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The more I work with women on their health and fitness issues, the more I see the problem of spouses/partners not offering the support they need to make the changes they want to make. So, what do you do when you and your partner aren’t on the same page on your health?
When He Doesn’t Support Your Health Goals
It’s a hurdle that many women face and it can be pretty discouraging for them. Just imagine, you decide to make some big changes to your health and your lifestyle but your partner isn’t interested in those changes. And not only is he not supportive; maybe he even sabotages you.
This is not uncommon, unfortunately.
That’s why today, I brought my hubby, Justin, back into the studio…(okay, okay, it’s our closet.)
Anyway, I asked Justin to come back on the podcast with me to talk about how to handle it if your partner isn’t supportive of your health and fitness goals.
Hear me, ladies: we aren’t completely innocent in this. We can be just as guilty of not supporting our husbands in things they want to do. But I do see this struggle quite a bit, of husbands or boyfriends seemingly purposely trying to sabotage their woman’s efforts to better herself.
So, Justin and I are going to discuss the top 5 common struggles I hear from my clients and some ways they can be addressed.
Obstacle #1 – He doesn’t support you from the very beginning.
I see this one the most often with my clients.
We have our initial conversation about what coaching looks like, what their goals are, and how much their program will cost, and immediately they say something like, “Okay, but I need to see what my husband is going to say about this.”
Now, obviously, I encourage everyone to confer with their spouse before they embark on any type of coaching relationship. But what I see so many times is fear in these women because they already know that their husband isn’t going to support them.
This doesn’t always come across as him being unwilling to support her. He may actually say something like, “But I love you the way you are. Why do you want to change? You look beautiful to me.”
First of all, let’s give the guys the benefit of the doubt. That’s always a good first step in any situation.
If health, fitness, and how you feel about your body aren’t topics that the two of you normally talk about, you may have to give him some time to understand where you’re coming from. This could be a completely new thought for him, that you aren’t happy with your body.
So, first of all, if this is the first time you’ve ever brought this up, let him get used to the idea that you want to change.
But sometimes, there is a genuine fear of being left behind. If things have been rolling along at a certain comfort level for a while now, he may not want you to make big changes for fear that he will be left in your dust when you change.
So, what can you do to address this fear?
Talk about stuff! Seriously, though. Have conversations about everything, including things you want to go after. Make these conversations a normal part of your everyday life. Don’t just hit him with some big changes you want to make if he never even knew you were unhappy, to begin with.
And when you share your feelings, don’t nag him to death about joining you.
What I have seen is that when a woman begins to transform her life, the husband almost always rises to the occasion and joins her so that he won’t be left behind.
Obstacle #2 – He shuts you down based on his insecurities.
We touched on this in #1, but this is the man who is scared for you to change because his security is riding on you staying the same.
The best way to help this man is to clearly communicate the reason you want to change.
Help him to see that it’s not about him and it’s not about impressing someone of the opposite sex. Share with him the deeper reasons you want to change; that this is an internal change you are making, not just an outward transformation of your body.
“When you work on yourself, it directly impacts your spouse in a positive way.”
And if you have a history of doing something 50%, don’t expect him to buy in right away.
You have to show him that you are 100% committed to this new way of life before he will be able to jump on board with you.
Obstacle #3 – He brings home foods you’ve chosen not to eat.
You’ve clearly laid out your plan for change and he seems to be on board. Then, he comes home with takeout or your favorite ice cream. Or he buys a bottle of wine “because it’s the weekend and we always have wine on the weekend.”
What do you do when your husband appears to be sabotaging you on purpose by bringing home foods that you are no longer eating?
Again, let’s give this man the benefit of the doubt first.
If these have been your habits for a long time, just because you are trying to establish new habits doesn’t automatically change his habits. He is just doing the same things he’s always done. Don’t assume that he’s trying to hurt you or sabotage your goals. Maybe he’s just so used to bringing the wine that he did it out of habit.
On the other hand, maybe he’s testing you.
Sure, he can bring the ice cream home, but only you can say no. If you eat it, you’ve proved to him that you aren’t serious about the changes and now he can relax, knowing that pretty soon, everything will go back to the way it was before you decided to “lose weight and change your life.”
So again, if you aren’t 100% committed to these changes, don’t accuse him of sabotaging you.
Only you can change your life. Only you can change your eating habits. Only you can change your fitness. Only you can decide to make these changes and stick to them.
So, decide what changes you are going to make and stick to them. Once your spouse sees you actually committed to your new ways of living and eating, and once he sees that you actually are losing weight and getting healthier, that’s when he may decide to join you.
Obstacle #4 – Blaming your husband for your lack of success.
I actually see this one quite a bit and it ticks me off every time.
If you are not committed to your success, if you aren’t doing what you said you were going to do, if you are making poor choices, don’t blame your man!
If you are making your husband the scapegoat for your lack of change, you need to cut it out.
Listen, you can blame any number of things for your failure to make the changes you say you want. You can say you’re too busy, your husband travels for work and you’re too tired, or your own work schedule.
Your husband is not to blame if you aren’t changing your life. His schedule doesn’t determine your success.
You have to take ownership of your choices and your life. If you went into this wanting to make changes to your health and fitness, you are the one 100% responsible for doing so. You can’t blame anyone or anything if you aren’t following through.
Obstacle #5 – My husband/family doesn’t like the food I’m making.
I realize that this is oftentimes a family problem but since this is about us and our spouse/partner, I am addressing that aspect. I have an episode all about picky eaters if that’s something you’re struggling with.
Okay, I have a pretty short response to this problem.
Your husband is an adult. Adults are responsible for themselves. So tell your husband to make his own frickin’ food if he doesn’t like what you’re making.
I mean, come on people. You are a woman. You are not a short-order cook. You aren’t there to serve everyone’s different tastes and desires. You make one meal and everyone either eats it or they take care of themselves.
There is no way anybody needs the stress of making themselves one meal, their husband another meal, and something else for the kids who practically won’t eat anything.
Just because your husband doesn’t like the food you’re making is not your problem.
One of the best ways to approach this is by sitting down with your husband and talking about the food changes you will need to make. Try to find ways to cook some of your favorites but in a healthier way. Ask him about some things he would like to make.
If you can get your spouse to buy into the changes, this won’t become a huge problem.
You’re a Team, So Act Like It
If you want to meet goals for health and fitness and your spouse is not on the same page with you, you need to focus on the systems and practices you create for those goals and send your energy toward them.
However, you can’t focus on those goals at the expense of everything else in your life. You don’t just want to survive these changes; you want to thrive!
Ask yourself, what can you and your spouse do as a team to create systems in your life that make healthy living a component of who you are as a couple?
We have shared a ton of ways to have a conversation with your spouse about your health and fitness goals and some of the ways you can conquer the most common problems that arise from making those changes.
If you’re ready to make changes and you’re nervous about how your spouse is going to respond, just remember that, above all, communication is the most important thing that has to happen.
If you’ve never mentioned wanting to lose weight, give your spouse a chance to get used to the idea. Talk about what you want in a non-threatening way. Open up the conversation and get your spouse’s input.
And through it all, come at it with a spirit of love. Express to your spouse that you want to be a better version of you and that you want to do it so that you both benefit from it. Help him to see why you need him to buy into what you’re doing.
And be willing to offer your support to him for the things he is passionate about. Remember ladies, this is a 2-way street.
READY TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH AND MIND FOREVER?
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