As a follower of this website, you obviously have your health and that of your loved ones high on your priority list, and more importantly, you are investing time and effort to attain knowledge, skills, tips etc so that you can walk the talk.
While you and I are totally bought into the ‘preventative’ philosophy and live by it as best we can, most people do what they do until forced to change due to some symptom or other, or in response to doctors’ orders. It’s like when you’re pregnant, everyone else (at least the ladies!) appears to be pregnant also – similarly, it may seem that everyone is well informed on matters relating to health and nutrition, but unfortunately in reality, far from it
Amongst many other influences, you are aware of how ‘out of our control’ things are in relation to our food supply and production, and the negative impact this has on our physical and mental health and on our environment. So, of course, you want to take the holistic route, and bring others on board with you.
But perhaps they’re not so enthusiastic…the quick glances across the kitchen table and the long sighs are a giveaway, if not strong verbal objections to embracing change.
Here’s my advice:
In taking control of your health, quietly and calmly make all the changes you want to do in your own time, at your pace. It’s your health, your body, your happiness, your life. In doing this, you are being the best role model that you can possibly be. You want to avoid debates (unless they’re healthy ones), arguments and meltdowns. And that’s before we even start to look at the kids
Let others observe, get curious, experiment, and soon the questions, and then their cooperation, perhaps even enthusiasm, will follow.
They don’t always listen to you, so give them the tools for them to discover for themselves. Movies and documentaries are a great way to educate and start debates – sit down as a family and watch them together with some homemade popcorn and healthy snacks. Some suggestions are:
• Food Inc
• Fork Over Knives
• Fed Up
• Hungry for Change
• Food Matters
• The Future of Food
• Supersize me
• Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
• That Sugar Film
• The Magic Pill
Don’t expect perfection: we all go off track from time to time, and should not beat ourselves up. The important thing is that most of the time we are eating well and looking after ourselves. If you give into temptation once in a while, that’s totally ok. If you indulge more than you intend, let it go and move on.
We certainly can’t expect perfection from our kids; even as adults we are trying to get it right, so let’s cut them some slack. It’s their job to question, push, rebel – rest assured that with the healthy exposure and mentoring you are giving them from a young age (which you may not have had), they will always have that grounding. They will stray as is their nature, but they will come back to healthier ways.
Spouses can be particularly tricky, so here’s what you can do.
1) Talk about (and write down) your future personal aspirations and those together as a couple. I truly believe that this is a key motivator in getting others to understand why they must invest the time now in their health. Often we meander our way along to poor health…as opposed to embracing and preparing for future happy times
2) Watch health-focused movies and documentaries, leave books and interesting articles casually lying around
3) Start a health kick together so you both have more energy (see my video for my Health Vs Wealth analogy, and Energy Vs Time motivator); finally run that 5k together you’ve been meaning to do – plus, it’s quality time with your partner
4) Encourage wellness check-ups with your family doctor, as we usually come away with some homework to improve medical results before the next visit
5) Get your partner’s buy-in on reducing junk food around the house – tell him or her that you’re learning there’s a direct correlation between unhealthy food consumption and the kids’ performance at school and in sports
6) Rather than serve up dishes they may not like, make healthier versions of your usual family meals – even better, prepare and cook these together
If you feel tension rising over what’s healthy and what’s not, take a deep breath, give yourself a timeout, and ‘just be’ for a little while. Apply the same strategy when someone arrives at your house with some junk food – take a deep breath, quietly laugh it off knowing it’s a one-off for you and your family, then move on.
In the case of an emergency, we are told to look after ourselves first, and then give assistance to others. It might seem selfish, but if we are not strong, fit and healthy, then how can we be an example to persuade others to adopt the prevention route. With you leading the way, your family are very lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy healthier, happier lives. If they don’t see that now, don’t beat yourself up. They’ll come around, all in good time.
Sometimes, the objections from partners to eating healthier relate to the myth that being healthy costs a lot of money – in response to that you can quote some of the tips in the attached articles:
Here are some other articles that might also provide some ideas for those small lifestyle changes that collectively add up to a positive healthier outcome!
In closing off this series, I’d like to thank you for your engagement and comments on motivating our kids, caregivers and partners. I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter by way of downloading my FREE 2018 eGuide https://lizarowan.com/
Wishing you continued success in your wellness journey,
To our health!
When not not busy in my favourite role as mother to my two boys, I dedicate my time to educate, motivate and inspire us all to lead healthier, happier lives. This involves hosting Nutrition courses (in-class and online), corporate wellness talks, workshops and when I have time, private consultations.
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