Same as you
Not surprisingly, when it comes to lifestyles choices, romantic partners tend to be pretty similar. They might eat in the same ways – snacking in front of the TV or choosing a healthy breakfast! However, they also make the same kinds of choices when it comes to physical activity.
Have you ever wondered what happens when one person decides it’s time for a change? What if, say, your partner wants to lose those extra kilos they’ve put on over the winter? How will this affect you?
That’s just the question a team of researchers asked themselves. To answer it, they tracked down 130 married couples and split them into two groups. One group was enrolled in Weight Watchers (a diet and exercise programme) while the other group got a handout about weight loss.
The catch? Only one partner was treated. The other basically went about business as usual. And yet, one out of three partners who didn’t try to lose weight actually lost a lot of pounds, the research showed.
Thanks to the ‘ripple effect’ – here is how it happens. When one partner makes positive lifestyle changes by eating healthier and exercising, the benefits rub off on their better half.
What’s interesting is that couples in the study were similar in their success or struggle with weight loss. So if the treated partner lost weight gradually over the course of the study, their guy or gal was likely to do so in the same way.
And if he or she had a tough go of it, their partner probably didn’t see much weight loss either.
Good for both
The good news is that it doesn’t matter much what approach you take to weight loss, the study showed. Whether it’s a formal program you enroll in or simply doing your research and making lifestyle changes.
However, when your partner (or you) take weight loss seriously, chances are good you (or they) will benefit too.
Reference: Randomised controlled trial examining the ripple effect of a nationally available weight management program on untreated spouses. Obesity, Published 2018.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.