10 Ways to Help Your Husband Stay Healthy

Help Your Husband Lose Weight

Today’s guest post is from personal trainer Jenni Kenyon.

Getting fit and staying healthy are often pushed to the wayside when life gets busy. It’s not unheard of for newlyweds to put on a few pounds or for couples to gain weight as they have kids and grow older. However, there’s no getting around the fact that maintaining a healthy weight is critical when it comes to preventing health issues later in life.

Top Ten Tuesday
Although we don’t love our husbands for their bodies, there’s no shame in admitting that it’s nice when they take care of them. I’m sure that they would say the same about us wives! So here are ten tips to help motivate your significant other to start getting fit.

Remember our Top 10 Tuesday philosophy: We throw out a bunch of ideas, and from that smorgasbord you choose 1-3 to actually DO. Don’t try to do all at once; it won’t work. Pick the 1-3 ideas that resonate the most with you, and decide to embrace them wholeheartedly this week!

 1. Pray for him

 Obviously, Jesus can do much more to motivate your husband than you can. The power of prayer is much stronger than anything you can ever do or say.

 Pray that your husband will realize the importance of taking care of himself, that by staying fit he’ll be able to better care for his family and serve God’s kingdom. Intrinsic motivation like this lasts longer than the “I want to look good” type of motivation and is centered on pursuing a life he desires. God gave us one body to serve him through, so it’s important to care for it appropriately.

 2. Be an example

 If you are overweight as well, it does no good to order your husband to start working out while you sit back with the kids. If you’re trying to lose weight, be a good example to him. Show him that it isn’t that hard or depriving. Cook healthful meals, work out on a regular basis and form habits that last for the long term. Whatever you do, take care of your body. Weight loss from quick diets statistically doesn’t last because you don’t learn how to live a lifestyle at your new weight.

 Have a conversation with your husband about why you choose to be fit and healthy. Never tell him he’s fat, say that you are concerned about his health. Talk about what you can do or enjoy as a fit person. Be honest and open with him about your desire to lose weight and perhaps it’ll inspire him as well.

 3. Encourage him

 Even if your husband isn’t pursuing a healthful lifestyle right now, you should still encourage him every day in any matter. Make him feel like he’s the protector and man of the house. Tell him how much you appreciate what he does, who he is, and how happy you are God has matched you up together.

 It’s hard to motivate yourself to be fit or exercise if you are depressed or down. Boost his confidence when he comes home from work, make him feel good about himself and he’ll be much more likely to choose exercise instead of zoning out on the couch.

 4. Talk about the future

 It’s scary when your parents get old, especially if they didn’t take good care of themselves when they were younger. It’s probable that there’s someone with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension or some other type of ailment caused by excess weight in your family. There’s plenty of other diseases or conditions that could be relieved with exercise too, including osteoporosis, high cholesterol, or cancer.

 If you’re worried about following in the same footsteps as someone in your family, talk about it. Tell your husband that you exercise so you can play with your grandkids. Ask him if he wants to start getting healthier and listen to him, his reasons, and his experience. Your husband most likely had a lot of life before you came around, so perhaps you don’t know about his grueling wrestling practices as a kid or other bad experiences with working out.

 5. Schedule a checkup

 How long has it been since he’s been to the doctor? Getting a blood workup and a physical isn’t a bad idea if it’s been a while. In fact, some doctors recommend it every year. If your husband is as stubborn as mine, you’ll know that he may not listen to you, but a doctor can be hard to ignore.

 6. Find a hobby together

 Did you and your husband have an active hobby together before the kids came along? Perhaps you should try to resurrect it! Finding time can be hard, so volunteer to trade off babysitting with a friend once a week so you and your husband can get back to salsa dancing, hiking, or golfing together. Join an adult soccer league or start a church softball games. There’s nothing like a competitive sport to help your husband realize that he needs to start exercising more often in order to perform like he used to!

 7. Bake fewer cookies

 The kids might like cookies when they get home from school, but your husband doesn’t need the temptation. Start serving the children healthier snacks like apples and peanut butter, cheese and crackers or healthier baked goods so there isn’t an abundance of dessert lying around. It’s an easy way to help him lose weight. He might not even notice that he’s eating less!

 I will make a note here to say that food policing doesn’t work and can become a point of contention. Just keep less sugary treats around the house instead of telling him what he can and cannot have. Keep the fridge well stocked with ready to eat to produce like cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, diced pineapple or honeydew as snacks to replace the sweet stuff.

