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How To Get The Support You Need When Your Partner Doesn’t Have The Same Goals As You

Kim: [00:00:00] Welcome to episode 81 of the Fitness Simplified podcast. I’m your host, Kim Schlag. On today’s episode, I’m joined by one of my Instagram followers. Her name is Megan. Megan and I have been chatting via email about a personal situation that is just so relatable.
We cover two important topics today:
How do you get the support you need from your partner for your fitness goals, and how do you help your partner with their fitness goals if they’re not interested in fitness goals? How do you help somebody want to change?
Let’s go.
Megan, hi. 
Megan: [00:00:51] Hello, Kim. How are you? 
Kim: [00:00:53] I’m so glad to be able to talk to you. We have been trying to set this up for a while now. 
Megan: [00:01:01] I know. 
Kim: [00:01:03] How is everybody in your house feeling? 
Megan: [00:01:06] Everybody is well here. How are you? 
Kim: [00:01:09] Good. Well, you know what? I am hanging in there. I am apparently going to be permanently sick. I’m just going to live with it.
Megan: [00:01:16] Oh, no. 
Kim: [00:01:18] At this point it just feels like I’m just a person who is sick.
Now, your husband had COVID, right?
Megan: [00:01:26] He did. Yeah. 
Kim: [00:01:27] And is he 100% better now? 
Megan: [00:01:30] Yeah. Thankfully he had a pretty mild case and has recovered fully.
Kim: [00:01:37] And no one else in the house is sick, right? No one else got it? 
Megan: [00:01:41] No. My kids and I both stayed healthy.
We did a really good job having him isolated in the house and thankfully we all made out okay.
Kim: [00:01:53] I’m so glad to hear it. Where are you located, by the way? I forget. 
Megan: [00:01:58] I’m in Virginia. 
Kim: [00:01:59] Okay. Got it. Got it. And are your kids in school virtually or in-person? 
Megan: [00:02:06] They are in-person. We had the option of doing in-person with the possibility that they could go virtual if the schools needed to close. So we chose to do that and thankfully, fingers crossed, they have stayed in school. 
Kim: [00:02:25] Oh wow. That’s incredible. Our kids started 100% virtually. They were easing into a hybrid kind of model in the month of October leading into November and right as they got everyone situated — like, everyone who wanted to be hybrid was, they had to yank everybody back out and we’re full virtual again because our case numbers are up.
So that didn’t last long. 
Megan: [00:02:50] Yeah. 
Kim: [00:02:52] Not long at all. 
Megan: [00:02:52] There are other, you know, in surrounding counties that have had to go back virtual. But for now, we’re still in-person. 
Kim: [00:03:03] Now, how many kids do you have? 
Megan: [00:03:06] Two. And they are 9 and 6. Third grade and kindergarten. 
Kim: [00:03:11] Oh, those are fun ages. Really, really fun ages. I like those ages because they’re not like jaded yet, as far as “everything is boring” and that kind of stuff, but they’re past the stage where you constantly have to worry they’re going to hurt themselves, right?
Like that preschool age, like what are they gonna get into? 
Megan: [00:03:28] Right. Exactly. 
Kim: [00:03:30] Amazing. And what do you do for work? 
Megan: [00:03:35] I am a nurse practitioner. 
Kim: [00:03:37] Okay, great. And are you doing that in-person now or is that virtual for you?
Megan: [00:03:42] Yeah, so I work in an outpatient office, so I’ve still been working this whole time. We do a lot more telemedicine now than we ever did before, but we definitely still have patients come into the office.
Kim: [00:03:59] Do you think that telemedicine is going to be here to stay even after COVID passes? 
Megan: [00:04:04] Yes. 
Kim: [00:04:06] That’s my thought as well. 
Megan: [00:04:08] Yeah. I think there were
some barriers preventing widespread telemedicine before and now all of those have kind of been broken down. So, I think that it’s a good thing. 

Kim: [00:04:19] Me too. I think it’s going to be one of the permanent changes our society sees that will actually be positive.
Megan: [00:04:24] Yeah. Yep. 
Kim: [00:04:26] So go ahead and tell us all what your question was when you and I have been messaging back and forth through email.
