Okay, so you’ve finally decided to make the leap, take the plunge, and commit yourself to a new eating philosophy. You’ve done the research, made the shopping lists, and meal planned like crazy (thanks to Pinterest). You’re IN. Except for one tiny bump in the road… Your significant other? Your ride or die, other half, bff, and biggest fan? Well, they’re not exactly in. In fact, they’ve made it pretty clear that on this one, you’re on your own. So how do you end up dealing with dietary differences without having to eat in separate rooms and hide your kale under the mattress? The answer lies in a little bit of space, and a lot of planning and patience.
Communication is probably the most underrated element of a relationship. TALK to your person. Let them know what prompted this decision and why it’s important to you. Undergoing a philosophy change in your diet is a big deal for most people and it usually stems from a pretty emotional place. It’s important that they understand where this place is if they’re going to support you.
Make it clear that you don’t expect them to follow suit, but you DO want their support in this. Establishing that this change is for you, your health, and your beliefs also shows them that it’s in no way meant to create a barrier or be judgmental. While these things are rarely said, they’re often felt when one partner undergoes a change like this. Be clear about your inspiration, but also be clear that you still support them too.
Respect Their Space
We know, this sounds a little counterintuitive since you’re the one making this change, and they’re not being as supportive as you think they could. But consider this: when we choose to change our dietary philosophy, it’s usually to better ourselves. We’re striving to eat better, feel better, and look better. We’re READY. The problem is, your partner might not be, and your change is a bit of a reminder of that, especially if your changes stem from the desire to lose weight.
If you want your partner to be supportive of your lifestyle change, you have to equally respect their space. Do NOT nag them to join you. Don’t rub it in their face, or flaunt your newfound enlightenment. Instead, just go about business as usual. If they have questions, explain where you’re coming from. The less you pressure them, the more likely it is that they’ll eventually be open to trying some of those new recipes you’ve been whipping up. And who knows, at some point, they might be ready to go all in.
Now that you’re making different dietary choices, you’ll probably need to put more forethought into some of your meal planning, grocery shopping, and dining out. Planning ahead will help prevent conflict, or nights when one person goes without a full meal. Make sure you stock the kitchen with your own staples and if you eat meals together, start planning for dishes that satisfy both palates. If you’re eating out, look the menu up on the internet and see if there’s something available that you’ll both be happy with. If you’ve recently given up meat, then you probably won’t want to hit up the BBQ Shack, but they might not be ready to dive into Plant Paradise. Instead, a pizza spot would be a better compromise where you can each customize your order. A little planning goes a long way, and ensures that both people feel considered.
Make It Fun
Just because you decided to change up your diet doesn’t mean that you guys are committed to a life of separate TV dinners and sadness. Play with your newfound differences. Cook food for each other that incorporates both your needs. Gone vegan? Make a plant based dessert that will blow his mind. The next day, he can reciprocate with a meat free guilty pleasure that will have you both celebrating that plant life. Getting to know each other through what you can cook for the other person will bring you closer and help you bond over what you initially thought would be a divide.