Couples who share weight loss goals are more successful

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

Couples who work together to lose weight are more successful at getting into shape and put less pressure on their relationship.

By sharing weight loss goals it helps to motivate each other, rather than sabotaging their efforts and leading to tension.

According to interpersonal communication expert Dr René Dailey, couples that worked together as a team were more harmonious.

Dr Dailey recently analysed the online survey responses of 389 individuals all of whom were actively trying to lose weight and living with their romantic partner, and characterised their approach to weight loss.

She found that those who were "synchronised" in their approach, meaning they shared a positive attitude towards weight loss and acted as a team, were far more receptive to each other's long term goals.

Dr Dailey said outcomes depended largely on the attitudes of each person in the partnership.

"For example, a person who wants to focus on diet, but their partner focuses on exercise, might see the partner's suggestion of going for a walk as intrusive and unhelpful," she said.

"By contrast, a person who feels they and their partner are on the same page about how to lose weight could welcome the suggestion.

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"These findings suggest that couples might benefit from negotiating the best relational environment and desired support strategies from their partners, to facilitate their progress more effectively. Ultimately, this would help them to better balance their weight loss goals with the maintenance of their relationship."

Personal trainer and founder of BUF Girls Libby Babet said having the support of your partner was a game changer.

"The most successful transformations I've seen long-term have been from those whose partners have said 'If you're in, I'm in too' and have shifted their own health focus to match and/or support their partners," Ms Babet said.

While most people know what they need to do to get healthier the hardest part was changing their mindset. So, having the support of others was a big motivating factor.

"The best, and longest-term transformations, always happen from the inside-out and for those who are coupled up, the support, and also ideally the encouragement and participation of your other half can make a huge difference," she said.

"It means you can go on 'fit dates' together, cook for each other, both ditch the wine for a herbal tea and laugh about it… it can turn an emotional decision into a fun pursuit!"

Kids can also play a role in motivating parents and it's important to include them in pursuing a healthier lifestyle.

"Although time pressures become a lot more real when kids are in the picture, they can also be your biggest motivation," she said.

"Celebrate your body at any size, get excited about exercise and healthy food. Use your kids as motivation to live an amazing, active life."

But if you're not getting the support of those around you, don't worry there are other options.

"The good news is, there are always other places you can turn to for support - a workout buddy with the same goals, a girlfriend you love to workout with, kids that love to cook with you, an online community where you can share your fears and your wins, so if your partner just doesn't want to play ball, find another person or community that does," Ms Babet said.

Mind and body coach Jeff Laurence said it's important that the need for change comes equally from each of you and not to pressure your partner.

"Losing weight without motivation is impossible to achieve and I see many partners who become quite frustrated with their partner's lack of interest in their prescribed diet or training sessions which does not motivate them to change," Mr Laurence said.

"If you find your partner not interested in becoming fit and healthy your best move forward is to make these changes for yourself and show them through example the improvements in shape, energy and confidence that healthy living gives you."