Round the Bays 2023, New Zealand’s biggest fun ride, is set to take place on Sunday, March 5, and to get you ready things Launches RTB Fitness Club. It’s an 8-week training program designed to get you fit and motivated to play sports with a like-minded community, whether you tackle the action in person in Auckland or virtually. Each week, we’ll bring you stories that inspire and educate you along your fitness journey. Register your interest in RTB Fitness Club here.
Karen Nimmo is a clinical psychologist.
Tip: “I’m on a mission to improve my fitness this year,” said my client. “But I need help and I’m not getting it.”
She was referring to her partner, who did not share her healthy mind. He stayed up late, loved junk food, kept a drawer full of peanut bars and watched cricket as active as he was.
“It’s very difficult for me to stay on track with him, as he accidentally sabotages my efforts,” she said. “Or maybe I’m just being too nice—maybe he’s doing it on purpose?”
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It is a common problem for people who want to be healthy. They will frequently report being pushed back, or pushed off track, by their partner or family; Sometimes it’s their best friend or roommate. Anyone with whom they share a home or, more importantly, a kitchen.
It usually goes like this. You decide to get healthy, fill your fridge with nutritious snacks, sign up for the gym and flaunt your new gym clothes. You’re excited about finally getting your health on the right track. But a few days later, your partner comes home from work and says he’s craving pizza. You are a meat lover (double cheese) so you cave. Then the feeling of guilt, resentment and uselessness sets in. This will never work
Is this your partner’s fault? Can you do it without their support?
Living with a “feeder”
I’ve worked with a lot of people who are against it when it comes to managing their weight, health, and fitness. Their key people either don’t support them – or they just don’t care.
But it’s another level of difficulty when your partner or friend is deliberately trying to mess with your best laid health plans.
One woman I worked with described her partner as a “feeder”.
“He knows how hard I’m trying to lose weight, but he keeps buying delicious foods for both of us. He says he loves me the way I am, and the health kicks make me a little obsessed. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s because he doesn’t want me to look and feel better than I do.”
It’s possible. Sometimes people fear what a change in their partner — like weight loss, more energy, more confidence — might mean for them and the relationship. It may lead them to intentionally undermine or control those efforts.
But in most cases, people do not have a malicious agenda. They think their partner is fine the way they are, and they just want to maintain the status quo. They may not want to exercise or change their diet. And they don’t realize how important it is to be fitter and healthier for the well-being and mental happiness of their partner.
Obviously, it’s the best case scenario if your partner supports you, but if not, there’s no need to give up. Try these tips to help.
Separate love from health
People can like you without jumping on your fitness flight. Just as you have the right to manage your health in your own way, so do they.
Just make sure they accept what you need to do in order to feel good about yourself and don’t deliberately make it difficult for you to do it. And they are a good partner in other respects.
Be specific about how they can help
Don’t just say, “I need your support,” because your partner may have a hard time figuring out what that means. Provide practical suggestions when ordering what you need. For example, could you be here for the kids Monday/Wednesday evening and Saturday morning so I can go to my group practice sessions? Please don’t buy me banana muffins for morning tea, can we remove the chocolate from the kitchen drawer? And when they support you, thank them. Do it copiously (and sincerely) and you’ll likely get a repeat.
Seek outside support
Going alone is hard not impossible, but it’s harder than it needs to be. A coach/mentor, friend, or group—in person or online—can be a huge help with motivation and encouragement. Bonus – it might meet some of your social needs, too.
Enter new habits
Any change in your health requires you to do things differently. Don’t rely on willpower – it’s too stressful and won’t work. Instead, create some new habits or routines that will take you toward your goals. Then, when you have a bad day or lose your way, you will have a framework to fall back on.
Only one person really cares
Anyone who wants to improve their health and fitness should be impressed. So don’t get too caught up in whether or not your partner supports you — and certainly don’t use it as a reason to salvage your efforts. Celebrate every small win and remember that there will only be one person who is 100% invested in your success. Do it for you.
What is RTB Fitness Club?
With Round the Bays set for Sunday, March 5 things She launches RTB Fitness Club with trainer Bevan James Isles to help Kiwis get excited about fitness, build long-term habits to stay motivated and connect with a like-minded community. Whether you’ve purchased your entry to join us on the day in Auckland, or are restricted to participate virtually – you’re welcome to connect and also be part of this club. Once you have purchased your entry to the race, you will have the option to also join the RTB Fitness Club.
For $25 you will get:
An 8-week walking training program, walking for running or just running
Weekly how-to videos with Bevan
Weekly Q&A live with Bevan
Ingredient for strength and stretch to help protect you from injury
Access the exclusive RTB Fitness Club Facebook group