So as you may know, I serial dieted for many years and struggled with fad diets for much of my life. I met my husband during one of the points where I had lost a lot of weight on Weight Watchers and was sporting a much slimmer physique. I think we fell in love on our first date – it was pretty romantic – and we have been pretty much inseparable since then.
Now my husband is a pretty trim guy so he never really had to watch what he ate or work out consistently. As I was the one who did the majority of the cooking, he pretty much followed whatever plan I happened to be on. So for him, the scales would go up and down depending on the way I cooked and whether or not I was working out.
As much as you can try to inspire your spouse or partner to eat better or workout, they have to decide for themselves what is important and have their own motivation.
And let’s be honest, not everyone is always thrilled about changing up routines & food so getting your family on board may be a struggle. This is probably one of the top questions I get asked about as a coach: how to get more support & help at home so you can eat better, lose weight & reach your goals.
When I made the decision to start eating clean and working out, my husband was actually relieved. He was tired of the ups and downs and he felt better when we ate cleaner, so he was relieved when we made the shift to a more balanced and nutritious diet. He wasn’t looking to lose a lot of weight – not like I was – but he WAS invested in building more lean muscle and this is something that he works on consistently. This was his goal – not mine – and I was happy that he had his own goals outside of what I wanted to achieve.
Now, that being said, there are some things that I do recommend to help get your spouse or family members on board with your new lifestyle and they include:
- Inspire through actions. Actions speak louder than words and watching someone get healthier, stronger & leaner is inspiring. BE the role model and encourage and educate those around you.
- Be honest about the changes. The better you can communicate what the changes will be, the better chance you will get support from your family. My most successful clients have candid conversations with their spouses and other family members about their goals & the changes necessary for them to reach those goals.
- Get your family involved. From meal planning to food prepping to bringing them on walks or to workouts, the more you involve your family the better they will adapt and the more it will become the new norm in your household.
- Be firm about your priorities. Some days or weeks its going to feel like it’s all you can do to make it to the gym or eat that healthy dinner. Do it anyways. Make you and your health a priority so that those around you will start doing the same. If you make concessions on what’s important to you, others will too.
- Have the tough talks. Not everyone is going to love your new lifestyle. Whether it’s a friend or a spouse, it may take a few times to get through to them so they understand why you are making healthy changes. If they are sabatoging your efforts then you need to stand firm. And if your health isn’t important to them … well I can’t tell you what to do, but this would be a huge red flag for me. If they aren’t supportive then maybe you should reflect on if or how they can fit into your life. You get this one life so make sure that you are taking care of YOU.
By choosing to improve your life, you will improve the lives of your family as a result. When we made meal planning & prepping a part of our lifestyle, it helped me teach my boys how to cook. Now, years later, they can whip up healthy & delicious meals with confidence.
Beyond inspiring your family to eat better, find activities that you can enjoy together either as a couple or as a family. It doesn’t have to be all about the gym – it can be fun stuff too. Like bike riding or horse back riding (our favourite) or going hiking along some pretty trails. The goal here is to find activities that get everyone up, active and having fun together. If you aren’t having fun then it’s time to look outside your box and try something new!
Watching someone completely change and redefine their life is pretty darn inspiring. My husband tells me all the time how much he LOVES our life and how we live it. He loves that I had the courage to make those changes and it inspired him to do the same. Is it perfect? Of course not – nothing is. But it’s pretty darn awesome – let me tell you!
And finally, it’s never a bad thing to share your ‘why’ with your spouse and your family. Your reason(s) for getting healthy are powerful and they will help make the people who are important in your life, understand & respect why you are following this clean living path. It will also motivate them to think of their own reasons for joining you on the journey so that while you may inspire them to get started, it will be their own motivation which keeps them going!