Now just so everyone knows, Megan and I actually don’t know each other well. Megan and I started emailing and Instagram DMing and here’s where we are. 
Megan: [00:04:43] Yeah. So my question was, “how to stay on track when your significant other is not on the same plan as you?” Not necessarily not supportive, but just not following the same weight loss and fitness program. 
Kim: [00:05:04] It’s such a good question, because so many people find themselves in that situation right where you are. Now, tell us about what your fitness goals are and kind of where you’re at with them right now. 
Megan: [00:05:19] Yeah. So when I initially emailed you a couple of months ago, it was primarily just weight loss. The COVID-19 pandemic weight gain is real.
But now here we are in the midst of holiday season, so I’ve kind of given myself a little leeway there, but ultimately weight loss is the primary goal.
Kim: [00:05:55] Got it. Got it. And your husband, is he somebody who’s just always been pretty healthy? He’s just not interested in fitness? Like, what’s his situation? 
Megan: [00:06:07] So I think he’s just not interested like I am. Not that he’s not active, but he doesn’t formally exercise. He’s never initiated starting a program or going on a diet or anything like that. It’s usually me going, “do this with me,” and, you know, he’ll do it for like a week or two or whatever, and then kind of goes back to his own thing.
So, I think ultimately he just doesn’t have the same passion, like I do. 
Kim: [00:06:43] Got it. And when you’ve asked him to do this with you in the past, what was your motivation in doing that? Why did you ask him to do the fitness things with you? 
Megan: [00:06:54] One, to just have a partner to do it with. I work out at home mostly, just for convenience, so we do have dumbbells and other fitness equipment. So just having somebody to exercise with and hang out with. And then, I guess another part of it is that, you know, just encouraging him to get healthy, lose some weight himself, you know, as a roundabout way of motivating him to get on board.
Kim: [00:07:34] Okay. Well, let’s talk about each of those things kind of separately. So, the first part is kind of, what do you need? Like, what would you get out of having him do this with you? And I think you make a really good point, like having a partner, having somebody to do this with you, that’s a really powerful thing when it comes to any goal and I specifically think when it comes to health and fitness goals.
The question is: is he the right partner for you? Because frankly, if he doesn’t want to do it, he doesn’t want to do it, right? So the need is still there. Somebody to maybe hold you accountable could be what you need or somebody to just talk things over with or to commiserate with. What kind of support from a partner do you feel like you need the most?
Megan: [00:08:20] Accountability, for sure. And probably the other piece of it is like with planning meals and that sort of thing. Of course, if I’m the only one doing it, it all falls on me, so just having somebody that can just help with the whole process. 
Kim: [00:08:50] Got it, got it.
So I guess there’s two things that I see here. One, the value in you finding somebody outside of your husband to be your accountability partner is big here. Finding somebody in your real life is one possibility, like, looking around and thinking like, “What friends do I have who are kind of embarking on this same thing? Maybe we can actually be accountability partners” as in, we’re not in the same space and we work out, but we’re going to hold each other accountable. I’m going to say, “Hey, I’m working out at 5:30 today, let’s touch base after I do,” and then you’ll do the same for her. That’s one possibility.
If that is not a real realistic thing in your life. If you’re like, “I don’t really have fitnessy-type friends,” finding an online partner is another really good option.
There are so many people. You could, frankly, find them in the comment section of one of my Instagram posts. You could put in there and be like, “hey, I’m looking for an accountability partner, who wants in?” And I bet you would find somebody.
Literally, I could put that up on my Instagram stories for you and be like, “I have somebody looking for an accountability partner.” I would get so many messages, I’m sure. 
Another possibility is joining an online fitness kind of group.
Now, I don’t have one of these yet. Eventually, I might have some kind of group like this. I don’t do it now. My friends, Jordan and Susan do with their Inner Circle. It’s very inexpensive month to month and one of the great benefits of this group is that they hold each other accountable on these Facebook groups.
And so they’re in there talking every day about, “here’s my goal. Here’s what I’m doing.” And people give each other that support. Whether it’s the supportive, “Hey, I’m doing this tomorrow at 7. I’m going to come back and tell you that I did it,” or it’s like, “this is really hard and I don’t want to do it.” All the kinds of things.
So I think a key for you is to figure out which of these types of things work to get you that support you need without making it be your husband.
