Your partner can be a great source of support and motivation in your weight loss journey. In fact, studies have shown that positive spousal support increases the likelihood that you will stick to your diet. Negative support or nagging, on the other hand, can have an adverse effect. Of course, we all want to keep things on the positive side, but that can be difficult if you’re the only one in the relationship who’s trying to change.
Sticking to a diet and/or adopting healthy behaviors can be difficult if your partner is not on board. So let's look at how to get them there while maintaining great relations.
When one person goes on a diet, it affects the whole family. The whole family dynamic changes if, for example, one partner used to order pizza and binge Netflix on Friday nights but is now eating greens and going on a hike. This is why communication is key! If you don’t want your spouse to feel left out of your journey, you must discuss it with them first. Tell them about your goals and expectations, and on your side, remember that changes make some people nervous. Combat fear with communication and compassionate tenderness.
Do not ask your spouse to be your diet police. It only results in hurt feelings and may even strain the relationship. Instead, practice accountability and self-control. If you cheat, do not blame your spouse, either. Take responsibility. If your partner brought something home that tempted you, remember that what goes in your mouth is ultimately your choice. You can ask them to keep certain things out of your sight but really, let's face it, the world won't go that far and what you eat is on you.
A great support system is important for weight-loss, sure. But you can be your own support, too. It helps to ask for them to support you in specific, practical ways. For example, you can ask them to watch the kids in the evenings so you can go to the gym. But if you want emotional or inspirational support, you may have to look to others who are also trying to lose weight or a health guru that inspires you. Sure, they may jump in and join you eventually but get yourself going and let them watch and take their time. Pushing almost never works.
Now that you and your partner are on different diet paths, you may struggle to find things to agree on with activities. If you used to go to an Italian restaurant and chow down on breadsticks on date night, for instance, you may have to find a restaurant that offers low-calorie menu options. Instead of that extra-large popcorn at the movies, your partner may need to order a smaller size while you learn to resist the temptation. And that’s OK. It may even be fun to change the focus of your relationship and learn a new hobby or skill together. Focus on activity-oriented dates rather than food-oriented ones. You may even learn something new about one another.
It takes focus, motivation and endurance to change your health for the better, and having support really helps. But it's not everything and it can even harm if you aren't taking responsibility for your own actions. To this end, keep it real by discussing what you need but remember that you're the boss of your own mouth. You don’t have to have your partner’s participation to garner their support.