HOW TO COPE WITH AN UNSUPPORTIVE PARTNER
by Denis Faye
You've made a commitment that will change your life. Your spouse has not. You've sworn off junk food and you workout six days a week. Your spouse sits on the couch with the remote, taunting you with bonbons and insisting reruns of "Baywatch" should have priority over your Power Half Hour.
Marriages can fail or flourish as a result of the physical and emotional changes that accompany success. We've seen people get married thanks to their success. We've seen them renew their vows. We've also seen individuals reach a hard clarity on relationship choices that might have otherwise festered unanswered for years.
At Beachbody® we've heard many stories of relationship stress caused by fear of change, or change itself. It's not exactly a supportive environment for your new quest when you choose to skip a nightly ice cream ritual in favor of calorie control. But that change can signal "trouble" to a partner who was perfectly content with the status quo. And that's where the trouble can start.
Sure, your wife or husband might be the one who off-handedly mentioned that you could stand to lose a pound or two, but when confronted with any "sacrifices" they might have to make, such as eating healthier or helping watch the kids while you make time to workout, they're not as supportive as you'd like. And they don't seem to understand that even though you now snack on celery sticks and almonds, watching them chow down on chips and salsa is still a hideous temptation that you would prefer to avoid.
Fortunately, there are productive ways to address this problem that don't have to involve domestic violence or a messy divorce. Recently, a beleaguered Beachbody.com bulletin board member called out to her fellow fitness fanatics about her "chubby hubby." The responses were varied and mostly very supportive. Amongst the commiserating was some great advice on dealing with uncooperative spouses. Although the pronoun "he" is used here liberally, we're sure you'll agree that our members, mentioned here by their Message Board handles, offer some great advice -- regardless of your spouse's gender.
Step 1: OPEN A DIALOG
A few people suggested a simple diplomatic approach. "If it were me, I would ask for his help," stated Melaura.
SusanTheMom backed that up. "Ask him straight out why he would urge you to lose weight with this program then make it more challenging for you," she insisted. "Remind him that healthy eating isn't just for overweight people, but thin people can benefit from a better diet too."
If he's still not buying it, some suggest you play a little . . . dirty: "I reminded my husband that if I was successful in this program, I would feel better about myself," said Brit, "and, in turn, that my sex drive would increase."
2. CREATE SIMPLE SOLUTIONS
Maybe he's not the talking type. In this case, resort to simple straightforward solutions. Brit had a suggestion that involves "putting all of his crappy food in a couple of drawers that we call his. I just don't ever go there and that has helped."
Or you can hide the junk even further away. Carol6328 made this deal with her partner; "I do the grocery shopping so I get to pick what we have around the house. If he wants junk food, I'll buy it but he has to take it to his office."
After doing this for a couple months, Carol16328 discovered her cravings for garbage faded. "I didn't have a problem with willpower and now we have all sorts of chips and snacks in the house," she enthused.
3. SHE WHO COOKS, CONTROLS.
Mom-o-plenty points out that if you're the house shopper, you're probably also the house chef. "If your husband is complaining, don't play into it," she said. "If you do the cooking and he wants to eat, sooner or later he will either choose to eat what you are cooking or learn to fix his own meals."
She's happy to report that after a little grumbling, she's managed to convert her whole family to the healthy side of dinner. "They have more energy and are not such couch potatoes," she delighted, "and my husband is telling me that he isn't craving sweets as much."
Paxman chimed in with the male perspective on trying to eat healthy without a lot of support from home. "(My wife) has always been the one to do most of the grocery shopping," he explained, "so now I find that I have to make a shopping trip (or two) dedicated to my new eating habits. Plus I cannot get her involved in these habits, so I find that our meals consist of the family's meal... and mine."
Of course, here's another twist on Paxman's advice. Tell your junk-loving spouse that if they want unhealthy food in the house, they'll have to buy it themselves.
4. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
If none of this works, the healthy eater will still prevail in the long run. "Even skinny people can be unhealthy," wrote Alyse27. "Just because your husband eats junk food and doesn't gain weight, doesn't mean that it's not bad for him."
