3 Tips To Balancing Spouse Support In Weight Loss
Getting back into your best shape can be an exciting time in your life. But this exciting time for you, can also mean challenges between you and your significant other as you pursue your goals. As a nutritionist, fitness trainer and President of MealsThatTransform.com, I have heard countless client concerns about how to motivate their spouses into being more supportive of their efforts. After all, when you want to look and feel healthier and sexier for both yourself and your spouse, it can be discouraging to have a partner that doesn’t understand what you are going through, or are willing to go through, to make it happen. Below are some of the most common concerns I hear from clients seeking more support from their spouses, and some practical tips to help you and your partner “stop the insanity” (as that great 80’s fitness icon Susan Powters would say) so you can connect on your weight loss goals together.
#1. My spouse wants me to lose weight, but complains about (and is frequently frustrated with) how irritable I am when I change my eating habits.
Changing the body at the cellular level takes enormous amounts of energy and can cause a chemical re-balancing of hormones for both men and women. Withdrawal symptoms of irritability and crankiness are prone to happen as the body shifts its comfortable metabolism to a new healthy state. Sugary carb cravings, practicing self-discipline and changing perspectives on nutrition, impacts both the mind and body, and can definitely cause signs of emotional duress and frustration similar to detoxifying from a drug. Spouses need to be understanding of the reality of “losing weight” for their partners, so they can manage the side effects and expectations of the process together as a team. Even if your spouse isn’t losing weight with you, talking about the process and potential “transformation effects” as a couple with a nutritionist before the plan begins, can help navigate emotional breakdowns when they happen and prevent lots of potentially tearful arguments along the way.
What You Can Do Together:
Make an appointment with your nutritionist, (and/or weight loss counselor) 3 weeks before you begin your plan, so that both of you have time to discuss the physical and emotional impact weight loss can have on a daily basis and creating a preventative reaction plan (things that you can do together to calm intense situations as they arise) is a great way to keep perspective when emotions are high. Below are 3 practical and positive preventative measures that will be a reminder to work as a team!
- Write down some supportive words and phrases that you and your spouse can use to relay understanding in an escalating situation
- Creating a defined breathing routine enabling you both to calm down when you hit a breakdown
- Communicate with your spouse when you hit a challenging day so that you can work through it together
#2. My spouse is frustrated at how much time I spend every day focused on my diet and exercise routine.
It took time to gain unwanted weight and it will take time, possibly a significant amount of time, to lose the weight too. Healthy weight loss demands a dedicated time commitment which will be used in nutrition education, meal planning, meal prep, and exercise to accomplish long term transformation. Weight loss is also an investment of energy that may have been previously utilized to do other things together as a couple such as; watching movies, watching TV, eating out, or other leisure activities, and that shift can be a big adjustment to your relationship. Often times this problem occurs when the time commitment is not well planned out or understood by both spouses.
What You Can Do Together:
Creating a new schedule together to accommodate for education, meal prep, planning and exercise can go a long way toward spouses not feeling jealous or upset about the time shift. Making sure there is opportunity for togetherness as a couple will be paramount for continued success in the future, as weight loss begins to take shape and the journey becomes more emotional. Creating a strong support structure in your relationship by clearly outlining what is needed for the plan to move forward, and calendaring both weight loss time and time together, is always a healthy approach to compromise and can prevent unwanted, success hindering conflict in a relationship. Again, talk with a nutritionist or weight loss counselor as a couple, to gain better perspective on how much time you and your spouse can expect to spend on your goals daily, and calendar your personal time together around those goals.
#3. My spouse continues to tell me I need to lose weight, but is not supportive of the financial commitment that it takes to do it correctly.
This is probably one of the biggest and most troubling concerns I hear. Having a clearly defined budget before you begin a weight loss plan goes a long way in being mutually respectful of the process and supportive of the financial reality. Often times, spouses are under the impression that sustainable weight loss can be done quickly for substantially less cost than it really takes, when in fact, working with a nutritionist to create plan meals, purchasing all of the ingredients for those meals (or having a meal delivery service work with you), meeting with a weight loss counselor to be emotionally prepared and scheduling a few sessions with a fitness trainer to teach you how to properly exercise and use equipment throughout different stages of weight loss, can take a significant financial investment. No one in a relationship should go into a financially demanding situation without first making sure that both parties are on board. In my experience, financial miscommunication between spouses is a leading factor in goal failure, which is why being on the same monetary spreadsheet is so important for success.
What You Can Do Together:
Schedule a planning meeting together to see what you can afford pre-plan is vital to success and support. There are many weight loss options that can accommodate even a small budget, so research and pick the plan that you can afford. Sticking to the budget once it’s set and reconnecting on the cost of the next step of progression, is a great way to avoid financial conflict. As a couple, talking with a trainer, nutritionist and/or counselor and discussing everything from start to finish is so important to a successful and positive experience in making sure that both parties are ready to commit to the full financial cost. The odds of you achieving your goals with the support of your spouse is much higher, and at the end of it all, both you and your spouse will be so happy with not only how you look, but how you feel as a team.
Utilizing these 3 tips to plan, work for and achieve personal goals as a united front, will not only increase your personal success, but will make your relationship stronger, turning you into the ultimate power couple-and who doesn’t want that?!