Losing weight can be a challenge for all kinds of people. There are hundreds of different diet and exercise tips for people who are trying to get healthy and lose a little extra weight. The problem, though, is that many of us don’t realize that the relationships that we’re in can actually affect our weight loss. On the flip side, though, relationships can also be extremely beneficial for weight loss.

How we change our eating and exercise habits can affect others in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, spouses might emulate their partner’s behaviors and join them in counting calories, weighing themselves more often, and eating lower-fat foods,” says Professor Amy Gorin.

There are parts of relationships that can make weight loss difficult, but parts that can make it easier, too. Health experts and researchers have come to a few conclusions as to why this is. Here are the ways that your relationship can actually affect your weight loss.

Here Are 3 Ways Your Relationship Changes Your Weight (And How It Helps You Lose It)

“When one person changes their behavior, the people around them change.” – Prof. Amy Gorin

1. Stress

As we all know, stress can cause so much trouble in our lives. When your relationship isn’t going smoothly, stress is more likely to occur. Stress can cause us to skip our daily exercise routines. It can also cause us to overeat as a way to self-soothe. “This happens, in part, because the body releases chemicals in response to food that might have a direct calming effect,” says Jason Perry Block, MD.

If you’re having trouble with your weight loss, and you find that you’re actually gaining weight back, you might want to keep an eye on how much stress is going on in your relationship. Addressing the stress in your relationship might be just what you need to put your weight loss back on track.

2. Self-esteem

How much self-esteem do you have? If the answer is “not very high,” you might want to take a look at how much your self-esteem has contributed to your difficulty losing weight. Taking a long hard look at your relationship might be in order, as well. If your partner isn’t doing much for your self-esteem, they may be inadvertently causing problems with your weight loss.

Losing weight shouldn’t be based on shame or negative feelings. To lose weight, researchers often emphasize self-love and positivity over negativity. If your relationship is making you feel poorly about yourself, it may be one of the reasons you’re having trouble sticking with your weight loss goals.

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3. Support

Are you getting the support you need in a relationship? If the answer is a reluctant “no”, you might notice that losing weight is a little more difficult than you anticipated. According to a study by a group of researchers, having a support system in place when you’re trying to lose weight is extremely important. Without a support system, you may find that your weight loss stagnates, or stops altogether. If you’re not getting the support you need from your partner, this may be why.

Of course, relationships aren’t always the cause of poor weight loss. In fact, relationships can be extremely beneficial for losing weight.

Here are some of the ways relationships affect your weight loss positively:

1. Brain signals to eat less

When you’re in a relationship that’s good, positive and supportive, you may find that you’re overeating or snacking less and less. This is because your brain releases a chemical called oxytocin. According to a group of scientists, “Oxytocin markedly reduced snack consumption, restraining, in particular, the intake of chocolate cookies by 25%.

This chemical is basically a happy pill for our brains and is often released when we are affectionate and intimate with our partners. An increased level of oxytocin also lowers our drive to snack, which can help you on your weight loss journey.

2. Your health matters more

If you weren’t particularly interested in eating healthy or exercising before you got into a relationship, you may find that those things suddenly seem to matter afterward. Researchers have found that once most people enter a healthy relationship, they care more about their health than they anticipated.

The research states, “For married couples, when one spouse participates in weight loss treatment, the untreated spouse can also experience weight loss.” Caring for your body is one of the quickest ways to put you on a path towards better eating and exercise.

3. Support

On the flip side of having no support in your relationship, healthy relationships often come with heaps of support. If your relationship is healthy and positive, you’ll find that your partner is supportive of your desires to eat better, exercise and generally take care of yourself. A supportive partner can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping the weight off. Researchers have found that weight loss is easier for those who are met with positivity and support for their choices.

Final thoughts

Weight loss is a challenge for anyone, whether they want to lose a few pounds or a significant amount. Relationships are one of the major things that can affect weight loss. However, these effects don’t always have to be negative. Relationships can positively affect our weight loss as well.