Jul 17, 2019 | Updated: 10:03 AM EDT

The Secret To Stop Smoking And Fitting Into That Black Dress May Be A One Worded Answer―Love

Jan 24, 2015 02:43 PM EST

Quitting Smoking
(Photo : Henrik Jensen/Flickr)

"Love, it's what makes the world go round-and-round." That gooey, sentimental word-mush can be a bit too much to bear at times. And, if not correctly placed in the conversation, the coy phrase could come-off as insulting. "Wait, so you're saying that I'm not loved?" That's going to lead to an awkward ice breaker, no doubt. While "love" may make the world go round for the Disney addict, it's also proven to do two other things quite well―shrink your waist line and help you put down a freshly lit cigarette.

Deep-seeded behavioral practices are notoriously difficult to overcome. From binge-eating to chain-smoking, these habituated norms often lead to unhealthy outcomes―and quitting them may seem absurdly daunting. 

But in a new study published in a recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, researchers at the University College London found that when tackling life's big behavioral hurdles, the key to making that successful jump to the sobering side might in fact be having a loved one on the side-lines.

The study showed that when adopting positive behavioral changes in pairs, rather than as solo efforts, both men and women were far more likely to adhere to those newly adopted behaviors. Couples that displayed encouraging behaviors when they both quit smoking showed an astonishing 48% chance of success, compared to lonesome 8% success rate of those who went about quitting without a partner; both genders fed into the average.

Weight loss also showed to have similar results, as well. Couples who began working out in pairs and adopted healthier dietary practices showed, on average, a 30% better likelihood to adopt these practices. That's an astonishing difference when compared to the 10%-15% adherence percentage when a partner was absent; again, both genders fed into the average.

"We weren't sure that with people who have been together for a long time you would see the same effect. You might think that they have settled into a certain way of doing things," said  Proffesor Wardle, a teacher of clinical psychology and epidemiology at University College London. "This [success] suggests that they are in fact still listening to each other."

But the partnered success can mostly be attributed to the empathic compassion and encouragement they bring to the metaphorical table.

"Having someone who is with you day and night encouraging you and supporting you, this truly is a powerful result."

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