Getting Healthy Takes Teamwork!

14 April 2009

A popular question I get asked is, "How did you get your husband on the same page when it comes to eating well and living non-toxic?" I am blessed that my husband, Brandon, already had a pretty decent foundation. My mother-in-law served well-rounded and overall healthy meals to her family, but my husband never put much thought into what or how much he was eating.

When I got serious about eating well I began to talk about serving sizes and healthy alternatives to what we had been doing. The changes came slowly, and as found out something new about toxins, or additives, I would share with Brandon. I could tell right away if it was something he cared about, or if he thought it was something I was getting carried away with.

Here are a few things that made a big difference on getting Brandon on board with change:

1. Get Creative!!! Rather than buying ice cream I started to freeze grapes, or make yogurt smoothies. We Googled how to make gourmet popcorn to replace chips. I found recipes for making my own trail mix with raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. When several new choices were available it didn't seem to matter that potato chips weren't in the cabinet.

2. Get Sneaky! Start slipping vegetarian recipes into the menu. The first time I made crockpot burritos Brandon was 1/2 way through the meal before he realized there was no meat. When he discovered that the food was actually great without the meat he was open to me trying other vegetarian meals. This was HUGE for my husband who thought his entire menu should be planned around a dead animal!

I also try to work a ton of vegetables into other foods I prepare. My spaghetti sauce is loaded with squashes, and grilled chicken sandwiches almost always have sauteed mushrooms and squashes. With the right seasonings it appears to be gourmet! ;)

3. Pick and choose your battles!!! Write down, or think of, the things that are the most important to you. Explain why that is important to you, and wait for that change to settle in. Once they discover it wasn't that big of a deal then they will be more willing to hear you out on other issues.

4. Don't deprive! If you know that your husband or child enjoys a certain snack or side then plan around it. Brandon loves cracked pepper chips, so if we're having grilled chicken sandwiches I'll buy a small bag (2 servings) of the chips. It doesn't seem frugal to buy the small bag when you can get the larger bag at a better price per ounce, but if you sit around eating 2-3 serving in one night then what is the point? You're eating a lot of extra calories, and consuming $4 worth of chips when the $1 serving would have done the job at dinner.

5. Point out the benefits (or their indifference)! When I started measuring our food with measuring cups and scales I realized I was serving at least 2 servings to each person for meals. I began to point out what a real serving size was, and how many calories it equaled. Brandon and I were blown away! Within a couple weeks of eating appropriate servings we saw the number on the scale going down.

When Brandon ran out of his toothpaste, and had to use mine he realized he could live with the flavor and without the artificial sweeteners. Though he was reluctant to give up Tide, Brandon now comments on how our clothes smell like clean cotton and are incredibly soft (something he would have never thought to care about). These are great reference points when I discover another area I want to change in our lives.

6. DON'T NAG, but do talk about why certain things matter to you! Brandon had a hard time giving up his $1 menu fast food items a couple times a week. His family has a history of high blood pressure and heart disease, and poor food choices really concerned me. Not only do I want to grow old with my husband, but as a stay-at-home-mom I depend on him to provide for our family. When Brandon saw my genuine concern for him, and our family, he began to take his health more seriously.

7. Live by example! It's hard to not notice when people are washing their face with honey, and it's actually improving their skin. People will ask for advice when they see you're losing weight, or meeting new exercise goals. Husbands tend to notice when their wives are feeling more energized and healthy, because we carry ourselves differently and have fewer mood swings.


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