Sarah asks, “I want to start eating healthier but my husband is totally not on board. Do you have any suggestions on ways that I can get him to eat healthier too? It’s so much harder when he’s not on board with me.”
Check out my response in this week’s Tuesday Q&A vlog!
1) Get at the root and core of WHY you want to change
It is my experience that most people are not motivated by shame. They aren’t going to make changes when they feel embarrassed are ashamed. Most people will truly make lasting changes when they feel inspired and when they truly feel motivated. Instead of focusing on negative things such as, “You are so overweight” or “why can’t you just change?!” or “you are getting fat” try focusing on the positive reasons someone might want to change. A lot of times making negative comments are not very motivating for people. Often times, getting angry at your current situation can inspire short term change but encouraging that negative self-talk doesn’t generally inspire change over a long period of time. Instead, try to get at the core issue and start having some of those tough conversations. Start talking about why you want to be healthier. I would really focus on the health aspect instead of just the weight aspect. Talk about things like:
-Imagining your kids growing up and having children of their own. Talk about that, envision it, and imagine yourself growing old and being healthy enough to enjoy the time your kids and grandkids as they grow up.
-Talk about any outdoor activities that you really love. For example, we love fishing and hiking. Ask yourselves if you are going to be able to do that as you grow older. Do you want to coach your kid’s sports teams? Do you want to travel the country as you get older? Do you want to save money of medications?
Start making goals TOGETHER. Work as a team in setting these goals and write them down on a white board in a place you will see every single day. A few ideas of things you could focus on in your goal setting could be:
-Pack a healthy lunch four of the five days a week
-Make it to the gym 3 days a week
-Get 10,000 steps a day or 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week
You want to make goals that are tangible and measurable so that you can track your progress and clearly mark off the days you hit your goals and the days you didn’t.
2) Find a handful of recipes that you know your spouse will enjoy but that are healthy
Make it easy for them to like eating healthy! A few ideas could be:
-Beef and Barley Soup
-Homemade 30 Minute Spaghetti
You can slowly introduce them to the idea of eating healthier by making healthy dishes that are easy to prepare but that taste really good. We have a system down where I get up and make a healthy breakfast for my husband and kids before they leave for work and school. In turn, my husband plays with the kids when he gets home from work so that I can take a few minutes to make a healthy dinner.
3) Keep temptations out of the house
Especially if you are the one who does the majority of your family’s grocery shopping, like I do, really try to make a conscious effort to keep junk food out of the house. They still might eat unhealthy when they are away from home, but this will help them make better choices when they are home with you. Remember, focus on baby steps here and making small changes at a time. I know that when we have chips and salsa in the cupboard, or a gallon of ice cream in the freezer, I am much more likely to snack on them more often than I should. Those foods aren’t entirely bad in moderation, but keeping them with easy access to you in the house will likely lead to them (and you) snacking more regularly on them. Really try to keep the house stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthier foods that are convenient like cut-up vegetables in ziploc bags.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that there are going to be times where both of you are on the same page and doing really well. There are going to be other times where one of you may be struggling with motivation. I have found that what helps the most when your spouse is struggling to continue to stay positive and encouraging about helping them get back on track. Recognize and appreciate the small wins. Congratulate them when they hit their goals for the day. Use encouraging language and words and let them know how good it makes you feel when they are on board with you. Using mean and discouraging language doesn’t inspire someone to change. Phrases like, “You are having another treat again?!” or “Oh you are really going to eat that??” are riddled with shame and often will lead to your spouse feeling worse about themselves which can lead to emotional overeating. Instead, opt for phrases like, “Hey, can I make a smoothie for you?” or “Why don’t we go for a family walk!” are a better way to redirect and gently encourage your spouse.
I hope those tips are helpful for you! Do you have any other suggestions? Am I missing anything in my vlog here? I would love to hear your comments and input!