One question we get a lot is: How can I get my partner to support me in my healthy eating journey?
If this is an issue for you, we have some solutions to help you out. Read below or watch the video to get all the details!
First, when you decide you want to eat healthier, there is no doubt having support helps.
In a perfect world, your partner or a friend will join you in this endeavor, and that has obvious advantages.
For one, it’s great to make changes together and support each other.
In addition, you can keep each other accountable. So when one of you feels the urge to stress-eat fast food or wants to skip the Saturday hike you planned, the other encourages more positive behavior. It’s like having a buddy system in place!
And that is why some studies show that there is more success when changing lifestyle patterns together.
On the flip side, this can backfire. If you feel overly dependent on the other person for support, and they fall off the rails, you may also wind up falling off with them.
But here’s some good news.
Even if your spouse (or partner) does not join you in your healthy eating habits, this does NOT have to dictate your success!
Here are 5 strategies you can use for dealing with family members as you embark on a healthier eating path. Most of the strategies we cover deal with a spouse or partner, but they can be used with friends too!
1). Speak up and be clear about your goals
Talk to your partner openly about why you’ve chosen to make this change. Maybe it’s more energy, lowering your blood sugar or blood pressure, better sleep or mood. If they have a clearer understanding why you’re doing this, and how it will impact your everyday life, they may be more supportive.
Let them know what’s in it for them. A happier, more content “you” is a nicer person to be around.
Invite your partner to join you in making some changes for the better, but do so without expectations. Let them know you plan to keep going no matter what. Just because your partner isn’t going to adhere to your way of eating doesn’t mean they can’t still be supportive.
Be prepared for criticism if that has happened in the past, or this is not your first go around with eating changes.
That being said, don’t make them feel bad that they aren’t in the same place ad you are. Explain what your goals are and discuss next steps, which can help temper their expectations and get a sense of where they stand. And if they seem at all put off, ask what their concerns are. Airing this out in a non confrontational way can be really helpful and productive.
And who knows, by having healthy items available and choosing to eat them, you may influence your partner to move in the right direction with you.
2) Decide what you really need from them and ask. Be specific.
Make a list before talking but keep in mind, pushing them too hard could create friction between the two of you.
Here are some ways you can ask for support:
- Keep chips or sweets in a different (hard to reach) location like in the garage or a separate drawer. If out of sight, more likely out of mind for you.
- Not bringing treats home for you (as a way to show affection or if you had a bad day). Remind them that non-food treats are welcome!
- Not talking you into eating something that may sabotage your efforts.
- Sometimes, your partner may not realize they’re doing things that are affecting you negatively. For example, a well-meaning partner may say, “You’re perfect just the way you are. You don’t need to lose any weight. Let’s go grab ice cream tonight.” You know they mean well, but you also know that going for ice cream isn’t going to help you reach your goals.
Don’t be afraid to communicate to your spouse that their behaviors are impacting you, They may not even realize it, thinking that they are just expressing their love!
3) Understand that if you want support, you’ll need to support them too
Know that any time you upset the homeostasis it might be upsetting or uncomfortable to others, especially if you have success.
They might try to pull you back to old behaviors because they are not comfortable with you making changes away from the norm. It might not even be a conscious thing.
Give them a chance to embrace the change, and assure them the changes are for the better and you are still the same person.
4) Get outside support (wink wink)
Team up with someone who is already being successful – an accountability partner who already has things down! You can also reach out to us. We offer tons of support in our Simply Nourished Program.
5) Be prepared ahead of time
If you are doing this together and they fall off track, be prepared mentally that this might happen. Make a decision that you will keep going, without criticizing them but doing what you need to do to keep going.
If they bring something home (with good intentions or not), you need to have a plan. This presents two scenarios:
- You are feeling strong in your convictions but don’t want to hurt their feelings: You can say something like: “thanks for thinking of me but I’ve been feeling so much better on this path and I want to continue making good choices for my body.” Read Eating to Please.
- You are really tempted: “ask yourself how you will feel either eating it, or not eating it.” Put a PAUSE in before diving in. Remember that this IS a choice of whether to eat it or not. If this happens often, visualize how you want to handle the situation so you are fully prepared and have practiced it a few times.
If eating greasy foods or fast food was an activity you used to do together, find new ways to enjoy your time together that takes the focus off the food.
If you and your honey spend most of your time together going out to dinner and watching TV with snacks, that’s not going to be conducive to you reaching your goals.
Maybe that’s going for a bike ride, reading a book together, or doing an art or home improvement project. Work on connecting in other ways.
If its a friend who tends to not be supportive, make plans to do other things rather than dining out with them.
Question how much time you want to spend with a friend who doesn’t support you.
If you feel a little stuck and need help establishing a consistent healthy eating plan for women over 50 and looking for ongoing support, we offer weekly support in our intensive 3 month Simply Nourished program. We’d love to help! Contact us and we can share more info.