Posted on May 12, 2018, 2 a.m.
Individuals who are trying to lose weight that are in relationships may be putting strain on their relationship if they are following unsuitable strategies to obtain goals.
Researchers investigated how partners interpret each others approaches to weight loss to help better provided recommendations for couples and weight loss goals and support. 389 online surveys were analyzed from couples who were living together and trying to lose weight. Four different relationship environments were identified in which couple lose weight.
Synchronized is where both partners share a positive attitude towards weight loss and work together as a team to pursue healthier choices in attaining goals. Lone battlers are characterized by low team effort, less likely to discuss working together as a couple to attain goals. Contentious cooperatives when approaching weight loss causes conflict. Autonomous couples receive sporadic encouragement without undue interference. This study classed those in between autonomous and contentious cooperatives.
Couple’s most commonly used weight loss strategies are influence by pushing partners to do better; coercion by making partners feel guilty by affection withdrawal; and encouragement by giving partners reassurance and praise. Unless partners align approaches with specific relational environment alienation and added unnecessary tension is a serious risk.
Synchronized partners framing shared goals were found to be more receptive to all 3 strategies including coercion, negative emotions such as guilt were more likely to be interpreted as positive concern for health from partners in this environment rather than controlling and manipulative.
Partners create environments in which people lose weight, behaviours supporting weight loss can be viewed differently depending on environment. A person wanting to focus on diet with a partner who focuses on exercise may take a suggestion to go for a walk as intrusive for example; or a person who feels to be on the same page as their partner may welcome the suggestion as examples.
Findings support couples may benefit from negotiation of the best relationship environment and support strategies with their partners to facilitate progress more effectively, which would help them to better balance weight loss goals with relationship maintenance.
Materials provided by Taylor & Francis Group.
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René M. Dailey. Strategies in Context: How Perceptions of Romantic Partner Support for Weight Loss Vary by the Relational Context. Health Communication, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1461584