On New Year’s Day, couples across the globe vowed to “lose weight” and “get in shape.” In the past, I’ve suggested that romantic partners work to achieve fitness and weight loss goals together, but doing so requires navigating some tricky terrain. Drawing on my own research examining romantic partners’ health and a recent interview with Sarah Varney, author of, XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis is Complicating America’s Love Life,1 here are 5 tips for working with your significant other to make 2015 the year that you actually achieve your goals.
1) Reframe the Issue.
Changing your eating and physical activity behaviors will be more likely if you are thinking about these issues in a beneficial way. The first step is to frame these issues as health issues. In Varney’s research for XL Love, she found that people sometimes viewed their partners as selfish for not staying in shape. Many felt isolated from their partners. Some even perceived being fat as somehow immoral. But, guess what? Pointing a finger at your partner or disparaging them is unlikely to accomplish much. Even if you are frustrated with yourself, frustrated with your partner, or frustrated with the both of you, it’s important to reframe. Make your weight loss and fitness goals a team effort. Let working to stay healthy bring you closer to your partner. Work to accomplish your goals to add extra years to your own life and the life you share with your partner.
Dr. Charlotte Markey – Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Markey’s research addresses issues central to both developmental and health psychology. A primary focus of her research is social influences on eating-related behaviors (i.e., eating, dieting, body image) in both parent-child and romantic relationships.