A Free Ride on the Weight-Loss Train

When it comes to weight, couples are symbiotic. Tom Brady’s diet was affected by Gisele’s, and that’s true not just for the beautiful and famous. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that when one spouse becomes obese, the likelihood of the other spouse becoming obese is 37 percent! Could weight loss also spread in such a way?

By Super Bowl Sunday the entire region of Philadelphia caught Eagles Fever, so don’t judge me for reading about Tom Brady’s diet.

Apparently, Brady follows an ultra-restrictive diet: No sugar, no caffeine or dairy or olive oil, and no nightshade vegetables.

Let’s not get into the nightshade vegetables — Tom Brady knows football, he isn’t a nutrition expert, and I have a feeling his superior physique has little to so with avoiding tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and eggplants.

What’s noteworthy is that according to an interview with CBS, the reason Tom Brady eats this way is because of his wife, Gisele Bündchen.

Our eating patterns affect the people we share our lives with — spouses, kids and friends — and when one partner picks a new eating plan, or decides to lose weight, it can have a ripple effect.

Eating habits are contagious

When it comes to weight, couples are quite symbiotic. A couples’ trajectory of weight gain often matches, and a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that garnered a lot of attention at the time, showed that when one spouse becomes obese, the likelihood of the other spouse becoming obese is 37 percent!

Could weight loss spread in such a way? Several studies suggest so.

In a study of 357 couples, the spouses of participants that were on an intensive lifestyle intervention plan lost an average 3 percent body weight over 12 months and family members of people undergoing bariatric surgery also lost weight.

A new study published in Obesity , led by Amy Gorin, followed 130 couples in which one spouse was randomly assigned to joinWeight Watchers or to a self guided diet.

After 6 months 32 percent of the untreated spouses — partners of the diet participants — lost 3 percent of their weight. This was true for those on the structured Weight Watchers and for those on the self guided diet.

“This study adds to the growing literature, suggesting that weight and weight change within married couples is highly interdependent,” conclude the researchers.

The shared environment

Pregnant moms are often reminded that they’re eating for two — this is true not in the sense of justifying eating double, but in the sense that mom’s nutrition affects the growing fetus and her child’s health and food choices.

We all affect each other in health habits, and we can help not only ourselves, but also those close to us, by adopting good eating and drinking habits.

I’m grateful for my lean, fit husband.

As to the ripple effect, I must say, a sense of optimism spread across Philadelphia with the Eagles’ first ever Super Bowl win, and it spread well beyond die-hard long-suffering fans.

In sports, one teams’ win is another teams’ loss, but with healthy habits we all win together.

Eat well, and you’ll spread some wellness all around you.

Dr. Ayala

Originally published at herbalwater.typepad.com on February 5, 2018.

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