Thursday, August 30, 2012

Leading Horses

Most, if not all of us, have loved ones who are not healthy. As we walk our own troubled paths, we crave companionship, especially from those who are closest to us. For those of us who are married, this is often our spouse. Our need for them to be with us is not just about companionship, either; it's also about worry, about wanting them to live forever and be with us forever and be healthy. It's love. 

But what do you DO? 

I've found in my journey thus far that you can't force them. There's no amount of nagging that will make my husband start being healthier. In fact, most people respond negatively to nagging, and will do the opposite just to spite you! 

You can't treat your significant other (or indeed, anyone else in your life who is an adult) like a child, and expect them to thank you for it. 

What CAN you do for a loved one you're afraid of losing to bad health? 

Be there. Do what you're doing. Set an example. If you're the cook, keep making healthier things that accommodate their tastes, while improving nutritional content. I've switched our family completely over to 93% lean ground beef, for example. We were at the grocery store the other day, and my husband saw me get it, and he said "Trying something new? I thought that stuff was dry." I smiled and told him we'd been eating it for months. 

I've bought low-sodium ham. I keep fresh, raw veggies on hand for snacks for the kids. I talk about the things I'm doing. I mention that I want to start making our plates based on the government food plate. Never do I tell him what he needs to do. I talk about what *I'm* doing. 

And it's working. As time progresses, he is starting to be more aware of his choices, and is slowly but surely making more healthy ones. At a buffet, he still goes for nothing but deep fried veggies, fries, and brown things (seriously, the whole plate will be brown) but he's more likely to add veggies when he's cooking, or eat them first, and he's trying to get more exercise. 

One change that I have made? I buy him 2% milk. He drinks a lot of milk, and it's healthier for him. He asks me specifically to get him whole milk sometimes, and I do when requested, but absent his request, it's 2%. At a minimum, every other gallon is 2%. 

The other day, we were at the store together, and it was time to get milk. The last gallon was 2%. He looked at the whole milk. Then glared at me. And picked up the 2%. 

He knows. ;) He's a big boy. But he has to make the choice to be healthy. I can't make it for him. Through my example, I'm helping to slowly change his environment, but in the end... he has to make the move to good health. He knows I'll pay for a gym membership if he wants one. But until he's ready... he won't take it. And I'm okay with that. I can deal with waiting patiently, as long as eventually we're on that road together. 

Will we be riding bikes together or lifting weights together? I don't know. I hope so, though it's a slim hope. 

But I'll be happy to see him choose some green veggies at the buffet one day. :) 

Photo courtesy of Canadian Veggie


  1. Awesome! Glad to hear you're having an impact on him that way. I keep hoping I'll have the same influence on my wife, but sadly the only thing that seems able to change her habits are direct doctor's orders.

  2. I can completely relate..and I am thrilled to have read this! It is the small things that amount to great things! Keep doing what you are doing and before you know it you will be riding bikes together!