I asked on my Facebook Page what topic people would like me to blog about, and that the first submitted topic would win the post. I received this topic suggestion:
How to deal with a significant other that isn't quite on board with a healthier lifestyle
So, this blog is my response to that dilemma. Keep in mind that this blog is based on things YOU can do in this situation. No matter how hard we try, we can't make anyone do something they don't want to do. This post is not about convincing your significant other to join you, but hopefully finding balance between both of your lifestyles so that you can find the success you desire without feelings of guilt or deprivation.
To simplify the post, I've turned this into a list of DOS and DON'T'S.
DO be clear and concise about your goals. Write them down where both you and your significant other can see them.
DO ask them to be supportive of your goals. Tell them that their support means a lot to you and that you'd really appreciate it if they support your goals while you work towards them (meaning, they aren't going to peer pressure you into activities that will take you away from your goals). Give them examples of HOW they can support you.
DO ask them to share healthy meals with you, but also be fair to them if they don't want to. Ask them that, if you cook, they at least try the foods you are cooking. If they don't like the healthy foods, don't let yourself get defensive or upset... let them eat what they want. Remember, these are YOUR goals, not theirs.
DO be strong! You'll need to be if they still decide to stick with the lifestyle they are currently living. With your own weightloss success, if you stick to your guns, chances are you will inspire them to make their own choice to hop on the bandwagon with you. Stick to your guns!
DO set time for each other. Some people get lost in their fitness and nutrition regime. Your significant other may start to feel neglected. Remind them that they are important to you and make sure they know that. Have date time.
DO experiment with foods. Ask your significant other if they will try a healthier version of one of their favorite foods. They may be surprised that healthy eating can be tasty! With your education on the matter, they may start to eat healthy more often with you!
DO celebrate your successes together. Set success goals. Tell your significant other that when you reach "x" goal you want to celebrate with "y." Choose a fun activity you can do together, or a day of pampering you can do. Or, use that as the time for you to have a "treat" meal and just go out and have fun with out completely overdoing it ;-)
DO schedule couples activities. While your significant other may not like standard exercise, they may like playing sports, swimming, biking, hiking, horseback riding... find physical activities you can do together (I can think of one that's fun for both parties *ahem*).
DO accept compliments. Your significant other is with you because they, obviously, think you already look good. Don't discount any compliments they give you.
DO give compliments. If your significant other is giving you the support you need... say THANK YOU. It may not be easy for them, but they are there... they are loving you... they are supporting you. Be thankful to them.
DO listen to their needs. They have listened to yours and know how they can support you, but likewise, YOU need to know how you can support them in return. This may include things like not rolling your eyes if they have dessert, not making them feel guilty about their choices, etc etc.
DON'T set negative goals. Meaning, don't set purely physical goals with the idea that you are doing this for them... you are doing it for YOU. If you set your goals for their sake, it will only end up later ending up in resentment.
DON'T always ask for validation. Are you someone who constantly down talks yourself looking for compliments? Or, someone who just flat out asks for compliments? Well, stop it. I've learned for myself that people don't like it when you do this ("Does this make my butt look big?"). Celebrate your results, but don't beg for compliments and get offended if your significant other doesn't notice. This is a form of negative support... surround yourself with positivity.
DON'T whine. Remember, you are doing this for YOU. You have your choices and your significant other has their choices. You need to be supportive of each other's choices if you want the relationship to last. So, if your significant other chooses to have pizza while you are eating chicken breast and greens, don't whine about it. Enjoy your chicken and greens and be proud of your choice.
DON'T give into peer pressure. No matter what, there will come a time when either your significant other, or friends or family, will want to convince you to drop your healthy habits and partake in activities that will be negative towards your goals. It's up to you to stick to your guns. You want to PROVE to them that you can do this. By sticking to your guns you will create an inspiration, in time, for others to follow. If you give in, then all you are doing is giving people a reason to say, "I told you so."
DON'T punish yourself or your significant other. Meaning, if something doesn't go how you wish, don't punish yourself and surely don't punish your significant other. That's just childish and a quick way to create giant waves in the sea.
DON'T make them feel guilty. If they aren't on your bandwagon, don't put them down for it.
In the end, if you aren't able to deal with the lack of support (or having them not jump on board with you) from your significant other, that's on you. You can still accomplish your goals, even if they aren't doing it with you. It's how you are choosing to view things and what actions you are deciding to take. On the flip side, if your significant other is unable to deal with your new healthy lifestyle choices, then that's on them. They should never make you feel guilty for wanting to better yourself. Even if they aren't hopping on the wagon they should still support your choices. This is why it's SUPER IMPORTANT to communicate with one another so that you are each clear on what your choices are, in regards to this, so that you are able to accept one another and do what you each need to do in the situation.
As much as I hate to say this... if you continuously clash heads over the issue and neither is supporting the other in any way, then perhaps you weren't meant for each other and you need to find someone who will be supportive, and they need to find someone who wants to sit on the couch and eat Bon Bons with them ;-)
I can say from experience, though, that whenever I've seen one out of a couple start to better themselves that the other half has eventually hopped on board... but it's been of their own choice because they've been inspired to do so by the other person. You can't force someone to change, but you can inspire them to change themselves.