Often when we begin our health and fitness journeys to better ourselves, to lose weight, to build muscle, we have family members and friends who we feel aren’t supportive of our journey.
They feel threatened by our new changes, they’re feeling like this new us is different, and they want to hold us back. Maybe they tempt us with foods, or they just don’t feel supportive of all the changes that we’re making.
This is an incredibly common scenario, so we want to give you some perspective to help you fix that and really just make it so that your health and fitness progress actually brings your family closer together and doesn’t create more of a rift in the gap.
The first tip that we have for you is to take the perspective of your partner. A lot of partners have big fear when let’s say your personal health and fitness changes will change your behavior, and they fear the unknown.
As you’re growing, they’re afraid that you are growing apart, they don’t know where you’re moving, and that makes them a little bit insecure about where they’re at in their own current behaviors.
So the first thing you need to do is help. Give them the roadmap of where you’re heading, give them the clarity and the perspective on why you’re doing what you’re doing, what is going to be required, the exercise you’re going to do, and the changes you’re going to make. Take away the fear of the unknown and make it very clear.
Show them your plan, get them on board on that sense, and if they’re still not supportive, here’s the next most important thing.
Show them why what you are doing and the changes you’re making directly relate to your relationship with them. We make changes not just for ourselves but also for our families, so when we lose weight and get healthy and get off the medications.
We can show up and be the best version of ourselves, so we can provide for our families better, see our kids and grandkids grow up, love our spouses with a body that’s energized, and full of life, not one that’s depressed and sluggish.
Show them how these changes directly relate to their values and how much you love them, make that connection because oftentimes that connections not made explicitly enough.
Give them the clarity on what you’re doing and why it relates directly to them. This is a big commitment – you get them on board by showing them the clarity and connecting it to them.
The next thing is to get them involved in your behaviors, and they do not need to necessarily be following the same plan as you because we can’t control what they’re going to do, but we can’t lead by example and we want to make sure that they still feel involved.
So there are really two main intersection points when it comes to looking at a family ecosystem where families come together.
The first main one is food, and it’s typically dinner. As you’re making your new healthier dinners, get your spouse involved to help her or him find foods that they love and make some of these healthy dinners together. Even if they’re not doing the rest of the workouts or any other things you’re doing, you have one intersection point where you all know that you’re doing this together. These healthy foods we love are nourishing for our bodies and are bringing us together.
Spend some more time to get more involved in the kitchen, cook dinner together, go grocery shopping together. Help them see your new perspective on food that this is the fuel for this body, that it’s nourishing me that I’m doing this stuff to get off the medications, to get the weight off and then because they love you (otherwise they wouldn’t be flaring up and have resistance to you). They obviously have a deep emotional connection to you, and they’re going to want to help support you in being your best self. So they’re going to give you love and return by getting them involved.
The next big obstacle is a lot of people have is sometimes their spouses feel threatened by time that they may be taking away from work or family time to go exercise. So show them when your exercise times are going to be. It’s like look I’m going to start this health and fitness regimen, and it’s going to require three one-hour workouts per week. I’m gonna do them on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:00 a.m. before I go to work.
That is the clarity, and it’s helping them get involved in understanding your plan. They’re going to be realistic about it, you know hopefully and understanding that its 180 minutes a week. It’s not a huge thing, not a huge time investment, and shows them how it fits into the schedule that still enables you to be there with the things that they care about a lot.
It’s also important to recognize that we need to really just be mirrors of love for people and show non-judgment as we’re going on our health journeys. Because often one of the biggest things that happen is as we’re getting fit as we’re changing your bodies to doing productive behaviors, we become a mirror for other people’s own insecurities.
They’re looking at you, and they’re feeling threatened because they might not feel great about themselves. This is where there’s a delicate balance in how we approach this situation. We need to love and allow people to go on their own journeys, lead by example, and be positive, encouraging force but not forcing them to do any behaviors and make them feel loved in the process.
Because if you’ve been married for a long time, your love is more than just the way they look, especially if you found that both you have gotten into unhealthy behaviors. You obviously love the person inside.
So make sure they feel loved and supported for them at their core, outside of any physical appearance. When they feel that love for you, they’re going to feel more comfortable to potentially follow your lead. You also need to have a healthy amount of detachment from the outcome that they’re doing.
You’re doing this for you; you’re strengthening, your resolve to make these changes to lead by example, and your family will hopefully follow you, but at the very least, they’ll feel loved supported and non judged by you.
These are some tricky situations, but when as it comes to your long-term health and fitness success, the only way forward is through.