Dieting With Your Significant Other
One would automatically assume that dieting with a significant other would be beneficial and easier than dieting solo. With a significant other you have a gym partner, you can hold each other accountable, it is easier to keep unhealthy foods out of the home, and you have someone who knows what you are going through. In fact, research has shown that a couple who practices a healthy lifestyle together are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. A change in one partner’s health behavior is often associated with a change in the other partner’s behavior. So with all of the proven benefits of dieting as a couple why are you bickering so much? Why is it sometimes so hard to stick to a simple plan that you both agreed upon?
Relationships are complicated to begin with and when you add topics like weight, body image, and self-esteem, they can get even more complicated and difficult. Despite the strain dieting can put on a relationship, it is still worth pursuing as long as both parties are aware of the potential conflicts that may occur during the process. Here are some strategies to get healthy together and protect your relationship in the process:
Set realistic goals — individually and as a couple
Communication is key in relationships and it is essential when it comes to dieting. First determine what it is each person wants to accomplish and how you would like to approach these goals together. You do not necessarily need the same exact goals, however you must be clear about the expectations for each person.
Don’t be your partner’s drill sergeant
While it may be motivating at first, a bossy attitude can lead to negativity quickly. Both people must be personally accountable. You can invite your partner for a walk or to the gym, but do not pursue more than that if they are resistant. It is not your job to police your partner’s behavior and doing so could cause issues with the relationship.
Set a menu and shop as a couple
You will be more likely to eat well when you have all the ingredients and supplies ready for the week. Take equal responsibility for meal planning, grocery shopping, and preparing meals. Make sure to also cleanse your home environment of unhealthy foods and do this task as a team.
Split up parenting and household duties evenly if possible
Typically the parent that does the majority of the household and childcare duties tend to be the one that cancels self-care activities, such as going to the gym. If you want both you and your partner to be successful with your weight loss there will need to be adjustments made to your home life. This will also help avoid feelings of resentment and frustration. Sit down with your partner and make a daily list and establish who will be doing what such as school pick up, laundry, etc. You are in this together and want to succeed as a team.
Know that weight loss pace will likely differ between the two of you
Women tend to lose slower than men, particularly post-menopausal women. Men have higher testosterone levels and more muscle mass which makes their metabolism faster. This can be very frustrating when you are following the same diet plan, however rest assured that if you keep consistent with your plan you will reach your health goals.
Prioritize and reinvent date night
Dieting does not have to eliminate date nights and bonding time. You may need to get creative and reinvent dates with non-food related activities such as hiking, taking a ceramics class, golfing, etc. The dieting and weight loss process can be stressful on a relationship so it is important to spend quality time together and have fun. This positivity will only help you achieve your health goals as a couple.
Try to stay positive and be aware of your emotions
While dieting, you may not be in the best mood, particularly in the first few weeks. Give yourself some grace if you find yourself in a negative headspace, however it is not okay to take it out on your partner. Try your best during this stressful time to be self-aware and show compassion to both yourself and your partner. It can be disheartening when you are not seeing as much progress on the scale as you had hoped so it is important to be each other’s cheerleaders. Positive words, encouragement, and compliments can go a long way and give your partner the boost they need, especially if they are feeling discouraged.
Losing weight and improving your health is one of the most challenging things you will do in life, however you will be rewarded greatly. The key to dieting as a couple is to remember that you are a team and that you are in this together. You want the best for each other and to live long happy lives together. While dieting as a couple can create some conflicts there are ways to avoid potential issues and ultimately succeed together.