BPF Blog

Help! My Partner is Sabotaging my Diet and Exercise Plans!!

The easiest way to get healthier, lose weight, etc. is to do it with support, especially from those closest to you. If you're ready to get healthy and your partner isn't, though, no amount of nagging or pleading will get them involved in a wholehearted, healthy way. 

All too often, I hear frustrated husbands, wives, girlfriends and boyfriends complain about getting no support at all, or worse, active sabotage from their partners in their efforts to get healthier. 

Romantic relationships are complex and generally delicately balanced. There are several different things that could be happening if you feel like your partner is wrecking your efforts. Here are some things to think about. 

1) You may need to take a hard look at whether you are using your partner as an excuse not to do what you know you need to in order to achieve your goals. I know I've fallen into the trap of eating junk food simply because I see my boyfriend doing it, or skipping my evening workout because snuggling on the couch in front of the tv seems so much more appealing. In this case, take a good hard look at your goals and ask yourself if you're really ready to commit to them. If the answer is yes, talk with your partner and let them know you're having a hard time sticking to your goals and ask for their help. Let them know when you plan to exercise and ask for their encouragement. Have them keep their junk food somewhere you don't often tread, or somewhere you don't know about (and aren't likely to find). It's unrealistic to ask that your shared home be completely free of triggers, but you can ask that they be minimized as much as possible. Remind yourself that you're doing this for yourself, and that your partner and other loved ones will benefit from a healthier, happier, more energetic you too. Reaffirm your commitment as often as necessary and when you have a setback, get right back on track. 

2) Is your partner feeling threatened or insecure about your fitness plans? Perhaps they feel that if you get fit and look better, you will seek out another mate. If this might be going through your partner's head and causing them to offer you junk food or pout / throw a tantrum when you go to exercise, you need to reassure them, and probably more than once. Tell them you want to be around for a long, healthy life with them and that you have no plans to seek greener pastures. Now, if you ARE looking to get out of your relationship, using fitness as an exit route is not the most direct or healthiest way to go. Talk, be honest and straightforward, and go from there. 

3) Does your partner feel bad about him or herself and feel reminded of his or her own faults while you improve yourself? If this is the case, again, you need to communicate. Let them know that you need them to stop projecting their insecurities onto you and start focusing on what they need to do to feel better about themselves. Support them in whatever way you can, but as I've said before, don't nag. It doesn't work and usually only makes people feel worse and more driven to hide from their problems. 

4) If communicating just isn't working, you may need to seek professional help in the form of couples counseling (or individual counseling if your partner will not consider it). Above all, don't give up on your goals. In a healthy relationship, both parties feel free to grow and improve themselves without fear that this will destroy the connection. 

Reaching your health and fitness goals without the support of your loved ones is difficult and discouraging, but it can be done. Do what you can to get the support you need and deserve; beyond that, persevere. 

Good luck!