A while back, I was conversing with a colleague, and he said something profound. He said, “When you’re on a nutrition plan, your family kind of is too.” He didn’t mean the exact plan, with the same macros, or food list, or anything like that. He meant that the effort and attention your plan needs will affect others around you. We have many members here at Stronger U who sign up for the program knowing that they are going to have to adjust their habits in a household full of people who are going to stay the same. How do you prepare to start a new diet with a spouse, partner, and kids at home? How can you make sure that you take all of the necessary steps to have success with a little conflict as possible?
After having coached many members who have to wrestle with this dilemma, I have found a few key things that members can do to increase the likelihood of their success.
Start the Conversation
The first thing you should do is get your crew on board. You do this by clearly communicating why you’re doing this and why you need help and support. Many people will sign up for a program, committing that it’s something for just them. And you’re right! When you sign up with a Stronger U coach, a connection is made between you and coach, who are both committed and working towards your goals. But, even though it’s just a program from you, the people in your life will feel the changes. It is critical that you have a conversation with your family to help them see the what and why of what you’re doing. Something along the lines of “hey hubby, I’m doing this thing so I can feel my best, and I know it may affect some of the meals we eat together and some of the dates we go on, but it would mean the world to me to have your help. Can you do that for me?” can go a long way for your family to feel included in your decision to start a new weight loss plan.
Set the tone for your family. Let them know that you need their help, hope they will contribute, and communicate with them that you see they are apart of this decision.
Most likely, these people will not even know how instrumental they are to your success so that a conversation can get out in front of potential frustrations. As a husband, I know I can be dense at times and should pick up on clues, but be that’s not always the case. Assuming when we could have just been told or talked to goes a long way.
Pay Attention to Your Habits
Think about your current eating habits at home. Do you like to eat fresh cookies every night after the kids go to bed? What about picking off of the kids’ plates before you put them in the dishwasher? How about when you go out for date night? Do you like to head to a bar and have a couple drinks? None of these things are bad, within reason. But, when committing to a diet, you may find that you are required to limit these types of habits in order to see success. This might be upsetting to your family (especially snacks, drinks, and cookies). While you might be looking at these adjustments as an exciting challenge, your partner might view them as a loss of some of their favorite things. It’s important not to go cold turkey with these things because that’s when you’ll be met with the most resistance.
You don’t ever want to hear the line “you’re no fun anymore,” so this will temper those thoughts in others. So take some time to plan these things out and work it in if possible. And if not, put effort into finding something you can do together that doesn’t revolve around food and alcohol. But, can you cook together? Compromise, right?
Some people might start hearing comments like “you’re just going to fail,” “This is your diet, not mine,” or “just because you can’t control yourself isn’t my problem…get the cookies” from their partners and family. I hate to say this, but this is almost always comes from the man. Why? Because society isn’t as judgmental to men about their weight. They don’t have the same hormones pushing and pulling them towards food. They don’t have the same fluctuations. They may “run on” more calories and not need to watch things as closely.
If you find that you have somebody in your home who is being negative and discouraging about your new weight loss plan, you might need to revisit the need for communication. There may also be a point where you realize your partner is not the person you thought. They may very well be the asshole holding you back from feeling your best. I’m not saying go throw papers at them and pack your bags, but I do want you to look at your crew closely. We all need that support, and we can only do so much to get it.
It’s Time to Get Started
Since having a team to support you is super helpful, it’s good to know what to anticipate at home. The way you will want to eat might not be how your husband or kids want to eat. And because many of you are people pleasers, you sacrifice your health and happiness simply to appease people who may not care as much as you. If I had to pick two major takeaways from this post as you move into this new adventure with your family in tow, it would be this:
- Communicate, communicate, and when you think you’ve communicated enough, communicate some more. A new diet is already challenging enough (new macros, weighing your food, paying attention to ingredients, etc.). Remember, communication does not have to mean fight, it can just mean clearly talking about your needs, goals, and changes that are happening to support your Stronger U journey.
- Ease in slowly. Since your family is used to particular habits around meals and snacks, it’s important not to change everything at once. Remember, quitting cold turkey will be met with the most resistance, so plan to adjust slowly to help your family adjust too.
Want to learn more about how Stronger U Nutrition is changing the way that the world eats? We’d love to help!