There is no doubt about it. It is extremely difficult to eat well when your spouse has no interest in doing so. You’ve likely been there where you tried to start a healthy eating routine, but your partner orders pizza, or cooks a massive plate of pasta and you dive in too. From there it’s a downward spiral of poor eating until you’re fed up with yourself once more. You eat together, you go on dates together and you might even shop together so it’s important that we try and tackle this issue. I also hear this happening to wives mostly, when there husband doesn’t want to eat well, but it does happen to husbands from time to time, so this topic is relevant for both spouses equally.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on track while your husband (or wife) orders the Burger:
Volunteer to Grocery Shop
This strategy is simple. Go into your kitchen and toss all junk food out. If it’s there, you’ll likely eat it. Until you can develop some will power, ditch the Cheetos, bread, Ritz crackers and Mac and Cheese. Then, head to the grocery store and start fresh. If your spouse isn’t there putting junk into the cart then you won’t buy it. Plus, you can spin it that you really want to serve them by doing the shopping this week. Win-win.
Learn to cook some delicious healthy meals
Now that you’ve got your food, you’ll need to do some research in cooking healthy. The myths are false: healthy cooking does not taste terrible! Terrible cooking tastes terrible. If you put some effort into learning how to cook, your food will be good. I’ve got a few recipes on Ex Nihilo Health, but you can google healthy low-carb, paleo, vegan or whatever you want meals and find them easily.
This also needs to be said here: Don’t let this point be the reason you don’t eat healthy. I’ve been cooking since I was 14 years old, and I can tell you, anyone can learn how to cook well enough to be satisfied with the result. Make time to walk through a few recipes and start with this recipe app from Abel James. We use it from time to time in my house and we love it.
Make something different for dinner
Its much easier to just eat the plate of spaghetti your spouse has requested, or get takeout along with them after work, but convenience shouldn’t trump your health. Fight the urge to be simple (or lazy) and just cook something for yourself. If they want the aforementioned spaghetti, just have the meatballs on a salad. If they want a burger, skip the bun. And if they want a pile of ice cream for dinner, use the trick i’ve used since I was 14, brush your teeth and drink some water!
Don’t try to “convert” them
This is the most important point. Your spouse will likely be unconvinced by your berating, arguing or even sound reasoning. Why? First, everyone and their mother is telling them how to eat. From Jillian Michaels to McDonalds to Jimmy in the cubicle next to them at work, they all have opinions. You don’t want your voice to get lost in the sea of stuff thrown at them.
Second, when it comes to health/diet people will take notice of your healthy eating decisions, positive mood or your slimming physique and pursue you. As hard as it will be, you’ll need to do the same with your spouse. Sending blog links to them every day won’t get it done most of the time.
This is one of those scenarios where you’ll have to bite the bullet and just be patient. Everyone who discovers a new diet gets fired up and wants to tell the world, but the proof will be in the pudding, as they say. They are going to have to see the results you are preaching to them before they take notice.
Try not to get frustrated with their progress
I know how tough it is when you have been eating well and have been researching but see your spouse not fully buying into everything yet. Fight the urge to be frustrated. If they see you get mad at them it may turn them off. They are going to jump on your plan and jump back off time and again. Be ok with that and think back to when you struggled being healthy for a season.
What’s most important is that they are beginning to see a need to be healthy and are trying. Practice makes perfect. What they need most at this point is an encourager who tells them it’s not the end of the world if they mess up, and to keep trying. Don’t get mad or snap at them for failure, that has never been a good strategy for helping anyone. Furthermore, they haven’t done all the research you have. They haven’t watched that video or read the study. Keep that in mind.
Find a like minded community to link up with.
While you wait for your spouse to come around, you’ll need a community of people to be around for motivation and accountability. If you’ve ever tried to diet without that (I’m sure you have) you know how difficult it can be. Finding people to push you when you’re slacking or encourage you when motivation is low is a serious game changer.
The easiest place to look first is a group of healthy friends. Ask them to teach you what they know and ask for accountability. Then offer to do the same for them. More than likely, it could be that their spouse isn’t in a rush to get healthy either and you guys could fill the void for each other.
Other places to find like-minded people are yoga studios, Crossfit gyms or classes offered in gyms. I personally think this is most convenient since you already work out and are demonstrating you have similar health passions. This could be a quick win for you.
A very underrated place to find like-mindedness is through online communities. Places like Bulletproof, Tnation or even your favorite health website have forums and message boards where people grow in community and hold each other accountable.