"Maybe once your family sees your awesome Beachbody® that will motivate them too," Want2lookgood added. "Personally, I wouldn't want to walk beside my boyfriend if he had a six pack and I had six rolls."
5. WE STAND BY YOU
Most importantly, remember that you have over 30,000 friends on the message boards and 10,000 people within the Beachbody® Support Team standing behind you. There is always someone at Beachbody.com to listen and help. "We all screw up sometimes. It's part of being human," confided Donna K, "and we're always here with some positive feed back."
6. THE OTHER SIDE
Hopefully, you're feeling a bit more empowered now, but before you confront your spouse, remember: just because exercise and healthy eating are working for you, that doesn't mean you should impose them on everyone else. You made a decision to live a healthy, active lifestyle with Beachbody®; they didn't. If someone had antagonized you into the decision, you might never have followed through with your commitment.
The simple fact is that when people see the changes in you, that you're feeling better about yourself, they'll probably be inspired to support you and to make the same commitment for themselves. Nothing is as motivating as seeing someone you know succeed.
Getting to that point with your significant other may be easy or it may be a long road. Just don't forget to keep pushing play. Don't expect support, but be sure to acknowledge it when you get it because you're one of the lucky ones.
Footnote: Beachbody® is assembling a thorough collection of tips and anecdotes about how to cope with an unsupportive partner. Thanks to the strength of this community, we want to share more ideas and solutions on this topic, and we encourage you to submit your stories and thoughts to us at tellus@Beachbody.com. We will only publish these stories with your name if you allow us to, otherwise we will change names to protect your anonymity. But in order to help people understand they are not alone in seeking a solution for this common motivational problem, we want as many stories, with as much detail as you will share with us. Again, send your story to us at tellus@Beachbody.com.
NEW ON THE MESSAGE BOARDS
Beachbody® welcomes another new addition to its fitness staff, Melinda Nicci. Melinda is the owner of Baby2Body, a London-based fitness company that specializes in workouts for new and expecting mothers. Now she also has her own thread here on the Beachbody® Message Boards. Check it out by clicking below!
MESSAGE BOARD POST OF THE MONTH
Keeping Up With The Jones'
From member GhostWheel, in the Power 90® Forum.
The great thing about Beachbody.com and Power 90® is the emphasis on community. We post our pictures, share our successes, and lean on each other for support. It's a great place to grow fit, and I think I can safely say that many of us are so much the better for having found it.
Sometimes, as happens in a lot of communities, every once in a while you can't help measuring your success by what's going on over your neighbor's side of the fence. They get a new car, you want a new car; they get satellite TV, and before you know it, there's a big silver dish on your own roof.
I've noticed in the brief time I've been here that we have our own version of Keeping up with The Jones'" going on, and in a lot of cases it might be holding some people back. A lot of times I see people post their 30, 60, even 90 day pictures with comments like, "I was hoping for more dramatic results," or It doesn't look like much, but I feel different."
Pshaw! That's crazy talk.
First off, where's this coming from? For a lot of people, this is the most active, most athletically focused they've been in years (if ever); the only expectation should be that at the end of 30, 60, 90 days, I will be in better shape. Comments like the ones above signal a shift from gaining encouragement from other's results to measuring yourself against them. I can tell you unequivocally that at the end of 90 days, I won't look like Brice, or SqueakyD, or Kelly128, or any other of a host of other fantastic people that have completed 90 days of Power 90®.
But I will be a MUCH better Ghost than I was before I started. And that makes me excited. We each need to celebrate everyone's milestones, including our own. What attracted me to this program was that there were no gimmicks you got what you put into it. If you put in great effort, you achieve great results; and great is a personal, subjective measure, not a global, universal one. If at the end of 30 days you can do 5 continuous pushups for the first time in your life, that is as significant as another person that can finally do 300.
So let's build on our accomplishments, celebrate them unconditionally. Look at your milestones as if you were looking at a total stranger; if it wasn't you, would you be quick with a pat on the back and a proclamation? Of course you would! So congratulate yourself on completing 2 weeks, or 1 day, or 3 months with the enthusiasm that you reserve to encourage everyone else.
For every outstanding success at Beachbody® . . . there are 1,000 more!