How to make healthy lifestyle changes with your partner

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You can be strongly motivated to pursue a healthy living but sometimes find it hard to stick to your goals. Studies show that support from your loved ones is very important to achieve lasting results. It will be easier to sustain a healthy lifestyle if your partner can truly understand your intentions and better yet, join you in your journey. 

I’ve known my husband for two decades already. We are both fitness and health professionals, but just like an ordinary couple, we’ve been through a lot of challenges when it comes to finding the best strategies that can match our personalities, unique qualities, personal goals, and family history. We also learned from experts and couples around us. Through the years, we developed ways and discovered strategies on how to support each to pursue healthy living and find the balance in our relationship – staying HEALTHY while having FUN.

Here are some effective approaches for healthy living that you can also try with your partner.

Prioritize health together

Start your healthy journey as a couple by sharing your concerns about longevity and living a quality life. You might always have the best intentions of building the best life together, but unexpected things like health, financial and personal issues can disrupt the smooth flow that you’ve always been experiencing in your relationship.

Discuss with your partner the most immediate action plan you can do to live a healthy lifestyle together. It can be an appointment with a health professional to know where to start so that a comprehensive medical check-up (blood tests, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests) to assess your overall health can be scheduled right away. Then communicate on how you can support each other with food, movement, and sleep to improve health and fitness goals. 

  • Identify the foods that you love, which can contribute a lot to improving your health and well-being.
  • Talk about your schedule and plan when to incorporate exercise and lifestyle activities such as walking and household chores into your daily lives, whether you do it together, separately, or with the whole family.
  • Plan your night so you can both get quality sleep together.
  • Invest in a fitness and lifestyle coach to guide you both in your journey when needed.

Set a workout date with your partner

A workout date can be as simple as devoting 30 minutes to any physical activity that you both enjoy even once a week such as brisk walking, running, playing tennis, joining an online or live class, or lifting weights at home together. It’s such an amazing feeling to realize how much you are giving importance to health and fitness as a couple. The workout date is your time away from work and responsibilities that can help release stress and worries. It also serves as a form of bonding activity that can help strengthen your relationship.

Lack of movement while indulging in sumptuous foods when on a vacation can lead to weight gain and a decline in fitness levels. To avoid this from happening, explore physical activities together such as hiking, visiting a workout studio, or running.  Use a fitness tracker so you can set goals together when it comes to the workout volume that you should do, either by setting a calorie burn target from physical activities (between 300 to 500 calories) or completing at least 10,000 steps while on a vacation. 

Reinforce healthy behaviors

Always give positive feedback to your partner when it comes to his/her overall energy level, moods, health, and fitness results, which can greatly contribute to more solid exercise compliance and healthier eating habits.

Relate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle with what your partner values the most. You can always motivate your partner to continue healthy living by reminding him/her how healthy living contributes to the most important things in life such as the following:

  • If your partner values work: “I notice how your morning workouts make you very productive and more enthusiastic about work.”
  • If your partner values family: “I love the energy and positive vibe that you always give to me and to your kids.”
  • If your partner values socialization: “Your radiance inspires all the people around you.”
  • If your partner values financial freedom: “We’ve been saving a lot of money by cooking simple and healthy foods at home.”
  • If your partner values life experiences: “We’ve been maximizing and enjoying our adventures and vacations together because of our fitness level.”

Give your partner healthy, but satisfying foods

Home-cooked meals are essential when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. However, bland healthy foods can give you feelings of deprivation, which might lead to overeating. You still need to give room for food treats so you can enjoy the overall process of a balanced lifestyle as a healthy couple.

Always be excited to prepare healthy and delicious meals for your partner.  Don’t hesitate to give feedback and suggestions with your home-cooked meals so you can always improve your skills and make healthy eating sustainable. You can also challenge your partner to create healthy and yummy meals.

You can have sweet treats together or eat at one of your favorite restaurants once or twice a week. Just practice portion control while mindfully enjoying every bite of your favorite foods.  Eat slowly, be aware of your fullness level, and know when to stop. 

When on vacation, you can both explore more foods, but make sure that you still balance your eating by always ordering healthy foods such as salad bowls or cooked mixed veggies together with your food cravings such as steak, pasta, or a burger.

Truly understand each other’s needs and wants

Never miss the opportunity, at least once a day to ask how your partner feels and what he/she wants at the moment. 

Know what works well for your partner, who might not be as strict as you when it comes to exercise and diet. Always keep in mind that you can’t be exactly the same when it comes to your health and fitness goals. You can influence, inspire and encourage your partner, but you can never impose something that you like. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Respect your partner’s interests and always give your support to achieve his/her full potential. 

After considering your partner’s needs and concerns, it’s time to share what type of support you greatly need from him/her to so you can easily achieve your goals such as:

  • Remind you to move daily
  • Motivate you to stay strong despite the challenges
  • Make healthy foods available at home (instead of fast foods and sugary snacks)
  • Go to bed early together
  • Avoid late-night eating

 

Email the author at [email protected] or follow/message her on Instagram @mitchfelipemendoza

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