I get it, you’re busy. I’m busy. We are all busy. So when I tell you it’s time to start planning for exercise at least three, preferably five times a week for thirty minutes to an hour, you’re probably already cringing. And make time to plan out your family’s weekly meals, make that grocery list, meal prep if necessary, and schedule in a weekly grocery trip because well, those carrot sticks aren’t putting themselves in your refrigerator.
If you’re like me, this all sounds fine except for a few things- homework, laundry, vacuuming, quality time with the hubs, taking the kids to after-school activities, and oh ya – your day job. So what gives if you were to ACTUALLY find the time to exercise MOST days for an hour? I get overwhelmed just typing it out. It’s not that I dislike taking a nice walk around the neighborhood, alone. Quietly listening to a podcast or an audiobook. That sounds quite amazing over folding laundry or mulling over common core math actually. But oh the guilt. I know you know this type of guilt. The “I’m gonna have to shorten the quality time with hubby tonight in order to do this walk” or “hubby’s gonna get stuck cooking dinner if I want to actually get to bed before midnight” kinda guilt.
It’s what keeps you from doing it. You feel too bad getting help from your partner or taking time away from your family to do something healthy that’s just for you. But here’s here’s the truth- in her book,”For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldham, she interviewed 400 ordinary men (translate: men just like your husband) to find out their thoughts on various topics, including this one. Guess what? 97% of them said they would be willing to help make sacrifices so that their wife/girlfriend could get in shape! In fact, two-thirds said they would “do whatever it takes” and gladly, whether financially or picking up additional responsibilities on their part to support it while the others were willing to at least contribute reasonably. Only 3% weren’t willing to help out at all. I’m willing to bet if you are taking the ten minutes or so to read this, your partner isn’t in that 3%.
Now I know what you’re tempted to think: “yeah Jillian, of course, he’s willing to pay for that gym membership or give me time to plan the meals. He wants me to look like I did when I was 24 years old on our wedding day.” No, that’s not it actually. Their answers were clear -the effort was the important thing to them, not the results. Ladies, they want you around for the long haul, they want you healthy and they want you to feel better about yourself! Most men appreciate that you’re maturing along with them. They’re not looking for perfection.
So now that I’ve hopefully lessened some of the guilt factors, here are some practical ideas for you:
Lastly, remember that most of the guilt we feel comes from the stories we’ve made up in our own heads. Those that really love us aren’t as negatively affected as we think. You may be reading this thinking “you don’t know my husband, he would never agree to this.” Maybe I don’t, but maybe, just maybe, you don’t know the whole truth either?
P.S. If you’re looking for online support with like-minded women striving to live a healthier lifestyle, you may be interested in joining my free support group here.
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Jillian McMullen, RDN, CSOWM, LDN