By Dee Dee Mahmood January 22, 2018

10 Tips to Get your Partner to be Healthier with You (& happy about it!)

As it is, it is hard to watch your food (well, it is your new year resolution to watch your weight and be healthy). But it is doubly, doubly hard to get your spouse to watch his too. You know the resistance you get when you  tried to get your guy to step away from the burger and fries?Have you asked him to eat wholemeal and wholegrains with you instead? And how you dread his grudging reactions.Getting cooperation may not be easy. But it turns out that it’s well worth the effort.

 The Influence of Partner’s Behavior on Health Behaviour Change was researched in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing  published in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine in 2015. Results Smoking cessation, increased physical activity, and 5% weight loss in couples. Conclusions  Men and women are more likely to make a positive health behavior change if their partner does too, and with a stronger effect than if the partner had been consistently healthy in that domain.

You’ll see more success as a team then by going it alone.But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Forcing the issue is going to sound like nagging. And guess what? It never works.Solution?Bring him along with you. If you want to add healthier habits that your man will pick up and enjoy, you need to change your own actions and do it as a team. Here’s 10 Tips to make healthy lifestyle a shared activity without any struggle, grumbling or stress:

Assist him in the change.

1. Pack-Lunch – with love! Is he a habitual purchaser of high calorie, high fat fast food for lunch every day? Offer to pack him lunch. Make sure its enticingly colourful, flavorful and healthy.Added bonus: Put in a little note in that packed lunch that says “i love you”. He will definitely be thinking of you at lunch! 

2. Out of sight – out of mind. Clean the chips, keropok and fatty snacks out of your home, and stock your shelves with snacks that encourage healthy eating. Greek yogurt, almonds and raisins, bananas and fresh fruit are all wonderful options that cut calories and fat.3. In line of sight. Place healthy snacks and food options at eye level in fridge. Fresh fruits on the table within reach for him will be health-accessible too.  (Rather than putting your apples in the bottom compartment of your fridge amongst your vegetables).

4. Food shopping. Make it a joint effort every weekend to get value for money for healthiest of products. Read labels in supermarket together. You will both get healthy, wealthy and wise!

5. Education. Leave within visible sight pamphlets on health and exercise. You can get these free from Health Promotion Board or Active Sg. What he reads make him wiser. 

6. Reminders and reinforcements. Put a positive quote about health and positivity in his work bag. So he starts his day right at the office. Hugs, hugs and more hugs when you see him later. Commend him for a job well done in taking care of his health and you. Positive reinforcements like these will send his brain, signals of happiness and contentment. And that is really good if you want him to stick to his healthy practices. And doing all these will make you even more accountable to your own health resolutions. And you know deep inside that you are doing the right thing for your family. A healthy family is a happy family. 

7. Add healthy, low-fat proteins like grilled norwegian salmon and chicken (skin-less). Cut out unnecessary calories. When cooking any of your meals, make sure that they’re delicious and filling. Remember –  a hungry man is an angry man. If he is well fed by you and contented, he wont be dating the oily food at hawker centres. 

8.  You know,  breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To avoid him from grabbing that high fat muffin or prata banjir or skip breakfast altogether, make a nutritious breakfast easy and available for both of you, it’s more likely that he is going to be eating it along with you.Always make it a “togetherness” effort. Best side effect? Positive reinforcement. He’ll be happy about it too.

9. Honesty from the heart. Tell him you need him to go on this health journey with you and you can’t do it alone. Tell him that if he helps it will help you to succeed.

10. Endorphinised your man!Make his involvement something that is enjoyable – like a walk around the neighborhood where you can each talk about your day – then he’s far more likely to sign on happily.
Or play and train walking football together! Read this:

Shared happiness makes a couple stick together through health.

Change him to change you to change him! 

Get my drift?

Yours always in health and happiness,

Dee Dee

Dr Dee Dee Mahmood, multi award winning Celebrity Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, is the Regional Head Academic(ECU Raan) &  Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Edith Cowan University Australia. Her PhD research on obesity was chosen for its impact on obesity in Asia and was accepted and presented at the President’s Cup Award, American College of Sports Medicine Northwest Annual Meeting in Tacoma, Washington. This TEDX Speaker has several signature community programs to her name, Fat2Fit Asia and Walking Football for Health Asia. She conducts  synergy on community and corporate health and research collaborations internationally.

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