Sometimes we unintentionally sabotage our spouse’s health ambitions. By figuring out the root of unhealthy habits, leading by example, making it fun, and being patient you’re well on your way to supporting your spouse’s healthy lifestyle.
By Paige Johnson
I am so happy Paige reached out to me with this guest post. The balance between genuinely helping your spouse to be healthy and nagging them (which breeds resentment) is a fine line, and Paige’s suggestions are on target for being helpful instead of judgmental. Paige blogs for LearnFit.org. If you’re interested in learning how to make fitness work with your lifestyle, check it out 🙂 -Celeste
Most people like to think of their relationship with their spouse in terms of how in sync they are, but the truth is, sometimes people go their separate ways with lifestyle choices unintentionally. Often, after a big life change such as having a baby or retirement, couples find that they aren’t on the same page when it comes to being healthy, and this can cause disagreements and even resentment.
It’s important to remember that it’s okay if you and your spouse don’t agree on everything. There are many ways you can support your loved one and nudge them toward healthier life choices without being judgmental or nagging (which rarely works anyway). Here are some of the best ways you can get your spouse on a healthy track.
1. Find the root of their unhealthy habits
Whether your loved one is staying up too late, eating too much junk food, or not getting enough exercise, it’s important to try and find the reason they’re doing those things. Staying up late is sometimes a symptom of feeling like the day was too full and there wasn’t enough “me” time. This can lead to exhaustion, which can in turn lead to a lack of desire to exercise. Not eating a balanced diet–snacking on junk food and not making an effort to incorporate protein and leafy greens into meals–can be related to stress or depression. Often, people use food for comfort. Talk to your loved one and try to suss out what’s going on with them. It could be that they need a good talk about work worries or family issues, or that they just need an hour a day devoted to doing something they want to do.
2. Lead by example
Help your spouse see how much better they would feel if they followed in your footsteps; eat right, get in some daily exercise, and eat well. Make a point to let them know how good you feel, but don’t give in to the temptation to recruit them. Simply showing your loved one how you’re living your best life can encourage them to give it a try, too.
3. Make it fun
Once you’ve figured out what the main issue is, try and incorporate ways to make a lifestyle change fun. If it’s exercise, plan out a date night a couple of times a week that includes an activity, such as hiking or swimming; or, you can do something as simple as take a walk together with the dog. If food is the problem, look up some healthy recipes on Pinterest and make it a point to cook with your spouse so that they are involved.
4. Don’t sabotage it
When it’s your turn to do the grocery shopping, make sure you fill the cart with healthy foods rather than chips and soda. Bringing home junk food when your spouse is trying to eat better won’t help the situation and could lead to resentment. At the same time, taking away the things they love most might make them feel micromanaged and trapped, so meet somewhere in the middle. If your loved one has a sweet tooth, buy the ingredients for a simple dessert and make it a surprise after dinner one night, or ask your spouse to help you make it.
5. Be patient
Making big changes can be overwhelming for some; it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s important to be patient with your loved one and leave the judgment at the door.
Photo via Pixabay by TXRMTODAY
Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast, avid cyclist, and loves exploring hiking trails with her dogs. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.