Celebrity nutritionist and fitness trainer, Angela Martindale, explores 3 common complaints from spouses of partners who are trying to lose weight, and gives 4 easy fixes to make everyone happy!
Getting back into your best shape can be an exciting time in your life. It means that you recognize that you could be healthier and you are ready and committed to making a positive transformation in your life. But this exciting time for you, can also mean challenges between you and your significant other, as your vision becomes reality. As a nutritionist, fitness trainer and President of MealsThatTransform.com, I have heard countless client concerns over my 20 years of helping people in their weight loss goals, 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 partners and spouses, and some practical tips, that can help you and your other half “stop the insanity” (as that great 80’s fitness icon Susan Powters would say) and reconnect on your goals together (or begin the process together), of embarking on a successful journey to a new, healthy and sustainable transformation not only in weight, but in your partnership too.
#1. My spouse wants me to lose weight, but complains about (and is frequently frustrated with) how irritable I am when I try to change my eating habits.
Changing the body at the cellular level takes enormous amounts of energy and can cause a chemical rebalancing 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. When we are changing our body, and our daily lifestyle habits, we our changing our thought process at the same time & doing both simultaneously can be challenging. 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” with a nutritionist before the plan begins as a couple, can really help with stress management for both you and your spouse, help navigate emotional breakdowns and prevent lots of potentially tearful arguments along the way.
What You Can Do Together:
Make an appointment with your nutritionist or lifestyle coach 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 create a reaction plan – things that you can do together to calm intense situations as they arise, such as; write down some supportive words and phrases you and your spouse can use to relay understanding in an escalating situation, a defined breathing routine that enables you both to calm down when you hit a breakdown, and/or personally being aware of your own behavior and calmly acknowledging it to your spouse, are all practical and positive preventative measures, that will put you both on the same page in reminding each other that you are a team!
#2. My spouse is frustrated at how much time I spend every day focused on my diet and exercise.
It took time to gain the 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 an investment of energy that may have been previously utilized to do things together as a couple such as; watching movies and TV, eating out, drinking a bottle of wine together 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:
Change your lifestyle together. Coming together as a team for the benefit of your relationship in support, can be a healthy experience for you both as you find other fun ways to be together. Creating a new schedule together before committing to a lifestyle change together can help to accommodate for education, meal prep, planning and exercise and 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 lifestyle coach 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, because date nights can go a long way in feeling reconnected as a couple.
#3. I want to get healthy, but my partner 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 budgetary outline before you begin a healthy lifestyle change 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 and healthy lifestyle changes 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, understand how much it will cost and where exactly the money is going every month. In my experience, financial miscommunication between spouses is a leading factor in goal failure, which is why being on the same monetary spreadsheet is paramount for success.
What You Can Do Together:
Again, scheduling a planning meeting together to see what you can afford and working within your budget is vital to creating that supportive network at home. There are many weight loss and lifestyle change 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 is a great way to avoid financial conflict and as you progress in the weight loss program, make sure to discuss additional costs of the next step in your plan together. 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 changing your body from the inside out. Making sure that both parties are ready to commit to the full financial cost, means that 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.
Planning your weight loss efforts with these 3 tips will make your experience so much more positive. Knowing that you can plan, work for and achieve personal goals as a united front, will not only increase your personal experience, but will make your relationship stronger, turning you into the ultimate power couple-and who doesn’t want that?!
Angela Martindale is a celebrity nutritionist, fitness trainer and lifestyle coach with over 54,000 clinical hours. She is President of SLC, Utah’s #1 organic, fresh, gluten-free custom meal delivery service MealsThatTransform.com, (creating over 70,000 meals/year). Angela is also the Creator of CHIYOGAFLOW, Producer of the Ultimate Transformation lifestyle series, a motivational wellness speaker and is a health and wellness guest on local UT network TV affiliate stations such as CBS, ABC, FOX13 and NBC.
Photo credit: Flickr/RyanMcGinnis