How do you feel about that? 
Megan: [00:10:43] So, I’ve done groups before and yeah, they definitely work. And I have friends that I’l
l talk to and message with that aren’t necessarily following the same exact program that I am, but that have weight loss goals. I think the other piece of it — because for me, I’m fine exercising by myself. Like, yes, it would be great to have somebody doing it alongside me, but that’s not the biggest struggle. For me, it’s more the nutrition aspect.

Again, it’s not like he’s discouraging me from counting my calories and weighing my food and doing that kind of thing, it’s just, it feels like so much more work because I’m the one that plans the meals for the family and does the grocery shopping, and then he’ll come in and suggest, “well, let’s get takeout tonight” or, “let’s try this new recipe,” and I just feel like I’m always going “well, no, that doesn’t fit in my plan.” “I can’t have rice tonight because I’m out of carbs” or whatever.
Kim: [00:12:06] Got it. 
And here’s an important question, then: have you tried discussing with your husband what your goal is specifically and letting him know that you have no expectations that your goals are his goals, and then asking for very specific support? And here’s an example I can give you and you can kind of be like, “yep, I’ve tried that” or “no, I’ve never done that.”
So, you go– what’s your husband’s name? 
Megan: [00:12:38] William. 
Kim: [00:12:39] So you go, “William, I really need to talk to you about something” and you do it at a time when tensions aren’t high and it’s not at dinner and he hasn’t just asked you to do take out, right? So at a very neutral kind of time, and you explain to him very clearly, “here are my goals. I want to lose some weight. Here’s why it’s important to me. And I have no interest in making you do this with me, William. It is totally fine with me if you’re not interested in losing weight. I don’t want to pressure you into losing weight. And I want you to know I am not secretly trying to make you lose weight for me.”
This is important, “and here are some specific things that would be meaningful to me if you would do. If you could meet with me once a week and decide which days of the week we’re going to do take out. If you could, when I tell you here’s what we’re having for dinner, not try and pressure me to do something else.”
“I’m not going to tell you what you can and can’t eat at all. It would really help me if you don’t make comments on what I’m eating.”
And very specifically lay out for him, “here’s what I need and I don’t want you to feel any pressure to eat a certain way or not eat a certain way.”
So my question for you is one, have you tried a conversation like that with him? 
Megan: [00:13:49] Not that detailed. I mean, when I’m strictly weighing my food and counting calories, he’s aware that I am. He of course says, you know, “well, I don’t think you need to lose weight. I don’t think you need to be doing all that,” but I’ve never approached it from the sense of saying like, “this is what I’m doing and I don’t expect you to do it, but here’s what I need from you.” 
Kim: [00:14:18] How do you think he would respond if you did that? 
Megan: [00:14:23] I think he would totally be okay with it. 
Kim: [00:14:27] Fantastic. That’s great. Will you do that?
Will you do that with him sometime in the next week? 
Megan: [00:14:36] I will. Although, like I said, right now, this current moment in my life, I’m not as strict about it — just again, because of holidays and stuff — but when the time comes that I am back actively trying to lose weight, I definitely will have that conversation. 
Kim: [00:14:56] Amazing. And I really do think it’s important to frame it in like, you know, “I love you, you’re so supportive, I know it would be important for you to understand what I’m doing, to be able to give me the support that I need, because, realistically, I’m here to give you the support you need.”
And you know, a lot of times we want people to read our minds, right? We want people to know like, “here’s the support I need,” and they don’t know. They don’t know. And if you can very specifically say things like, “Hey, it really helps me when people don’t make comments about the fact that I’m weighing my food right now. I don’t plan on weighing my food forever, but for right now, I am, it will be really helpful for me if you just didn’t make comments about that. Or if we can plan ahead of time when we’re going to order takeout, because it really helps me to stay on track with my goals,” and be very specific with what you need and very non-judgmental of his goals.
Megan: [00:15:44] Right. 
Kim: [00:15:45] And then that brings us to the other part, which is, you did say you would love to see him wanting to lose weight. And that begs the question: what is the best way to inspire someone else to want to lose weight or take their health and fitness seriously? I bet you could list some ways that don’t work.
Megan: [00:16:03] [laughing] Right. 
