To have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in weight loss and muscle building; till death do us part. It is unlikely that these were your actual vows on your wedding day, but often the most difficult struggle a couple can face is when one member is considering a change, while the other prefers the status quo. That includes having kids, changing careers or homes, and, yes, getting into shape. You’d assume that the more attractive your partner becomes, the happier you would be, but this isn’t always the case. Increased attractiveness can foster insecurity, jealousy, resentment, and in extreme cases, emotional withdrawal and sabotage.
When a significant other becomes more attractive, and as a result, receives more and more attention, it can make the other person insecure. And if everyone starts turning their heads, look out! That person may start to wonder, “Why is my partner seeking so much attention? Is something already going on? If I find them attractive as they are, why isn’t that enough?” The answer is, of course, that we want to change to feel better about ourselves. Not that having heads turn as you enter the Christmas party is not a bonus, but it really is about meeting your own goals. And when the love of your life suddenly forgoes snuggling on the couch with Chinese takeout for a workout, resentment can enter the picture.
So how do you continue toward your fitness goals without letting it affect the relationship you have with your partner?
Begin with communication.
In the same way you should consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program, talk to your partner about what you are looking to accomplish. Explain that this is not motivated by a desire to attract other people, or anyone already in your life, but simply because you want to be healthier and feel better about yourself. Going into detail about your exercise plan and nutritional goals can take the unknown out of the equation, and possibly spark a desire in your mate. If you are still met with resentment, explain that you do not expect your partner to change just because you want to, and that you love him or her exactly as he or she is.
Ask for support.
The road to health can be a tough battle, and we can use all of the support we can get. Asking your partner to be supportive along this road can make a huge difference. Ask your mate to use positive comments regarding your progress, and to only ask if you are making a wise choice, if you actually slip up. This will allow your partner to feel like he or she is part of the process without giving him or her the power to control it. Encouraging your partner to join you along this path will elicit the greatest amount of support of all.
Get a training partner.
If your mate is unwilling to join you, find someone who is. Having a training partner creates greater motivation and retention than doing it alone. Obviously, find someone of the same sex, or at least someone who won’t threaten your mate. If you’re meeting resistance from your mate, working out with Lorenzo Lamas won’t increase the love at home. In addition to pushing one another to work out and eat healthy, talk with the training partner about your frustrations and ask about his or her own. If you are unable to find a Workout Buddy, remember your Team Beachbody Coach is always available to give you added motivation.
Don’t fall into eating pitfalls.
Grocery shopping, meal preparation, and snacking can be challenging in a household on the same eating path. But when you are trying to eat lean protein and vegetables, and your partner would prefer macaroni and cheese with a side of fries, the challenge can become World War III. If you are the primary shopper and food preparer, you have a lot of power over what your family consumes. Healthy food can taste great, and your mate might have no idea that you have altered his or her diet. With that said, you might need to make concessions for what your mate desires and make alterations to meal plans that can satisfy both people’s needs. Something as easy as adding an extra side for your mate can keep the peace. If you are not the primary meal provider, be prepared to take control over what you consume.
Also, make sure tempting treats are out of immediate reach. If you have a countertop full of potato chips and Oreos, eating carrot sticks might lose its appeal. Put all of your partner’s junk food in a specific drawer, and avoid it.
Try to work out around family time.
There are only so many hours in a day, and you should spend at least eight of those hours asleep. Finding time to exercise can be challenging as it is. And if that exercise time cuts into time that can be spent with a loved one, resentment can build. I have several friends who began workout programs that took them immediately from work to the gym daily, which got them home at 9 PM. Basically, they didn’t see their mate until Saturday, which did not go over well. Here is where Beachbody workouts are so helpful. If you can manage to crawl out of bed a bit earlier in the morning, you can begin your day with an amazing workout, and still be home in time to have dinner with your partner. If you’re a night owl, try working out after your love has retired for the evening. Being considerate of your time together can make all the difference in the world.
Keep the peace, but honor thyself.
Sometimes all of the communication and consideration in the world will not help a partner to understand your desire to change. If this is the case, short of seeking therapy, you must continue toward your goals and try to make it as undisruptive as possible to your partner. We realize that this is one of the most important relationships in your life, but no relationship is more important than the one you have with yourself. Walking away from health and fitness to please someone else will just lead you down the path of resentment. Keep moving forward, creating positive change, and try to still give energy to the relationship. Maybe your partner will not understand, but perhaps over time, he or she can learn to accept.
Relationships can be incredible adventures that offer great opportunities for growth, happiness, and security. Learning to navigate that adventure can be challenging, but ultimately well worth it. Always remember that your greatest tools are communication and compassion. Sometimes, trying to understand why our partner is resistant can help you figure out a way to explain your needs to them. And know that change will come in life, whether we create it or not. Figuring out how to foster support over something like lifestyle change can make the harder struggles in life easier to deal with later on. Having six-pack abs should not destroy “till death do us part.” And with communication, consideration, and some effective planning, perhaps your mate might learn to love your new look.