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The Secret to Diet Success? Your Spouse

Eating Well - February 27, 2015


Research shows your partner can help you succeed or undo your efforts. Here are 3 tips to get—and give—support in your relationship.

Discuss your goals

The first step in almost any diet plan is to make a goal, but it’s equally crucial to talk about those goals with the important people in your life. If your partner reacts negatively to your new diet, try to find middle ground. Ask questions about small changes he or she may be willing to start with, says Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, a psychotherapist and relationship coach in Virginia: “Could we eat at 7 p.m. instead of 8? Could we go for a walk together? Could we try eating some different foods together?”

Don’t be bossy

Research shows when one spouse makes positive health changes, the other is more inclined to do the same. However, you can’t force your partner into making changes he or she may not be ready to make, says Coleman—and doing so may backfire. Case in point: women aged 20 to 31 whose significant others encouraged them to diet to lose weight were almost twice as likely to binge eat than those with partners who didn’t exert diet pressure, according to an American Journal of Health Promotion study. So let your partner see the positive physical and attitude changes in you—and he or she may naturally follow suit.

Reach out to friends

Even if your mate is supportive—but especially if he or she isn’t—reach out to other people in your social circle. Perhaps not surprisingly, we tend to eat the same way as our peers do, reports a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study, so connect with people who share your vision for healthy eating. Then, find non-food-focused activities to enjoy with those who may not be as supportive.


© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


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