Ways to Support Your Spouse’s Health Goals

My husband and I are fortunate in that we’ve never had significant weight struggles. We’ve also dodged the “high blood pressure”, “high blood sugar”, or “high cholesterol” bullets. I’ve acknowledged before that I attribute my healthy weight (which, remember, feels much better than skinny!) to exercising regularly and, yes, genetics.

 

My husband has recently jumped on the exercise bandwagon, as well. I’m proud of him for that– not because there was anything wrong with him before, but because I believe strongly in taking purposeful steps to ensure our future health and to be good role models for our children.

 

Needless to say, exercising regularly and eating well don’t happen on their own. It takes commitment and planning. And, at the end of the day, what can truly make or break your success in this venture is how your spouse supports you.

 

I suggest the following:

 

  1. Don’t nag… There’s precious little more annoying than announcing you want to make some healthier choices and having your partner turn into a drill sargeant. Not your job. Just chill out in that department.
  2. … but do help clear the schedule. Be willing to watch the kiddos or forego some movie-watching time. Help your spouse find a time of day that will work for them and recognize it might make a little more work for you. That IS your job.
  3. Provide lots of healthy snack options… When people start working out and realize just how much WORK it is to burn 500 calories, they often start taking another look at their snack choices. Make sure you have plenty of healthy, convenient options around.
  4. … but don’t completely clear out the indulgent ones unless he or she asks you to. Some of us, however, exercise in part so that we don’t have to worry overly much about our snacks. Rich, dark brownies or chips with salsa can be worth the calories to some people– so don’t don’t eliminate them unless you’re specifically asked to.
  5. Share any good information you’ve found, especially if you’ve tried it and been successful… Have you found that eating an egg each morning has been instrumental to your success? Have you noticed that diet sodas or drinks just increase your sweet tooth? Go ahead– pass it on!
  6. … but remember that your spouse is a grown-up. He or she is allowed to make decisions without your approval. You don’t have to agree that a packaged granola bar makes an ideal breakfast choice. But you should respect your partner enough to stop preaching about it.
  7. Don’t demand constant reports on inches or pounds lost… For the most part, people will share this info when they want to.
  8. … but do remark when you notice a difference. Notice that his pants are looking baggy or his belt is on a smaller notch? Bring it up! It’s nice to feel your efforts aren’t in vain.
  9. Don’t limit your measuring stick of success to a certain size or weight… Maybe your spouse has a specific goal weight in mind. It’s wonderful to celebrate the milestones on the way to that magic number. Just remember that those numbers aren’t the only measure of success.
  10. … but make sure you’re also making note of non-physical improvements. Increased strength, stamina, and flexibility are often fabulous by-products of a regular exercise program. These are all extremely valuable. I find it especially important to talk about this sort of improvement when discussing Mommy or Daddy’s work-out plan in front of the children. These skills place value on all the amazing things your body can do, rather than just how it looks.

 

Do you exercise regularly? How does your spouse help support that commitment?

 

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