts to get healthy by bringing home ice cream or donuts.

If your partner seems reluctant to get behind your efforts, remind him of all the ways he may benefit from your weight loss. For example, even a 10% weight loss can result in fewer symptoms of sleep apnea, including snoring. Many non-losing partners report better quality of life simply related to their improved sleep as their partner snores less.

Some couples undertake a weight loss journey together. This is wonderful because you have a built-in accountability and workout buddy. As both individuals realize improved health, energy and vitality they may be able co-create a new way of interacting.

Some couples in our program have established daily walking habits together, while others pursue their exercise independently. Date night can take on a whole new meaning: less Netflix, more rock-climbing, bowling or other more active, adventurous pursuits. When your partner is by your side for the journey, not only will your journey be more enjoyable, but it is much more likely you will reach your goals.

Losing weight with your partner is not always smooth sailing. If one of the duo assumes the role of food police, it can create tension. Of course, the other side of that risk is when neither partner takes responsibility for staying on the plan. You could easily lead each other astray.

Additionally, it can be challenging as a woman if your partner is a man. He will almost always lose weight more quickly and easily than you even if he cheats more often.

There are so many benefits associated with losing weight and improving your health that it can be easy to overlook some of the potential downsides. Being aware of what you may encounter in all of your relationships may help you be better prepared to deal with the challenges as they arise.

At Weight Management at The Group, we can help you navigate these challenges! Whether you and your partner are starting the journey together, or you’re taking the first steps solo, schedule a consultation with us to learn more.

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