It sounds crazy, but it works

Second-hand weight loss is a thing. The whole idea seems crazy, and maybe it’s just so crazy it works! Behavioral psychologists at the University of Connecticut conducted an experiment that revealed some exciting discoveries in the fitness world.

They surveyed 130 couples for six months and discovered that there were some positive changes in a person’s body when they’re significant other started following a diet plan, exercising, and losing weight. So just the exposure to a person who’s taking care of their health is good for you.

They lose weight whether or not they try to

If one person in an intimate relationship sheds weight the chances that a person partner will also drop some pounds goes up. It sounds obvious. If a person starts working out, it’ll make you want to take care of yourself too, right? However, that’s not what the results show. The second person in the relationship will lose weight whether or not they try.

The study was officially published in the journal of obesity on February 1st. The stats show that one-third of the partners that didn’t undergo any weight loss plan lost 3 percent of their weight at the end of the six-month treatment.

Associate professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Connecticut, Amy Gorin, explains that “When one person changes their behavior, the people around them change.”

“Whether the patient works with their healthcare provider, joins a community-based, lifestyle approach like Weight Watchers, or tries to lose weight on their own, their new healthy behaviors can benefit others in their lives,” added Gorin.

Your success determines your partner’s success.

The study also found a difference between the effect a person has on their significant other based on how strict the person was with their weight loss plan. If the person strictly followed their weight loss plan and lost weight at a steady rate, their partner lost weight at a similar rate. If the person had difficulty losing the weight and sticking with the program, then their partner had even more of an issue shedding pounds.

Heres how they tested it:

The researchers randomly separated the participating couples into two groups. The first group received help throughout the whole six months. The second group only received a hand out with all the instructions on how to diet and exercise in a way that promotes weight loss. Regardless of the assigned group, when one partner lost weight, so did the other.

The experimenters named this second-hand weightloss phenomenon “the ripple effect.” The conclusion explains the surprising weight loss pattern between partners.”Evidence of a ripple effect was found in untreated spouses in both formal and self-guided weight management approaches” The results show that weight loss and diet programs are not only helpful to the people on the program. They help people off the program as well. “These data suggest that weight loss can spread within couples and that widely available lifestyle programs have weight loss effects beyond the treated individual.”

Future Research Plans

Gorin and her research team hope that the studies findings will encourage national weightloss programs to consider the “ripple effect.” Gorin’s next mission is to investigate how a person’s commitment to a weight loss program affects other people in a household. Perhaps one person’s drive to look and feel better can demotivate people around them.