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5. Be Reassuring continued...

What should you do if this happens? First, Goodstein says, try to get the bottom of why your partner feels this way. You may find it's really their fears and not their desires they're expressing, he says.

"When one partner begins to lose weight and improve their appearance, the other may feel threatened or scared that this new attractive person won't want them anymore," says Goodstein.

By encouraging the dieter to remain overweight, the partner can exert a form of control -- or at least ensure that the one with the "new" body is less likely to stray.

To get around it, he says, lovingly reassure your partner that your weight loss goals are driven by health, not vanity, and that losing those extra pounds will help ensure a better future for both of you.

"Make certain to explain the serious health risks involved in being overweight, and assure them that sticking to your diet is one way to ensure that you'll be around longer to share the future together," says Mezansky.

What can also help: Include your partner in your weight loss rewards.

"Tell them that if they can help you to lose the next 10 pounds, there will be a reward in it that you both can enjoy, like a weekend away, or purchasing an item for the house that you both want," Mezansky tells WebMD.

If, however, a partner, family member, or friend appears to be deliberately subverting your weight- loss plans -- and talking it out doesn't help -- talk to your doctor.

Adds Goodstein: "Though it doesn't happen too often, sometimes, one person's need to subvert the other person's success is a sign of a sadistic personality -- with problems that are likely to be evident in other areas of the relationship as well."

Originally published Feb. 15, 2005.
Medically updated Jan. 23, 2006.

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