Healthy Living as a Family

Living Healthy Chicago
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We’ve all been there. You’re out to dinner with friends and you have absolutely no intention to order dessert.  But when they urge you to split a treat…you cave and go for the double chocolate cake! Yep, the people around you can definitely influence your eating and activity habits. According to Dr. Jessica Bartfield from the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care, weight management comes down to behaviors. She says, “A lot of studies have shown that women tend to gain weight after marriage. And the problem is that some of those negative impacts can then be contagious to other members of the family. When it comes down to weight management it really is behaviors at the core of how people successfully manage their weight over the long term. And the problem is a lot of those behaviors become shared between couples, between families.”

Michele Shaar a married mother of three found herself unhappy with her weight. She says, “When you`re married and you have a family, it`s a busy life. I have 3 kids. I work, my husband works, sometimes we don`t have a meal prepared. So you might want to eat fast food.” Those eating habits carried over to her husband, who gained a significant amount of weight over the course of their 15 year marriage. Dr. Bartfield says gaining weight as a couple is very common.

Luckily, Michele decided to battle the bulge and joined the weight loss program at Loyola. She received support and direction from a doctor and made healthy changes for herself and her family. Together she and her husband have a lost a combined 60 pounds, and they have no plans to stop. The couple credits their success to their teamwork, and they say holding one another accountable helps too.

If you’ve gained weight as a couple, you may want to team up to lose it. Dr. Bartfield says, “I think the first steps are realizing that there is a problem, and then realizing that it is behaviors that are going to have to change. Focusing on more healthy, natural, nutritious foods…not just cutting the calories but really trying to get the most nutrition out of their foods. And making a plan, getting some help too. Whether it be joining a gym together, trying to figure out how are we going to change our behaviors, how are we going to adapt our lifestyle towards losing weight.”

Here are some healthy tips if your friends, family, or spouse are sabotaging your weight loss efforts…

  • Instead of meeting friends for drinks or coffee, try a new workout class together!
  • After a long day of work, catch up with your spouse with a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Ladies, when it comes to eating don’t try to keep up with your husband! Take a look at your portion sizes and adjust your meals according to your body’s needs.



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