I am a dietitian but I am also one of those people who has to work hard at living a healthy lifestyle. I know that healthy habits come naturally to many people – including my husband, Mike. But that is not the case for me. If given an option, my position of choice would be nibbling chocolate while I read a great book on the couch. So, I really value the support of my hubby and other significant people in my life as I focus on staying on a healthy track.
It’s Valentine’s Day this month – a day that focuses on loving relationships with significant people in one’s life. Mike knows that a big box of chocolates is not the loving gesture for me that it may be for other people. I need loving gifts that help me to achieve more balance in my life… he knows I am a much more pleasant partner when I am living healthfully. So his Valentine’s Day gifts tend to be back rubs, workout DVDs, or a fun family activity like hanging out at the indoor batting cages so we all play and get ourselves moving.
Research shows that it is much easier to stick to healthy habits when we surround ourselves with people who are supportive of our efforts. So this Valentine’s Day, consider asking friends or family for the support you need, and ask them how you can best support them too. Be as clear as you can when asking for the support you need and encourage others to be specific about how you can most help them too.
Try some of these ideas or come up with your own:
- Ask for Valentine’s Day (or birthday or anniversary) gifts that support your health goals – like Zing Bars to keep in your desk, purse and car, new walking shoes, a stress reduction CD, or a subscription to a healthy cooking magazine.
- Cook with your partner or a friend on a Sunday so you have healthy meals ready for the week. I find cooking so much more fun when I have some company as I cook.
- Work out with a buddy – I work out with a dear friend three times a week and those are the workouts that I do not miss!
- Instead of going out for dinner to celebrate every special occasion, take a dance class together, go for a romantic moonlit walk, or get a partner yoga DVD out of the library to try together.
- Don’t give Valentine’s Day candy to your kids…there are more than enough other candy eating opportunities throughout the year. Instead of letting it become a day they always associate with candy, try a fun activity together. We’ve tried to see how many fruits and veggies we can make into hearts and we have lots of heart-shaped healthy foods at Valentine’s Day dinner. Last year, our son had fun spelling out Valentine’s Day messages with thin strips of carrots and bell peppers. It is so delicious eating off a plate that says “I love you!”
Here’s to a healthy Valentine’s Day. And even more importantly, here’s to surrounding ourselves with the support of loved ones as we work towards our health goals!