Weight Loss Partners: Who’s Got Your Back?

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

weight loss partners

When trying to lose weight, whether it's your spouse, a friend, or a family member, being each other's weight loss partners is key to everyone's success.

Having someone holding you accountable for your health and fitness goals is so important, yet it's not something many of us think of when we set off on our wellness journeys.

It’s no secret that people tend to adopt similar healthy (and unhealthy) behaviors when they live or work closely together.

Studies have found that people are more likely to make a positive health behavior change if their partner, friend, or family member does so as well.

There also is an even stronger effect if the partner had been consistently healthy in that domain.

This means that involving your partner in healthy behavior changes can help improve their fitness.

Weight-loss support is a two-way street.

You can benefit from your partner’s support, but it is also important for you to support your loved ones in trying to lose weight and improve their health.

Keep reading to learn how you and your crew can be the best weight loss partners for each other!

Here at the Fit Mother Project, we're all about support. Read these real stories from real women to find out how our Sisterhood unites us all!

Be Their Workout Buddy

Working out on your own can be tough, especially when you're a busy parent with a lot on your plate already.

But offering to join your partner in their workout sessions is a great way to support their weight loss goals.

Plus, research shows that having a workout buddy can actually make you both exercise more.

In one study, researchers at the University of Aberdeen asked half of the study participants to find a new ‘gym buddy' while the other half continued with their normal exercise routine.

The results showed that the group who found a new exercise partner exercised more than those who followed their regular exercise routine.

Having an exercise companion and exercising together seems to be beneficial for the promotion of emotional and social support.

Emotional support in turn promotes exercise by enabling better self‐regulation, in particular self‐efficacy.

Use these tips to improve your relationships and gain the support you need!

Hold Each Other Accountable

One of the most obvious ways to support your partner in their weight loss journey is by holding them accountable for their long-term and short-term goals.

For example, after a hard day of work, they may want to just skip the gym and relax on the couch.

While rest days are always important, one skipped gym session can quickly turn into days and weeks of missed workouts.

Instead, encourage them to stay on track and stick to their schedule.

Offer to workout with them, and let them know that it is OK to modify their workout based on how they’re feeling.

Even a shorter exercise session is better than none at all!

On these days, it is also helpful to remind them of how great they will feel after they workout.

Sometimes starting is the hardest part. Once they get moving, they will be surprised how much energy they actually have.

Plus, this will help hold you accountable for your fitness routine as well.

Seeing them push through on their toughest days will motivate you to do the same when you feel like you’ve hit a fitness plateau.

Write Down and Share Goals

You can also support each other by creating fitness and weight loss goals together.

This camaraderie creates an additional incentive to stick to your health plan.

When you can share similar goals you can also celebrate reaching milestones and short-term goals as well.

Surrounding yourself with motivated people achieving a goal can help you stick to yours.

Find out how to stay on track with weight loss goals by using feedback loops!

Challenge Your Partner to Push Themselves

Another way to support your partner’s weight loss goals is to continue to challenge them.

Studies have found that when working out, people tend to push harder when exercising with people that have a higher level of fitness.

This means if you are in a little better shape than your spouse, you should push them to compete with you, instead of making things easier for them.

In one study, 91 college students were randomly assigned to either bike alone, with a high fitness training partner, or with someone of lower fitness.

All participants were instructed to complete minutes of exercise at 60-70% of their maximum target heart rate.

People that exercised with a fitness partner with a high level of conditioning actually exercised harder than those in the low fit group.

Obviously, you don’t want to push them beyond their capabilities, or to a point where they would injure themselves.

But it does mean that you should show your partner not to be afraid to have a fitness partner that’s in better shape than them.

It will help them achieve their fitness goals, plus it will keep you accountable for your own fitness as well.

Another positive aspect of this approach is that your spouse won’t feel like you are condescending or patronizing.

By keeping your workouts at a high level they will feel like your equal, and not like you are trying to just make them feel better.

When they see their fitness gains and their ability to keep up with you this will motivate them to keep pushing and stay on track with their goals.

Constructive Criticism

No matter how great a weight loss plan starts, undoubtedly there will be setbacks and rough patches.

Being a supportive partner means providing positive feedback, but also constructive criticism, along the way.

Instead of focusing on what your partner is doing wrong, use positive reinforcement to help them turn a negative into a positive.

For example, berating your loved one for not finishing a workout will only make them doubt their ability to stick to their fitness plan.

Instead, remind them of how far they have come to that point, and encourage them to push a little harder and refocus the next day.

If they slip on their diet, get together with them to write out their nutrition plan for the next day instead of dwelling on one bad day.

This can also help you refocus on your goals when you have a misstep in your routine.

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Long Distance Support

When you live with your partner it is a lot easier to support each other in your weight loss and health goals.

But what about when you are apart?

Luckily, with technology today there are plenty of ways to keep your partner accountable to their fitness goals.

Share A Fitness Calendar

You can create a fitness calendar in a shared app, such as Google Docs.

When your partner completes their workout they can check it off in the document so that you can keep track of their progress.

Use Fitness Tracking Apps

Fitness trackers and health apps allow you to track things like runs, bike rides, walks, strength workouts, and even food intake for the day.

Since you can follow your friends with these apps, you can see what your partner achieved that day.

This can also be a fun way to challenge each other.

You can make it a friendly competition where you try to see who can get the most steps in a day, or complete the most sets in a high-intensity interval session.

Little things like this are great motivation in long-distance fitness relationships.

Daily Phone Calls

Just because you aren’t side-by-side doesn’t mean you can’t keep verbally motivating one another.

Checking in with daily phone calls, texts, or even a planned Zoom meeting can keep your partner on track with the support that they need to keep them accountable to their weight loss goals.

You can get creative with these “meetings” too.

Have them take a picture of their dinner for the evening so you can discuss their diet plan.

Or have them record a workout so that you can actually see their form during a strength training routine.

This will allow you to give feedback to help them improve along the way.

Long-distance support is a great way to stay motivated even on your own.

Plus, this type of training combines the flexibility of a solo workout plan with the support of someone going through it alongside you.

Learn to effectively achieve your goals by starting to simplify your weight loss journey!

Most Importantly, Weight Loss Partners Should Have Fun!

Trying to lose weight and get in shape on your own is not easy.

Going to the gym and working out on your own can start to feel like another job instead of something to be enjoyed.

However, supporting your loved ones and accompanying them to the gym, or even just cheering them on during a workout, can make exercise something that they actually look forward to doing.

Sometimes, all someone needs is a little bit of extra motivation to help us push out that last rep, run that bit faster, go the extra mile, or hang in there for another minute, all for the kudos that your workout partner’s “well done,” high-five, or pat on the back brings with it.

Being each other's weight loss partners can help inspire you all to keep going and get even better!

Holly Smith, M.D.
B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on weight loss partners.

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