You may have heard that people tend to gain weight once they’re married or in a relationship. But did you know your spouse or partner can actually help you succeed in your weight-loss efforts, especially when you do it together?
In a recent poll of 2,000 Americans who were married or in a relationship, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Jenny Craig, researchers found that 79 percent of respondents had indeed gained weight since being part of a couple. The average person had gained 36 pounds since being with their current partner, gaining an average of 17 pounds in the first year alone.
But simply being in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re destined to gain weight or hold on to the extra weight you may have gained. In fact, committing to losing weight with your partner can help you succeed in your efforts.
Read on to discover the many benefits that can come from you and your partner joining forces to become a successful weight loss duo!
1. Making a Change Together Can Increase Your Success
A large study of more than 3,700 couples who were either married or living together found that both partners were more likely to undertake healthy new behaviors, such as committing to losing weight, becoming physically active or quitting smoking, if they made the changes together.1 This was especially true when both partners were overweight: If one partner was successful at weight loss, the other’s odds of success increased threefold.
Another study found that when people participate in a weight loss program with a partner who is successful at losing weight, they are more likely to be successful themselves.2 Researchers reported that when one partner lost 10 percent or more of their body weight after six months, the second partner lost significantly more weight at six, 12 and 18 months.
How you support each other is important, though. Research has shown that even if partners are “synchronized” in their weight-loss efforts, using ineffective or unsuitable strategies with each other, such as coercion rather than encouragement, can cause tension in the relationship.3
2. You’ll Get Healthier Together
By committing to losing weight together, you can both help improve your health in several important ways:
- A reduced risk of diabetes. If both of you lose just 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight, you’ll lower your risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent each.4
- Lowered risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that people who lose 5 percent to 10 percent of their body weight significantly reduce their levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, all of which are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.5
- You could reduce your risk of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 8 percent of all cancers in the U.S. are thought to be caused by excess weight.6 By losing weight together, growing research indicates you and your mate may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer and more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.6
- Lower blood pressure. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), being overweight increases the chances that you will develop high blood pressure, a condition that increases the risk of several serious diseases, including heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.7 But you can help lower your blood pressure by losing just 10 pounds, the NHLBI reports.
3. You Could Get Better Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation reports that being overweight is one of the most common reasons for snoring, which can interfere with sleep for both of you.8 But don’t think that snoring is something that only affects males: While about 40 percent of adult men are habitual snorers, approximately 24 percent of adult women are as well.9 By losing a few pounds, you both may find that your sleep becomes more restful — which, in turn, may help you lose more weight.
A study on “social contagion” among married or romantic partners found that while having an obese spouse or live-in partner increases your risk of obesity by almost 40 percent, couples can also have a positive influence on each other, especially related to diet and exercise (eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising more frequently and eating fast food less often, for instance).11 The Jenny Craig poll bears this out: People who reported that they eat healthfully and exercise with their partner were more than twice as likely to have lost weight in the past year than those who do neither.
5. You’ll Have More Fun
Research suggests that people enjoy exercise more when they're with their spouse, friends or co-workers than when they work out alone.12
6. Your Relationship May Improve
According to the Jenny Craig poll, couples who exercise and eat healthfully together are nearly twice as likely to say they’re consistently happy in their relationship than those who don’t.
For an extra boost, try a new physical activity with your significant other: Studies have shown that couples tend to feel more in love with their partner, and more satisfied with their relationship, after taking part in a physical challenge or activity as a couple.13 So grab your partner and hit a hiking trail, try a samba class or try any activity that piques your interest!
Along those same lines, working out together so you and your partner coordinate your actions — such as tossing a medicine ball back and forth, lifting weights in unison or matching your pace to each other’s while walking — may boost your bonding. Such activities require nonverbal matching, also known as nonverbal mimicry, which experts say may help couples feel more emotionally in tune with each other.13
7. You’ve Got a Built-in Support System
Sure, it’s a great feeling to watch the numbers on the scale drop, but it can be even better if you’ve got someone to celebrate your wins with … and if you’re both losing weight together, there’s even more reason to celebrate! On the flip side, if you’re feeling discouraged or if your commitment starts to lag, your partner can help boost you up.
And if you don’t have a partner, don’t worry — your Jenny Craig weight loss consultant can offer one-on-one personal support and work side-by-side with you to help you reach your weight loss goals. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, discovered that people following a structured weight loss program with support were more likely to lose weight and keep it off than those who did not.
You and your partner are committed to each other in so many ways, so why not join forces to lose weight together? You may find the road to weight loss that much more enjoyable with your best friend by your side.
Do you and your partner need a little help getting started on your weight loss journeys? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to get started today!
*Valid for one year of Jenny All Access membership. Cost of food and shipping, if applicable, not included. Valid at participating centers, Jenny Craig Anywhere and jennycraig.com New members only. No cash value. Program Code: FS49. Offers ends 2/16/19. Not valid with any other membership offers or discounts. One offer per person.
Carole Anderson Lucia
Carole is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California who specializes in health and wellness topics. Her work has appeared in Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Mom & Baby, Yahoo News, Viv magazine and Lifescript. She's won several national awards for her work including a National Science Award and two National Health Information awards. A frequent contributor to Jenny Craig’s Blog, Healthy Habits, she enjoys gardening, spending time at the beach and adopting far too many rescue animals in her spare time.
Favorite healthy snack: jicama dipped in homemade hummus.
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