I am very lucky to say that my fiance Brendan has been super supportive of my health journey over the past however many years we've been together (4.5 years?...I should know this). When we first started dating I didn't tell him how bad my digestive issues were which led to some painful dates of me eating cheeseburgers and pizza.
On our first date I ate a personal pizza to myself which was quite large and straight up told him I ate too much food and could not partake in bowling or laser tag...luckily he was thinking the same thing. #romance
Brendan has been with me through the best and the WORST of times. When we started to figure out more about what it is I could and could not eat, he was totally fine eating flourless desserts, chickpea pasta, and dairy-free everything. He was also there with me when I was diagnosed with cancer and started to cut back on sugar, alcohol and other unhealthy foods. He is always down to go to a healthy restaurant knowing that it will make me feel better and honestly, I just don't think he likes dealing with me when I am bloated and cranky.
Although I have been extremely lucky, I know that not everyone has the same experience. I have some clients who make double the meals because their partners don't want to eat their new healthy recipes or struggle because their partner still requests junk food making it harder to avoid when they are trying to eat healthy.
I am not an expert by any means and every relationship is different but I hope some of these tips work for you!
1. Don't buy it. If you're in charge of grocery shopping just don't buy that extra junk. If your partner or family member insists on having it, then talk it through with them and see if there is a way you can compromise. Perhaps it's just having one junk food item in the house at a time and in smaller quantities.
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2. Avoid cooking two meals. If you happen to be the one in charge of cooking dinner then don't cook to completely different meals. That is going to take too much time and discourage you from eating healthy yourself. Work with your partner or family to create the meal plan for the week. Your kids love pasta? Make a healthy pasta alternative. Your partner loves tacos? Make a healthy taco recipe. There are so many alternatives nowadays to traditionally unhealthy meals like cheese burgers and fries, pizza, tacos, and pasta.
3. Create an open dialogue. Whatever your reasoning is for eating and living healthier, it's always good to share your goals and reasoning with the people you live with. It may not resonate with them right away but they will come to understand it as you begin to progress and feel better. For example, you may say that you are removing dairy, gluten and processed foods from the house because it worsens your digestive health and you are going to make x, y, z more often because it makes you feel healthier, happier and more energized.
4. Get them involved. Start small and get them involved with meal planning as mentioned in #2 but take it further by eventually getting them to join along. Perhaps it's getting a new water bottle for yourself and your partner and/or kids and having a bit of a challenge or seeing who can go the longest without eating sugar. Make it fun and maybe throw in a little incentive!
5. Stay in your lane. If you don't get the most positive feedback from the people you live with or even friends, just remember that you are doing this for YOU! Yes, perhaps you want to be healthy for your kids as well and to be more productive at work but it really comes back down to your own personal physical and mental wellbeing. Now, I'm not going to say it's going to be easy. I personally still deal with snarky comments which annoy me but I just have to remember that many of these people are coming from place of jealously and that I can't let them dictate how I want to live my life and neither should you!
So the takeaways here are to keep an open dialogue, remember who you are doing this for, get your loved ones involved and find fun meal alternatives that work for everyone!
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