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Relationships and Weight Loss

Relationships and Weight Loss

Navigating a weight loss journey, especially bariatric weight loss,  is difficult for the person trying to lose weight, but many people don’t realize how it affects their partner. There can be misunderstandings that lead to heated discussions, which creates additional stress for everyone. Managing weight is a lifelong process, so understanding what each partner is going through is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship longterm. 

Try to See Things Their Way

The weight loss process can be full of ups and downs. It is an emotional roller coaster, from the celebration of every pound lost to intense disappointment if it is gained back again. The person trying to lose weight will often be hard on themselves, so if their partner doesn’t have extreme patience and compassion, it can exacerbate the situation.  For both, it can be a challenge to constantly maintain a positive outlook, as one person’s bad attitude usually affects their partner. Try not to ruin each other’s day!

For the person losing weight:

  • Don’t let yourself get “hangry” and end up taking it out on your partner. Feeling like you are depriving yourself of food can often lead to a bad mood.
  • It’s a little unfair to insist your partner participate in every aspect (the diet or exercise plan) of your weight loss – unless they WANT to do so, of course.
  • Be wary of overburdening your partner. They should be a support system for you, but try to remain conscious of how often you express your frustrations.

For the partner:

  • Ask how you can support them, whether it be a dash to the grocery store, helping cook a healthy meal, or being a workout partner.
  • Don’t be negative and take on the role of the “food police”. Dieters slip sometimes, but no one needs to be reminded when they fail.
  • Listen when they need to talk, with patience and restraint. It is tempting to overdo it with offering advice and solutions, but sometimes people just want to be heard.

Celebrate Success – But Do It Right!

Celebrating every milestone is important to staying motivated; accomplishing goals should always be recognized! However, the traditional celebration of going out to dinner may not be the best choice in this case, for obvious reasons.  More creative options are endless, but here are some ideas the average person may not think about:

  • A gift card for a new hairstyle is a feel good option for both men and women.
  • Go shopping together to buy new clothes – in a smaller size!
  • As a sign of solidarity, make an official and committed decision to begin an exercise program together that you both enjoy, like a Yoga Class, riding bicycles or walking in the evening.
  • Surprise your partner with a balloon or flower bouquet.
  • A simple and lovely card with a handwritten, heartfelt message of praise is always appropriate.

The Bottom Line for Relationships During Weight Loss

The rewards of successful weight loss are worth striving for, even if it does create a strain here and there.  It’s important for both of you to remember the “Relationship is Number One” and should always come first. If the relationship stays healthy and positive, you will both benefit in the long run!

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