Q&A: How Can I Help My Significant Other Get “Healthy”?

Q: How Can I Help My Significant Other Get/Be Healthy?

A: The short answer is that you can’t. In fact, oftentimes when we push our agendas onto others, even in the name of love, the person of interest ends up rebelling by doing the exact opposite! I know because I have been on the receiving end of the uncomfortable pressure to change, and unfortunately I have attempted to change others as well. What I’ve learned is that people can and will change only when they are ready to! Nagging or shaming him/her is NOT helpful, can be hurtful, and even damage your relationship. You are only in control of and responsible for yourself… period. I know this can be a tough pill to swallow, but you’ve GOT to gulp it down!

As a personal story, I met my fiancé many moons ago and was a completely different person. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have been dating at all back then, not because I was obese but because I was an insecure self-loathing anxiety-driven woman, but I digress! Beyond that, I was a junk-foodie and loved all the spots he did (and still does today). I was the girl who would happily eat a greasy pepperoni Dominoes pizza and wings with him, and frequent a Chic-fil-a or McDonald’s drive-thru several times per week. Home cooked meals were never a thing, neither was exercising or even drinking water, but this way of living was simply our norm for many years; no wonder why I felt so miserable! Fast forward to today’s post-transformation life, the idea of going to McDonalds is so foreign to me now and I don’t miss it at all. I am full of gratitude, daily, for finding “my time” and taking action, but frequently find myself feeling as though I’ve left my partner behind! In my judgmental moments, I cringe when I see my partner adhere to my previous lifestyle habits because I know how much better I feel and want the same for him. Let’s be clear… my desire of wishing that he’d change has nothing to do with his appearance, and everything to do with truly wanting to see my soon-to-be life partner be happy and healthy (mentally, spiritually, and physically speaking) for years to come. However, I have to remind myself that even wishing this for him does nothing but makes me feel selfishly frustrated, the longer I go without seeing it. He has to want this change for himself otherwise the results won’t last long anyway!

So the best and only thing you can do for now is be the example you wish to see. By doing so, you may be subconsciously planting the seeds for change. Those around you may soon become inspired and motivated by your light, and end up following in your footsteps because they’ve made that decision for themselves! Instead of giving off negative energy (by preaching), offer encouraging words of praise for even the tiniest baby steps you notice. For example, I applaud my fiancé when he cooks meals from scratch which always involves animal products, even though I’m vegan. If he’s in the mood to workout, I strap up my sneakers to go along with him (if he wants a gym buddy) even if I had already worked out that day. A simple high-five will do too but I can’t end this without reminding you again that the keyword here is may. Don’t be an example for others… be an example for yourself. No matter how much you may mean well, we should never expect others to change at our command. Love and accept people as they are, or you’ll only be setting yourself up for major (and unnecessary) disappointment.

If they want your help, they will ask you for it when they’re ready. Until then, you do you boo!

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