A new reality weight-loss series will be airing on Tuesday, May 31 called Love Handles: Couples in Crisis. The show takes a break from the contest-based format, like Shedding for the Wedding and The Biggest Loser, to take a deeper emotional look at the psychology of weight loss. The show follows 16 couples from different parts of the U.S., not only as they lose weight but also as their relationships change and evolve.
DietsInReview caught up with Ashley Koff RD, the dietitian for the new show, to talk about her experience on the show and the unique pros and cons of working with couples. The celebrity dietician recently worked on Shedding for the Wedding, making her no stranger to helping couples lose weight or to reality TV.
“What was really unique is twofold: it’s not a contest and we’re not taking people out of their regular lives,” said Koff. “So, they still have everything that’s going on in their world, on top of which they’re now shooting a show in their daily life.” Each episode will be an in-depth look at two couples.
In addition to providing contestants with her nutritionist services and access to trainers, the show also provides counseling from a therapist. “That was amazing, because what we’re really looking at are those hurdles that keep people from either achieving their goals or sustaining their goals,” said Koff. She explained that the show examines the way health and weight loss goals can threaten or strengthen a relationship.
The other unique aspect of Love Handles is that the couples continue to live their day-to-day lives, plus the addition of cameras, allowing family dynamics to fully play out. “In a lot of these instances, the couples had kids, they have parents, they have family members, some people had roommates living with them,” Koff said. “It’s never just the one person you’re always working with, it’s muti-factorial.” She explains that couples often find that their lifestyle changes can have an impact on the people around them. “You are going to be making changes for generations, and you’re also going to be making changes for the community around you.”
On the flip side, however, some may find their social lives changing as their activities and lifestyle choices change. “I’ve had couples through this program who have said,’You know, we don’t really hang out with those other friends of ours because we’ve started to realize that all they want to do is drink alcohol, sit and watch TV and eat. That’s just not what we’re doing anymore.’ ”
Koff says that one of the most important parts of helping couples lose weight together is helping them to balance their needs as individuals and as a couple. Individuals also need to recognize the roles they may play in their partner’s health, both positive and negative. On one hand, a partner can help keep you accountable, provide company and emotional support. On the other hand, a partner may be an enabler or even knowingly undermine the other’s efforts to be healthy. “If you’re going to be in a couple you have to sign on for that part and recognize that your actions have repercussions and it’s up to you if they’re going to be good ones or bad ones,” concluded Koff.
Check out Ashley Koff’s website to learn more about her work and get great advice on healthy eating.