4 Ways to Encourage your Spouse in a Healthy LifestyleFitness Professional and Founder of Team Up Health and Fitness Drew Saenz gives advice on supporting your spouse in a healthy lifestyle and shares his own personal experience. Drew has a passion for helping others obtain a better state of health through education and action based fitness and nutrition programs. After personally losing over 60 pounds he decided fitness was the career for him.
For avid gym goers, we know exercising is a decision we have to personally make on a daily basis. We may or may not have a spouse that attends exercise session with us, or even goes to the gym at all. Whether you have support on this journey, or you go it alone, there are different phases you have to navigate. This is called the Transtheoretical Model made up of five stages of behavior.
Stage One: Precontemplation
Stage Two: Contemplation
Stage Three: Preparation/Determination
Stage Four: Action/Willpower
Stage Five: Maintenance
Humans tend to go through all give stages before actually getting into action. We might stay in contemplation stage of years before taking action. What science has also shown us is that a supportive spouse can be directly related to moving into action and maintenance phase of behavior change much faster than those who do not have a supportive spouse in their life. When we think of supportive, we have to be very careful of what that looks like in order to ensure the other spouse does not look at this support as attacking, talking down to, disrespecting etc. For me personally, I grew up in a home with a step father who did just that to my mother. He was an avid gym goer “body builder” type and was very disrespectful to my mother and me in regard to our weight and exercising. This led to years of binging on fast food behind his back, lying about going to the gym, and having a very negative relationship with what overall health and well-being actually looks like. Here are four fool proof ways to support your spouse on a life long journey to better health without causing a negative impact on your relationship:
- Lead by example, commit to consistent physical activity, prepare healthy meals in the home that you both enjoy, and share your personal wins when it comes to your fitness.
- Discuss things you want to be able to do later in life. Grandkids on the way? Let your spouse know it’s important to you to be healthy and active to enjoy time with them and show them you are committed.
- Encourage and support your spouse in activity they are already doing. Positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate someone to keep going and have a healthy relationship with their own choices.
- Understand it is their journey and not yours. If the two of you decide to exercise together GREAT, you will build a stronger bond and enjoy a new activity together. If not that is OK, continue to support your spouse in the positive activities they do participate in.