It’s very tempting when in a relationship to view your partner’s health as your next big project. After all, a healthier lifestyle can mean you spend more active years together.
Unfortunately, your partner may not always share the same goals. Just because you want to go to the gym doesn’t mean they want to get off the couch too.
Constantly nagging your partner to change their ways nearly always ends badly.
Whether trying to push your partner to be more active or to change to a healthier diet, there are many ways you can encourage your partner to have better health – without starting an argument!
Lead By Example
Often we complain that we have picked up bad habits from our partner, but fortunately good habits can be copied also.
Healthy changes can be contagious when people notice them. Seeing the extra glow or increased energy you have, may just make your partner want to change as well.
The extra looks or wolf whistles you get can also encourage them!
Encourage Rather Than Nag
This one may sound obvious, but when somebody is repeatedly told to do something, they often end up doing the exact opposite.
Try not to be a nag!
Instead offer encouragement and point out the positives.
Let your partner know how good they will feel after a smoothie for breakfast or that weekend bike ride you planned to go on.
Instead of counting calories or treadmill miles, point out the extra energy you both enjoy and the better sleep you will experience.
Changing from a diet full of comfort food to a healthier nutrition plan doesn’t have to be painful.
Making healthy choices and experiencing new foods can be an exhilarating adventure for you both to enjoy as a couple.
Try changing that weekend trip to the dim sum parlor to a seaside jaunt at a healthier fish restaurant.
Even try a day out together at a local cooking class rather than a day at the sports bar.
You will be surprised at how much fun you can have together.
Cooking together and exploring new cuisines can be a great way of introducing healthier choices. Try cooking a meal together on date night or a morning outing to a farmer’s market to buy the ingredients for brunch.
Respect Your Partner
Respect is a key part of any relationship, but should not just be reserved for finances or discussions about the kids.
Respect should also apply to your partner’s choices about diet and exercise. Instead of criticizing the choices they make, ask them why?
The decision to not go to the gym may come from not having enough money to pay the membership fees. The poor diet choices may be due to not enough break time from the office to get a healthy lunch.
By talking through any issues, you can offer to help your partner set goals and help achieving them.
If your partner is more interested in martial arts than running, you could find a gym that offered classes in martial arts.
Trying to make the goals something they want to do and accommodate them will often help your partner achieve those goals.
Slowly, Slowly and Compromise
Most diets fail due to a change being introduced too quickly and becoming overwhelming. This can be met with even more resistance when it’s not actually you making the changes, but your partner.
Baby steps are the best way to lead to lasting changes.
Start with small changes like making a nutritious and delicious smoothie for breakfast.
The extra nutrients in the smoothie can put your partner in a better mental and physical position to make smarter choices.
The chicken wings at lunch or that chocolate muffin at tea break may not look as appealing after a vitamin-packed breakfast!
Sometimes your partner may not feel like going for a 20 km bike ride on a Sunday afternoon like you do. Compromise and agree to just have a quick ride around the park or to the local beach.
Most times, when they have started they won’t feel like going home too soon.
Spending this time together can help to strengthen your relationship in addition to the many health benefits.
Hopefully some of the tips we have presented will help in your attempts to encourage your partner to follow a healthier lifestyle.
Many doctors argue that people in relationships have better immune systems, improved cardiovascular function and longer life expectancy.
Purely being in a relationship, has improved your health already!
Improving your partner’s health can give you many more years and more quality time to enjoy together as a couple.
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.