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Losing Weight as a Couple: Seven Secrets to Long-Term Success
By Douglas E. Noll

7 Tips for Losing Weight as A CoupleI've lost 20 pounds in the past 60 days. My wife has lost 20 pounds too. We are in mid-life, self-employed, successful, extremely busy professionals. My wife is an internationally-known spiritual teacher. I am a well-known peacemaker, teacher, and mediator. We train with a trainer once a week in a variation of Power of 10 resistance training. I swim or ride a stationary bike daily for 15-20 minutes, walk the dog a half-mile daily, and spend the rest of my time on my computer, teaching, mediating, or practicing jazz violin.
How have we succeeded with our weight loss? I've distilled down how we approached this lifestyle problem into seven common-sense choices we have made.

1. Support

We decided that we had to support each other even more than normal. Changing our social pattern around eating and food was going to be a stressful. We both jumped in together. Without supporting each other, the process of losing weight would be a lot more difficult. By supporting each other and walking this journey together, we put up the first wall against falling back to old eating habits. In the early weeks, we found ourselves irritable. Our normal emotional elasticity was limited. We really concentrated on each other during this uncomfortable time.

2. Commitment

We had talked about losing weight for years. Our weight had come on slowly. We loved our wine and fine food (I love cooking). Our lifestyle was fun, comfortable, and pleasant. We talked a lot about "we should" without making a change. When we finally decided, we determined to be committed to a long process.

3. Discipline

I am disciplined and my wife is learning discipline. We have made the discipline of eating correctly and dropping pounds a priority over almost everything else in our lives. Having discipline has been essential to our success. The goal of changing our eating lifestyle has become top of mind for us. And, the success of losing weight has been reinforcing.

4. Patience

Our weight did not come on in a few months. For me, every 5 pounds could be related back to a stressful event (usually a major trial in my trial lawyer days) over the past 30 years. We acknowledged to each other that weight loss would take some time. Ultimately, we have become satisfied with losing a quarter-pound a day or about 2-3 pounds a week. We have not found any quick way to reverse a process that took decades to accumulate. As long as we have lost something each week, we are happy.

5. Self-forgiving

We have failed in our support, commitment, discipline and patience during our weight loss process. They have been minor failures, but failures nonetheless. We have learned to forgive each other for the lapses. We have also learned that there is no shame, blame, or judgment in this lifestyle. We do the best we can every day. It's good enough.

6. Emotional Awareness

This is the big one. Our professional lives can be stressful. Like everyone, we have emotional ups and downs on a daily basis. The question we faced was "How do we respond to our emotions in the moment?" Do we eat to smother or soothe uncomfortable feelings? Or can we sit with anxiety or fear, or frustration without reacting by eating a big load of carbs? We use our empathetic listening skills to help each other work through any emotions that are stronger than we can manage on ourselves. If one of us ends up eating emotionally, the other becomes even more supportive and helps work through the moment. This has helped minimized our emotional eating.

7. Timing

Our choice to change our lifestyle and lose weight was made with a sense of timing. We started in early May, deciding that we would work through this during the summer. We would be outside and active during the longer days. In our professional lives, we decided this would be a good time, especially because my wife's book was scheduled for release in September. The fall would be busy with book events, interviews, tours, and all of the work involved in book promotion. Being conscious about when we committed and what that would mean to us over the summer months was important.
These common sense principles, when practiced together, have led over time to our success. We have not found a magic bullet or pill that eliminates or shortens the process.
Losing weight or changing a lifestyle diet is not an event; it's a process. Like any important change, thinking ...    Continue

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