The habits and lifestyle you share with your partner has more of an influence on your chances of becoming obese than your upbringing, according to new research.
That’s good news. Though many people claim genetics are to blame for their weight, by middle age the lifestyle choices made by couples have a greater impact than their childhood habits.
According to professor Chris Haley of the University of Edinburgh, “Although genetics accounts for a significant proportion of the variation between people, our study has shown that the environment you share with your partner in adulthood also influences whether you become obese and this is more important than your upbringing. The findings also show that even people who come from families with a history of obesity can reduce their risk by changing their lifestyle habits.”
What can you and your partner do to reduce your risk of obesity?
Improving your eating habits is great place to start. Focus on eating freshly made food instead of fast food or take out. Choose lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and heart healthy fats. Limit added sugars, especially from drinks, so discouraging each other from drinking sugary drinks like juices or sodas can be very beneficial, or better yet don’t buy them. Some couples like to take turns cooking and cleaning up. Some also like to cook enough for leftovers so they don’t have to cook every day but still aren’t tempted to eat out. Improving your eating habits is very important for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients. Having a supportive partner can be the difference between weight loss success and weight stagnation. If your partner encourages you stick with your high protein, low calorie diet you may have a greater chance of reaching your weight loss goal. Your partner may even improve his or her weight, even without undergoing bariatric surgery.
Next to eating better, exercising together is a great way to improve your lifestyle. Do something you like together. It could be walking or jogging, beachcombing, playing tennis, swimming, yoga, spinning, or even karate or tai chi. The time together can not only improve your health and weight, but could bring you closer together as a couple. Exercise is critical for bariatric patients to be successful in their weight loss efforts, and for every person for staying healthy. So whether or not your partner has also had gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery, exercise is good for them also.
Also, couples can choose to celebrate their milestones or accomplishments with activities rather than food to improve their lifestyle choices. Getting a promotion doesn’t have to mean buying a cake or celebrating with drinks. Instead accomplishments could be celebrated by going to a movie, a concert, a football game, or whatever it is that interests you as a couple.
By making healthy choices together, you are supporting one another’s health and making your partner more accountable for his or her decisions since their decisions also affect you. Couples making good choices together can both reap the health benefits. If you and your partner could be making better health and lifestyle choices, talk to your partner about making some lasting changes together. Whether it’s diet, exercise, or other health related choices, if you do it together you will have a greater chance of success.
The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and obesity surgery in Boca Raton, Florida. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients come from all over South Florida, including Delray Beach, Parkland, Pompano Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach, and as far away as Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando. Many of Dr. Shillingford’s married patients report weight loss success when healthy lifestyle choices are supported by their partner.