What happens when one half of a couple embarks on a life-changing health journey or is even just making small changes to the way they eat, and their partner stays firmly devoted to bad habits and unhealthy foods?
I’ll tell you right away that trying to push, scare, guilt or bully your partner into joining you on your health journey will only make them feel judged and defensive. You can’t make anybody else change if and when they don’t want to. But there are some ways to cope with differing lifestyles and/or the transitionary period while you are trying to get a firm grip on new habits while your partner stays married to the old ones. And if you’re lucky… you just might inspire your partner a little along the way.
Lead by example and be part of a healthy solution:
How can you get your partner to eat healthy if you don’t?
You can’t, but if you eat healthfully, your partner is much more likely to follow suit.
Figure out if there is anything you can do to help your spouse eat healthier, without alienating, judging them or making them feel bad for not being on the same page as you… yet.
For example, if there are days that you are home earlier than your partner, you can be the one to make dinner. This eliminates arguing over what’s for supper and as an added bonus, gets you points for having supper ready for your significant other when they get home!
Stock your house with healthy foods and arrange the refrigerator and pantry in a way that the healthy foods are the most visible and accessible:
If you can, try to do more of the grocery shopping. This way, the processed and/or non-plant-based foods are less likely to make it into the house. People eat a lot more junk food if it’s right there in front of them compared to when they have to go out of their way to get them. I find it helpful to cut up carrots, celery, radishes, cauliflower etc… and put them in a transparent container in the front of the fridge next to a tub of hummus or other healthy dip.
Share interesting articles, watch a documentary together, plan and cook a healthy new recipe together.
Have a heart to heart with your partner and explain why you’re eating the way you are and why it’s important to you. If you are new to a plant based diet or incorporating healthy foods into your lifestyle, explain to them why – whether it’s for your health or a matter of personal values – and let them know that whether they plan to join you on this path or not, it would mean a lot to you to have their support.
Make sure that when your significant other does make an effort, that you tell and show them that you appreciate it.
Get support from like-minded people.
Even if your spouse isn’t ready to get on board, there’s no need to feel alone. Seek out resources and networks where you will be supported in your endeavours. Look for events, classes, meet-up, groups etc… where you will find others who are on the same path as you are. Whether it’s in person, on-line or through social media, there are plenty of other seasoned vegans, as well as newbies testing out the plant based waters, out there who are striving to live healthier and more responsibly, and many of them are sharing tips, inspiring insight and some beautiful and delicious recipes!