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Weight loss not always beneficial for romantic relationships
Date:10/30/2013

Losing weight is generally beneficial for human health, but when one partner in a romantic relationship loses weight, it doesn't always have a positive effect on the relationship. According to new research from North Carolina State University and the University of Texas at Austin, there can be a "dark side" to weight loss, if both partners are not on board with enacting healthy changes.

"People need to be aware that weight loss can change a relationship for better or worse, and that communication plays an important role in maintaining a healthy relationship," says Dr. Lynsey Romo, an assistant professor of communication at NC State and lead author of a paper on the research.

For the study, researchers surveyed 21 couples 42 adults from across the country. One partner in each couple had lost 30 or more pounds in less than two years, with an average weight loss of about 60 pounds. Reasons for the weight loss ranged from changes in diet and exercise to medical procedures. The questionnaires asked each member of the couple about the impact of the weight loss on their relationship.

The researchers found that, after weight loss, the couples' communication generally changed for the good. The partner who lost weight was more likely to talk about healthy behaviors and inspire his/her partner to maintain or enact a healthy lifestyle. Couples in which both partners were receptive to these healthy changes reported more positive interactions and increased physical and emotional intimacy.

However, in some cases, weight loss resulted in negative communication. Some partners who lost weight nagged their significant other to follow their lead, which caused tension in the relationship. Other partners who hadn't lost weight reported feeling threatened and insecure by their partner's weight loss. These participants were resistant to change in their relationships. They would make critical comments toward their significant other, be less interes
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Contact: Matt Shipman
matt_shipman@ncsu.edu
919-515-6386
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

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