5 Ways to Work With Your Partner on Health and Wellness Goals Instead of Getting Frustrated
One of the biggest problems or complaints that I hear often from clients when they are working with me on nutrition and lifestyle stuff is that they find it really had to "stay on track" or "eat clean" around their partners and loved ones. They talk about how they want to reach their health goals but their partners and loved ones have different ideas about what being healthy is or just different goals in general.
Now this can all be really frustrating and hard to deal with when you feel like you are trying to better yourself but your partner (or friends/family) are not quite on the same page...It can sometimes even be hard to keep motivated or remember why it is that you are even doing it in the first place when temptations to "sway" are all around and frustration is at an all time high! Thats why I have put together some of my favourite tips and tricks when it comes to reaching your health goals....while not killing your partner!
Remember your why. Your why for your health and lifestyle journey is key to staying on track anytime but especially when you feel like your partner isn't really into the whole "healthy lifestyle" thing the same way you are. Whenever you start to get frustrated because you see your partner eating a bag of chips across the couch from you or laying in bed when your about to go get some physical exercise in, take a moment to remember why it is that you have these goals. Maybe it is because you want to be able to run around with your kids at the park. Maybe it's because running a half marathon is on your bucket list. Maybe it is because you have had family members pass away from heart disease and you want to take better care of your heart health. Your why is your motivator and your reason for doing what you are doing. Also it really does help if your WHY is as precise as possible and not related to "weight-loss and looks". Making your why related to one of these two things attaches negativity to it which can actually work against you...instead of helping you out! Instead try to make your why about achieving something positive that is related to your health and wellness!!
Don't be afraid to ask for support. Now I know we have all heard it again and again but communication really is key when it comes to a relationship! But the tricky part is that not all of us communicate in the same ways.....A great example is men and women. Women tend to be more verbal on the communication front but less verbal when it comes to asking for things that they want whether it be a night out, affection, chores done or even support. Men tend to be more of the opposite and use less verbal communication but will more openly ask for things that they need and want. Although this generalization does differ from person to person learning to be more vocal with your needs, especially when it comes to your partner/loved one supporting your health goals, will not only improve your relationship but it will also save you a lot of frustration in the long run. BUT asking for some thing you need, especially, support can be difficult for some people. In this case start small with telling your partner about your health goal and your why. When we open up and share things like our "why's" with loved ones it allows them to see where we are coming from, gives them a chance to empathize more, and allows them to become more of your personal cheerleader! From there, once you get more comfortable opening up in this way, you can start to ask your partner to support you in more specific ways. When I was completing a month long healing protocol for my eczema I once asked my partner to help support me by not bringing in any chips, chocolate, or wine into the house till it was over because I knew if it was in the house I would find a way to get to it! I did not say he couldn't have it...just that if he continually mentioned/talked about it or brought it into the house would make it very difficult for me.
Meal times don't need to be hard. When I chat to clients with partners or families with children they always talk about how hard meal times are because not everyone wants to eat the delicious salad, buddha bowl, casserole, or other meal that they have made. But the thing is that meal times don't need to be hard....just because you and your partner might have different eating habits does not mean that 2 entirely different meals need to be made! Find different elements of a meal you can both enjoy and then only change 1-2 smaller elements. Now I know this might sound incredibly difficult but it is actually way easier than it sounds....Take the standard man loved meal of steak, caesar salad, and potatoes! You can keep all items and make a couple slight adjustments to make it a damn healthy meal by eating less of the potatoes yourself, cooking another nutrient dense veggie with it (maybe broccoli, asparagus or green beans), and switching the caesar dressing to a homemade (or healthier store bought) option! Not only will your man appreciate and love that you made a steak dinner but chances are he probably will not even notice that you changed anything at all unless you tell him! This can also go for snacks too! Just because your partner wants to chomp down on some candy, or baked goods doesn't mean you can't make a "health-ified" cookie or savour some dark chocolate in it for yourself....if you are struggling in this area and need ideas HIT ME UP!
It is never an all or nothing game. When it comes to health goals and living a "healthy" lifestyle it is never an all or nothing game. Just because you have your goal or reason why does not mean that you need to give up everything forever! Life is truly all about balance and learning to give yourself a little leeway. Having a night or two of indulgence with your partner doesn't take you right back to where you start. Deciding to sleep in with your partner on a Sunday instead of getting up for a yoga class doesn't make you any less healthy...In fact learning to live your life in balance and still indulge or allow yourself to miss workouts is what true health and wellness is! Remember that happiness and being happy is wellness and health at its core!
Remember why it is you love them. Even though you love your partner and may have similar "life" goals does not mean that they need to have all the same goals as you do, or vice versa!! Just because you have a bucket list goal of wanting to run a half marathon does not mean that your partner needs to take up running with you....sure yes it would be a fun exciting thing to do together but it just simply may not be their type of thing. This also goes along with eating a certain way too! Contrary to most peoples beliefs couples do not need to do the exact same things and believe exactly the same beliefs to have a functional, happy relationship. In fact if you can learn to celebrate your differences, support each other in them, and lift each other up then you will probably have an even better relationship than if you did everything togther and believed ALL the same things. I'm a nutritionist and I love my partner but it used to drive me crazy that his morning breakfast was always the same.....toast with cheese on top and a coffee, thats it and thats all! Meanwhile I'm sitting next to him eating a beautiful plate/bowl of whole plant foods with very little carbs and lots of healthy fats/protein. I would try to get him to add some sprouts, greens, or veggies of any sort.....but nope it was a no go! I had to just learn to let it go, and I did this by remembering all the things that I fell in love with in the first place....one of them happened to be how independent he was and how he cared very little of what anyone thought of him/how he did things...kinda the same reason's he was not converting after my breakfast "lecture's". Chances are the reason you are getting frustrated with them for not joining you on your new health kick, training schedule or wellness journey is the same reason you fell for them in the first place! And if it isn't... chances are just reminding yourself of why you love them will make the frustration lessen...even if just a little!