Oftentimes couples gain weight together because of sharing unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. And many people find it challenging to lose weight when their other half continues to live the couch potato life.
The good news? Couples who diet together, benefit together. Here are some ways couples can start out and support each other on their mutual weight loss journeys.
Set Lifestyle Goals as a Couple
Each of you should have your own weight loss goals as far as pounds, but setting goals for healthy habits as a couple is a great way to encourage each other and make lifestyle changes.
Abra Pappa, a holistic nutritionist and healthy food educator with NutritiousAmerica.com recommends goals such as cooking meals together five times a week or going for a 20 minute walk together after dinner instead of watching TV. By focusing on healthy changes to your daily life, the pounds will come off and will be more likely to stay off because you have made permanent lifestyle changes as a family.
Don’t Be the Food Police
There is a fine line between being supportive and nagging. While encouragement is a good thing, nagging is definitely not. Pappa tells couples to avoid becoming the Food Police with each other.
Offer praise when your partner meets their goals and encourage them when they make good choices, but pretend not to notice when they indulge. “Although your partner is losing weight alongside you, it is still their journey,” says Pappa. “Support and encouragement is very different than policing every bite your mate eats.”
Since many people skip exercise to spend time with their partner, you can overcome this exercise obstacle by working out together whenever possible. Mary Perry, registered dietitian and Clinical Trials Director for Zone Labs Inc. recommends finding an activity that you both enjoy, such as running, kayaking, swimming, biking or just walking.
Plan Meals and Cook Together
Decide on a time each week that you can plan your upcoming meals together. Look through cookbooks and websites together to find healthy meals that you will both enjoy. Perry says that eating out makes it easy to overeat and recommends that couples commit to eating together at home as much as possible.
“Alternate nights that the two of you cook or devote one or two weekend nights to finding a recipe, grocery shopping and cooking together,” says Perry. Over the weekend, write down meals for each night of the week so that you are not tempted to grab fast food after your daughter’s soccer practice.
Since men and women lose weight at different rates, be careful about comparing pounds lost. While dieting together is a great way to have support, each person should also focus on their own journey. If your partner loses focus and reverts to old behaviors, keep moving forward yourself and do not let your partner’s actions derail your hard work.
On the flip side, if your partner loses weight more rapidly than yourself, stay focused on your own goals and progress. By supporting each other and creating a healthy household, you will both be healthier to share many more years together.