When spouses don’t support you
One question we get a lot is:
How can I get my family and friends to support me in my healthy eating?
If this is an issue for you, watch the video or read below for some solutions to help you out.
When you decide you want to eat healthier, there is no doubt having support helps.
In a perfect world, your partner or friends will join you in this endeavor. This has obvious advantages, such as…
- It’s great to make changes together and support each other.
- You can keep each other accountable. When one of you feels the urge to stress-eat fast food or wants to skip the Saturday hike you planned, the other encourages the 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.
However, this can backfire. This can happen if you feel overly dependent on the other person for support, so that if they fall off the rails, you also fall into the trap and wind up falling off with them.
But here’s some good news. Even if your partner or friend does not join you in your healthy eating endeavor, this does NOT have to dictate your success.
Here are 5 strategies for dealing with friends and family who are not necessarily joining you as you embark on a healthier eating path.
Most of our strategies we cover deal with a spouse or partner, but they really can be used with any family member or friend.
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 to increase your energy, lower your blood sugar or blood pressure, or get better sleep. If they better understand why you’re doing this, and how it will impact your everyday life, they may be more supportive.
- Also, let them know what’s in it for them. Let them know this will make you happy. (And you’ll be nicer 🙂 !)
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t make them feel bad that they aren’t in the same place: Explain to your partner 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.
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.
You CAN ask for support in ways like:
- Keeping chips or sweets in a different (hard to reach) location like in the garage or a separate drawer. If out of sight, it will be 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) – maybe flowers instead?
- 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 their reasons: if you want support, you need to support them too.
- Know that any time you upset the homeostasis or change your routine, it might be upsetting or uncomfortable to others, especially if you have success.
- They might try to pull you back to old behaviors because that is what they are comfortable with. 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.
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. Keep 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: “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.”
- 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.
- Couples may enjoy eating new foods together. Find new ways to enjoy your time together that take the focus off the food situation. 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 try a new activity, whether that is going for a bike ride, reading a book together, or doing an art or home improvement project. Work on connecting in other ways.
- If it is 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!
THE NOURISHING GURUS
Jane and Stephanie, creators of The Simply Nourished Solution™, are nutritionists who help women over 50 go from overweight, frustrated, and inflamed to lighter and healthier so they can be more active, feel good in their bodies, and live the second half of life with energy and confidence. Their 3-pronged approach, which can fit into any lifestyle, encompasses not only wholesome energizing foods but powerful habit and mindset shifts.
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