My husband loves hot dogs. He also loves pasta, chocolate peanut butter cups, and ice cream—with chocolate syrup and bananas.
Now for years I knew about the peanut butter cups and ice cream, but the hot dog thing really caught me off guard.
A typical Saturday for him would include a trip to the local hardware store. I found it interesting, once I noticed the pattern, that this little trip would often occur around lunchtime. My suspicious radar went up. Hmmmm.
I stared him right in the face one day upon his return and said, “You can’t possibly need more tools or gadgets, since you have a fully equipped toolkit. Our house isn’t that broken. Are you eating those hot dogs they sell on the way out?”
He had been sneaking out to eat hot dogs right under my nose. Imagine! Actually, I bet some of you reading this probably can, because you too, have a NON-COMPLIANT spouse!
Can this marriage be saved? Relax, it can.
Here are some tips to help those of you who have walked, and are still staying on the same path, in these shoes.
- Don’t lie. I tried it and it isn’t ever good. When he asked me if I could pick up some hot dogs at the grocery store so he wouldn’t have to sneak out of the house anymore, I told him that they don’t carry them. Not true. Even Whole Foods has “healthier” hot dogs. I have seen them in other grocery stores too. I buy organic hot dogs, thinking that if he is going to eat them anyway, I may as well provide something that is a bit better. I dress them up Chicago style, with the onions, tomatoes, pickles, relish, mustard and celery salt. I figure it’s a serving of vegetables.
- Slow and steady a healthy lifestyle makes. As you switch out organic hot dogs for regular (and don’t worry, they are delicious), chocolate syrup that is free of high fructose corn syrup, increase the vegetables, eat extra salads, choose brown rice or whole grain pasta over regular, do not do them all at once. Small changes over time will give you good health benefits that really do add up!
- Have your own space. If your spouse likes snacks and cold foods that you are trying to stay away from, designate a shelf in the cupboard and refrigerator that is your own. If you notice one day that your quinoa salad has disappeared and you weren’t the one who ate it, are you really going to get mad? Both events– that he or she ate the quinoa AND that you didn’t get mad is what I refer to as Divine Intervention and is indeed, a victory.
- When questioned about why you are going to such great lengths to eat healthier, be honest. This kind of goes back to tip #1, but it’s important that you and your loved ones understand why this matters. Let your spouse know your BIG WHY. By the way, if you are struggling with the answer, please reach out to me and we will figure it out together.
- Keep moving. Make dates to walk together if possible. If you have a dog (a canine), you have a supportive buddy who will love your enthusiasm for better health and more walks or runs. Remember that house cleaning and yard work, parking further from the store, and taking the stairs all count.
- Reach out to those who support your healthy lifestyle endeavors, which may or may not include family. Community is important in life. We become who we surround ourselves with and what we read. My family teased me for years about organic, reading labels, lots of vegetables, etc. For the most part, they have come around. There is hope.
- Have a plan. When you plan your grocery shopping, food prep, workouts, date night, and feel a little less like you are flying out of control, you will experience more balance and peace in your day. (By the way, when you let your spouse know that date night is part of your healthy lifestyle plan, you may get less resistance.)
- Share the health. The reality is that if your spouse isn’t concerned about eating whole foods and avoiding excess sugar and chemicals, there could be health issues at some point in the future. We may choose to invest in our health now, or pay for our sickness later. Once health deteriorates, it is not always possible to reclaim it.
I hope some of these tips help you with your Non-Compliant spouse. If you’re the Non-Compliant one reading this, know that your health is important to your partner. If you weren’t so loved, it wouldn’t matter, now would it?
P.S. Sometimes I eat the hot dog too, and we laugh over our serving of vegetables.
“Let us remember to always rediscover one another because we are forever changing.” –Kamand Kojouri