Tips to Get Healthy With Your Partner
No one’s relationship is perfect. I will go to bat for that statement. Every. Single. Time. Even the celebrity couples that seem doused with love and commitment on the red carpet have their problems that they have to continually sort out.
The tricky part is managing those relationship issues as they arise. A healthy partnership will ebb and flow with these ripples in the water.
Before getting into daily wellness for a healthy relationship, a great way to start this journey together is to find out what one another’s overall health goals are.
TIP 1: GET ON THE SAME PAGE
It is important to have a discussion about it whether it happens all at once or over time. Having a curiosity about your partner can lead to getting to know them better (even if you have known them for a while) and know how to better align your wellness goals so you can work together and reap the health benefits as a team.
Even if your goals are different (losing or gaining weight, getting toned, or simply changing your eating habits as a family), knowing what the other person is working toward will go a long way. An effective way to do this is not only asking your partner what their goals are, but how you can help them get there. Your partner’s needs are going to be different from yours, so be prepared to provide support in a variety of ways.
You may have family members who do not support your goals. If that is the case, evaluate who you want in your support network for this healthier lifestyle change. These are not typically the good relationships with people who are close to you, but still be firm in your decision as a team.
TIP 2: THE 90/10 RULE
A healthy relationship is not always 50/50—it is more complex than that. Some days you have to stretch to the 90% of effort by being the one to not buy their favorite processed foods or the greasy takeout that you both love when they ask for it. Do this with love, of course.
I am sure you are well aware of those days that you feel like the 10%. On those rough days, have the courage to tell your partner that you need their strength to support you and your goals (more on this later). Lastly, give yourself the grace if you feel like you weren’t able to meet your goals. Get up, dust off, and keep going.
TIP 3: MAKE COOKING A PRIORITY
Whether you establish one person as the main cook or you cook together (aww), it is important to establish a routine of eating more homemade meals than takeout or fast food.
Restaurants typically have to use more inflammatory oils (like canola oil or other vegetable oils) due to many kitchen regulations, so you are likely to experience more inflammation after eating out than you would if you just made your own tacos for the night.
TIP 4: EAT 4-6 CUPS OF LEAFY GREENS
Humans used to eat 100 grams of fiber in a day! A single day! Back in those hunter-gatherer days, however, I am positive they did not have Uber Eats or Grub Hub sending notifications about tonight’s special. Right now, adults in westernized countries can barely make the minimum requirement of 25 grams. What is up with that? No wonder we have so many gut health issues.
The fiber in greens are going to help your gut by feeding your good gut bacteria the food it needs to improve your digestion. With improved digestion is improved mood, skin, and lessened anxiety.
TIP 5: KEEP VARIETY IN YOUR VEGETABLES
Without even looking up valid resources, you and I can probably guess that us first-world society folks are not getting more than a few different kinds of vegetables. This is going to take some effort and attention. We should aim to get about 30 different kinds of vegetables a week!
I recommend splitting up this effort among partners. One partner should focus on getting 15 vegetables in together and the other should focus on the other half! If you struggle doing this, no worries!
I typically make this easier on myself by making a smoothie in the mornings or afternoons that contains a good portion of my variety for the day. It helps to make one for you and one for your partner(s)! You have enough on your plate already.
TIP 6: HYDRATE TOGETHER
Start each morning with water. Add some lemon to aid in digestion. Make it part of your routine together. Get matching water bottles to bring to work. If that is too cheesy for you, look into calling or texting each other in the middle of the work day to hydrate.
Hydration is one of the foundations of health. There is no way around it. Humans will die of thirst before they die of hunger. A little morbid? Probably. Just drink your water!
Pro tip: Make a pitcher of water and fill it with strawberries, orange slices, and lemon slices and let it sit over night in the fridge. Bougie and tasty!
TIP 7: KEEP ONE ANOTHER ACCOUNTABLE
This is a big one. Each person has to be on the same page regardless of how different your goals may be from one another’s. It has to be more than a social media post of “on a healthy diet again.” This is a lifestyle change. It is by no means perfect, but a strong relationship should have a foundation of physical health.
