Health Direct - Summer 2018 - 6

In Sickness and

in Health
Making positive lifestyle changes as a couple


ou promised to love each
other no matter what. But
if unhealthy habits are
threatening your futures,
it's time to commit to a healthy
Here's how to devise a plan that will
keep you both happy and healthy.

Are You Both on Board?
If you're focused on making healthy
changes, talk to your partner about what
you're doing and why.
"You can say, 'Look, I want to make
these changes, and they're probably
good for both of us. Let's talk about
how we might implement them,'" says
Ann Rosen Spector, Ph.D., a clinical
psychologist and spokeswoman for the
American Psychological Association.
Rosen Spector teaches what she calls
the "sandwich cookie technique" as a
framework for positive conversation.
Positive statements are the "cookies,"
and the message is the "filling" in the
middle. For example:



The American Heart Association's wellness movement,
Healthy For Good, is designed to help create a healthier you
one step at a time. Visit for
more information.

DCookie: "I love you and want to have
a long life with you."

Get in Your Exercise Groove

This type of exchange is based on
compassion rather than negativity and is
usually better received.

Even if you both agree that exercising
is a priority, that could mean different
things for each of you.
"Some people really do need a buddy,
but for other people that just doesn't
work," Rosen Spector says. Instead,
some people like to listen to audiobooks
or just be alone with their thoughts.
If you and your partner want to work
out together, that's great. If not, support
each other in whatever exercise plans
work best.

Focus on Food

Say Goodbye to Bad Habits

Rosen Spector says that if you're looking to make multiple lifestyle changes,
start with food. "Mealtime is something
that's repeated and expected every day,"
she says.
Talk with your partner about your
food, and once you've agreed on nutritional changes, prioritize and incorporate them gradually. People who
change their diets drastically might
stick with it for awhile, but they usually revert to old eating habits, Rosen
Spector says. If you want to cut back
on snacks or refined carbohydrates, for
example, tackle one at a time.

If you or your partner smokes, drinks
alcohol or uses recreational drugs and
wants to scale back or quit, it might help
to see a mental health professional.
"Most people, if they're honest, will
admit they are self-treating anxiety
with these vices," Rosen Spector says.
"Nobody smokes because they actually
think it's a good idea."
A professional can help you figure
out why you choose these methods
and help you opt for something
more productive. 1

DFilling: "We both know smoking is
not a good thing."
DCookie: "I would do anything I could
to help you change that behavior.
I want to have so many years with you."


Motivate yourself to keep
your goals by making it
interesting. "Gamify" your
new health habits and
compete with your partner
using the Habitica app.
Visit to get
started today.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Health Direct - Summer 2018

Health Direct - Summer 2018 - 1
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