Health is a family affair

Actual conversation from last night:

Me: I’m trying to only have a glass of wine OR chocolate if I want a treat at night.

H: A good wife has wine AND chocolate with her husband.

Can you say spouse-pressure? Lucky for me, my husband was (half) kidding, but family intervening in healthy decisions is a larger problem than you think.

When you’re single, it’s easy to make a diet/lifestyle change, because it only affects you. The more people it affects, the more resistance you encounter.

Shockingly, even someone trying to lose weight and improve her health – changes other family support in theory – can be stopped in her path when other family members aren’t on board with how it affects them. It’s tough to stick to your guns and avoid temptation when it’s in the house, whether it’s there because you want it, or because someone else wants it.

If there is chocolate in the house, I will eat it, if there isn’t, I won’t. Period. If I decide to not have chocolate in the house, my husband can’t have any either. No chocolate for me equals no chocolate for him.

Removing processed, junky food from your diet means removing it from the house, just as going to the gym often requires encouragement from an entire household. If you are trying to eat more vegetables and hit the gym, but your partner is asking you to hangout on the couch with a bag of cheetos, he is not supporting you.

Ask your partner about his/her behavior. Maybe…

  • He knows he needs to make changes, too, but doesn’t want to, so your healthy behaviors are an unfriendly reminder/suggestion to him.
  • She doesn’t want you to lose weight because of the attention you’ll get. (Sad, but true story.)
  • He can eat whatever he wants and not exercise, and he never gains a pound.
  • She doesn’t realize she isn’t supporting you.

Making healthier choices is a lifestyle change for your entire support system. Just as people need support to fight addiction and remove negative behaviors, they also need support instigating new, positive ones. The people in our lives bring us up or down, and they aren’t always aware of it.

Make healthy behaviors a family affair, and speak up when you need better support.

 

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