 8. Sneak in more veggies

 This approach is a little more sly, but just as effective as decreasing the amount of treats in the house. Vegetables have a lot of fiber and necessary vitamins and nutrients. They’re also very satiating when added to meals, which is why weight loss is so successful with them. If you aren’t a vegetable lover, start experimenting with them! It’s usually a mind-set issue when it really comes down to it. They can taste good, but you need to figure out how to cook them

 There’s plenty of online recipes that use grated or blended vegetables in cooking or baking. Start making more stir-fry’s or fajitas, use blended cauliflower in mac-n-cheese to decrease the fat and calories, and add chopped bell peppers to enchiladas to boost fiber and satiety. I promise that you won’t sacrifice flavor by using this approach to cut calories of your meals as long as you do a little searching on the internet.

 9. Hide the snacks

 Studies have shown that when food is out of sight, you are less likely to feel hunger or a desire to have it. Start by taking all the unhealthy chips, cookies, and crackers off the countertops and storing them in the pantry. If they’re already in the pantry or cupboards, rearrange so they aren’t front and center, so that it takes a bit of looking to find the not so healthy options.

 If your husband specifically requests snack type food that you know are really bad for him – think chips, most crackers, twinkles etc, perhaps you should discuss the food budget. I’m serious- those packaged types of food cost a lot more than basic veggies, fruits, canned goods, milk, meats, and carbs like pasta, rice or bread. You might have to give up a few things too, but in the name of good financial stewardship and physical stewardship of your body, it’s probably worth it. You don’t have to throw out every single high calorie snack in your cupboard, but only storing a few (less than three) is better than not taking any action.

 10. Plan more active activities

 Start planning more active outings with the family. Go sledding with the kids or practice soccer with them at the local soccer field. If you and your husband go on date nights, ask if you can take tennis lessons, a bike ride or kayak together. If that much activity is too far of a jump right now, start with walks. If it’s beautiful outside, ask your husband to go on a walk with you. Fresh air is rejuvenating and can do a lot to decrease stress, so a short walk to enjoy the evening might be just the thing to kickstart the desire to move.

 Ultimately, it’s not your responsibility to get your husband to lose weight. You can’t badger and guilt trip him in to it because that won’t work in the long run. He needs to know that he is loved at any size (just like you need to know that) and that you support him. It may take a long time for him to realize that he needs to get healthy, and once that happens you need to support him through it.

headshot-FitzalaJenni is an NASM certified personal trainer and loves helping women find balance in health and exercise. She and her husband live in Central Washington and spend as much time as possible outdoors. Find her on her blog, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

Comments

  1. Butterflywings says:

    Had me til number 9… there seems to be the assumption that the woman does the food shopping. Not all families are in that situation. Part of our problem is that hubby and I have very different opinions of diet (mine partly due to food allergies and intolerances) so hubby does half the food shopping. And while it has it’s benefits (he does an amazing bolognese sauce which is 90% vegetables but doesn’t take like it), it also has it’s downsides, ie he can buy his own fattening food and he’s be very upset if I got rid of what he bought.

    Poor hubby has stacked on at least 10kg (probably closer to 20kg but he won’t let me see what his weight is, even putting a PIN on his wii fit character to stop anyone from seeing his weight) because of starting antidepressants 6 months ago. He quit exercise altogether when I quit contact sports when I found out I was pregnant and while I tried to set the example by going to the gym until I couldn’t walk anymore (literally) made no difference. He just took it as more time he could spend by himself which he used to play more computer games. I am worried sick by his health but he won’t let me into that part of his life. I can pray, but out of ideas of what else I can do.

    • Hi Butterflywings,

      You’re right, I assumed that most women would be handling the grocery shopping and managing the kitchen in bullet 9. Throwing out food he bought definitely wouldn’t be the best for your marriage :)

      It’s really difficult when you’re husband has no desire to be healthy and I totally sympathize with you. It sounds like he’s completely closed off when it comes to his weight which is really hard when you want to support him.

      Perhaps this is where other friends in your church step in to play. Do you attend a community group or have a close relationship with other godly couples? It sounds like he could use the support and accountability from a mens group, not just for his feelings about the weight but for his general happiness. I’m not a doctor, but I know that antidepressants can cause weight gain. I also know (from experience) that friends and godly counsel can definitely help! It doesn’t have to be formal, but having someone that you respect disciple you could change his perspective.

      This is just a suggestion, if you’re already doing this or it’s not something you would pursue, I totally understand.
      Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts LabelMy Profile

      • ButterflyWings says:

        Thanks, we have a bible study group and my husband is close to the one of the leaders (husband of an older couple with a dozen kids) but since I was pregnant and he got depressed from it, he hasn’t been to church and we only make it to bible study every second week because I’ve been very unwell and he will no longer go without me (even though he went for three years without me before we got married 15 months ago). I worry the damage it’s doing to my older daughter because I’ve been too physically unwell to take her to church, and now with a baby who doesn’t sleep at night and a church that only has one service (mid morning), even if I was well (which I’m not at the moment), I can’t take her there at the only time of day I get any sleep (baby only sleeps for more than an hour during her “long” sleep between 8am and 11am so the only time I get any sleep is between 6 and 11am).

