Your Relationship May Be Holding You Back From Losing Weight

woman feeding husband healthy food

You share so many things as a couple. Your bed, for instance. The bathroom. Not to mention whose turn it is to pick up the cat's vomit or drive the kids to yet another soccer game. But that's not all! According to a new study, husbands and wives also share being overweight.


According to research in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women are 89 percent MORE likely to become obese if their husband gains excessive weight. Men fare slightly better; there's only a 78 percent chance they'll pack on the pounds in order to unconsciously "keep up" with you.

What's at work here? Married couples on the whole are all about +food and −physical exertion. ++TV watching. And ... when you're married to someone, that person's habits rub off on you.

But quite frankly, we're far more interested in the "how" (as in "How do we stop this?!") than the "why." The Stir asked Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, a psychotherapist and relationship coach in McLean, Virginia, what we can all do right now to stop this joint slide into obesity.

1. Don't nag. Yeah, it's hard to watch your husband NOT take care of himself. But pushing doesn't work, Coleman says, "and, in fact, will probably lead to resentment and acting out on his part." And there's a good chance that "acting out" means refusing to go to the gym even LONGER.

2. Make YOUR health a priority. You can't wait for your husband to wake up one morning and say, "Hey, you know what? Let's both stop going to McDonald's for every meal!" Commit to your OWN personal health goals, says Coleman. "This will require scheduling time for exercise and making food choices that fit your own personal needs."

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3. Switch up your family meals. When it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping, don't just defer to what you've always cooked or what HE wants. "Opt for healthy choices you can both live with," Coleman suggests, "or a combination of what you both want."

4. Lose the late-night snacks. Do you and your hubby have a routine of binge-watching TV and binge-eating snacks after the kids go to bed? You gotta opt out, even if your man doesn't. If the urge to join him is just too strong to resist right now, then at least "choose something low-fat like popcorn or raw vegetables," notes Coleman.

5. Set a good example -- quietly. Make healthy choices every day, but resist the urge to point them out to your spouse. (See #1.) Trust that he IS noticing your new habits, Coleman says, and that "you'll be influencing him by example if your weight is good, your energy is up, and you feel positive about yourself and your choices."

6. Stay positive. As you start to lose weight and get serious about healthy food choices, it'll be frustrating to see your husband still on the couch, clutching that container of Cheese Balls. Still! "Let him know you find him attractive, love being with him, and appreciate all he brings to your life," recommends Coleman.

NOT, let's be clear, because you want him to stay stuck in his rut.

But "these affirmations are powerful and will help him to feel good about himself and your relationship," Coleman explains. "A positive environment encourages good choices and helps everyone to avoid bad lifestyle habits that often form when we feel an emptiness or discontent with who we are or the life we've made for ourselves."


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