Health is not a collection of healthy habits just like a romantic relationship is not simply a collection of social support and physical touch. This is going to take some degree of communication skills. Accountability in a lifestyle change has a critical role for this sticking. Take a look at your your social environment; are you guys hanging out with other people who do not take their health seriously?
The people we let into our social network influence us whether we want them to or not. Let these social relationships life us up instead of bring us down.
TIP 8: GET EDUCATED TOGETHER
One of my favorite parts! This is where you and your partner can make a mini reading club between the two of you, find informative podcasts, and Pinterest the crap out of recipes!
This is a growing pain in the process of changing habits, but it does not need to be excruciating while learning about specifics and the why of things.
TIP 9: BE SELECTIVE IN HOW YOU INDULGE
Never letting yourself have the treats you want will hurt your progress because you will eventually cave in after restricting yourself too much, possibly leading to you giving up on a healthy lifestyle altogether
That being said, indulge but make your own cake instead of buying it from the grocery store. If you really want it made by someone else, check out a local bakery instead of going to a food chain.
Ask if the bakery uses shortening…because that is definitely a trans fat. Oh, you thought trans fats weren’t a thing? They are alive and well!
Maybe your sweet of choice is chocolate. Look for a quality chocolate that is organic with minimal ingredients. Maybe your indulgence is not even sweet at all. Maybe it is from your favorite pizzeria. Same thing applies: check what kind of ingredients they use. What oils they use.
What I am trying to get at is be conscious of what you put into your body because you deserve quality over quantity.
TIP 10: SEARCH FOR QUALITY FOODS
Refer to EWG’s Dirty Dozen to find out which vegetables should be bought organic and their Clean Fifteen that do not necessarily need to be. This applies to buying animal products as well. It is fairly well-known about how the animals are treated in CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) and what gets injected into them (antibiotics and hormones).
Try tackling this in small steps in order to not feel overwhelmed. It may take a long time to get adjusted. Your daily life is not going to change immediately. Good health is a journey, so have some patience with this one.
TIP 11: SLOWLY REPLACE PROCESSED FOODS WITH WHOLE FOODS
Some great ways to implement this tip are taking some of your snacks and replacing them with more whole food options. Some healthy snack options are:
- Fruit: berries, apples, bananas, coconut meat
- Nuts & seeds: almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds
- Grass-fed and grass finished jerky
For your meals, look into your most processed meals and see what you can change. An easy example is packaged macaroni and cheese: use a chickpea or lentil pasta noodle and add organic, grass-fed cheese.
TIP 12: SCHEDULE A PANTRY & FRIDGE CLEANOUT TOGETHER
Look for foods that are packaged with an unnecessary amount of ingredients. For a cleanout, I highly recommend that this is a team effort. Ingredients to look out for (check out this article by Spectrum Health):
- Vegetable shortening (trans fat)
- Sodium Nitrates/Nitrites (typically found in processed meats like lunch meat)
- Hydrogenated oils (trans fat) tip: check your peanut butter
- Sugar (maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, rice syrup, cane juice crystals)
- Artificial colors and flavors (red, yellow, blue, lake 1, 2, 3, 40)
- Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, and Sucralose)
- Carageenan (carcinogen)
- Oils: Soybean, corn, and vegetable (highly inflammatory)
This list does not include everything, but it is a great start.
TIP 13: WALK IN THE MORNINGS AND EVENINGS TOGETHER
Regular exercise releases stress, lowers blood pressure, leads to getting enough sleep and sleep quality, and helps to maintain a healthy weight. Working out together, even if it is simply a walk, is one of many healthy ways to ensure longevity.
Walking throughout the day is an easier and arguably healthier way to integrate movement into your routine than a sedentary lifestyle followed by a burst of energy. Changing your eating habits alone will improve your energy levels, so getting more physical activity during your day is going to be the cherry on top.
TIP 14: CONSIDER TRYING A DETOX TOGETHER
Whether this is a digital detox, a sugar detox, or simply a processed foods detox, detoxing your body of stagnant energy is a great way to reset and prepare your body to be more readily equipped.
