top of page

How To Be Healthy When Your Partner Isn’t

Updated: Jul 3

You got your exercise in for the day and are spending your afternoon chopping vegetables and whipping up homemade hummus for the week ahead. You’re feeling pretty pumped about the changes you’re making to your lifestyle.

Then your partner strolls into the kitchen and declares, “I’m hungry, Let’s order a pizza.”

Because we spend so much time with our partners, their diet and exercise habits can have a profound impact on ours.

Have an honest talk with your partner where you ask about their health goals and motivations, and why they do or do not feel ready to make changes.

Even if you think your partner could stand to benefit from a diet overhaul, if they’re not ready, they’re not ready. And pushing them too hard could create friction between the two of you.

Set those boundaries

Establishing some healthy boundaries can help you stick to your well-laid plans when you’re going at it solo. Maybe you designate a certain area of the house-say, one drawer or a refrigerator in the garage – where your partner can stash the items that are off-limits for you. Establish a plan that these foods only go into that location and an understanding that you do not know what’s in the drawer or visit it or supply it. Will you each be cooking for yourself? Or will your partner have the same meal as you when you’re eating dinner together?

5 More Tips For Making it Work

  1. Get your partner involved. Just because your partner isn’t going to adhere to your way of eating doesn’t mean they can’t still be supportive. Explain to your partner what your goals are and discuss next steps, which can help temper their expectations and also help you gauge their support level. They may appreciate the request and be happy to help.

  2. Own your own behavior. While you may not always be able to control your surroundings, you are ultimately in control of what items you choose to eat. Some people find it easiest to set hard and fast rules for themselves, like having zero sweets whatsoever. Others do well with a “one piece” rule that allows them to have one piece or serving of something they really want. It’s important to spend time learning about yourself and finding what works for you as an individual.

  3. Speak up. Sometimes, your partner may not realize they’re doing things that are affecting you negatively. Don’t be afraid to communicate to your spouse that their behaviors are impacting you.

  4. Find new ways to enjoy your time together. If you and your honey spend most of your time together going out to dinner and watching TV with snacks, that’s not going to be conducive to you reaching your goals. Find new things you can enjoy together that will take the pressure off the food situation. Maybe that’s going for a bike ride, reading a book together, or doing an art or home improvement project.

  5. Lead by example. By having healthy items available and choosing to eat them, you may influence your partner to move in the right direction with you.

One of the biggest challenges people have is getting family and friends on board when they make both small and major lifestyle changes. Sometimes, the people we love become frightened that we will morph into someone unrecognizable. Maybe our health changes magnify our partner’s or family members’ own insecurities or health worries. Sometimes family resists change because it’s more comfortable to stick with what they know – even if they know it isn’t serving them. If your partner or family members don’t support your health habits, it’s important to have a two-way conversation about it. Lead by example.

Don’t offer unsolicited advice. Don’t tell your best friend they shouldn’t eat potato chips or candy bars or French fries. Likely, they already know that these aren’t the most health- supportive choices. Don’t tell your partner to go for a walk or lose weight or whatever else you don’t like to change him or her. This isn’t helpful or constructive.

Don’t take your family’s behavior or eating habits personally. Let’s say you’ve had open and honest discussions with your family about your diet and lifestyle choices, you’ve refrained from giving annoying advice, and have mastered your own health habits like a boss. Don’t view your family’s decisions as a personal insult to you, or that you’ve failed to help. Your family’s health choices are about them and not about anything you’ve done or not done. Everyone has their deal breakers, and you may decide that healthy living is one of yours. If it is, it’s important to communicate this with your romantic partner.

  • If offered food you don’t want to eat, a simple “no thank you” will suffice. If pressed further, saying something like “I’m working on my health” can be effective.

  • Change the subject

  • If the gentler tactics aren’t effective, don’t hesitate to be direct and set firm boundaries

Keep Moving Forward 😊 Sarah

65 views0 comments


bottom of page