My New Role

images (1)Last year when I started this little fitness adventure, my wife was right there with me.  We both planned to share this experience and progress together.  But things change and for the first time when she had pressing family issues and quit the workouts, I continued.  I want both of us to be healthy, but I have learned along the way that nothing I do or say will get her to start a fitness program and diet program unless she wants it and is ready for it.  In my opinion this is the true secret to this whole fitness thing, desire and willingness to change.

After I finished my first season, a few days ago my wife decided she was tired of her current health and fitness challenges and she needed a change in lifestyle, she realized she needed something drastic.  Usually my role in these decisions results in me trying to put together a meal plan and fitness plan.  This time though I let her get energized about it by doing the research needed to make those decisions.  This have proven to be the hardest part of her new fitness desire, my role is nothing more than support.

Maybe this is where I have gone wrong with her desire to change in the past.  I would be the coach, the hard ass, the enforcer.  I usually take responsibility for the training and the diet, I usually have the ownership.  This time she is in the drivers seat, she has ownership.  This plan is her plan, devised off of lessons I have taught her in my training.   Maybe this ownership will provide the spark to make these changes permanent in a positive direction.

How I traditionally see my role when it comes to my wife and I regarding training and diet.

How I traditionally see my role when it comes to my wife and I regarding training and diet.

My role in this process is support, a very hard role for me as I am used to be the one that drives the fitness direction.  Also, over the past year I have gotten a bit selfish about all things health and fitness in our relationship.  I have to work to let that go when I am at home and work to support her decisions and help her when she has questions or needs a shoulder to lean on.  Recently as we have discussed this, I often find myself reflecting on my own training and catch myself starting to push.  I have to be more passive this time and less focused on my achievements and more on hers.  That is the best I can do to help succeed, stand back and be there when she needs help, but only when asked.

How I need to think of my relationship with my wife regarding her desire to get in shape.

How I need to think of my relationship with my wife regarding her desire to get in shape.

I am hoping the changes she wants to make this time will stick as there is a bit of a disconnect in our lifestyles right now.  I never expect her to desire to run a 5k or do a triathlon, I will take healthy and happy.  This time I have to remove myself and remind myself I have success where previously there was failure and now the focus is on giving her the keys and letting her drive, removing the ‘I’ from our conversations, focus needs to be on her.  This is going to be hard as I am selfish of the accomplishments frontier in this relationship, but I know I am needed for support and advice when asked and needed.  This will be hard and challenging.  Til next time.

Your turn, advice or story of similar situation regarding a love one.  Share in comments.

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13 comments

  1. I have the same conundrum concerning my wife. I wanted so badly for her to get as fired up about cycling as I was that I was too bullish… Fortunately I caught myself and backed off – big time. It took a while but she’s come around and has all of the equipment and is riding almost every day. You’re making the right choice here. Be the support – no more bull horn! This is how I look at it with my wife… I want her to enjoy the exercise. To do that she needs to make her way so she can have her things to cheer about. Near impossible if I’m always over her shoulder, even if I do think she needs to toughen up a bit from time to time. When it comes to toughness I’ve led by example and kept my mouth shut. We’re both happier for it. Good luck brother.

    1. Bgddyjim, I am following suit and doing just that. What you two have now seems really good. I just have to back off give her space to grow as an athlete herself(or atleast as someone who takes an active interest in health) and let her discover herself. That is the trick I am finding. Today she texted me to let me know how much she enjoyed her 1.5 mile walk today and all I could do was grin and smile. Thanks for the advice my friend.

      1. My pleasure brother. Just sit back and enjoy it. I’m really happy for you.

  2. David Bonnell · · Reply

    Don’t they say you catch more flies with honey ?

    1. Too true. Hardest thing for me is that I want to help her and when I try to tell her something from my distinct perspective she finds it boastful. So I am really watching that and trying more of a thumbs up/down minimal input with huge support method. Working so far.

  3. sweatingforit · · Reply

    Nine years together and my husband is just starting to take an interest in running. He has always been active though. He did tell me recently that I can’t leave town anymore because he loses motivation to eat healthy and exercise when I’m not around.

    1. That is really funny. With my wife it is really a matter of her having to own it all, I am just a pillar of support that gives guidance with a headshake and/or smile, maybe a small gesture.

  4. When working with clients who wish their spouse was more active, ate healthier, etc…, I always find that the most successful way in motivating a partner is by setting the best role model possible and never preaching or pushing your methods on someone else. In most cases, once one individual begins getting fit and feeling more energized and happier, then their “better half” usually follows suit, on their own accord. It sounds like you are totally doing this…congrats!

    1. Its been a year and she is just now wanting to give this a go again. I am working diligently to not push here away and to let her determine where she goes, with a little gentle nudging. So far its going well, just worried about the point in a month or so when she decides this is not worth it and wants to give up. That will be the hardest part to handle. Thanks for the advice and feedback, it helps.

  5. I’m actually on the other side of the coin – my wife is an amazing runner. She inspires me all the time. She is so dedicated to her progress. And she’s fast – much faster than me. I love cheering her on, and it inspires me. We go to the gym together, or head out for runs together, but we usually go in different directions (because we have different goals in our respective plans). But I find it really helpful watching how dedicated she is. It keeps me focused on my goals

    1. You are really luck in that regards. Of course your blog has been a great inspiration this year, keep at it.

  6. ichoosetolivestronger · · Reply

    Wow! This is exciting news! I think if you keep this attitude, it will help her take ownership of her own life. Honestly for me, when my hubby says…did you go to the gym today? And i say NO…i hate his reactions and get pissed. Usually he’ll say, you’ve quit haven’t you? Or he’ll say, your butt is getting bigger, Really? Yeah, not the kind of support you want to give to your wife…as it will make her bitter. Don’t treat her like your student….or your “charge”. Only praise when you see the results of her efforts…and never comment when she’s failing…trust me, she knows when she’s failing and she doesn’t need you to confirm things. This is one of many reasons i am struggling right now. No excuse though. It takes hard work to Get healthy and continued work to stay strong.

    1. I am truly hoping so. It is so hard to stand back and watch her make mistakes whne I really just wanna help, but I have to let her find and discover her fitness on her own. I am just a pillar of guarded strength in this. Thanks.

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