Spousal Support in Weight Loss

Sep 28, 2020 | Tara Schmidt, Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist | @taraschmidt

Two adults holding hands

The following was written by a Mayo Clinic patient who has undergone bariatric surgery. They wished to remain anonymous upon posting.  

When making a journey, it is usually easier if you don’t have to travel alone.  Losing weight and eating healthy is not easy, but it really helps if there is someone there to support you.  For me, my partner made all the difference.

In 2011, I tipped the scale at just over 400 pounds.  My primary doctor told me that I would not survive if I did not do something about my weight.  I needed to go on insulin for Type II diabetes; I couldn’t walk more than 20 feet.  My doctor felt that I needed to consider bariatric surgery.  My husband and I sat and talked at length about what this would mean for us.  We decided that if I were to do this we were both going to have to commit fully as a married couple.  It meant both a financial and time commitment.  However, more than anything, it meant that both of us recognized this weight loss effort was a joint endeavor.

We began working together on all facets of preparing for a healthier lifestyle.  My husband helped cook healthier meals; we shopped together; we tried our best to plan meals in advance.  As a married couple, working together, we had begun good first steps that led us to a much healthier lifestyle.  The wonderful benefit for us was that we were both able to lose weight.  Even though I needed to drop more than 150 pounds, my husband, overweight but not morbidly obese, was able to lose about 50 pounds following our healthier plan.

After I had bariatric surgery and visited with other patients who had gone through similar experiences, I learned that in many relationships support was not always present.  One individual talked about how her family constantly brought in Kentucky Fried Chicken during the first weeks after surgery and how difficult that made it for her.  The people who are around can both help or hinder.

I will always be grateful to my spouse for all the encouragement and help he gave me.  It is so much easier to not have to travel alone.

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