There are countless benefits to living a healthy lifestyle, such as having more energy, experiencing improved mental health, and reducing your risk for illness and disease. But when you’ve decided to become healthier and your partner isn’t on board, you may face several road bumps trying to achieve the healthy lifestyle you want. In addition, if your spouse is unhealthy and at risk for major health problems, it can be difficult to persuade them to make healthier choices if they’re being stubborn and resistant.
If you’re experiencing resistance from your spouse, try these steps for guiding them in the right direction and showing that you care about their health without being overly pushy.
Lead by example
Instead of nagging your partner to make healthier choices, lead by example and practice the same habits you want your partner to practice. Exercise regularly, go to bed earlier, and eat healthy, nutritious foods. It’s possible that your spouse thinks your efforts won’t make a difference or that you won’t stick with them — especially if you’ve had difficulty losing weight in the past. Demonstrate your commitment and eventually your partner will see that it’s paying off.
Have a serious heart-to-heart with your partner about why they’re against becoming healthier. It’s possible your spouse has a legitimate underlying reason as to why they don’t want to exercise or eat nutritious foods. For example, if your spouse is against going to the gym after work because they always feel exhausted, find ways to make it possible for them to exercise at a different time of day, or offer to make changes to your household routine so you can both get to bed earlier.
Praise small changes
Praise your partner when you notice them making smart, healthy choices, such as eating more vegetables, or walking instead of driving to the mailbox. Encouragement is more positive than criticism, and is more likely to resonate with your partner and influence them to continue making healthy changes.
Make healthy activities more fun
Find creative ways to make exercise and healthy eating more fun for your spouse. For instance, if your partner hates jogging but loves baseball, gather your neighbors, friends, and family for a casual baseball game. If your spouse enjoys eating at restaurants, suggest trying a healthy sushi or vegan restaurant that serves meals that won’t pack on the pounds.
Try implementing healthy changes little by little so your spouse isn’t overwhelmed with too many changes at once. For example, if your spouse refuses to stop eating potato chips, start purchasing healthier brands that are baked or made with olive oil and lack additives. If your spouse refuses to visit the gym, invite them out for a walk or take them shopping with you to a place that involves lots of walking.
Explain that you care because you love them
Some partners view encouragement as nagging, and become frustrated or confrontational. Explain to your spouse that you want them to become healthier because you care, and that you want to live a long, healthy life when them by your side. Being transparent and upfront about your feelings can go a long way toward showing your partner you have their best interests at heart, and might influence them to make healthier changes.
Need help meeting your health and weight-loss goals? Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers offer personalized weight-loss plans customized for your goals and lifestyle. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on July 24, 2017