Expert advice from fitness expert Natalie Hodson on how to encourage your partner to choose a healthy lifestyle so you can both enjoy long and fruitful lives together.
You’ve decided to commit and make the ‘lifestyle change’ to live a happier, healthier life. You’ve changed your eating habits and exercise is part of your regular routine, but your significant other is yet to join the fit train with you.
It can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging when loved ones are not interested in making the same healthy lifestyle choices you are. You want to share your new knowledge, but want them to hear the real message, not that they’re ‘fat and lazy and need your help.’ Here are some tips on how to encourage your partner to live healthy in a positive way.
Talk about it
Feeling embarrassed or ashamed rarely motivates people to take action. When talking with your other half, stop focusing on what they should do, like lose weight or exercise instead of sitting watching their favorite TV show. Focusing on the what often makes the person you’re talking to automatically assume a negative implication. Instead, start talking about why they might want to be healthier.
You could talk about what you envision your lives will be like in 10, 20 and 30 years. Talk about growing old and being healthy enough to enjoy time with kids and grandkids. Bring up activities they enjoy and ask yourselves if you’re going to be able to do them as you grow older.
Focusing on why rather than what is often presented in a more positive light and can motivate your loved ones to start making lasting changes.
Set goals together
Every individual is different. You can’t set out your partners’ goals for them, but you can suggest setting some goals together. This way you can be accountable to each other, and make sure to set empirical goals so you can track your progress and clearly mark off the days where you’ve succeeded.
Being aware of the goals they’ve set also enables you to help them. You can’t run on the treadmill for them, as much as we all wish it worked that way, but you can help them pack healthy lunches for work. Becoming healthier can be overwhelming, but breaking everything down with specific goals can help you and them make lasting lifestyle changes.
Cheer them on
It’s important to remember that ultimately it’s their decision. If they decide to start making healthy changes, there are going to be times where both of you are on the same page and doing really well, and other times where one of you may be struggling with motivation.
I have found that staying positive and offering encouragement to your spouse or significant other helps the most when they’re struggling. Recognise and appreciate the small wins. Congratulate them when they hit their goals for the day. Use encouraging language and let them know how good it makes you feel when they’re on board with you.
Try not to use negative phrases like, ‘You’re having another treat?’ or, ‘Oh, you’re really going to eat that?’ Instead, opt for something more positive like, ‘Hey, can I make a smoothie for you?’ or, ‘Why don’t we go for a family walk?’ Those phrases help redirect and gently encourage your spouse into living a long and healthy life together with you.
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