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Couples and Weight Loss

Most of you know that I deliberately don’t focus on weight loss in my books. Teaching intuitive eating and improving life skills has a far better long-term payoff, and weight-loss goals function as a barrier to enduring health and fitness. However, I recognize that many troubled eaters wish to shed pounds and that the majority of my blog readers are probably weight conscious. I imagine that a subset of these people are part of a couple who are trying to lose weight and thought an article I read might shed some light on this process (“A few ground rules for weight-watching couples” by Jae Berman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2/28/17, E24) The article makes some great points.

Don’t compare weights. If you and your partner are looking to lose weight, don’t compare pounds shed if you’re of different genders because men tend to lose weight more quickly than women do. If you’re a female and your partner is male, don’t freak out when he loses five pounds and he’s barely trying while you’ve radically altered your diet and fitness regimen and have only managed to drop two or three pounds.

Notice your partner’s positive practices. If your partner (male or female) is engaging in a practice that impresses you, consider adopting it. Say, she meditates morning and evening for 15 minutes to reduce stress eating or that he eats much more slowly than he used to. These are positive practices that will enhance your health.

Enjoy your own food cravings. Just because your wife eats tofu, doesn’t mean you must. Just because your boyfriend enjoys a salad every day for lunch, doesn’t mean you need to do so. Pay attention to your own appetite and when and what you want to eat. He may eat twice a day and be fine, while she may be more comfortable eating smaller meals more frequently or vice versa.

Find a fitness path that works for you. If I was forced to run outside or even join a gym, I’d rarely exercise. I have gym equipment in the house and love the accessibility. I’ve had guests who have no interest in using my mini-gym and can’t wait to get outside and jog or walk in our great Florida weather. If you and your partner both enjoy a sport, go for it together. Even if you’re not sure you’ll like an activity, by all means, give it a try. But don’t force yourself to engage in fitness regimens that aren’t your cup of tea.

Don’t scrutinize each other’s food or fitness habits. Make sure to keep your focus on yourself—what you eat, when and how you stay active, etc. You’ll do best if you each take responsibility for yourself. Avoid nagging your partner. Not only won’t it work, but it will kill intimacy and the pleasure of being together.