When trying to help a partner adopt a healthier lifestyle, some approaches are much more effective than others.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you lose weight together in an attempt to improve your health and lifestyle.
Assess the Situation
Assess your partner's motivation to be healthy. You can't force a person to lose weight. If he or she isn't motivated to lose the weight, it's difficult to help them. Use open-ended questions to assess their feelings on the subject. Sometimes just being asked how they feel on a subject will allow them to think about the situation and changes they need to make. If they are not motivated at the moment, you can at least get them thinking about it, which is a step in the right direction. Eventually action will happen after contemplation.
If you partner isn't interested in healthier eating, you can substitute unhealthy ingredients with healthier options in your cooking. For example, use low-fat sour cream and cream cheese instead of the full-fat versions. Try baking foods instead of frying them. These simple swaps let you enjoy your favorite foods while cutting fat and calories.
Eat Out Less
Eat at home more than you eat out. If your partner suggests going to a restaurant, cook a delicious meal at home instead. This let’s you control what goes into the meal for a healthier option. Restaurant food often is high in fat, sodium and calories. The portion sizes also are too large.
Plan physical activities to enjoy together. This gives you quality couple time while you exercise. Start a nightly routine of walking or biking through your neighborhood after dinner. Another option is to find a sport that both of you enjoy and play it on a regular basis.
Use Positive Reinforcement
We all need positive reinforcement and someone has to start it. Encourage your partner to continue making healthier choices by recognizing his or her efforts. Use positive wording when discussing healthy eating and exercise. Praise them occasionally to let them know you recognize their efforts and are happy to see it, but also that their every move is not under scrutiny. Constant barrage of unsolicited health advice is perceived as 'nagging' or criticism. Avoid threatening or criticizing your partner for poor eating or exercise habits. This may cause a problem in the relationship and most often it has the opposite effect on the end goal.
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