The pros and cons of dieting as a couple

The odds are already stacked against you in the weight-loss game: only one person in every ten who plays, wins.

If you and your partner are bent upon the ambitious idea of dieting together, the probability of success – that you will both achieve your weight-loss goals – drops drastically. Mathematically, you’re down to 1:100.

What do you stake along the way? Perhaps your very relationship. If you’re still up for the challenge, experts agree dieting as a couple can work. But you may want to heed their advice to better your chances.

Communicate: Articulate expectations – of yourself and your partner. To avoid surprises, you both need to clearly express your motivations, realistic goals and what sort of support you need and don’t need from the other. Get it straight before you even start.

Choose a similar plan: He wants to undertake low-fat eating; she’s going for low-carbs. Not a great idea, mostly from a purely practical standpoint. It’s hard enough to get just one meal on the table.

Men are from Mars: Don’t be discouraged when your husband or boyfriend starts developing a six-pack before you do. It’s a physiological fact that men pare pounds more easily and quickly than women. Men have a higher percentage of muscle mass so they burn more calories just existing.

Pick some common lifestyle goals: Aiming for a mark on the scale is all well and good, but it doesn’t create an atmosphere of mutual support. Think about healthy activities you and your love can commit to together, such as routine exercise and less frequent eating out. Be inventive. Lifestyle choices are the key to sustaining a healthy weight over the long haul.

Check your competitiveness: There may be no way to get around a sense of competition between two people who have agreed to lose weight together. But while healthy competition can help the two of you achieve your goals, unhealthy competition leads to jealousy, animosity and other negative emotions. Be aware of the power of competition in your relationship and use it for mutual support.

Watch your insecurities: Sabotage is no stranger to intimate relationships. How does it look in a diet situation? Usually, one partner feels threatened by the non-fat potential of the other. Frightened they will lose their partner (often to another person), they intentionally or subconsciously try to thwart the diet. Anything from offering candy to verbal abuse will do it. You get the idea.

Remember, you’re an individual: You can inspire each other, but you can’t do the work for each other. Following a diet to lose weight is ultimately something you give yourself. You will need to strengthen your own determination, self-care skills and more to succeed.

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