that’s the key to all of this!!!
You have to make yourself and your health a priority!!! Up until this point your priorities have been taking the kids to soccer practice, making sure your husband’s work clothes are at the dry cleaners and putting dinner on the table (AND cleaning up afterwards)…. All of this is great but why do we as women have to do all of this alone?! Who can you ask for help?! The answer is simple…. Our husbands and kids and family members…. When you reach out and ask for help, yes you will probably get some resistance at first but as long as your approach is a positive one you might find that people are happier to help than you realized, they have just never been asked. So below are a few tips/tricks that you can use to open up the conversion and bring your team on board so you can make your health a priority!!
Literally give them the tools to succeed!!! Ask your spouse and/or children to pick one or two nights per week to take over dinner, the dishes or laundry… I can see the eye rolling now and you are thinking yeah right but let me ask you a question…. Why not?! Don’t they have to eat to?! So what would they do if you weren’t there?! Here is how you change this… on Sunday when you are grocery shopping for the week and meal prepping leave the recipe (this can be something as simple as a crockpot meal with frozen vegetable steamers) they are going to make on the counter and the groceries in the fridge… if you make this transition easy at first then they will start thinking ‘this isn’t so bad’ and not mind helping out or pinching in more often.
They are probably starting from square one so be patient!! Take pictures with your phone of your favorite brands/staple items when shopping at the grocery store. When Ryan’s Christmas break for medical school started this year I was still trying to do everything by myself meanwhile he was sleeping in and playing video games (he did earn about 1-2 weeks of this behavior but not the whole month) so every morning I would write down 1, 2 or 3 (if they were small) things I needed him to do for me that day. It could be something so small as take out the trash or pick up the dogs medication to something more time consuming like grocery shopping or laundry. It never failed when he was at the grocery store I would get about 10 phones calls asking where stuff was or what it looked like…. Annoying – I might as well have done it myself… so the next time I went to the store I got smart, I started taking photos of my favorite foods or the hardest to find items (like quinoa, flaxseed, xantham gum, etc) so that way when a text message came in about an item, I could send him the photo so he knew what he was looking for. Another way to go about this is to take him to the grocery store the first time and show him where everything is so when he goes by himself it’s a no brainer OR the next time you bring groceries home – show him your favorites as you are putting them away. Remember your first time grocery shopping by yourself and how long it took you?!
To keep attitudes of others positive! Don’t approach them with ‘finger pointing’ or frustrated tone. Simply sit your family/loved ones down and tell them what and why you need to help… For example, ‘I am really trying to focus on changing my exercise/nutrition habits but at the end of the day I just don’t have the time/energy to focus on making any of these changes… it would be a huge help if I could count on yall for help with some of the chores that are involved with our daily lives.’ This is all you need to say.. lets not get into the all the times they have minimally helped you in the past, this conversion is about moving forward.
You have to pinch in as well!! You cannot ask them to help and you completely stop contributing to dinners, laundry and chores, this will lead them to being bitter…. Set-up the schedule so everyone is helping out for example, Monday- you are cooking, your husbands doing the dishes and your son/daughter has to do one load of laundry, Tuesday- husband cooks, you do the dishes and you son/daughter has to take out the trash. Wednesday: you cook, son/daughter cleans and husband gets the night off. Start with baby steps and you will find this ‘teamwork’ idea goes a lot farther than demanding help! Also, when they do something to help out PRAISE THEM!! I always joke that when Ryan folds a load of towels he walks around the house like he just won the Olympics (my first reaction wanted to be …. Do you know how many loads of towels I have folded in my lifetime but then where would have that kind of comment gotten me?!) Instead I just give him a kiss and a huge thank you and in return I usually get another load of laundry out of him without asking. This has worked in my own home and now I find my husband doing things that I never even asked him to do- he has started to realize how when we are all helping out we all have a lot more free time to do the things we want to do like exercise, video games, meeting up with friends, trying a new recipe or simply watch TV.
Now is your turn to commit!! Last step in making this happen and the changes to stick in your home….. Now you have to commit to those lifestyle changes that before you were too busy to make!! You have to put on your running shoes, go for a walk, meet a friend for zumba (or your dietitian) and commit to finding your ‘healthy me time’. If your family makes all of these changes to allow you to free up some time for being healthy and you actually just sit on the couch or another less than healthy activity…. What will your family think about that? How would you feel if someone did that to you? You would not be holding up your end of the deal. So use this commitment you made to them as motivation for making changes and creating healthy habits.
Even though to some this might seem like common sense it doesn’t feel that way when you are frustrated with a long history of no help, overworked in all areas of your life and feel like taking the right steps to living a healthy lifestyle are so out of reach!! Sometimes you just need a little reminder to ASK FOR HELP (and be kind about it)
!! A lot of times our loved ones aren’t being lazy they just don’t realize we NEED the help
!! Being healthy and making changes only work if they are manageable and doable in the beginning and once you get going that is when you can add in bigger goals. Having a proper ‘team’ in place can make all the difference when it comes to your success!!
So now is your turn to tell me… what do you find frustrating or difficult when it comes to making healthy changes?! Lets keep this an open conversion for everyone who is throwing willpower out of the door and focusing on creating healthy priorities!!
P.S. a little etsy find to keep you remind you that all of the small steps can lead you in the right direction!
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My clients are big motivators for some of my favorite past blog posts because they are dealing with their own real struggles from an angle I haven’t even considered. That is what makes weight loss so complicated at times is we all have our habits/reasons for not being able to achieve our goals (or so we allow ourselves to think). One common tread I see a lot with my female clients who also have a family and work fulltime (either at their own homes or work in an office) is they tend to put everyone else’s needs above theirs. The older I get the more I realize that in 90% of marriages or relationships the females are the heart/soul of the family. These women are the ones who keep day-to-day life, chores, and family activates running like a well-oiled machine… I mean who else would know that the laundry room needs to be swept, the dust bunnies in the corner don’t clean themselves and the inside of drawers need to be wiped down from time to time (these are things I’m sure my husband is NOT worried about or even knows these issues exist). There are only two humans and 2 animals in my household but the to do list is never ending and once one thing is crossed off it seems like myself or someone else has something that I can help with. At the end of the day (or even the beginning) you are too tired to focus on your health, ‘me-time’ or even consider exercise and it is much easier to just go to bed saying, ‘Tomorrow I will do better’. But lets be honest you have the same reasons/habits/barriers that you had today to face tomorrow so why do you think you will succeed the next day?!? Willpower?! Here is another little secret I want to let everyone in on willpower doesn’t exist…. If you put an apple and a piece of chocolate cake in front of me 100% of the time I am going to want that piece of cake over the apple (even though I love apples as well) so why do I choose differently?! Because of my habits- I can rely on the fact that my track record in the past has always reached for the apple, for the positive feelings I get after eating an apple over a chocolate cake and by staying focused on something I make a priority…