5 Tips To Support Your Weight Loss Partner

Article posted in: Nutrisystem
couple giving a high five, weight loss partner

If you’ve signed up for the Nutrisystem Partner Plan, you’ve tapped into a well-researched but little known secret to weight loss: It’s better together. And by “better,” we mean you will probably stick to the program, lose more weight and keep it off if you’re doing it with a spouse, partner, friend or family member.

Study after study confirms the benefits of  partnering with someone else to adopt healthier lifestyle habits, including dieting and exercising to lose weight. For example, a 2015 study of couples, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that when one partner adopted a healthy habit like losing weight or exercising more, the other partner was “substantially” more likely to do it too. There was a “follow the leader” aspect to getting healthy, the researchers noted.1

Follow these five tips to help you and your weight loss partner successfully lose weight together.

1. Be a partner, not a competitor.

couple giving each other a high five while exercising

“The Biggest Loser” notwithstanding, setting up weight loss as a competition is a lose-lose proposition, and not in a good way. People lose weight at different rates so even if you and your partner stick to the same meal plan and exercise regimen, one of you may lose weight faster than the other. That sets you up for becoming discouraged.

Gender can make a big difference. Men lose weight faster than women. They can eat more calories and because of their fat-blasting muscle mass, burn those calories off quicker.2 Premenopausal women may also experience more water weight fluctuations monthly than men and menopausal women.3 So each of you should set your own goals and support each other’s progress rather than turning weight loss into a contest.

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2. Share your personal goals.

couple running together, weight loss partner

Communication is key to making any relationship work. It’s the same for losing weight together. Make sure you and your weight loss partner are on the same page about what you want out of your weight loss journey. Maybe you want to eat healthier to achieve some health goal, like lowering your blood pressure, while he or she wants to fit back into those smaller size work suits tucked in the back of the closet. If you know each other’s goals, you’ll be able to understand how each of you is measuring success. Dropping a few points of blood pressure or an inch or two around the waist might be your measures of progress, not just a number on a scale.

3. Give a cheer.

couple dancing in the ocean

The best part of losing weight with a buddy is that you can urge each other on, sharing the joy of every success and helping each other through the disappointments and failures. Celebrate your partner’s successes and offer support through the tough times, like when his or her favorite food is calling from the kitchen. Several studies have found that people who get encouragement and support from others are far more likely to lose weight and keep it off than those who don’t have the same positive reinforcement.4,5,6

4. Provide motivation and inspiration.

couple working out together at home, weight loss partner

It’s hard to skip exercise if it’s also a date. Grab your calendars and set up exercise appointments, maybe a brisk walk, a bike ride, a gym workout or a class you both enjoy. Make food a joint choice. Talk about your preferences and work out Flex meals and snacks you both enjoy.

Remember, you’re there to provide motivation, not policing. Don’t berate your weight loss partner for the occasional slip up. Be his or her inspiration. A 2020 Dutch study found that when partners supported or joined in the efforts of  heart attack survivors to lose weight and change other unhealthy habits, the survivors were twice as likely to lose weight and lost more weight than those with partners who weren’t as involved.7

A study, published in the journal Obesity, found that if one partner lost weight at a steady pace, the other also did. Conversely, if one member of the couple faltered, so did the other. The researchers called this a “ripple effect.”8 You are truly in this together.

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5. Brainstorm your cravings strategy.

couple cooking together, couple working out together at home, weight loss partner

Sometimes two heads are better than one when it comes to outwitting the cravings that can sabotage your diet. Sit down with your weight loss partner and decide how you’re going to help each other. Brainstorm a list of healthy distractions to keep you from eating. Maybe you can take a walk together or your partner can take the kids off your hands so you can go to the gym for an hour. Or you can plan out your next healthy meal and whip it up together in the kitchen with your favorite music playing. Even having someone else you can talk to may be enough to keep you on the straight and narrow, particularly if your urge to binge is triggered by emotions.

Weight loss is better together! Get started with the Nutrisystem Partner Plan today >

Sources: 

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2091401
  2. https://www.livescience.com/63324-men-women-weight-loss-difference.html
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/weight-fluctuation#causes-of-fluctuation
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26801339/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828626/
  6. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12170-020-00654-4
  7. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200827101837.htm
  8. https://today.uconn.edu/2018/02/weight-loss-ripple-effect-helps-others/