For those who consider themselves healthy eaters and regular exercisers, living with someone who is NOT healthy, can be difficult. Getting your partner or family members to change their habits can be incredibly frustrating. As the saying goes, you can lead the horse to water ... Whining and complaining are not likely to be winning strategies, even if you’ve bitten your tongue so often it’s permanently bruised.
Most anyone knows that eating well and exercising are necessary for good health and certainly for well-being and longevity. The problem is not in informing people, but in having them pass to the act: changing whatever they do or don’t do to make it a healthier proposition. Here are some strategies to get your loved one on the healthy bandwagon:
1. Lead by example.
Without being smug about it, just be as healthy as you can be and let the results speak for themselves. Don’t compare yourself to your partner, don’t show off and don’t criticize them.
2. Being healthy is not an all-or-nothing proposition.
Convince your partner that fitness is not just about what they do in spandex and yoga pants. It can be about walking a few extra blocks, using the stairs instead of the elevator or eating more fruits and veggies.
3. One small change at a time is enough.
Any drastic change in a daily routine is unrealistic. Making a tiny change will build momentum. Drink more water. Desserts on the weekend only. One bike ride a week. Fruit only for snack times. You get the picture.
4. Get their friends involved.
Your spouse may not play tennis or go for a run with you. But get his/her friends to ask them to join along, and they might just do it!
5. When you feel a whine coming on, leave the room.
Whining may be difficult to avoid, but remember it's likely to create the opposite result you want. No matter how frustrated you get, keep it zipped!
6. Take charge of the kitchen.
Whether or not you make the meals in the house, try to get involved in some of the cooking and opt for delicious, nutritious, and visually appealing all at once!
7. Give the gift of well-being.
For birthdays, holidays and special occasions, treat your loved one to something that will make them focus on their well-being and feeling good in their body. Book a massage, a facial or a private lesson with a fitness instructor.
8. Healthy date nights.
Make your date night healthy. Take a walk before the movie. Bike to the restaurant during summer weather. Take a tennis class together. Go for a short hike and then a picnic. Go dancing!
9. Get them to bed early.
Getting enough sleep is essential for those who want to exercise and eat well the next day. Whatever you need to do to get them to bed early, do it! We’ll leave the details up to you.