Talking to someone you love about weight loss can be tricky. Although, if your partner has indicated a desire to lose weight, then you’re in a good position to offer support.
For anyone looking to support your partner’s weight loss journey, two of our top trainers offer key do’s and don’ts to keep in mind along the way.
“Say things such as, ‘I believe in you, you have this,’” says Aaptiv trainer Candice Cunningham. “Find something that motivates them or encourages them, or set challenges to do together.” Challenge them with an Aaptiv workout.
Of course, what works for one person may differ from another, so Cunningham recommends thinking about what will resonate with your partner.
Maybe your partner would love for you to show support by going grocery shopping together to pick out healthy options, or he or she would appreciate new workout clothes to hit the gym.
Offer to stay home with the kids and run extra errands so that your partner has time to fit in a class. You can also join him or her for a quick HIIT workout and then enjoy a healthy smoothie together. All in all, figure out the best way you can be a part of your partner’s process in order to help him or her achieve their fitness goals.
Don’t be a know-it-all.
As you are someone who already loves exercising and staying fit, you may feel inclined to share your favorite healthy tips and tricks with your partner. But, Cunningham warns against overstepping, which is easy to do, even if that’s not your intent.
“It really depends on their personality,” she notes. “If your partner is someone who gets offended easily or takes things personally, you may not want to throw a bunch of workout ideas or examples in their face, or clean out the house of all unhealthy food.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t share your best advice. Just frame it up as exactly that: strategies that worked for you or lessons learned. Then, give your significant other the space to take it or leave it. Instead of criticizing him or her for doing an exercise incorrectly, says Chase, show your partner how to do it correctly—if you’re knowledgeable about the proper form—to prevent injury.
Do offer to workout together.
Choose a new Aaptiv class for an at-home workout, set a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day, go for a joint run, stretch out during a yoga session, or travel to the gym together to keep yourselves accountable. Telling your significant other that you will exercise as a team, if that’s what he or she wants, can go a long way, says Cunningham.
Don’t guilt-trip or criticize.
“If they miss a workout or screw up, don’t make them feel bad about it,” says Cunningham. “If it happens, encourage them that it’s okay, it will happen, and they can start again tomorrow.”
Check your intent and tone, as well. Saying, “Wow, are you really going to eat that cookie full of sugar?” Even though you’re trying to “help,” probably won’t lead to healthier eating. In fact, your partner will likely be annoyed, irritated, or even embarrassed. Instead, focus on what you can control: yourself. A phrase like, “Hey, I know we both have a sweet tooth, so I bought these raspberries for us to snack on,” might work wonders. Another example, rather than saying, “You skipped your workout, again?” you could say, “I know how important exercising is to you right now. Anything I can do to make it easier for you to fit it into your week?”
Additionally, Chase says to avoid criticizing or putting down your partner for the way they look, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. Your job is to celebrate all the small wins—beginning strength training, training for a 5K, maintaining a healthy relationship with food. And also load up on compliments to help him or her build confidence.
Do eat healthy.
If losing weight isn’t on your priority list, you might view eating healthy as a chore or a bore. However, meal prep, snacking, and grocery shopping will all likely change when one person in a relationship is trying to lose weight, and ideally, you’ll be part of the solution versus making it more challenging.
This can be difficult since indulging in comfort foods, sharing a delicious dessert, or going out for drinks are frequently viewed as “fun” activities to do with your partner.
What you can do: Keep healthy foods at eye-level in your refrigerator, or visible on the counter.
Avoid buying anything that triggers cravings or overeating at home, such as chips or candy. You can also find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods.
“Your partner will most likely be buying nutrient-dense whole foods or healthier food options than before,” says Chase. “Support them by eating the foods, too. Having your partner make you a separate meal is not supportive. Do not persuade your partner to go out to eat for non-healthy foods, either.”
Don’t forget to ask what they need.
Finally, be sure to ask what your partner needs from you. It sounds obvious, but it can be hard to know what the other person wants in terms of support.
Plus, everyone is different; what you assume they need may not be the case. Things can change as your partner’s weight loss plan progresses, as well.
So check in every now and then to make sure that he or she is feeling positive. Focus on building the elements of a healthy lifestyle together like a daily workout with the Aaptiv app, versus honing in on weight loss alone, and you’ll be well-equipped to support your partner’s journey.