This is something dreaded by everyone. You’ve got someone you care about deeply, who you might even want to share the rest of your life with and you want that to be a long and happy life together. There’s just this tiiiiiiiiny problem.
Your honeybunch has some unhealthy habits that you worry will mean that life may not be as long or as happy as you hope it would be, and you want to help them with that, but how to do it without causing problems? Well, here’s some ideas that may help you to help them improve their general health.
“Better” is subjective
It’s important to know that you might see your sweetie’s unhealthy habits as a problem, but they don’t. It might be because they don’t understand nutrition like you do, it might be something they used to be able to get away with in their early twenties, or they may just know that you’re right, but they’re not prepared to face it just yet.
That’s OK. Remember that your way isn’t automatically “better”, but it might be healthier. Keep your honey bun’s health as your goal and you’ll be in the best frame of mind to make it happen.
If you’ve recently managed to get a bit healthier yourself, it could also be that your Babycakes might feel a little self conscious with your new healthier self. They might feel that you’re leaving them behind, or worry that you’re enjoying spending so much time away from them. It might seem silly, but make sure that you let them know that you wouldn’t put this effort in to them if you didn’t plan on being with them for a long, long time.
Be the change you want to see
Leading by example can be a great motivator for your Schnookums. Knowing that you have been able to do it helps them see that they can too. Also, once you start, if they see you slacking off, they’ll feel less motivated too. Like it or not, if you want them to get healthy, you have to ramp up your health game too!
If being healthy is a recent change for you, it might be that you’re really enjoying the feeling. You’re looking better, feeling stronger, more energetic and just more you than you have in a long time. It’s normal to want to share this with your Love muffin, but make sure they don’t feel judged. No one likes that, so…
Don’t attack your Sweetheart
If you want your Buttercup to listen to you, don’t make them feel ashamed of their current lifestyle. Remember, their current life includes you, so they must have been doing something right!
Bullying your Smoochy will only make them resentful and resist you every step of the way, which means that they’re less likely to succeed, but even if they do, if you push and push and push them into it, you may break something between you and your Cuddle Bug in a way that can’t be fixed, and you don’t want that.
Encourage your Pookie
Make sure they know that you’re supporting them, and that you’re not making an ultimatum, you will love them regardless, but you think this will help you get closer together. Actually say the words. When they start, pile on the praise. Reinforce every positive thing they do. If they cook a good healthy meal, that’s the best meal you ever ate! If they make it through a tough gym session, give them a high five and a back rub! Celebrate their success and it will spur you on too, so you both win!
Let them choose their own way
Remember, your goal is health, not getting your own way. You might be super passionate about your rock climbing club, but your Honey Bunny would much rather do crossfit. That’s absolutely fine. While it might mean that it’s harder to schedule time together, especially if the classes are on at different times, it could also be that you both actually exercise better when you’re apart, instead of distracting each other.
Although, it might actually be good for your health goals to vary it up a bit and try something they want to do too, so think about letting them pick an activity for the both of you to do!
Set joint goals
We’re all different. While you might be set on becoming the next big fitness pin-up, your Sugar Lips might be willing to settle for being just a little healthier than they are now. That’s fantastic! You both win here. Write your goals down and set up a timeline to achieve them, with smaller goals for each of you along the way. If you tell them to go an a low carb diet, it’s best to be on a low carb diet as well so they wont feel like they’re being forced to, plus it’s better to be always doing things together as a couple. The idea is that both of you might be going after different things, but you and your Angel Face encourage each other to stick to the program.
This means that even if you exercise separately, you can still share the achievements as you progress to your goals.
Trust your Paramour
If you and your Precious Pumpkin have set up an eating plan, but you suspect they’ve got a stash of tim-tams hidden in the laundry, don’t turn it into a confrontation. If you ask them and they deny it, trust them. If you’re mistaken, then you’ve avoided a nasty incident. If you’re right, then they know that you’re giving them the benefit of the doubt.
If you take responsibility for their self control now, you’ll always be doing it. They need to develop it for themselves too, otherwise any health gains they make won’t last very long at all.
Reward your Precious Angel (and yourself)
When you hit those milestones along the way, celebrate together! Make a deal where if you hit your target, they will see a movie with you that you choose, and if they hit their target, you’ll take them to dinner at whatever restaurant they want.
Don’t make it seem like you’ll let them do something if they make progress. That’s dangerous territory, because it can make you seem manipulative. Rather focus on celebrating success than punishing failure.
Keep it fun
Even if you’re a drill instructor in your day job, you don’t want to treat your Precious Cherub like they’re not as good as you, or that they need to “do as they’re told”. No one likes that. Enjoy getting healthy together, but recognise when you might need to back off and enjoy things for a bit.
So there are some ideas. Every relationship is different, but if you treat your Soul Mate with honesty, trust and love, you stand the best chance of having a long, happy and healthy life together. Good luck!