"The annoying thing that happened when my husband and I decided to be diet buddies."

Jo and her husband. (Image: supplied.)

A few years ago, before we were married and before we had kids, my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I decided to go on a health kick together.

We both could stand to lose a few kilos and I thought he’d make the perfect diet buddy. We lived together, after all. Who better to eat healthily with and exercise with?

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In those days, electronic scales were really expensive. We bought the best ones on the market. For almost $300 (they cost much less these days) we could create our own profiles, enter our information and have our weight loss, fat percentages measured as well as our hydration.

What sorcery is this?

Jo and her husband. (Photo supplied.)

We decided to make it fun. We both had a guess and how tall we were and how much we weighed. Then we measured both.

Here’s the interesting thing. My husband overestimated his height and underestimated his weight, and I underestimated my height and overestimated my weight.

Diligently, we took note of each of our starting weights and then went rollerblading at our local park. We decided on a healthy eating plan and stuck to it most of the time, aside from once a week when we rented movies to watch and he usually picked up an ice cream and I selected a couple of white Lindt balls in a container at the counter.

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I almost made it out without buying any junk food!

We decided on a weekly weigh-in on Saturday mornings and in the first week, we’d both lost a fair bit, as happens at the start of a healthy eating program. I had lost 1.2 kilos and he’d lost almost three kilos.

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I was pretty peeved. How is it that he lost more than I did? It was probably because he had so much more to lose. I shouldn’t complain. It would probably even out next week.

The next week, I lost 0.4 of a kilo and he lost almost 1.5 kilos. (Post continues after gallery.)

At this stage I was starting to think that maybe he wasn’t the best diet buddy. He was eating more treats than I was. Dear Universe, how is this fair?


I started refusing to weigh-in with him, saying I’d already weighed myself and my weight loss was on track while he continued to lose large amounts of weight each week. I found out later why he was losing so much more weight than I was. In short, it was because he was taller, bigger and had more muscles than I did.

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Dr Sally Norton, writing for the Daily Mail, explained that in a study of several weight loss programs it was found that men lose almost double the amount of weight as women on the same programs.

She said: “Their basal metabolic rate is greater and as basal metabolic rate accounts for about 70 per cent of the energy we burn every day, you can see why they may have a head start.”

Well yeah, a head start, but double?

If I could have lost weight at the same rate as he was losing it, I would have reached my goal weight in two weeks instead of the two months I dragged myself through.

Jo and her husband. (Photo supplied.)

There are other factors at play as well, Dr Norton said it’s also because men are more muscular, don’t cook as much and therefore don’t pick at food while they cook and women tend to be emotional eaters. She does admit these ideas are based on stereotypes but there were certainly true in our case.

Anna Lind Thomas, in an article for Babble, had the exact same problem as I did. She describes her husband’s diet attempt as ‘half assing’ and hers as ‘diligent’ and yet she too failed to lose as much weight as he did.

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She writes:

After our first week, it was time for our weigh-in. I noticed Rob was looking a little thinner. “Can you tell if I’ve lost weight?” I asked my husband. Sure, it’s a dangerous question for the both of us, but I could swear my underwear felt looser.

“Not really. It’s still early yet babe. Can you tell if I have?”

“Nope. Too early, I guess,” I said through thin lips. Okay, so I wasn’t charitable. I’m only human!

I got on the judgmental piece of machinery first. It flashed slowly in bright blue eventually revealing what I lost — one pound. We both pep talked myself. “Yeah, okay — a pound is great! We just got started, that’s a great pace!” Blah blah blah. I had assumed I would lose 10 to 30 pounds of water weight, but whatever, a loss is a loss! Rob got on the scale — 8-frickin-pounds.

He was dead to me.

Their relationship survived the experience, as did mine, but we both learned some very important lessons. I learned to measure our weight loss by using percentages, to make it fairer, and to put more emphasis on how I felt rather than the numbers on a scale, and Anna decided to make peace with her body and the rate at which it chose to lose weight.

Have you ever tried to diet with your partner? Did you enjoy the experience or did it cause problems?