If you have discovered eating well and keeping fit, chances are you’ve become evangelical. You feel great; you can see the benefits in the mirror – and you want to share that feeling with the people you love. You want them to be able to improve their life in the way that you have done; to feel the health benefits; to be bursting with energy and creativity in the way that you are now.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy conversation to have – especially with your partner.
Look at it from their side. If you don’t phrase it right, then it’s going to sound critical. What begins as an expression of wanting to share your newfound enjoyment with them can quickly morph into something else. You find yourself stumbling over words while they jump to conclusions: they think you are saying they are unhealthy, at a unacceptable weight… and confusion reigns.
The other alternative to such an awkward conversation is no better. This isn’t an issue that you can ignore; sometimes, you want to share it for all the right reasons. You’re not concerned about them looking better for aesthetic delights, but for their health, to improve their quality of life. So you can’t just say nothing; some might suggest it’s even neglectful just to say nothing.
There’s got to be a right way, hasn’t there?
DO: Keep it about your own experience.
Begin the conversation talking about your transformation, steering clear of the aesthetic benefits. Start with comments on how much better you feel. Emphasize your newfound energy, the satisfaction in completing a workout, how you’re beating back your aches and pains, how good endorphins coursing through your system is making you feel.
You can then venture forward into asking if they would want to be a part of that. For your benefit. This is the point you have to try and hammer; this would be for you, giving you someone to share with. The benefits to them are an afterthought – worth mentioning, but not worth focusing on.
DON’T: Imply there is something wrong with them.
If you start by saying: “you know how you always have no energy?” then they are immediately on the defensive. Humans are silly when we get defensive; we have a tendency just to lash out and reject anything that crosses our path.
Don’t present this as a fix to a problem that they have. Most of us don’t need a “wake-up call”; we know what our issues are. You don’t want to make them defensive by raising it.
DO: Ease them in gently.
If they are willing to find out more, then don’t suggest a 10K hike and a week of totally protein-only eating. Go gently.
Start simple with nutrition. Ask them to consider switching to juicing, explaining the nutrient benefits. The likes of Juicer Cruiser can help encourage them to make their own choices. You can make suggestions of your preferences, but the emphasis is on them taking control.
Which juicer do they think they would like? What recipes do they want to try? Forget your own preferences and don’t try to steer them – people respond better when they think they are acting off their own initiative (even if you’re the one who’s really behind the wheel!)
With exercise, gentle running and swimming are a good place to start. You can then build from there. As they begin to see results, you can build and enjoy your new activity together.