Of note, when I say detox, I do not mean a juice cleanse or a tummy tea cleanse or even a water cleanse. What I mean is temporarily removing a type of food or action from your life and slowly reintegrate that food or action back into it once your detox is over. I typically recommend a five-day detox while eating a whole foods, plant-based diet.
Some detoxes that come to mind are:
- Sugar detox
- Digital detox
- Alcohol detox
- Processed foods detox
- A 24-48 hour smoothie and soup detox
If you are having a hard time, it may be best to leave this step for last.
TIP 15: SET A CONSISTENT BED TIME & GO TO BED TOGETHER
Going to bed together can really help each partner connect with one another. Not only is it more quality time, it can help the facets of your intimate relationship as more couples are likely to emotionally or sexually connect without the digital distractions surrounding them.
Doing this on a regular basis can really improve mental health as well, especially if you limit screen time while doing so, because you will be focusing more so on present company. Mindfulness is key here.
TIP 16: LOOK FOR WELLNESS PRACTICES THAT CAN FIT THE NATURE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Sometimes this means getting those cute Himalayan Salt lamp night lights and putting them around your home. Other times it means finding a type of meditation. Look for what works for you!
Some of my personal favorites are exploring new recipes together, finding a new trail to hike, and earthing on the beach. The good news is that this is one of the fun parts!
TIP 17: PRIORITIZE MENTAL HEALTH
Stress is killer, literally. Your partner’s needs and yours in regards to balancing lifestyle, career, health, and stress management are both going to be different. Check in on one another. Incorporate stress management techniques together and separately.
HIIT workouts, meditation, long walks, earthing and time in nature are great ways to manage life’s stressors. Going home to be sedentary and watch your blue-light emitting screens can actually cause more stress.
TIP 18: IF YOU ORDER TAKEOUT OR GET FAST FOOD A LOT, LOOK INTO BATCH COOKING TO HAVE MEALS AT-THE-READY
It is a lot to ask for one person (or two!) to make home-cooked meals from scratch three times a day, every single day. Batch cook a large pot of soup or stew.
Pre-cut vegetables that are ready to throw in the oven or air fryer. Leave meat marinating so it is ready to throw in a pan or better yet, grill it ahead of time.
TIP 19: SCHEDULE TIME FOR SELF-CARE & HEALTHY ALONE TIME
Whether you have kids or not, living with your partner can infringe upon your personal space without meaning to, especially if you don’t have enough space to begin with (think small apartment here).
It is a struggle enough in this day and age to embrace self-care as we constantly run around trying to please others in our family and career, so it is important to find small windows of opportunity to get some much needed alone time in our schedule. This tip is important for the sexual relationship you have with your partner. Try this:
- Work out alone
- Take a long, warm bath, using essential oils
- Drink a seltzer water with a splash of fresh lemon juice and diced strawberries
- Leave the apartment and do your own exploration in nature or in an urban adventure
- Read your book that you have been putting off
TIP 20: USE ALCOHOL AS A TREAT
Some easy ways to make alcoholic beverages healthier while still are:
- Using freshly squeezed juices and muddled fruit as a mixer with a liquor
- Drinking an organic wine (there can be toxins in non-organic wine)
- Minimizing your servings (a challenge, I know)
- Try mixing in the Japanese root, Kudzu, as a starch into your cocktail to help balance your blood sugar and help your gut. You won’t taste it!
TIP 21: SET UP A CONSISTENT DATE NIGHT (WITH NO DEVICES INVOLVED)
The health of a committed relationship is only as good as the actual connection between all parties involved in the relationship.
You both have the common goal of health and well-being, so try making that part of the foundation of your relationship. Distraction is an easy way to lose touch with the intimacy established during this new lifestyle change. Try doing this:
- Cook a romantic dinner
- Light up your Himalayan Salt Lamp night lights around your home and massage each other
- Play a board game
- Take a stroll in nature
At the end of the day, only you can control your actions. You can encourage your partner as much as you want, and vice versa. You have to make this lifestyle change for yourself more than anything.
Author bio: Owner of WELLNESS AUDREY BLOG, Audrey Andrade is a functional nutrition coach and wellness blogger who helps women recharge and reconnect with their bodies using valuable, implementable information that they can use on a daily basis.