Stanford says that it can be challenging to lose weight together if one partner starts straying from the plan.
Plus, how to avoid the same issues as Toby and Kate.
This Is Us has been uber-popular ever since it debuted this fall, and there’s a good reason for that—not only does the show make you feel all the feels, it addresses issues that people face IRL.
One of those is the challenge of weight loss, which is a major plotline in Kate and Toby’s relationship (after all, they did meet at a weight loss support group). And while Kate and Toby are supportive of each other’s weight loss goals, Kate struggles with trying to lose weight as part of a couple.
We spoke to weight-loss experts to find out what to do if you’re struggling with the same issues as Toby and Kate. Here's what they had to say:
Kate is clearly more committed to losing weight than Toby—she’s more restrictive with her diet and works out frequently, while he orders dessert at dinner. While that can be frustrating as hell, you can get past it, says Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., instructor of medicine and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Actually, she’s found that couples are more successful at losing weight when women take charge. “I find that when the female takes the lead, the man is likely to follow, especially if there is significant weight loss to be achieved,” she says.
So don't be afraid to take the initiative and come up with a plan of attack by scheduling gym dates and emailing him a healthy recipe or two.
That being said, it's important for both of you to keep an eye on each other's progress, says Stanford. “Often people will need someone who can hold them accountable,” she says. Tell him that you want him to make sure you're meeting your weekly exercise and healthy eating goals, and to (gently) call you out when you're slacking.
Unfortunately, Toby’s not-so-great eating habits rub off on Kate, and she binges secretly as a result. She also dreads going to dinner with him because she doesn’t want to watch him eat foods that aren’t part of her diet. By episode eight, she even breaks up with him because she feels like he's messing with her ability to drop pounds.
Stanford says that it can be challenging to lose weight together if one partner starts straying from the plan. That can eventually create a barrier between the two of you, she says. And if you're the one sending the workout reminders and searching for healthy recipes, a.k.a. being the Kate, his chill approach to losing weight can be super annoying. However, try to encourage him to stay on track and ask him to help support you reach your goal, she says.
You can also work with your partner to set specific weight-loss strategies that you'll do together, says Michael Russo, M.D., a general surgeon specializing in bariatric surgery at Memorial Care Center for Obesity at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Maybe that means working out together three times a week or meal prepping together on Sundays. That should help get the two of you on the same page and minimize resentment.
Despite the fact that Kate is more committed to losing the weight, Toby loses weight faster than her (because life isn't fair). Sound familiar? “Everyone is a little different,” says Russo. “Some people are hormonally programmed to gain and drop weight quickly, while others find it more difficult.”
The best thing to do in this situation, besides breaking up, is to not compare your progress to your partner's. That might mean keeping how much you lose each week private and celebrating non-scale victories, like meeting your workout goal for the week or reaching 10,000 steps each day, instead.
The bottom line: Experts say the best way to get through these two-for-one weight loss struggles is to communicate so that you're on the same page. “Make a plan that you can both stick to and support each other on,” says. Russo. “The journey is not going to be an easy one, so it’s very important that you both rely on each other get the best possible outcome.”