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The Valentine Weight Loss Vows: How to Talk to Your Spouse About Weight

By Sofia Rydin-Gray, PhD - Behavioral Health Director

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner you may be struggling to come up with creative ideas of how to show your partner and other loved ones how much they mean to you.  How about you ditch the box of chocolates idea and treat both of you to something very special this year – the gift of Valentine’s weight loss! The Duke Diet and Fitness Center, an academic and medically supervised, weight loss program has helped individuals and couples with their weight loss efforts for 50 years. We also know that weight can be a touchy topic, and it can be hard to approach your partner with your concerns without sounding mean or critical. However, with some preparation you can learn how to have a compassionate and effective conversation with your spouse about weight loss.

How to talk to your spouse about weight

  1. Focus the conversation on health: Keep your conversation focused on health and quality of life instead of the numbers on the scale. For many, weight is tied in with self-worth and if you don’t tread lightly when you have this conversation, your spouse may become defensive and you might see the opposite effect. The Duke Diet and Fitness Center is a multidisciplinary weight loss program, and while our patients see a weekly average weight loss of 2-5% of their initial weight, the improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C are substantial as well.
  2. Emphasize realistic lifestyle changes: Sometimes people fear that starting a weight loss program means feeling deprived of food and that it’s yet another “diet.” Let your spouse know that the goal is to sustain healthier habits, not to feel deprived, so that you can enjoy your life together. For example, you can team up on learning new recipes. “It can be a fun activity and a way to prove to your partner that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and unsatisfying”, says Elisabetta Politi, Nutrition Director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. If you both decide to begin a weight loss program, make sure to look into our special companion rate.

    “Learning new recipes can be a fun activity and a way to prove to your partner that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and unsatisfying”
    - Elisabetta Politi, Nutrition Director and Certified Diabetes Educator at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center.
  3. Talk about how to support each other: We all need social support for continued success with lifestyle changes. Social support comes in different forms and it’s important to have an open conversation about what matters the most to you. Here are examples of social support:
    Emotional Support: A shoulder to cry on when you’re having a rough day.
     Practical Support: Someone who can pick up your kids from school when you have an exercise class.
     Cheerleader Support: The person who inspires you to go for that walk after work and who reminds you of how far you have come.
     Professional/Expert Support: Nutritionists, exercise physiologists, physicians and medical providers, and coaches, counselors, and psychologists.
  4. Don’t force the conversation: If your spouse doesn’t seem receptive to discussing their health or their weight, give them some space. Remember that although you are ready to embark on healthy lifestyle changes, your spouse may need more time to think about it. Just because they aren’t ready to have a conversation doesn’t mean they haven’t heard you. There is also the chance that if you begin a weight loss program, they too will benefit as a “ripple effect”. As published in the Journal of Obesity, researchers found that ““For married couples, when one spouse participates in weight loss treatment, the untreated spouse can also experience weight loss.” If you decide to come to the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, but your spouse isn’t quite ready to begin a weight loss program yet, find out about the criteria for being in our Support Program.

“For married couples, when one spouse participates in weight loss treatment, the untreated spouse can also experience weight loss.”

Weight loss and improved health are great achievements and are certainly worthy of celebrating. When you share these accomplishments with your spouse it will be so much sweeter, and the sustainability of weight management will be a lot easier! What a heartfelt gift to your special Valentine!

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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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