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Relationships and Weight Loss
Can Losing Weight End a Relationship?

Is dieting tough on relationships?
Is dieting tough on relationships?

Weight loss may be good for your health, but it's not always good for a relationship. The act of losing weight is stressful. That stress can increase significantly if only one person in the relationship is trying to get in shape.

The person that isn't eating right or working out may feel insecure or threatened. They may like the relationship the way it is. They may feel that as you improve, you'll want to leave them behind. They might make critical comments, attempt to sabotage the weight loss with unhealthy meals, treats or lose interest in sex.

In a study carried out by North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at Austin, researchers found that when both partners were engaged with living healthier, they reported increases in physical and emotional intimacy.

The best way researchers found to make it work is to get your partner engaged. Don't nag them if they don't want to join you. As you improve, talk about how it makes you feel. Tell your partner why you're making the changes and what you hope it'll do to make your life better. Here are some tips on how to make it work.

Help your partner understand the hours you spend exercising. Explain that it's not time away from the family, it's about making you stronger and giving you the ability to engage more when you're around.

If working out keeps you away too much, choose activities you can do together. Take a walk, jog or bike ride with your partner once a week. Arrange to regularly meet at a gym for a workout. It's unlikely you'll do the same routine, but simply being at the same place, doing something healthy for yourself, will give you similar experiences you can share.

Follow your gut, not your partners. Too often, people in a relationship will stop to eat a snack, a meal or a dessert when their partner is hungry. Just because they're eating doesn't mean you have to. If you're not hungry, don't eat.

When you sit down for a meal, don't eat the same thing as your partner. That means you shouldn't automatically split shared dishes like appetizers, salads and desserts down the middle. Eat what's appropriate for your needs and metabolism.

Cook more meals for each other at home. Bring out the tablecloth, the nice silverware and the fine china. Sitting down for a meal slows things down. It takes longer to eat when you're not throwing back a burger, so you're likely to eat less. Cooking for yourself also allows you to make healthier choices than most packaged, delivery or take-out food.

Provide support for each other in tempting situations. If you're at a party and they're serving nothing but calorie-packed food, don't let the choices overwhelm you. Should you or your partner feel uncomfortable, thank the host and excuse yourself. If it's a pot luck, bring something you both know you can eat.

When you go to the movies, bring an extra bag, then order a smaller popcorn. Only pour the amount you should eat into the extra bag. Once it's empty, don't reach for more, you've already had your fill.

There are some situations where a partner will start gaining weight as you're losing it. That's often the sign they're rebelling against the changes you're making in your life. In many cases, they may not even realize they're doing it. It may not be a good time to bother them about their recent gains, but instead reassure them. If you feel the same way about them, let them know. If your feelings have changed, tell your partner what's going on. If the relationship is important, arrange to meet with a relationship counselor.

Ultimately getting in shape will help you live a longer and more productive life. If the relationship is a healthy one, you'll be able to work it out, while still continuing to workout.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.