When you are in any relationship where you spend a lot of time together, romantic or otherwise, your eating and drinking habits are more than likely going to find themselves intricately intertwined.
Most likely you have found yourself in a flow of mutual habits: how you eat out or order in, when/how often you exercise, how you spend your downtime, how you handle the late night munchies.
Your person has had a close up view at your eating and exercise habits and they are likely to be pretty comfortable with those. So what happens when you decide it’s time for a change?
While your partner will love you no matter what, it doesn’t necessarily make it easy for them to know what you need and how they can support you as you are making lifestyle changes and working on a weight loss goal.
Believe it or not, YOU have a huge role to play in helping your partner understand what you need as you embark on this journey. It is so important to communicate regularly with your primary support system about how they can support you while also making sure you are setting them up for success.
Here are my top tips for effectively communicating with your partner about how they can support you, many of which I have learned through trial and error over the years:
#1) HELP THEM UNDERSTAND YOUR WHY
Because your partner loves you so much, it might be hard for them to understand why you are ready for a change. Be sure to share why you are feeling ready to embark on this journey. While having this discussion, be sure to focus on positive language and framing. Rather than criticizing the shape of your stomach, share why you want to feel better in your body. Your partner will be much more likely to be excited to support you in getting fitter, healthier, and more energetic rather than on a crusade to obliterate all your stomach fat.
#2) DON’T MAKE YOUR PARTNER YOUR “MONITOR”
While it may SEEM like a great idea to ask your partner to keep you accountable to not eat a single cookie ever again, asking your partner to monitor your behavior puts them in an impossible situation when that moment comes when you chose to have that cookie.
Asking your partner to monitor your behavior might also cause you to sneak food or engage in secret unhealthy behaviors down the line. Let your partner love you up on those days when you are killing your goals AND on those days you have five cookies in a row.
Tip: Instead, get support from a coach or trainer outside of your regular circle. It is important to have someone that you can confide in and be honest with who you also won’t feel will be “watching” your every choice. The goal is to create support and accountability systems while also allowing yourself space to explore your relationship with food and exercise on your own. If you are looking for support, I’d love to help you on this journey. Schedule a Complimentary Coaching Session with Me Here.
#3) SHARE YOUR GOALS + TOOLS WITH THEM
That being said, you can help your partner encourage you to engage in positive behaviors by sharing your goals and tools with them. Share what healthy products are on your grocery list and acquaint them with where they are in the grocery store so they can help you with shopping. Show them how to prepare your favorite healthy meal so they can make it for you on a busy weeknight. Share what foods are making you feel good and what exercise classes you’d like to go to.
#4) TALK THROUGH COMPROMISES
Food traditions can play a huge role in family life and it is important to talk through how you both would like to handle certain traditions, date nights, the occasional social glass of wine, etc. when these situations arise. If you find yourself consistently frustrated by the same situation “sabotaging” your efforts, sit down with your partner and talk about how you can work together to balance out extra heavy meals. For example: If Pancake Saturdays are a family must, can you commit to eating a healthy dinner at home that evening?
Tip: If you are the primary cook in the relationship, a great way to make every one happy with the menu plan is to offer up three options for recipes and have your partner choose one. This way you can both have a say in what you are eating.
#5) REMEMBER THAT THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY, NOT THEIRS
It’s easy to feel energized and excited when implementing new lifestyle changes and feel like your partner should *want* to come along for the ride, but remember this is your journey, not theirs. Be mindful of trying to force your partner to eat exactly like you do or shaming them for making choices that aren’t part of your plan. You are much more likely to make an impact by leading by example rather than forcing changes on your loved one who does not wish to make those same choices at that time.
#6) ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
It can be easy to blame our partner in little ways for not following through with our goals, but when was the last time you spoke up and asked for what you needed to get them accomplished? Remember, these are YOUR goals and it is YOUR responsibility to ask for what you need. Want to get to the gym 3x this week, but need help with childcare? Sit down and have a conversation with your partner and ask them how they can support you in that goal schedule-wise. It is quite possible your partner has had no idea what you’ve needed help with!
#7) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
It can be easy to wait and hope that someone will do things for us whether it be meal prep, grocery shopping, or the encouragement to go out for a walk. While outer support in this area is ALWAYS welcome, be sure not to outsource habits crucial to your success to someone else. At the end of the day, you are in charge of your body and your choices. Make them happen!
I would love to hear some of your struggles and/or wins that have come up with your partner while also undergoing a lifestyle change. Share below in the comments below this post!