By Maggie Vink
"...I asked Dr. Jana Klauer, a New York-based physician and weight loss expert about the issue. Dr. Klauer said, "To witness change in a partner can be disrupting -- even if the change is necessary. Schedules can be disrupted if the person is getting up early to exercise. The partner not losing weight may think that the other is being a pain and high maintenance because they specify foods be prepared a certain way in restaurants."
Dr. Klauer continues, "There are some good parts of (weight loss) like being more attractive and having more energy for the partner -- but overall, I think it stresses the relationship."
If you're trying to lose weight and you've noticed friends, family members or your significant other responding in less than positive ways, try these tips:
- Express your needs. Tell your friends and loved ones what you need from them. You can't expect them to support you in the ways you need without clearly expressing those needs. Be sure to be specific, stating your wishes like, "Please don't criticize or question the foods I'm eating, but I would appreciate it if you serve some diet-friendly foods when I visit."
- Involve them in your new healthy habits. Dr. Klauer said, "I would urge exercising together, cooking together, taking a healthy vacation together -- making the new healthy lifestyle a joint effort."
- Be patient. Just by nature, we all fill roles in the lives of our loved ones. As your habits, appearance and attitude change, your friends and family members may feel a bit threatened or worried. Go out of your way to spend quality time with those who are important to you and give them time to adjust.
Most of all, keep in mind the reasons why you want to lose weight. Ultimately, weight loss is a personal goal. You're taking strides to improve your health and well-being and that's worth all the effort. For many people, especially those who are severely overweight, weight loss isn't simply about calories. There's an emotional side to weight loss, too. It requires a hard and honest look at your relationship with food, and it requires dealing with underlying emotions or insecurities that may be hindering your quest for a healthy weight.
It stands to reason that your relationships might stumble a bit while you're making changes to your body and spirit. But don't chalk your relationships up as lost. Put in the effort to work through your changing relationships. Dr. Klauer says, "With work, (weight loss) can be a positive experience." And it can be. For you, your body and the connections you have with others.
If you've dieted or lost weight, did you ever notice a change in any of your relationships? How did you handle the change?"