        I think hubby’s weight gain and lack of caring about it is just one symptom of a far bigger problem that I’m out of ideas to fix as he never listens to me – in fact he deliberately does the opposite of anything I ask because he feels if I ask him anything (even just once) that it’s “nagging”.

        • I agree about what you said that this is a far bigger problem. I’m a little out of my realm of experience here, but I would talk to the wife of your bible study leader or someone else that you feel can provide godly wisdom. Tell them everything and ask for help on how to work through this with your husband, get extra prayer for him (and for you! it sounds like you’ve been sick a lot!).

          Jesus can reconcile any issues and I encourage you to take faith in that. I wish I could provide more help! Sending up prayers for you two to get it figured out.
          Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…Life of a Trainer #6My Profile

  2. I love this post! My hubby and I are in the “need to stop gaining and lose a little” stage of life. We’ve done a couple things to help. He suggested putting a fruit bowl on the coffee table by the TV- that way, the fruit is right there and visible when we’re relaxing, and he’s more likely to eat an apple than to get up and make popcorn or get the chips out of the cupboard. It’s really helped! The second thing (which has been a little bit of a struggle for me!) is to do active stuff together. Zeke really likes snowboarding. I’d never done it before… and was a little scared that my total lack of athletic ability would be a major issue… but we went- and it was so much fun. I was terrible at it, but activities like that are great because you’re exercising without really realizing it. We’ll be doing some canoeing once the lake thaws, and I’ll be feeling the burn! =)
    Adrie @ ALittleWifesHappyLife recently posted…Summer Camp and Dietary Needs: Tips for the Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Egg-Free, and Dairy-FreeMy Profile

  3. Mine is a slightly different problem . . . I can control what he eats at home but what about when he is at work? I have tried making him lunches, he would always bring them back home. Waste of money. . . .if he isn’t going to eat it, I’m not going to buy more of it. To make his lunch we would have to buy MORE bread, MORE peanut butter, MORE jely. . . . can’t afford that. I can’t control what he eats when he is out. That is where he is losing his “diet”. . not here at home.

    • That’s hard. This where if he isn’t motivated or willing to put forth effort, then it won’t happen. From my perspective, this is where patient prayer comes in to play.

      I think it’s great that you are doing your part at home to provide wholesome meals. You are taking responsibility for your family’s health which is really important.

      Another option that you can try, not sure if you have already…What does he like to eat for lunch? Ask him what he wants, get an understanding of what he likes. Perhaps if he feels understood he’ll be more willing to eat what you pack him. I know my husband gets really tired of sandwiches fast. I end up sending him to work with last night’s leftovers often.
      Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts LabelMy Profile

  4. Without intrinsic motivation, summarized in point 1, a husband can easily ignore, avoid or counter all the other points, plus resent his wife’s attempts at trying to change him because she obviously doesn’t love him as he is!
    Of course she does love him but that love will sure be tested when he rejects all her efforts!
    I feel that healthy changes have to be very deliberate and consistent. Plus, healthy changes are very stressful and you need to be on the same page.
    So instead of all this sneaky business, how about “Hubby, let’s do this together and do it properly! And let’s give it our best for 3 months and re-evaluate then.” Then you have a team, a goal, a deadline and a decision, all motivating factors. Make a plan together and go for it! And follow all of Jenni’s steps together!

    • Thank you for saying this! Healthy eating/living is something you need to choose. No one else can make you do it. I can’t do the things suggested here and feel that I am respecting my husband.

      • I certainly don’t advocate for forcing or tricking your husband in to being healthy. In point #1, the last paragraph and the note on food policing, you’ll find that I advocate for having an open dialogue with your husband. These tips don’t need to be done all at once. Different things work for different relationships.

        For example, my husband appreciates that I keep cookies and unhealthy treats out of sight. He wants to be healthy and knows that when he sees cookies, he’ll immediately want them. Stocking the fridge with wholesome snacks helps him be healthy instead of resorting to the chips and other convenient foods he knows isn’t good for him.
        Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts LabelMy Profile

  5. Additinonally I would suggest take care of what you drink too, sodas contain so much sugar, I switched to water and tea my husband really loves them so at least he switched to a zero version. Alcohol such as beer can also make you gain weight.

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