That’s the finding of a new University of Connecticut study that tracked the weight loss progress of 130 couples over six months. The researchers found that when one member of a couple commits to losing weight, the chances were good the other partner would lose some weight too, even if they were not actively participating in a weight loss intervention.
The study’s lead investigator, UConn Professor Amy Gorin, calls it a “ripple effect.”
“When one person changes their behavior, the people around them change,” says Gorin, a behavioral psychologist. “Whether the patient works with their healthcare provider, joins a community-based, lifestyle approach like Weight Watchers, or tries to lose weight on their own, their new healthy behaviors can benefit others in their lives.”
The study, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Obesity, also found that the rate at which couples lose weight is interlinked. In other words, if one member lost weight at a steady pace, their partner did too. Likewise, if one person struggled to lose weight, their partner also struggled.
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I wonder if there is a multiplier effect if you only associate with others trying to lose weight? My 200 pound weight loss was done on the buddy system with my girlfriend. It was a long time ago but between the two of us the total combined weight loss was over 250 pounds.
The weight loss was a good thing but it didn’t help our relationship.