By Sylvana Rinehart
My spouse doesn’t always “see things my way” when it comes to health and wellness issues, and I get frustrated, like most well-intentioned spouses. As I was growing up, I thought my mother was constantly pestering my father to either not eat so much of the “bad” stuff, drink lots of liquids, or walk straight. He would get upset and rebel at times, especially when he couldn’t eat rich foods like sausage and kidney beans, and I felt bad for him. At times I even resented my mother.
Now that I am in senior care and no longer have my parents, but luckily have my own husband to pester, I know I am doing the right thing. It is not always easy to ensure that your loved one does the right thing for his or her well-being without feeling like a nuisance and for your words to be received as an irritant. Having said that, I also feel that it is important to remember that there is a fine balance between turning a blind eye to certain indulgences and making sure our loved ones stay healthy.
What I have found that works well for me is: a. setting an example without pestering, and b. being inclusive with my activities. In the first instance for example, I mention I’m going to the gym, or going for a walk. I’ll also cook healthy meals that taste good and include things that I know he enjoys. I generally abstain from having desert, and I don’t buy “junk food” when I shop.
In the second situation, I might ask for my husband to accompany me on a walk, or claim I have no time to walk the dog “would you take him out today?” Let your loved one know that you’d enjoy their company in whatever activities you are doing, or participate and support sports or activities that they enjoy, as well. If your spouse drops a few pounds, don’t forget to tell them how terrific they look, and you notice they have more energy too!
Life is too short and one thing we do have control over is a decision to live a healthy life! And now I have to stop because my husband is insisting I accompany him to walk our dog!