Are Your Relationships Fat?

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By Pat Barone

Successful weight management requires a lifestyle change that includes healthy eating patterns and lots of activity. Making far-reaching changes may be even more challenging if you are involved in relationships that promote or support an unhealthy approach to eating and exercise.

For example, does your best friend agree to go to the gym with you but, once there, grumble and complain the entire time? After an hour with a whiner, who wouldn't avoid the activity again?

Does your mother tell you that you need to lose weight but constantly push fattening food at you when you visit?

Common saboteurs to a healthy lifestyle are the relationships around you. After all, change can be frightening or threatening within a relationship.

Take the spouse or partner who becomes nervous or argumentative when you being to lose weight. This partner may have his/her own weight problems or simply feel more comfortable when you are lacking self-esteem. When one partner begins to actively work on lifestyle issues and loses a few pounds, the saboteur may accept an invitation to a lavish party, or bring home chocolates, or simply insist on restaurants that lack healthy food choices.

Their actions may be entirely unconscious -- they may actually believe they are rewarding the dieter for their efforts. Suggesting to your partner that a non-food reward would be more positive and encouraging is important. Clear and effective communication is often the cure for many ripples in fat relationships.