You might wake up one day and decide that you want to completely change your lifestyle to a healthier one, but is your partner on board? Research shows that it’s typical for couples to pack on a few extra pounds post-wedding—and not wanting to change is common—so what exactly can you do to dominate the fitness game with your partner?
Explain the Health Benefits
Not everyone will see eye-to-eye when it comes to maintaining the same diet and having the same exercise regimen. If you just shove a plate of kale and a workout plan for the next month in front of your significant other, you might not receive an enthusiastic response.
Explain exactly why you want to make healthier choices, and he or she might be more receptive. If the two of you have any medical conditions, point out the positive effects a healthy diet and exercise may have, and the consequences of keeping up with bad habits. A poor diet is linked to major health risks that can cause illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is a great preventative measure against heart conditions, can improve sleep and cognitive function, helps prevent certain cancers and relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Make It Fun
If your partner isn’t used to being active and making healthier food choices, be patient. And remember that being active doesn’t always have to mean going to the gym for an—it can be fun! Take advantage of the opportunity for the two of you to do things together, such as joining your local soccer or softball team. Instead of watching TV after dinner every night, try taking a walk around the neighborhood. According to the American Heart Association, walking for at least 30 minutes can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood pressure, lower the risk of obesity, reduce the risk of certain cancers and also reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
You can even create some exercise challenges at home that don’t require a lot of equipment, such as who can plank the longest, do the most bicep curls, or do the most mountain climbers and other bodyweight moves without breaking form! A little healthy competition is a great way to achieve your fitness goals!
If you want your partner to make healthier choices, encourage them when they do. Compliment them if you see them grabbing for an apple instead of pouring a bag of chips and salsa for a snack. It’s important to recognize even the smallest changes so they continue making them! If they’ve been working out regularly, make sure to say how great they look! Don’t nag them when they still are not ready to give up all of their habits. Not everyone will be able to give up everything cold turkey, and the last thing you want is for them to feel pressure or to start hiding what they’re eating from you. A little praise and recognition can go a long way!
Initiate Healthy Choices
Don’t bring unhealthy foods into the house, or at least gradually transition into only getting groceries that are healthy. If it’s not in the house, the temptation to eat unhealthy foods simply won’t be there! If you typically eat out, plan meals at home for the whole week instead; you’ll have to make a plan and a stock your fridge. Preparing meals for the week ahead is also an easier way for the both of you to make healthy decisions.
Seek Professional Advice
If your partner suffers from a medical condition that requires them to have a healthier lifestyle, he or she may be more receptive to a professional’s opinion. A registered dietician or physician may be able to help give more specific advice and guidelines to follow to help detour future health conditions going forward or from getting worse. You can always cite the professional’s advice and guidelines whenever they need some extra motivation.
It’s highly recommended that you and your partner visit a physician anyway, if you’ve been sedentary and now plan to work out regularly. Working out too hard can actually have negative effects, and you could risk injuring yourself. The American Heart Association suggests that if you’re just beginning to work out, you should aim for the lower range of your target heart rate zone (50 percent) and gradually work your way up to the higher range (85 percent).