How Weight Loss May Ruin Your Relationship
Weight loss is usually a good thing. You feel lighter, healthier, and can gleefully ditch those big clothes. But scientists say there’s a dark side to dieting: an unhappy relationship. Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Texas have discovered that 21% of couples in which a partner had lost 30 or more pounds on weight loss programs were happier. These people generally inspired their partners to shape up, and the couple felt closer, both emotionally and sexually.
For rest of the 79%, the effects of the weight loss on their relationships were more complicated. The thinner partners began nagging their significant others to hit the gym. People whose weight hadn’t budged became critical, disinterested in sex, and even tried to tempt their partners with fatty foods in order to derail their progress. The difference between happy and not-so-happy couples boiled down to the amount of support in the relationship. When both partners were on board with a weight loss plan, they felt closer. However, if only one person persisted, their bond suffered.
Weight loss may cause relationship stress because it triggers people’s fundamental insecurities. Some people interpret their partner’s healthy lifestyle as a sign he or she is focused only on their own life. It’s also possible that one person appreciates the other’s new, leaner body, but not the attention it brings from the opposite sex. Evolutionarily-speaking, food is associated with love. If one person adopts a stricter diet, they may shun sharing platters of nachos or cuddling up with take-out, leaving the other party feeling left out.
You can still lose weight without losing your spark. One strategy is exercising together. Not only do tandem workouts motivate both parties to keep their fitness goals on track, sweating triggers the release of endorphins, those love chemicals that induce a sense of euphoria. Another idea is to cook together so you’ll have control over the meal’s nutritional content and learning new recipes will be a bonding experience. Or, better yet, just both of you hop into bed. After all, sex burns calories and it beats any gym class.