Relationships are multi-faceted and they certainly don’t exist on a solely emotional plain. Sometimes the topic of physical health becomes a roadblock in discussions. Although it’s not always this case, many women find themselves the ones who are more interested in staying in good shape, and having a conversation about health with their less-excited man is challenging.
I am reposting an article I wrote on this subject of healthy conversations about health. I hope it encourages you and gives you a few ideas you might not have tried!
HEALTHY CONVERSATIONS: Talking with Him about Making Healthy Choices
For us women, our health motivations are often tied to our desire to be beautiful. This is a different can of worms when it comes to talking with our boyfriends or husbands on the subject of health. They don’t think of it in the same terms. They often don’t prioritize it in the ways we do.
How can we encourage the men we love to take care of themselves? To go for a run? To choose a stir-fry dish instead of nachos for dinner? To get enough sleep?
I will discuss three main areas of health in which we will need to have conversations with our significant others, and how to do this without putting him on the defensive.
Conversations on any of these three subjects can be troubling to bring up in a discussion, but if we are the concerned friends and lovers we claim to be for our men, these are conversations that we need to have.
Food and eating is a huge part of our lives as humans. The phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” has a lot of truth to it still. Keep in mind that food is often a comfort to him. He eats dinner after a long day of work and that meal is his first step in unwinding. If you come at him with a judgmental or blame-inducing attitude for his unhealthy meal choice of a burger and fries, he will feel that you’re attacking his comfort, instead of expressing loving concern for his nutrition.
You can offer to cook together and bring along some easy and healthy recipes to try. Check in with him after he’s eaten a healthy meal to see how he’s feeling. If he begins to realize the physical benefits of healthy eating, he will be more willing to continue this nutritional adjustment without your help.
Shop together for healthy options and get the cabinets stocked with better choices. Make dinners in big batches so that he can take leftovers to work instead of springing for fast food if he runs out of time.
Invite him to join you on a journey to better health. If you don’t know much about nutrition, check out a book at the library and educate yourself. Whatever you do, don’t make the conversation about his need to improve. Make sure he knows that you love him, his beer belly, and everything else that comes with him. Love should never be made to seem that it is conditional on physical appearance.
Some guys love to exercise, some guys would rather do without it entirely, but whatever the metabolism he has or the activity preference he holds, your partner will need to exercise.
There are few components that affect this – time and energy. Does he prefer to exercise at the beginning or end of the day? Does he like classes at the gym? Free weights on the machines? Running hills? Is he a sports team player? There are many ways to exercise and he’ll be much more likely to stick with it if he enjoys the activity.
Once you know he likes, see if there’s a way that you can join him, at least some of the time. Accountability with exercise is a huge way to keep it coming.
If your husband or boyfriend is entirely resistant to the idea of exercise, don’t nag her bully him about it. You might consider challenging him to run a lap around the lake. Sometimes the inspiration of company with a beautiful woman is a great way to get him hooked.
Exercise is something you will both have to work at. Some couples take long runs together, some take dance lessons. My husband and I use workout DVDs in our living room to keep things convenient.
Having energy to exercise is often connected to good food choices. So if you need a place to start, focus on nutrition first, then when he’s feeling better, he will be more willing to talk about exercising.
Once food and exercise are moving toward a happier medium in the life of you and your man, you will want to consider the overall lifestyle you share, as well as how you each live separately.
Do you have healthy sleeping patterns? Are there any sources of stress from the workplace, family, or other social responsibilities? Is your shared schedule jam-packed so there’s no room to breathe or is it perhaps so wide open that it’s full of long empty spaces of boredom?
Are the two of you making time to sit, talk, check-in, and really listen to each other? This is the overall emotional health component to a person’s well-being. Everyone’s mood is affected by nutrition and exercise (though, of course there are other contributing factors to mood).
Simple things like helping him to go to bed on time so that his alarm doesn’t wake him in the middle of the sleep cycle, or giving him a backrub after a brutal day at work are ways you can contribute to his healthy lifestyle.
If he feels that your questions about his health stem from love for him rather than a project manager’s desire to “fix” him, he’ll be very responsive to your suggestions, concerns, and thoughts.
Bottom line, if you’re approaching his health with a loving heart, his health will benefit and so will your relationship.
Article reposted with permission. Originally posted here.