Tell me what to do, one more time? Did you suggest I need to spend more time at the gym? What do you mean I’m not a healthy eater? The truth is, none of us are perfect… Me, I don’t do well when someone tells me I have to lose weight or become healthier. I need to come to that conclusion on my own… It’s just my thing… I suspect a lot of people are like me, and they especially don’t want to be told by a loved one. So that said, whenever I get on a health kick, I try to flip my wife’s diet to dig into more salads, go to the gym with me, go to the walk with me, etc. I want some buy-in to my newfound direction to be healthier.
The truth is, that in our last blog post “How to Have a Better Attitude Towards Overall Health and Fitness” I talked about how to motivate yourself to have a better attitude towards your health and longevity for this world; however, getting additional buy-in from the rest of the family can be challenging, especially if you have a little one that only likes pasta, chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, or some other savory bites. Because, for sure, you want people around you who can help enable you, and that you can encourage to stay on track as well.
So what are some of the benefits of eating healthier and starting a healthier physical activity regime of any kind:
- Better management of your weight
- Stronger sleep patterns
- A shift in your energy levels as you acclimate to the physical changes
So, where do you start? Start with your cooking. It doesn’t have to be a huge change… If you like fettuccine alfredo with chicken, try grilled chicken with broccoli and pasta, tossed & sauteed in a little olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper, and another favorite seasoning? By forgoing the cream sauce, adding the broccoli, and using olive oil, you’re trading saturated fats for unsaturated fats, and using broccoli for the nutritional benefits, fiber, and filler to help fill you up faster. This may help you reduce the amount of pasta you take in, as well. A few weeks of a different way of cooking could help you feel lighter and less bloated after meals. This could also help you decide you want to take a 15-minute walk every day at lunch, helping you kick start your health routine. To boot, you’re changing how the whole family eats as well, without telling them you are doing so. You can simply say, “I just wanted to try something different this evening.” and leave it at that.
Try to also keep track of the changes and the timeframe as well. If you switch up your lunches and dinners, and in 30 days realize you’ve lost five (5) pounds, share that with your family. Let them know, and comment on any positive results you see in them as well. This could have a positive impact on the whole family without going out of your way to create and enforce any dieting that they believe they may be subject to.
On the flip side of this… Don’t say a word either. When you show up to Mom’s or your siblings’ homes and they’re “wowed” at the results they see and start asking you what you’re doing, you can either tell them, play coy, or have a little fun at their expense. This will make you feel good… trust me on this one. The one positive that can come from this is that you can let them in on your secret and then encourage them to do the same, assuming they have an interest. Remember, no one likes to be preached to.
You could blog or journal as well. This could passively encourage your family as you share with them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis your results posted on the Internet for everyone to see.
I’ve found that planning healthier meals sometimes takes more time, as well. We don’t all have a lot of time today, and many people simply look in the refrigerator for what they may have on hand and throw something together for the family. This works, but if what is on hand doesn’t fit the new healthier you, you are going to have to start doing some planning and possibly some weekly prep… Meaning your trip to the grocery store will likely take a little longer than normal, and be a more thoughtful visit. You can then come home, and begin prepping and possibly pre-cooking meals for the week so there is something on hand that is healthy for everyone in the family. Better yet, get them involved in the pre-cooking meal preparations with you so they can get used to help prepare healthy meals.
Let’s say you’ve done all of the above and you have started making those trips to the gym or started working out at home (ala COVID-19)… Why not invite someone in the family to join you for “some company.” Working out at the gym the first few times (at least for me) was intimidating. Admittedly, my first day ever at a gym lasted seven (7) minutes. I stepped up onto the stepper and started stepping up the machine, and seven minutes later, I was soaked from head to toe, out of breath, and wondering if I was going to fall on the floor of a heart attack. Eventually, I was able to have extended workouts of 90 minutes to three hours depending on what I was doing. Transparently some of the time was spent in a sauna basking in the heat, which has its own set of benefits…
You may find that it’s some time before family members catch onto what you’re doing or even want to be involved. When they do, engage with them. Answer their questions, as you’ll have had a bit more experience. But, the best approach is a soft approach to getting everyone in a healthier place. At least that has been my experience.
Oh, and the health benefits of all of the above, well, they’ll speak for themselves, and you’ll see that reflected in your family’s health insurance bill, life insurance, fewer trips to the doctor, etc… Being healthy has financial benefits
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