Married to a Potato

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Well, I used to be a potato too, a couch potato that is. I never really had a very active upbringing aside from dreaded gym classes and recreational volleyball and softball. So, I completely understand the “Potato Mentality.” I picked up a fitness habit around 2001 and have stuck with it ever since. I later added the healthy eating part of the equation, and still work on this part to this day.

The trouble is, my husband is a true couch potato. There are noticeable markings on the area of the couch where he always sits indicating that he spends a lot of time there. This can be very discouraging. It’s also difficult, when you understand the high value of healthy habits, watching your partner not take care of themselves. It’s difficult when you don’t have the same goals and you feel as if you’re missing out on having the perfect workout buddy.

There’s a difference though between acquiring your partner’s participation and acquiring his support. My husband has always supported my fitness habits. True, there was a time when he offered me an unhealthy serving of cake right after I worked out, but for the most part, he’s very supportive. Just two days ago, I was on the treadmill for maybe 10 minutes when I turned if off and said “I just can’t do this tonight.” He encouraged me, well...nearly demanded, that I get back on. It worked! I stayed on for a full 35 minutes and felt much better afterwards. So, the support is very important. You need only ask.

By being a role model, perhaps one day you will inspire your significant other to begin their own healthy habits. You can offer little nudges, perhaps by showing them interesting articles you’ve read or relaying other tidbits. My husband has an injured back, so when I come across articles about how exercising decreases back pain, I like to gently remind him of how he could "cure" himself or at least feel better, which he is understandably highly receptive to. Also, hearing it from a source other than me improves the likelihood that it will get through, but that's a whole different story. Just please promise you won’t nag! This will make health-ifying that much more of a chore for your partner. And it’s a very private, personal choice that a person has to make for themselves.

Aside from being encouraging, maybe you are able to control the weekly menu to help your partner at least in the diet arena. Find a healthy cookbook that remakes some of your partner’s favorites. You need not mention what you’ve done lest they refuse the food on principle. Some secrets really are healthy!

The good news is, my husband has agreed to run a 5k with me in April. Well ok, maybe he’ll walk it with me, but that's a wonderful change either way. It seems he has been finding more and more excuses to walk and fit in extra exercise. So, I signed the registration, sent in the money, and smiled at the thought of crossing the finish line with my new fitness buddy.

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Emily Conrad said...

GOOD LUCK!!!!! I'm cheering for you both :)

Jessica Collins said...

Thanks Emily! You and your hubby too. You guys are going much further!