A new study has found that partners who are trying to lose weight can have either a positive or negative result on each other’s goals.
A survey was distributed to 389 people who were living with their significant other and actively trying to lose weight. In this study, the participants were categorised into 4 different “relational environments”:
- Synchronised – Both people in the relationship used teamwork and positive mindsets to help them achieve their weight loss targets.
- Combative Cooperatives – Where discussing weight loss in the relationship often ended in arguments.
- Autonomous – Where a occasional but not regular motivation was received from their other half.
- Single Fighters – Where both partners perhaps wanted to lose weight but would never discuss it with their S.O so were more likely to put stress on their relationship.
One these types of environments had been established and identified in the participants, researchers then noted the 3 most used weight loss methods:
- Reassurance: The couples give praise and encouragement
- Stimulation: Actively pushing their other half to eat more healthily and/or exercise more.
- Pressure: Removing loving gestures to make the other person feel guilty.
It was discovered that the different methods would work in different situations but ONLY if the method matched up withtheir relationship environment.
So, here’s what the study found:
Synchronised couples who shared the same target of losing weight, were a lot more open to ALL THREE methods. Even coercion, which some might see as negative, was in fact viewed as part of a healthy relationship for these groups. It was considered to be helpful because those in the synchronised relational environment felt like their partner cared about them even more and wanted them to succeed.
So overall, the study proved that your weight loss success can depend on the type of relationship environment that you’re in. Couples that have created a supportive and like-minded set of goals and positive ways to communicate with each other could easily make suggestions to their partner without them being torn apart.
What Can We Learn From This?
All relationships are different, so discussing with your partner the type of goals that you both want to achieve is a great place to start. You can then talk about what kind of support you would find the most helpful and encouraging so that you or your partner don’t make a mistake (even if there were good intentions behind it!). Overall, this will lead to a happier relationship whilst you both achieve whichever goals you have set for yourselves.