An estimated 45 million Americans are on a diet each year. Chances are, your spouse is one of them. Recently, my wife decided that she wanted to lose 20lbs. Although I think she is perfect, I know that losing weight will make her feel more confident and comfortable in her own skin.
So, I sat down and seriously asked myself… Am I hurting or helping the cause?
In my opinion, if you’re not onboard, you’re part of the problem.
The fact is that having a positive support system at home has been proven to help with achieving and maintaining healthy behaviors. So, why not support your spouse in being the best version of themselves? After being married for only 18 months, I can testify that a happy wife is most definitely a happy life.
1. Keep the Cabinets Clean
I cannot tell you how many times I have asked a client how their diet is going and their response sounds like this— “It was going great and then Michael brought home leftover cookies from the office.” We are aware when our spouse is dieting and we are also aware what their trigger foods are. Keeping the cabinets clear of these foods will better help our spouse stay on track without the added temptation of a box of cookies 10 feet away. Yes, this does mean potentially compromising some of your own favorite foods. You’ll survive.
2. Redefine Date Night
A dinner out can run you more calories, sodium, fat, and carbs than a fast food drive-thru meal. Sure, it’s only one meal, however, in the beginning phases of dieting or trying to eat cleaner, one meal can derail someone’s entire plan. Unfortunately, it’s easy to associate date nights with over-indulging and drinking. Use some creativity and put together a date night that is not just based around food, or choose a restaurant that makes eating clean easy.
3. Sweat Together
If your spouse is actively trying to lose weight, chances are they are also spending more time at the gym. An extra hour a day at the gym is probably an hour less they are spending with you… that is, of course, unless you choose to go with them. Join the gym together, take a yoga class, sign-up for the same 5K race. You could get just as much out of this weight loss journey as they do. For some couples, working out alone is the preference; if that’s the case, be supportive of that use of their time—chip in for the cost of their yoga classes, offer to watch the kids, or set your own alarm to help them wake up early for their workout.
4. Be an Active Participant in the Prep
Most successful weight loss plans involve preparing and eating more meals at home. The benefit of this practice is that you can help control your portions, ingredients, and cooking method. When two people are involved with meal prep—cooking, food shopping, and cleaning dishes—these tasks become much more manageable. Get involved— if you’re not the cooker, be the shopper or the kitchen cleaner.
5. Keep it Positive
The number one predictor of sticking to a weight loss plan OR achieving a weight loss goal is self-efficacy, or a person’s belief in his or her own ability to be successful. You can help strengthen this belief. There will most likely be ups and downs, mood swings, and slip-ups. Two ways to keep it positive:
· When they feel like quitting, remind them why they started.
· Acknowledge small victories (ideally not with ice cream!)
At the end of the day, whether you and your spouse have the same weight loss goals or entirely different ones, only good things can come from actively pursing and supporting healthier habits …together.
Katie is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at The Body Shop Studio with a Masters in Nutrition. She has a sports background and has competed in Bodybuilding and Powerlifting.