Healthy Habits With a Less Than Supportive Spouse

by Joanna

When someone is trying to lose weight, exercise more, or make other positive healthy changes, it’s helpful for them to have support.  But what happens when you have a spouse or other family member not being supportive of your efforts and positive changes?  It can make things more difficult than they need to be.

Try to find out what’s going on.  It could be that if you are making positive changes and your spouse shows no interest, they may actually be feeling left out.  Maybe when you decide to exercise and your spouse doesn’t want to join in, they may feel like you are spending less time with them.  Perhaps if you’ve already been making healthy choices and are seeing physical results, your spouse may be jealous or feel threatened of your new self.

First of all, don’t be upset.  True, not all spouses are going to react this way, but if it does happen you should know this response is  normal.  Change is difficult for some and if the two of you have unhealthy behaviors in common, unless both of you are on board, it might mean that the two of you have different interests.  Here are some things to try if you have an unsupportive spouse:

  1. Have a meaningful conversation.  Communicate your intentions and how important this change is to you and why.  It may seem like a given to some, but asking for support and letting them know how important their support is to you can go a long way.
  2. Involve them.  If you are going out for a walk or a jog, ask them to join you.  If they say that they won’t be able to keep up, slow it down a little.  Even if you aren’t getting as good of a workout as you maybe had hoped, getting them on board will go further in the long run (pun intended).  If you are trying to make changes to your eating habits, plan it with them.  Find things that you both can eat and be happy.
  3. Find support in other places.  This may be tough because you may feel like your spouse should be your #1 supporter, but sometimes that isn’t going to be the case.  Maybe there is a friend, another family member, or a co-worker that you can count on.  There are also great communities online through websites/apps like My Fitness Pal.

Lastly, don’t give up.  Healthy, positive changes are so worth it!  It may mean that you have to cook your own meals or exercise alone but keep at it.  Brian Wansink’s book, Mindless Eating, has a lot of great tips for eating more mindfully that can help if you are going at it alone.


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