Encouraging the man in your life

I hear from a number of women who are genuinely concerned about the health of their husbands. They would love their husbands to live healthier lifestyles, eat better, and maybe even lose a little weight for their own good. However, the men in their lives seem completely uninterested in making any change – sometimes even to the point of sabotaging their wife’s progress.

Nagging doesn’t work. Dropping hints doesn’t work. Even “leading by example” doesn’t work. What can you do? What can you say?

Listen up, ladies: the two most powerful phrases you can use with your man are these (and keep in mind that they have to be delivered in love and with the utmost sincerity, not in an abrasive or condescending tone) –

First, “I don’t want to lose you.” This appeals to his sense of duty and responsibility, as well as his feelings for you.

Second, when your man’s been working out for a while, “Wow – you’re looking really great!” This appeals to his sense of accomplishment, and to his ego. Delivered the right way, compliments like this will light a fire under your guy like nothing else.

Remember: the point here is not to manipulate your man, but rather to use a little gentle psychology that is likely to inspire him to action. Also keep in mind that encouraging HIM to build a healthier lifestyle won’t work if you aren’t doing the same!

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Friendly Competitions

During a session this week, a client mentioned that he had tried challenging his wife to some one-on-one fitness competitions, and they always wound up petering out.

“She’s really competitive,” he said, “so I figured that a step challenge or ‘no sweets’ challenge would really motivate her.” But while the competitions always started out strong, she’d always manage to lose her momentum. “I’ve got a very active job, so she could never beat me at steps. And giving up sweets was just too much for her to maintain.”

I suggested another route: “Why don’t you challenge her to see who can eat the most servings of vegetables this week or this month? Then you’re not taking anything away – you’re actually adding something healthy, and the extra vegetables might eventually take the place of less healthy choices.”

What about you? How do you feel about the “more vegetables” challenge? If you’re interested in trying it, here’s a list of veggies to get you started. And, oh – a #ProTip, here: go for frozen or fresh over canned. You’ll get more nutrition and less salt.

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Lettuce (radicchio, arugula, romaine, iceburg, baby bibb, etc)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Snow Peas
  • Onion
  • Artichoke
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bok Choy
  • Greens (spinach, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, chard, etc)
  • Fennel
  • Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Radishes