Kim: [00:16:05] Give me a couple. What hasn’t worked? 
Megan: [00:16:07] [laughing] Saying, ” you need to lose weight.”
Kim: [00:16:11] It works so terribly, right? It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. Nobody is going to be forced into wanting to lose weight because we tell them, “Hey, I think you need to lose weight.” It just doesn’t work. And it feels terrible.
Honestly, the very best thing you can do is inspire people with your own actions. If he sees you, in a healthy way, losing weight — in a way that still allows you to have some rice or have some takeout, and he sees you being successful with it, that is more likely to inspire him to be like, “Hey, I don’t need to just eat lettuce to lose weight. I could do what my wife is doing and do it.”
That is way more likely to help him want to do this than anything you could say. And I know that can feel hard because we want to be
able to say the thing that’s going to help people make the change, but usually there’s nothing you can say, it’s really what you do. 

Megan: [00:17:05] Yeah. And I think just doing what I do, obviously, I’m involved with health and fitness day to day. So for me, I see more than just the immediate benefit of weight loss, but just the long-term health benefit. And of course, he’s separated from that because he’s not in healthcare, so he doesn’t necessarily have the same outlook that I do.
And like, if I made all of his food, he has said before, “yeah, I’ll all go on whatever diet, as long as you make my food and pack my food every day.” Because he’s just not going to take the initiative to do it himself.
And I’m like, “yeah, well, I would like that, too…”
That’d be really nice. Yeah. 
Kim: [00:18:14] Two things I would say about that: one, I totally agree with you. If everybody had somebody packing their food and saying, “here’s exactly what to eat,” that would make things really helpful.
It still wouldn’t be enough, though. I’m telling you, somebody could pack someone else’s food, but if another person wasn’t ready to make a change, they could just as easily, on top of that food, go grab a Snickers bar, right? 
Megan: [00:18:35] Yeah, that’s true. 
Kim: [00:18:37] You cannot make somebody else want to make a change. As much as we want to.
The other thing I would say is: though he’s not in healthcare, it sounds like, do you really think he doesn’t get that improving his fitness is going to help with things? What kind of things are you thinking about? Like, diabetes and heart health and those kinds of things?
Megan: [00:18:59] Yeah, like chronic disease. But no, you’re right. I’m sure that he — who doesn’t know?
Kim: [00:19:05] He knows. He knows. We all know. We all know the impact that our nutrition and weight loss can have on things like all the different chronic diseases. He knows.
Right now, knowing doesn’t lead to action for him and at some point it may, and it’s way more likely to if he’s not feeling pushed by you or by anybody else. No one out there doesn’t get the fact that eating healthier, losing a little bit of weight is going to help with their heart health and their chances of lowering all kinds of chronic diseases. We know it.
Megan: [00:19:36] Yeah. 
Kim: [00:19:38] All right. I know that’s hard to hear because you want him to make a different choice and likely at some point in his life, he will. It might take seeing a friend get some kind of disease, it might take some kind of health scare on his own, but he’s gonna come to that place on his own.
Megan: [00:19:57] Yeah. No, you’re right. 
Kim: [00:20:00] Is there anything else I can help you with today? 
Megan: [00:20:05] I don’t think so. This was actually really helpful. To talk to somebody who’s impartial and just get an outsiders perspective, this was definitely helpful. 
Kim: [00:20:23] Well, I am so, so, so happy to be here to have this chat with you and to be able to help you with this.
So, when you’re ready, after the holidays, if you do decide you want an accountability partner, message me, I’ll put it up on my stories. I’m telling you we’ll get some people. Because there are other people out there who also want to have somebody to connect with about fitness and be like, “Hey, I’m doing the things. I’m meal planning this week and yes, I’m doing my workout.,” and have somebody else to do that with them is important. So let me know and we can make that happen. 
Megan: [00:20:54] Yeah, I definitely will.
Kim: [00:20:56] All right, my dear. Have a wonderful holiday season and keep in touch.
Megan: [00:21:02] I will. Same to you. 
Kim: [00:21:04] Thanks so much. Bye. Bye. 
Megan: [00:21:06] All right, bye.
Kim: [00:21:11] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational. 
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people. 
Thanks so much.