If your significant other is struggling with their health, it can be hard to see them not taking care of themselves. It’s also natural to want them to get with the program, but as much as you love each other, your needs may be different. You may simply be at different places in life and in your wellness journeys. The more you try to push them, the more likely they are to dig in their heels and take themselves in the opposite direction.
Try These Tips with Your Significant Other Instead of Pushing Them:
- Don’t try to persuade – practice acceptance.
There are many things in life we can’t change or control, and many problems that simply don’t have an obvious solution. The longer we fight the things we can’t change (even in our own minds), the farther we will be from finding a way to deal with them. The sooner we accept a tough reality, the closer we will be to figuring out the best way of dealing with it. Accept what is – you’ll be more at peace. When there is no way to change something, the best we can do is change our reaction to it.
- Don’t give in to persuasion.
Don’t allow anyone, even your significant other, to talk you into abandoning your healthy lifestyle goals. Making healthy choices isn’t just about weight or appearance; it’s about your life and your quality of life. Don’t let anyone take these things away from you! Stand up for your needs by speaking in an assertive way. Look the other person in the eye with your head held high and tell them what you need. Using a sentence like this helps: “I notice that you like to eat chocolate chip cookies (or whatever your trigger foods are) right in front of me. Could you please eat these out of the house, or at least not right in front of me?”
- Don’t let this be your excuse.
It can be easy to allow your significant other’s non-readiness for change to become your reason not to change your own habits. After all, this just makes it harder when it’s already hard. This is where the need for self-love comes into play. Love yourself enough to make these hard changes no matter what. Focus on yourself and your needs. Be proud of yourself for being a role model of healthy living for your family. Eventually, your sweetie may decide to join you since we often copy the behavior of those around us.
- Make it easy on yourself if you’re preparing the meals.
Create basic meals that each of you can fix the way you want. For example, if you start with ground turkey, you can have yours with salsa, a low-calorie whole wheat tortilla, and a healthy side salad. If they choose, they can have their meal smothered in cheese and accompanied by white rice. Get the idea?
- Take turns picking restaurants.
If it’s not your turn and there’s nothing on the menu you can eat, eat before you go, and plan on eating again later. Enjoy a refreshing glass of water with lemon, a side salad if available, and focus on just being with your honey. Gaze into their eyes, not at their plate!
- Find ways to build a support system outside of your home.
Think about other people in your life. Who believes in you? Who can you rely on that you look up to? Who is not afraid to be honest with you?
- Find new ways to be active together.
Suggest that you take up a fun new hobby that will get you both moving. Dance lessons anyone? Have you been thinking about getting a dog? After all, it has to be walked. Interested in romantic walks on the beach, in the park, or by starlight? What about playing Frisbee in the backyard? There are countless possibilities to get active and have fun together.
About the Author:
Doreen Lerner, Ph.D., is the Psychologist/Director for the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management and she wrote this article for the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), Producer of the Your Weight Matters Campaign. You can read the above article in full, as well as others Dr. Learner has written, at ObesityAction.org