Celebrate Valentine’s Day: Resolve, as a Couple, to get Healthy

You know what they say about New Year’s Weight Loss resolutions: most are broken by Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of reasons that happens, but really, it often comes down to timing.

Simply put, the timing stinks. Think about it: You’re at the end of what may be the most stressful six weeks of the year. Holidays, families, travel, rich food. And suddenly, we expect ourselves to transform? It’s tough, and when we fail, we feel more miserable than ever.

Dr. Urshan’s Health & Weight Loss Center may have the solution: Make realistic resolutions starting Feb. 14. Yes, Valentine’s Day. And here’s the bonus: Make them with your partner. Think about it: Is there a better gift you can give each other than health? (Don’t roll your eyes: It may sound trite, but it’s true, and you know it!)Consider this: You may already have a head start, according to research published in the Feb. 1 issue of Obesity. The researchers found that when one person in a couple embarks on a weight-loss journey, the other member of the couple will probably lose some weight too–even if they aren’t actively trying.

Now, imagine what a difference it makes when both of you are actively working on it!

Actually, you don’t have to imagine…

Weight Loss with Your Partner

We’re a lot better at taking care of our health when our partner is doing the same. That’s not just common sense –there’s research to back it up. Individuals are more successful in taking up healthy habits–and losing weight– when their partner is, too, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. In fact, 26 percent of men in the study lost weight if their partner was also dieting, versus 10 percent of those who were on their own. For women, 36 percent lost weight when their partners were trying to, too, compared to 15 percent when they were doing it alone.

Moreover, in terms of exercise, working out with a partner means you both have a better chance of succeeding–especially with a new partner. In fact, researchers writing in the British Journal of Health Psychology reported that finding a new exercise companion increases a person’s exercise level. The levels of exercise increased even more when that partner provided emotional support.

A Different Weight Loss Approach

So, you’re already being innovative by starting your resolution on Valentine’s Day instead of New Year’s Day. If you want to continue to mix things up, don’t make 12-month resolutions. Psychotherapist Amy Morin, the author of 3 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, recommends doing something different each month. That’s right: Change up your resolutions 12 times a year!

Perhaps for the rest of February, you resolve to cut out all candy — including that half-priced chocolate. In March, you can resolve to visit the gym together at least three times a week. In April, agree to pack your lunch (a healthy lunch!) for work. When January rolls around, you can partake in Dry January. And here’s more incentive: Some of those month-long resolutions will stick around longer than a month.

Weight Loss & Valentine’s Day

Just because you’re skipping the candy doesn’t mean you have to give up celebrating Valentine’s Day. The American Heart Association offers several suggestions for being good to your heart health on the big day. Among them:

  • Go out to dinner, but share an entrée.
  • Consider giving your sweet-toothed beloved a fruit basket.
  • Prepare a healthy dinner at home, together. Eat it by candlelight. It’s a lovely way to celebrate your resolutions, your health, and each other.

Remember This is About You!

So, you’re ready to trade in potato chips for kale and ice cream for unsweetened yogurt. That sounds good, but what does your partner think about kale and unsweetened yogurt? As you stock the kitchen with healthy food, be sure to include items you both like. This sounds obvious, but if one partner does most of the shopping, it can be a challenge. Consider doing the grocery shopping as a team. And be sure to make a list!

Start Your Weight Loss Transformation Together

So now, you are excited about losing weight and getting healthy. Start making the changes together, but don’t start stocking up in fitness gear or diet books. It can sap your resolve. Anthony Ongaro, the author of Break the Twitch, calls it the “false first step.” Here’s how it works: Buying the gear gives you a dopamine rush similar to actually doing the exercise. You think you’ve taken a meaningful step. But you and your partner get that rush when you order the item when you receive it; and that satisfies your craving — for want of a better word — for accomplishing your goals.

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