How can I help my partner lose weight?
Losing weight is a task that is simple in theory - Eat healthily! Exercise! No more supersize Big Mac meals! - but very difficult in practice. If it truly was as simple as deciding to cut out unhealthy food and take up the required amounts of exercise, obesity wouldn’t be such a growing concern across the world. Watching your partner struggle to lose weight can be almost as difficult as attempting to lose weight yourself, and it can be hard to know what you can to do best support them in their endeavour.
Tough love or emotional support?
If you know your partner is going to attempt to lose weight, it can be a good idea to decide on your approach beforehand. Some people may choose to opt for the “tough love” approach and take a more “cruel to be kind” point of view in order to help their partner reach their desired weight. This could take the form of stopping them from consuming certain foods, regularly commenting on their partner’s weight or not being overly sympathetic. Towards the end of 2011, this kind of approach was endorsed by The National Obesity Forum, who suggested that individuals should choose the Christmas period as the ideal time to tell a loved one they were overweight.
On the other hand, this approach may seem just too unkind of many people, who will prefer to support their partner with sympathy and empathy rather than criticism. For example, many people whose partners begin a diet regime will adopt a similar plan to support them, by cutting out similar foods and perhaps exercising alongside them. People adopting this approach will also be more likely to be sympathetic if their partner “slips up” during the diet, such as if they missed their daily exercise or ate too many biscuits after dinner, offering words of encouragement instead of berating them.
Food shopping on a diet
If you are living with your partner and he or she decides to diet, you may have concerns regarding how their changing food choices will affect your own eating habits. Chances are the two of you share a regular shop, and you may be torn between supporting their attempts to lose weight and wanting to keep the treats you enjoy yourself. Something to bear in mind is the fact that there are many healthy alternatives to many foods you may enjoy, so simple substitutions can have a real impact on your diet. You may find that your own health improves alongside your partner’s! For example, keep an eye out for low-fat and sugar-free variations of your favourite foods. At breakfast time, a cooked breakfast can include hundreds of calories and high levels of saturated fat, but replacing this type of food with plain cereal and fruit like a grapefruit offers a healthy and tasty alternative.
Though it can be difficult to continue enjoying your favourite foods if your partner can no longer eat them, there is no need to feel guilty about your personal diet, so long as it is healthy and balanced and you are getting the right amount of exercise.