When Health And Wellness Goals In Your Relationship Collide
If you’re single, this might not apply to you, but be sure that the person that you’re swiping right on has similar lifestyle goals. Now for the rest of us who have found love (for now), there are some important things to navigate in a relationship. After the initial shock of farting in front of your partner, you’re also going to have to tackle other uncomfortable things like whether you’re aligned on your health and wellness lifestyle goals.
My boyfriend and I have some similarities, but also some distinct differences. If sugar were an illegal substance, we would most likely sell our kidneys to a dealer in order to get some. So we have to be very cognizant of our sweets consumption. Whenever either of us feel like we’ve been indulging too much for a certain period of time, we avoid going into self-shaming fat depression. Instead, one of us points out the obvious, and together we make a commitment to drastically reduce our sugar consumption for awhile (anywhere from a week to thirty days). Practically, this helps a lot because then neither of us can consciously buy or bring sweet treats into our place.
The first step in any relationship is to have a conversation around what your health and wellness goals are, to figure out where your lifestyles are compatible, and where they might be in conflict – so that you can manage those differences.
The next thing we need to tackle is habits. While I might love yoga, and it plays a key part in my stretching routine, my boyfriend is bored to death by anyone saying namaste. He needs things he enjoys – action sports like surfing, mountain biking, lifting heavy kettle bells, and other outdoor activities rather than going to a gym or studio. Don’t force your partner into your fitness box, pun intended, that includes all of you cross fit fanatics out there. What we try to do is schedule our opposite activities at the same time, so we have more time together to do the things that work for both of us. For example, when I’m going to the dance studio for two hours, he’ll go mountain biking.
As much as we’d hate to admit it, we all lose sight of our goals and good behaviour sometimes. Your partner not only loves you, but they want what’s best for you, and since you’re already on the same page in terms of knowing what they goals are, they can be a hugely valuable resource in terms of holding you accountable. My boyfriend eats very few fruit and vegetables (much to my chagrin) but if there’s broccoli at dinner I know he’ll often substitute it for carbs (he can eat the weight of a small child in broccoli). If I’ve noticed he hasn’t been eating healthy I can either call him on it, or I can just ensure that there’s broccoli at dinner. In both ways I’m holding him accountable to the goals we share.
Nobody’s perfect, the goal here isn’t to become someone’s drill sergeant, you’re only going to cause strain in the relationship. We’re all responsible for our own actions, but taking the time to figure out the best way for your goals and relationship lifestyle to coexist will benefit both of you.
Other things to consider:
Apps and online trackers can really put you on the same page. For example, my boyfriend uses the My Fitness Pal app to track his calories.
If you are going on a strict diet it is IMPERATIVE to involve your partner in that discussion. For example, I did a 3 month deep dive with a version of the keto diet (you can read more about it here), but it directly impacted the meals we ate or didn’t eat together. The last thing you want when you’re on a diet, and potentially already cranky, is your partner giving you shit because they don’t feel considered. So make sure you both agree to you making a big change.
Find a mutual exercise activity (sex works great too). Some of the most fun we’ve ever had is when we’ve gone surfing together. When we were travelling in Florida we made a routine of going to the beach every morning to run and swim or surf together. And while I might not ever get him into a dance studio to take a class, whenever we go to a club we can dance for hours together. We also love a good hike together.
Find workout music that you both like if you’re going to workout together. My top 40 dance studio music doesn’t really fly with my boyfriend, but we both love old school hip hop…
- talk to each other about your goals; get on the same page
- tackle bad habits
- hold each other accountable
- use apps and online trackers
- make sure you’re both in agreement if one person is making big changes like starting a diet
- find at least one mutual exercise activity
- make a routine out of exercising
- find workout music you BOTH like