Weight loss comes with all sorts of health benefits – that often get shared inadvertently. If you’ve lost weight before, you may have noticed that your significant other shed some pounds as well, whether they meant to or not.
It’s called the weight loss ripple effect. And it’s apparently quite real.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut followed 130 couples over six months to see what happens when one person in a relationship loses weight. They found that the chances were good that the other person would drop some pounds as well.
Indeed, some of the partners lost 3 percent of their initial body weight despite making no effort whatsoever. So, for a 200-pound person, that comes out to 6 pounds.
“When one person changes their behavior, the people around them change,” said Amy Gorin, a behavioral psychologist and UConn professor. “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.
“How we change our eating and exercise habits can affect others in both positive and negative ways,” Gorin said in a news release. “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.”
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