One of the hardest things to endure is watching a loved one self-sabotage through a plethora of unhealthy habits. You fear the long-term effects of their weekly drive-through runs and love for staying up until 2 AM regularly. Life changes involve sacrifice and are oftentimes hard to stick to because they require so much change, but with you as a support system, the transition will be less stressful. Here are 13 ways to get your partner healthier:
1. Start first
You can’t very well suggest that your partner start eating clean and exercising regularly if you aren’t doing the same. Start first. Try cooking a healthy meal a few times a week or taking a walk around the neighborhood after work. If your partner sees you making changes, they will be more inclined to do the same. Your ability to take charge of your own lifestyle will make it less of a threat than you confronting them first.
2. Keep the changes small
Too much at one time can overwhelm your partner. Rather than clean out the cabinets or splurge on new running gear, start with one healthy meal per week. Walk the dog for 10 minutes longer than you usually would. After you get comfortable, increase the number of healthy meals or suggest a walk around the neighborhood without the dog. Making changes one step at a time will help your partner adjust more easily.
3. Get their friends involved
Express to his or her friends how much your partner’s health means to you, and then ask them to participate in the process. Invite them over for a barbecue and ask everyone to bring a healthy side. Plan group events like a soccer or volleyball game. The more support you create for your partner, the better.
4. Come up with healthy date night ideas
Sit down with your partner and come up with some fun ideas to liven up date nights. Suggest a bike ride downtown, or try a new healthy restaurant in town. If he or she is stuck on going to the movies, skip the snacks and suggest a walk on the beach or around the lake after the movie. Pack some fruit and granola for the walk.
5. Let him/her help with decisions
One of the most important aspects of helping your partner get healthy is involving them in the decision-making process. Give them choices so that they can feel empowered. Let them actively contribute to their own progress and they are more likely to stick with it.
6. Pick a theme for the week
This goes along with making small changes. Rather than throw a number of changes at your partner all at once, pick a theme for your week. For instance, the first week can be “healthy eating week.” For this particular time frame, you’ll focus heavily on eating well, and if you don’t get in daily exercise, don’t worry about it.
7. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
One of the most important aspects of getting healthy is making sure we get enough rest. However, going to bed an hour earlier is pretty difficult. Instead, go to bed just 15 minutes earlier to start. Once you have done this for a week, add another 15 minutes on for the following week. This will train your bodies to relax earlier in the evening.
8. Collaborate on meal decisions
Pick out recipes that sound great to both of you, and then make the trip to the supermarket. Try to keep an open mind and realize that not every meal will go over well, but if you choose foods together, you are more likely to find things you both enjoy.
9. Keep an open line of communication
Frustration is inevitable in any kind of life change, but remember to stay open to talking about it. Sometimes your partner might feel disgruntled with their progress. Make sure you are there for them to talk about it.
10. Be consistent even when they aren’t
If you stay consistent, your partner will be more likely to jump back into the new routine you’ve established. It is important to be a positive example to your partner.
11. Give them a gift to push them in the right direction
Has your partner shown interest in the local yoga studio or said something to you about the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings? To remind them that you care about their health, buy them a gift card to the yoga studio. Create a gift basket filled with fresh and healthy items from the farmer’s market.
12. Remind them of how important they are to you
Sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way. Your partner might feel like quitting at some point. They might become discouraged. Remind them that you love and support them. Tell them how much they mean to you and that you are proud of them.
13. Celebrate successes together
Just like you grocery shop together, celebrate your success together too. Maybe they have dropped a pant size or quit drinking soda all together. Celebrate these things in a healthy way as a couple. Go shopping for new pants, or get a couple’s massage.
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