It can be really difficult watching someone’s bad habits or lack of investment in their own health. It can be even more difficult not to waggle your finger at them when their poor health choices come back to bite them in the butt! I’ve had a lot of first hand experience dealing with my own poor health choices, as well as those of my loved ones. When I was in high school I shot up from 130 lbs to 200 lbs because of antidepressants, poor food choices and lack of exercise. It took me years to get my booty in gear and shed those pounds, but I kept losing the weight only to keep gaining some back! It wasn’t until I majorly overhauled my life to become healthier that I lost the weight and it stayed off.
My father gained a lot of weight after a back surgery and he became diabetic. Even after becoming diabetic he wouldn’t adjust his poor eating habits and that, coupled with compounding health issues, led to his death when I was 13-years-old. My boyfriend has back issues that he would shrug off saying he just tweaked something even though it happened every time we cleaned or we ran together. It is so frustrating to watch those you love hurt themselves or fail to help themselves. I am right there with you! I promise there is a better way to help the ones you love jump on health train than nagging or telling them I told so. Both of which will just end up making them defensive and shut off to your suggestions. So how do you help your significant other live healthier?
Don’t force anything. Trying to push them to be healthier against their will will only leave you running into a brick wall. If you’ve landed here you’ve probably already ran into that brick wall over and over, so why are you doing the same thing still? Read on and see if you could be going at this a better way!
Set a good example. Cook healthy foods and eat the healthy snacks that you make for yourself. Workout and reap the benefits and maybe, just maybe your significant other will see
Find healthy alternatives for their favorite foods. There are a ton of recipes out there now and it’s super easy to find ones for your significant other’s favorite foods. When my boyfriend and I decided to start cooking cleaner and healthier his biggest issue was missing the foods he had come to love like macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, milkshakes, etc. So I sat down and scoured through recipes that were healthier versions of his favorite foods. If you help your significant other realize that eating healthier doesn’t necessarily mean missing out they’re usually much more willing to partake. I love Jay’s Baking Me Crazy for healthy or cleaner alternatives to fan favorite. You can also check out my Healthy Paleo Beef Stir Fry that’s delicious and nutritious!
Cook healthier foods for yourself. If you don’t cook already volunteer to do some of the cooking and choose some healthier recipes. If you’re already the cook try out some newer recipes intermingled with your old ones so it’s not too much of a change all at once. You can also take your current recipes and substitute in healthier ingredients like plain greek yogurt for sour cream.
Have healthy snacks ready to eat. I either purchase fruits and veggies pre-cut or make sure to cut them up when I purchase them so that I’m more likely to grab them than the more processed foods I have in our pantry. The convenience of junk food is one of the biggest issues that people have when trying to eat healthier. If you make healthier foods quickly available to just grab out of the fridge your significant other will be more likely to grab those.
Have emergency healthy snacks on you in the car. In your purse. Wherever you may be that hunger may strike you or your partner. I love Lara Bars because of how few ingredients they have in them so I always have a few of those in my purse and in my glovebox. I also have a bag of mixed nuts in my car and a couple of Trader Joe’s fruit leathers. Personally, I would much rather eat those snacks and save up any splurges for my favorites than get caught in a hunger emergency and have to stop for some fast food.
Bring healthy foods to parties. Getting ready for a Halloween party, a Super Bowl get-together or a Friendsgiving? Bring a healthy food option with you. I have a couple recipes that I always bring with me to parties that I know people will love despite the fact that they’re actually good for you! A veggie tray or fruit platter will always do in a pinch if you don’t have time to make something.
Take part in physical activities together. Join a kickball league, teach him/her how to do your favorite exercise or take evening walks together with the dog. Finding a physical activity that you both enjoy can make them immensely more open to being active without considering it exercise and being turned off to it. Exercise doesn’t always have to be sweating bullets in hot yoga or running a 5k.
Set a reward. Have them set a goal for themselves and when they reach it they get a special treat. Whenever I reach a specific wellness goal for myself I treat myself to a new item of clothing or a pair of workout pants. Have them pick something they love that they can look forward to rewarding themselves with when they reach their goal.
Have a cheat meal to look forward to. If you and your SO eat out a lot then eating healthy could be a big change for them. You can help them make healthier choices at restaurants, but once in awhile people are going to want some chocolate cake or a slab of BBQ ribs. Being healthy is all about balance which means sometimes they can have that gooey chocolate cake and BBQ ribs and so can you! Don’t forget when being a good an example of a healthy life to make sure you’re keeping balance as well. Let yourself have that chocolate cake sometime.
A good thing to do is to have a date night once a week or a cheat meal scheduled where you can eat your favorite foods like deep dish pizza or ice cream. This gives both of you something to look forward to and will help stop you from feeling like you can’t ever indulge. Just remember to eat till you are pleasantly full and not stuffed like after three Thanksgiving dinners.
Find other friends/couples who invest in their health. Surrounding yourself with people who also enjoy healthy foods and physical activities may help your partner less begrudging to take part. You can go on double dates with a couple who enjoy frisbee golf, hiking or kayaking. You can take turns having each other over for good, healthy meals or cook together. Surrounding yourself with people who are positive about healthy living can help make you and your significant other more likely to make healthy choices or get more physical activity into your day. It also helps to surround yourself with people who won’t try and diminish your goals. We all know those people out there who feel bad that they’re eating junk food while you’re making healthy food choices and they pressure you to take part. If you want to indulge make sure that’s your decision and not pressure from others. It’ll be easier for your partner as well.
Help them find an exercise activity they enjoy. You may enjoy weight lifting, but that may not be your partner’s dream exercise routine. Instead of trying to push your exercise routine on them help them find what makes them tick. Do they like being on an adult sports team with other people their age? Do they prefer to stop by the pool after work for a swim? Maybe they like to cut a rug and Zumba is there thing. If they enjoy the exercise they’re doing they are much more likely to continue doing it!
Ask them for help with your own health goals. Nothing can motivate a partner to get healthy like asking for their help with your own goals. Now don’t make up something that you need their help with. Lying should never be a part of a relationship! If you’re training for a marathon have them bike along next to you for a few miles or if you’re choosing to eat a certain diet have them help you cook. If you want to make sure you’re getting to the gym at least four days a week ask them to hold you accountable. Seeing you invest your time into living healthy may rub off on them and asking for their help gets them involved so they are more likely to do it for themselves as well.
Encourage them when they make healthy choices. Did they pick a salad when you went out to eat instead of french fries? Did they ask you to cook their favorite healthy food or suggest a walk after work? Make sure to verbalize how impressed you are with the healthy choices you make. Almost anyone loves acknowledgement when they do something right, especially from their significant other. I know I love compliments when I do something well.
Point out what they already do well. Everyone has something that they are doing well. Do they drink a lot of water during the day? Is one of their favorite foods healthy? Do they love walking the dog every night? I have yet to run across someone’s lifestyle that I can’t find at least one thing to compliment them on.
The main thing to remember when trying to help your significant other live healthier is that you can’t change anyone. You can provide a good example by living your own healthy life and encouragement by helping make healthy foods easily available. Support them by helping them find physical activities they like to do, but you can’t force anyone to do something they don’t want to do. Most important, make sure that you are taking care of yourself because you are of no help to anyone if you don’t practice self-care. Need some tips on self-care? Check them out here!
Do you have any handy tips or tricks to help your loved ones live a healthier life? Have you been the one who was unhealthy and you adopted healthier habits? Sound out below because I’d love to hear your story!
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