Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Binge Eating Disorder Health Center

Font Size

Urging Your Partner to Diet May Backfire

Response could be unhealthy, such as fasting, taking diet pills or binge eating, study finds


"Hurtful comments, even if well-intentioned, may contribute to poorer body image and unhealthy eating behaviors," Eisenberg explained.

The findings held for both men and women, she said, but were slightly more pronounced and consistent for women. That men were also affected didn't surprise Eisenberg. "Men have body image issues, too, of course," she added.

Edward Abramson, a clinical psychologist in Chico, Calif., who has written about emotional eating, is not surprised that urging people to diet doesn't lead to healthy behaviors. "Almost 100 percent of the population who is overweight knows it," he said. "They know bacon and donuts have more calories than celery."

When he leads weight-control groups, Abramson finds those constantly urged to diet and lose weight sometimes go out of their way to overeat, a kind of rebellion against their partner, he believes.

Abramson said he is ''not a big fan of dieting." Instead, he encourages partners to work together on weight issues. If they're going out to eat, for instance, one could suggest sharing a main course. If they are putting a meal together at home, they could focus on keeping it healthy.

Study author Eisenberg suggested, "If someone is genuinely concerned about their partner's weight, the recommendation is to discuss it emphasizing health rather than appearance, and focusing on adopting a healthier lifestyle long term rather than dieting (which is usually characterized by restrictions that are difficult to maintain and not effective for weight loss in the long run)."

Partners should be careful how they verbalize encouragement to lose weight, she said. "Encouragement like 'Will you join me for a walk after dinner? I'd love the company' will probably be received better than 'You should skip the ice cream tonight.'"

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

neon EAT sign
Mental Health Binge Eating Disorder
girl thinking
obese teen boy
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Depression TV
Binge Eating Disorder Treatment