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Lose the Extra Pounds Partnership Brings

Romantic relationships can influence your waistline. In fact, several studies have shown that coupled-up men and women are more likely to be overweight or obese than single people. If you’ve found your one-and-only and have the girth to prove it, you can drop those pounds. The trick is to work with your partner’s attitude, not against it. The tips below will guide you whether you have a partner that supports your weight-loss efforts or not.

With Your Partner’s Help

Experts agree that involving your partner may help you slim down faster than going it alone. Here’s how to get the most out of your team effort.

Make Some Pledges
First, set up new house rules that will help you (or you and your spouse) reach your weight-loss goals. You might make a moratorium on chips and cookies in the house, or agree not to offer each other seconds at dinner. You could plan to eat breakfast with your partner every day, and promise to encourage one another with kind words. Phrases like “I am proud of you” can inspire you to stay on track, while critical comments like “Should you be eating that?” can have the opposite effect.

Trade Food Duties
Being part of a couple, especially if you have kids, often means preparing a lot of meals. Nibbling during food prep can add extra pounds. Consider asking your partner to help make lunch or dinner a few times a week. Taking turns with grocery shopping can help as well, as can sticking to only buying items on the grocery list.

Handle Temptation Calmly
Expect some stumbling blocks, especially if your partner is not trying to lose weight. Someone who doesn’t have a weight problem may not understand how tempting being around junk food can be. For example, if your well-meaning partner buys Girl Scout cookies, don’t panic. Gently remind him or her not to bring junk food into the house, and give the goodies to a neighbor or have your partner hide them.

Exercise Together
Exercise is one of the best ways to spur weight loss, but many people have trouble staying motivated. Working out with your partner can help you stick with it. Consider walking, which is one of the best ways to lose weight and allows you to share private time with your partner. Set goals like walking a mile after dinner every night.

Without Your Partner’s Help

If your spouse won’t support your efforts or even tries to interfere with them, you can still slim down. Here’s how.

Seek Out Support
Find a friend, colleague or family member who is willing to lend encouragement. Exercise together or meet for a healthy lunch a few times a week. Or consider a formal weight-loss support group or program.

Talk to Your Partner
If you encounter resistance, like snide comments about your weight or a refusal to eat the healthy foods you serve, ask how your partner feels about you losing weight. He or she might be insecure about your motivation for looking better and try to sabotage your efforts. Maybe explain that you want to look and feel better for the two of you. If you can’t soften your partner’s resistance, learn to protect yourself from criticism so you’ll stick with your weight-loss program.

Work around Your Family’s Favorites
If your partner (or children) insists on eating fattening food or refuses to skip dessert, try to compromise. Most likely you can continue to make your family’s favorites and simply readjust your own portions. You can also explore ways to lighten old favorites.

Squeeze in Exercise
If your partner complains about the time you spend at the gym, don’t quit. Instead, walk at lunchtime, or hit the gym in the morning before your family wakes up. Just increasing everyday activities like walking to the store or taking the stairs can also help you stay trim.

Get to the Root of the Problem
If these tips aren’t enough to help you sidestep an unhelpful partner, underlying relationship issues like a lack of trust may be to blame. Understanding and ultimately breaking unhealthy patterns in your relationship can increase your chances of losing weight. If you suspect a relationship issue is preventing your weight loss, consider asking your physician, friends or spiritual advisor to recommend a marital counselor. Even if your partner refuses to go with you, you may gain the insight you need to resolve the problem and eventually lose the weight.