Sometimes men can be stubborn. And when it comes to their diet—oh boy, it can feel like an impossible feat. But as a girl in a committed relationship, you want your guy to be healthy so you can live a long and happy life together, so it’s only natural to want to help him transform his dietary habits. Here’s how to do it without ruining your relationship.
DON’T call it a diet
For many, “diet” is a four letter word of the worst kind. I know with my husband, he absolutely hates labels. Paleo, low-carb, Weight Watchers—they are all “girly diet fads” that freak him out. Besides, this should be a lifestyle for the both of you. Avoid using labels for his food, lest he run away and sneak pizza under his bed.
DO make subtle healthy changes
If I call a meal Paleo, my husband would turn up his nose. If I serve him a Paleo meal that I made without calling it what it is, he’ll scarf it down. I always knew he’d love the more meat-centric diet with fresh veggies and less grains, but he wasn’t open for a diet. In your effort to transition to a healthy lifestyle that will last long term (like your relationship), start small. Start by incorporating a side salad with each meal. Then, little by little, continue adding more fresh and clean ingredients into your meals, cutting out processed food. With any luck, he won’t even notice the changes. When I got married, my husband refused to eat cauliflower. Now he eats mashed cauliflower and cauliflower rice like it’s a five star meal. Baby steps, my friends.
DON’T Make him self-conscious about his weight
Girls aren’t the only ones easily offended or upset by snide remarks regarding their physique. Though he may not admit it, you still want to be mindful of his feelings. Remember, this is primarily about health—not solely focused on appearances.
DO Set mutual goals
Guys like to be competitive and work toward achieving things. Find something he’s wanting to work toward. For some guys, shedding pounds is sufficient. But for others, you need to be more creative. Would he be interested in putting on some muscle, running a 5K or marathon this year, or lowering cholesterol? Whatever it is, find a goal to set and begin working toward. For my husband, he wants to train to walk on try-out for the major leagues, so now we’re eating clean and exercising more to help him reach that goal.
DON’T Expect him to eat the same as you
Men need more calories than women, so it’s foolish to think that healthy salad you evenly portioned out for the both of you will satisfy him and encourage him to stick to your healthy lifestyle. If he’s not full, he’s going to eat…anything in sight—including burgers. Make healthy changes to your meals. For example, when I make my husband healthy chicken taco filling or fajitas, I’ll make him rice on the side and give him a whole wheat tortilla while I’ll usually eat mine over a bed of lettuce.
DO be an encourager
There is enough drama in relationships without starting a war over broccoli. And yes, you want your man to be healthier, but it’s more important to be a support system than a dictator. Some days he’ll eat healthy. Other days he may fail. Regardless of where he is on the eating healthy scale, encourage him to be better, let him know he’s great the way he is, and don’t be critical. Cook him healthy dinners when you can, but don’t be mean about his choices when he’s away from you. And remember, you have a lifetime to work on this healthy eating day. It doesn’t have to happen overnight.
For more of my healthy advice, recipes and married life shenanigans, check out Nikki Roberti’s blog Mrs Healthy Ever After.
Photo Credit: Rick Ligthelm on Flickr