3 Ways To Get Your Partner To Eat Healthier
Hi friends! Oh em ghee. It’s been such a long few weeks I can’t even begin to tell you how excited and exhausted I feel simultaneously. All great things, though (follow along here!). Although I’ve been trying my best to eat healthy as I fly back and forth to San Diego, it’s no secret that travel can wreak havoc on your diet. It’s enough of a responsibility to take care of myself, but one thing that’s important to me is making sure Ryan cares for himself while I’m away (and at all times!). This has been a work in progress, and if you’re anything like me and you want to learn how to get your partner to eat healthier, you’re right where you need to be!
One of the most challenging aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the curiosity of whether or not your new approach will mesh with the people you spend the most time with. And, naturally, we tend to spend the most time with our partner and family.
For many women, questioning whether their partners (or girlfriends) will join them on their quest for healthy living can hold them back from taking action for decades.
“If my husband won’t join me, then what’s the point?”
“Will my friends make fun of me?”
“My family is suuuuper Italian, so they’ll never substitute for their pasta.”
What you just read are all real thoughts I experienced when I was going through my own healthy living transition. Can you relate?
I’ll be honest with you—some people took to my new lifestyle rather quickly, while others turned a cheek.
My girlfriends? Even though I love them dearly, they were the worst offenders. Their lack of understanding led them to judge rather than ask questions. At first, it was hurtful. It took me a few years to understand that their actions were about them, and not me. I started this journey in my early 20’s, so I can’t really blame them for the way they behaved. We were youngin’s!
Here’s your first piece of advice: if you’re in a similar situation, let them do them, and you do you. Judgment is simply a lack of understanding underneath. Your habits will naturally rub off on them for the better, and if you’re afraid of the judgment or have experienced it, remember that even though it may not feel like it right now, you are positively impacting their lives.
My family? Well, let’s just say they’ve come a LONG way. At first, there was plenty of “Amanda’s gone crazy” to go around. I brought healthy dishes to our family gatherings and would talk to my Mom, Aunts, and Grandma all about my newfound love for kombucha and gluten-free dishes.
After realizing that this wasn’t a “phase” and my passion for nutrition was going to be my new life, my family accepted it and became curious themselves. It’s a work in progress to this day, but I’m proud to say my parents make smoothies for themselves nearly every morning!
What about my husband, Ryan? Let’s just say that after living in New York City for 10 years, Ryan rarely used his utensils thanks to takeout and ate most of his food from a microwave. Literally, my worst nightmare ;)
That being said, Ryan has always had an interest in health and nutrition, so when I came along, he was more than ready to try new things.
And guess what? His openness ended up having dramatic effects on his health. Ryan has narcolepsy (not the kind you see in movies, but the lucky guy can pretty much fall asleep anywhere within a matter of minutes), and since improving his diet, he only has to take half of his medication daily. HALF.
Imagine the impact your healthy choices could have on your family and loved ones.
As you can see, I dealt with plenty of resistance over the years when it came to my diet and lifestyle choices.
Here’s what I believe to be the honest truth: people are comfortable in their ways. They don’t want to be told that the way they are living could be doing damage to their health and wellbeing.
The best way to get someone you love, whether it’s a partner, girlfriend, or family member to eat healthy, is to lead by example.
Instead of shaking your finger at them for their choices, have a conversation about how your new lifestyle has changed your life.
What people see, they believe.
If you’re exuding health and happiness, they will want to know how and why.
But if you come at them with an “I know better than you” attitude, of course they’ll turn away. Trust me, I tried that one in the beginning and no one wanted to hear it.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Spend time with your partner in the kitchen. Cook meals for him or her, and don’t be afraid to add healthy ingredients without him even knowing. I made a green smoothie for Ryan and one of his buddies the other weekend (this guy wouldn’t touch anything green), and after he drank the entire thing, I told him I put spinach in the smoothie. He was in shock! The chocolate protein powder and peanut butter hid the taste of the spinach. I texted his wife right away to let her know how I got him to eat spinach, and now my husband’s buddy is on the green smoothie train. This works great with kids, too!
2. Make a home-cooked meal and take the time to explain why the meal is better for him than something he would typically eat. Remember, the “I know better than you” attitude never works, so approach this conversation carefully. If you’re using organic greens, perhaps you can dive into why organic may be a better choice for certain vegetables and fruits. If you’re using grass-fed meats, you could discuss the behind-the-scenes of factory farming, or if he is open to it, watch the documentary Food, Inc. together (but definitely not during your meal!). There’s plenty of ways to broach the conversation. Make it fun and allow your partner to come to his own conclusions.
3. Ask for his support. Transitioning to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. No one wakes up in the morning and decides they all of a sudden love kale or they’re ready to transform every aspect of their diets from breakfast to dinner. It takes time. If you’re making this transition before your partner, explain to him why this transition is so important to you and what he can do to support. This feeds into leading by example, and if you start to make the changes on your own and as a result you feel (and look!) amazing, it will be easier for your partner to follow suit rather than feel like he is being forced.
It will all come with time!
Have the confidence to live and eat in a way that feels right for you, and typically, your loved one will follow suit.
What about you, doll? Do you find that you face resistance with people in your life around your choices? Do you fear being judged? Have you tried to get your partner to eat healthy with you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!