Los­ing weight with­out los­ing the rela­tion­ship (guest post)

Apr 22, 2013   //   by Guest   //   Blog, Family  //  Comments Off

The fol­low­ing is a guest post by Sonia Devine. Sonia is a clin­i­cal hyp­nother­a­pist who runs her own prac­tice in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia. She is also a Uni­ver­sity lec­turer train­ing peo­ple in Hyp­nother­apy at Mel­bourne University.

Embark­ing on a weight loss jour­ney and mak­ing progress is an amaz­ing feel­ing. This is even more so when you have been large for a bet­ter part of your life. Hard work and a ded­i­ca­tion to liv­ing a healthy lifestyle are build­ing blocks for a last­ing health régime. There are draw­backs to con­sider, if you are in a rela­tion­ship and your part­ner still has poor eat­ing habits. Some­times in this case your régime can become dif­fi­cult to maintain.

Sev­eral of my patients express a fear of what will hap­pen to the dynam­ics of their rela­tion­ship when one part­ner or house mate makes a change for the pos­i­tive, while the oth­ers remain in their cur­rent cycles of unhealthy liv­ing. Rela­tion­ships are a big part of a per­sons life; fear of chang­ing those rela­tion­ships is the most com­mon form of sab­o­tage dieters face. Fear of los­ing some­one you love is the eas­i­est way to con­vince your­self that you don’t “need” to lose weight, or that your lifestyle doesn’t need changing.

When one per­son in a rela­tion­ship loses weight, the dynam­ics can be affected in a num­ber of ways. Take one cou­ple I had in recently for exam­ple. Both part­ners were seri­ously over­weight and one of them decided they were sick and tired of being unhealthy. One of them decided to change their seden­tary lifestyle and of course changed their habits to accom­mo­date their new goals. The other part­ner wasn’t ready to com­mit to the change and grew to feel resent­ful of being left alone all the time.

Small changes can add up. It may start with sim­ply eat­ing at dif­fer­ent inter­vals and move on to whole sched­ules. When you are ready to get up and head to the gym, your part­ner may still be sit­ting on the couch with a plate of unhealthy food. The part­ner that changes their lifestyle will often find a new group of friends and activ­i­ties that don’t include their part­ner; this can cause feel­ings of resent­ment to fes­ter which can also result in emo­tional alienation.

As one part­ner improves their health, outer appear­ance and moti­va­tion the remain­ing part­ner can eas­ily feel lonely and inse­cure. Being over­weight can already make a per­son feel pow­er­less, depressed and unmo­ti­vated. See­ing their part­ner make a pos­i­tive change can make those feel­ings worse despite their con­scious feel­ings of sup­port. One of my clients men­tioned to me that as she shaped up, her husband’s atti­tude took a turn for the worse. After a few ses­sions and some soul search­ing, he admit­ted that he was dis­grun­tled about the type of atten­tion she was receiv­ing from other men due to her improved figure.

As she started to look health­ier and her self-​​esteem improved, he wor­ried that she would lose inter­est in him since he had not been ready to com­mit to chang­ing his lifestyle. Of course, mar­riages are based on more than looks; she was patient and with a bit of gen­tle prod­ding con­vinced him to start com­ing to the gym with her. Thanks to our ses­sions, she under­stood his reac­tions to her suc­cess. Instead of mim­ic­k­ing those feel­ings, she used the oppo­site to make their mar­riage stronger and bring him to a health­ier lifestyle.

Are you in a posi­tion where your change in lifestyle may have an unde­sired effect on the peo­ple sur­round­ing you? If you are con­sid­er­ing not mak­ing the change, stop and reeval­u­ate imme­di­ately. To head off feel­ings of despair, con­sider entic­ing your part­ner in ways that will attract them to your cause. Talk about the cost ben­e­fits of liv­ing health­ier; make an effort to pre­pare meals that are healthy, but fully fla­vored. Make going to the gym fun instead of a chore; this will do won­ders for your rela­tion­ship and your health.

Another of my clients had another sort of rela­tion­ship prob­lem. He loved his wife immensely and she was a culi­nary mas­ter. She would pre­pare well thought out lav­ish meals that sati­ated him every night. Though her heart was in the right place, the meals started to affect his body weight. When he decided to adopt a health­ier lifestyle, he stopped eat­ing so much of her amaz­ing meals.

Unfor­tu­nately, this had a dev­as­tat­ing effect on her emo­tions as she thought that he no longer needed her to take care of him. Prepar­ing lav­ish din­ners and lunches were the main way she would show her affection.

In their case, a gen­tle sug­ges­tion of hav­ing them take a class for healthy cooking-​​together, was a great way to allow his wife to keep up her role while allow­ing him to sup­port his health. Since the sug­ges­tion, both of them have started los­ing an amaz­ing amount of weight while grow­ing ever closer in their mar­i­tal relationship.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the foun­da­tion of any good rela­tion­ship, be it between part­ners, chil­dren or house­mates. Talk those around you about your goals will allow them to feel included. Many times, they will be delighted to join you in the lifestyle changes.

Editor’s note: Run​ninginthe​fam​ily​.com advo­cates improv­ing health and fit­ness through healthy choices and exer­cis­ing together. While we do not nec­es­sar­ily pro­mote hyp­nother­apy, we are pub­lish­ing this guest post because it makes some very impor­tant points about con­sid­er­ing the impact of your fit­ness choices on the rest of your fam­ily. Any­time you under­take lifestyle changes, it is vitally impor­tant that you do so as a fam­ily. All the best wishes to you and your fam­ily on your fit­ness jour­ney — together.

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