You’ve decided you want to make a few changes to eat more healthily, less chocolate bars and a few more vegetables. But the thing is, your partner doesn’t want to change. What do you do?
This is a common issue I speak with clients about. It can be tough to envision yourself making changes to improve your diet when you know your partner is still going to bring home takeaways and junk food that you worry will throw you off course and sabotage your efforts. You might be tempted to give up before you even start. Whether your partner is on board with a few of your changes, or none at all, you can still set yourself up for success by taking a few key steps.
How to handle it when your partner isn't on board with your healthy eating plans
Share your “why” with them
Start by communicating to your partner why it’s important to you to make some changes. What is your main motivation? Maybe it’s to lose a bit of weight to improve your self-esteem, or because you know eating more vegetables and less processed food will help you sleep better and have more energy for work. Whatever your motivation is, be clear with your partner about this to help them understand why this is important to you.
They may not be ready for change and that’s okay
Your partner might be open to a few changes, or they might shudder at the thought of changing anything at all. Wherever they are, be open to this and don’t expect them to overhaul their routine just because you are. The important thing is to be honest with one another.
Think about how you can lead by example, rather than forcing them into something they’re not ready for.
Talk through the details of the changes you want to make, and how it’s going to work in practice between you. The key to making new habits stick, is to think through the nitty gritty details. Who is going to do the food shopping and cooking? Will you share any meals in the week, or keep things separate?
If you know there are certain behaviours your partner has that you worry may throw you off course, like bringing home chocolate bars, be honest with them about the impact it could have on your motivation to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself. You could create a drawer in the fridge or cupboard that your partner uses to stash their food you don’t want to touch, so it’s less tempting for you.
Cooking for one
I often hear from clients they feel “It’s just not worth it” to cook just for them, so they end up eating less healthy choices with their partner. If this is something you struggle with too, a really great step is to start batch cooking. Use a couple of hours over the weekend to cook a big batch of a delicious, healthy meal, you can then portion and freeze, to heat up through the week for yourself.
It’ll save you a lot of time and it can really help with motivation to stick with your goals because when you’re tired in the week, the meals are there ready for you. No fuss or extra cooking. You never know, your partner might even get curious about what you’re eating and want to try a portion too!
Check out Amelia Freer’s brilliant batch cooking ideas.
Ask for their support
Even if they’re not making changes with you, you can absolutely still ask for your partner’s support. First, have a think about what it is you need from them. You are the expert on you after all! Do you want them to hold you accountable and remind you of your “why” when you’re tempted by junk food? Or would you prefer they not comment on your choices while you handle things your own way? Be open and directly communicate your needs.
If you’re not finding the support you need from your partner, reach out for support elsewhere. Making changes is tough and having outside support can provide much needed motivation when we’re flagging. A friend or family member who is also trying to make some changes too can be a great accountability buddy, or you can find an online forum for support.
Create new dates
If sharing takeaways is your go-to date night but you’re looking to cut back on these kinds of foods, have a think about new ways you can spend time together that won’t impact your goals. You could try going for a long walk and packing up a picnic with delicious foods you’ve cooked, getting out on a bike ride or taking a class together.
You could even plan and cook a meal together, which can be a great way to include your partner in your healthy eating goals in a way that’s fun and low pressure.
Keep your goals front of mind
Ultimately, you’re your own person with your own needs, and even if your partner isn’t on board with making changes too, you are fully capable of reaching your healthy eating goals with the right support.
Keep your goals really visible to yourself as this can help a lot when motivation wavers. Try writing your goals and why you want them on post it notes and stick them to your bathroom mirror as a little boost every morning.
If you're looking for support to reach your healthy eating goals, I offer a free 50 minute online consultation where we will talk through your goals and how working with a Health Coach could help you. Contact me to set up a time to speak, I’d love to hear from you.
Do you struggle with your partner not being on board with your health goals? Let me know in the comments below.