Informational Articles

7 Things You Wish Your Partner Knew About Your Weight Loss Struggle

Your Partner And Your Weight Loss Goals

MEGHAN RABBITT

Support. We all crave it. But even a well-meaning partner can unknowingly sabotage you with ill-timed suggestions or unwanted advice. Those little misunderstandings can lead to setbacks for you and frustration for all, says Bob Fischer, a personal trainer in Southampton, PA. “Some of my clients say that their partners don’t quite ‘get’ what they’re going through and can even undermine their eat-well and exercise efforts as a result,” says Fischer.

Here, Fischer and other fitness experts share the things their clients most wish their partners would understand about their weight loss journey, as well as tips on how to ask for that support.

1. I’d love support when it comes to getting to the gym and eating healthy.

Share childcare duties

PHOTOGRAPH BY AMV PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

A partner who chips in more with child-care duties or doesn’t give you grief over gym time is truly supportive. You’ll need this kind of understanding when it comes to replacing your old high-cal restaurant faves with home-cooked meals that involve a lot more veggies.
Talk-about-it tip: “Even if your partner doesn’t need to lose weight, ask him to join your ‘team,’ explaining that you’ll be most successful if it’s a joint effort,” says Fischer. For example, you might ask your significant other to go food shopping with you, so she can see the healthy fare you’re buying; you can also ask your partner to join you at the gym or on a ride down the local bike path.

 

2. This is important to me.
While it may feel like this should be obvious—after all, you’re likely spending a lot of time working toward your weight loss goals—don’t make this assumption, says Fischer. “Your partner can’t read your mind,” he says.
Talk-about-it tip: Have a sit-down conversation about how much yourweight loss goal means to you, and be specific about the ways in which you feel success will impact your life. Your partner will be able to see why you’re so invested in your goal and may even volunteer more help.

3. I may be a little more irritable than usual.
Let’s face it: Putting in longer, tougher sweat sessions at the gym and ditching comfort foods can make even the nicest among us, well, a little less nice. “Changing your body at the cellular level takes enormous amounts of energy, which can cause crankiness,” says Angelea Martindale, a personal trainer in Salt Lake City.
Talk-about-it tip: Warning your partner—and apologizing in advance—can be helpful, says Marindale. This way your partner understands that he is not the cause of your changed mood. Martindale says that her clients who frankly discuss the unpleasant aspects of the weight lossprocess save themselves a lot of tearful arguments along the way.

4. Spending money on my health now will save us money later on.

Spending money on health

PHOTOGRAPH BY TETRA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

You may have to spend some extra income on gear, fitness classes, personal training sessions, nutrition consultations, and healthy food, and resentment for the outlay can creep into the most stable relationships. “Oftentimes, people are under the impression that sustainable weight losscan happen quickly and for substantially less money than it realistically costs,” says Martindale. It’s easy to see how this can raise eyebrows.
Talk-about-it tip: Ideally, you’ll want to set some clear budget expectations at the start of your weight loss journey, says Martindale. “No one in a relationship should go into a financially demanding situation without first making sure that both parties are on board and understand how much it will cost,” she says. You can also explain that the money you’re spending is an investment in your future, hopefully saving you money on health-care costs later on. (See how one woman lost 120 pounds on a tight budget.)5. The changes I’m making are not a threat!
If your partner is not on the same weight loss path as you are, it can be much tougher to break old habits—especially ones that bond you as a couple. “Many of my clients deal with partners who don’t exercise or eat healthfully, which is fine—as long as they keep their bad habits to themselves,” says Sarah Ann Kelly, a personal trainer in Santa Monica, CA. Of course, anyone in a partnership knows this can be tough to do. It’s not like you can ban all junk food from your kitchen or insist on both of you getting out of bed early on weekend mornings.
Talk-about-it tip: Make some tradeoffs. If you can both agree to keep the junk food in the cupboards while watching TV, promise that you’ll find something you can order at your favorite restaurant. If your partner is encouraging you to sleep in on Saturday and skip your spin class, firmly say that you need to go, but make time later in the day for a walk together.

6. The extra attention I’m getting is motivating—and nothing to get jealous about.
Once the weight starts coming off, the compliments will start flying. This can be super-motivating for the person on the receiving end—and a little unsettling for the partner who’s on the sidelines.
Talk-about-it tip: If your partner is prone to jealousy, anticipate and defuse the issue by stressing that she is the one you’re really trying to impress, says Kelly. “Showing your significant other some extra love and attention may also provide relief that you’re not getting in shape for ulterior motives,” she says.

7. You’re a big reason why I’m working so hard.

You're the reason I'm working so hard

PHOTOGRAPH BY MONKEY BUSINESS IMAGES/SHUTTERSTOCK

Your partner may see your efforts as primarily for your benefit—not realizing that he is one of your primary motivations, says Kelly. “So many of my clients are exercising so that they feel more confident in their relationship and live longer to spend more years with their partner,” she says.
Talk-about-it tip: Tell your spouse specifically how he plays into your goals, suggests Kelly. It could be about health, pursuing more active vacations, or even increasing shared desire and reigniting your sex life. “There’s a good chance that’ll promote more cooperation and give things like scheduling issues and missed happy hours more meaning,” she says. “And who knows—it might even inspire your partner to join you in your weight loss efforts if he knows how personal it is for you.”

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