Why It's Time To Stop Dieting As A Couple (Says Science)

couple cooking together

A new study says couples who diet together don't really help each other in their weight loss goals.

Since getting married, both my husband have gained a bit of weight. Not so much to put us in the obese category, but my once size 6/8 frame is now closer to 10/12. I do believe this is called plus-size, if not technically, then at least personally in regards to what I'm used to for my body.

Although I've come to accept these new curves, as I've written, and am not obsessed with the idea of totally getting rid of them, I would like to slim down, if only to be able to fit into my wedding dress again. My husband, now sporting a wee bit of a belly, would also like to get back to his pre-wedding physique, the one in which he had these delightful rock hard abs, on which one could wash clothes, if necessary. 

After our honeymoon to Italy, where we probably packed on even more weight because OMG ITALY, we realized it was time to do something. We actually decided every Sunday night that Monday would be the day of the new us! But every Monday came and went, and now we're just shooting to start in 2015 instead. It seemed like a great plan, the whole dieting as a couple thing, until I read a study that showed that couples who diet together, rarely lose weight together. Leave it to some study to, yet again, throw a wrench in my plans.

Jennifer Jill Harman studied just how people control their portion size and when. For example, I'm more likely to leave food behind when I'm out to dinner with my friends, than when I'm home, alone, stuffing my face away without anyone judging me. The study found some things that weren't so surprising like who women often feel less confident in portion control, and things that were really surprising like how couples who diet together don't really help each other in their weight loss goals.

The study found that of the 50 overweight couples who resolved to trim their waist lines in the New Year, the more successful one partner was, the less successful and even less confident the other partner felt about their own goals.

As Harman explained, "Many factors contribute to why people deviate from their weight-loss goals, and the ability to regulate portion sizes is a critical piece for solving the weight-loss puzzle. When people strive to reach a goal, being close (in this case, romantically) with someone who is successfully reaching the same goal can make the other partner less confident in their own efforts to reach the goal." Basically, it's hard to focus on your own goals when you're constantly comparing yourself to the successes of others.

Does this mean you should totally scrap the idea of dieting with your partner? No, not entirely. But what it does mean is that you should never compare your successes to the successes of other people, no matter what it is. Some people lose weight faster than others, some get preggers on the first try, and some people get a three-book deal with Random House while you're still banging your head against your keyboard trying to come up with a book proposal.

That's just how it is. Holding yourself to your own personal goals and standards is, by far, the best way to succeed. Turn a blind eye to everyone else.