Ep #44: How to Navigate an Unsupportive Partner

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | How to Navigate an Unsupportive Partner
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A common issue that many of my clients run into when trying to change their habits is that their partner is not supportive. As you know from listening to this podcast, habit change is a very difficult process. It requires a certain level of discipline and risk to make it happen. When your partner isn’t on board, it makes this step much more difficult.

Lack of support from your partner can happen in a variety of ways and for many different reasons. What I want you to know is that there are different kinds of support you can ask for from your partner, but you may also not get it. At the end of the day, this journey is about you, and you need to learn how to get support from yourself.

This week, I talk about you and your partner. I discuss the three most common ways your partner might be unsupportive of your new healthy lifestyle and why. I explain how communication and boundaries can help this situation, but ultimately, you need to support yourself.

Are you ready to eat, move, and think in a way that gets you strong both physically and mentally? You deserve to have both no matter how busy you are, and I can help. I’m opening up my one-on-one coaching program for new clients, and I would love to work with you. Click here to learn more about working with me.

Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you!

What You Will Discover:

  • Why your partner might be unsupportive.
  • How to navigate your partner’s lack of support.
  • Why it’s important to give yourself support.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #44. If you’re trying to change your habits but your partner isn’t supportive, let’s talk about it.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high-achieving, busy, working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer, and Certified Life Coach, Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? What’s new, what’s good? So, what’s good here is that we are going to get into it today and talk about you and your partner. Specifically, we’re going to talk about when your partner is not supportive on your path to wellness. I knew that this was something I needed to cover in this podcast. And in the last few weeks and months, it’s come off enough with enough of my clients that I think it is time to dive in.

Throughout this episode, I will be using mostly ‘he’ pronouns when I refer to your partner, as that is what I have most commonly run into in my coaching practice. However, I want to make it clear that it could be ‘he’ or ‘she’ and I fully acknowledge that, okay? Either way, I think it’s important to dive into this for a number of reasons.

One, you know this already, but it is hard enough to be taking on a big lifestyle change, like changing up your diet or starting a new exercise routine. If you have hung around with me at all, by now you know that habit change, it is not for the faint of heart. You need some serious tenacity, self-awareness, discipline, and street grit, in order to change your habits.

And now, imagine how much harder it becomes when it feels like your partner is not on your side. Or even worse, imagine what it’s like when your partner is either consciously or unconsciously trying to sabotage your efforts. Now you’re taking something that’s already difficult, and adding an extra layer of challenge on top of that.

And while it is absolutely possible to change your habits without your partner’s involvement or support, I acknowledge that it’s a lot easier when you do have it. So, I will be the first to admit that I count myself very lucky that my husband and I share a similar approach to wellness, our relationship is built on fitness.

Our very first date was a 16-mile run on the Chicago lakefront while I was training for the Chicago Marathon. And since that time, we have supported each other in various health and fitness endeavors, because we know it’s important to each of us. Exercise aside, I fully acknowledge that it would be very difficult to stick to salads and protein for dinner every night if he was coming home with burgers and fries, and urging me to join him.

So, all of this is to say, I know that I am extremely lucky to have the partner that I do. And that is beyond our shared love of fitness, of course. But I recognize that this is not the case for everyone. I recognize that you and your partner may each be in different places in your desire for and readiness for change.

And when they don’t match up, it can get tricky. So, I want to talk through a few of the most common scenarios I see that come up between partners in relation to making lifestyle change. Because sure, in an ideal world, you and your partner would share similar lifestyle habits. Meaning, you both prefer to eat the same type of healthy meals, you both recognize the importance of exercise, and give each other time and space to take care of that part of your life.

So, no, this is not to say that you are carbon copies of each other and like all of the same vegetables and work out together. No, each of you is meant to bring your own unique desires, likes, and dislikes to your relationship. However, when you don’t have the same values related to your lifestyle, and one of you is making serious attempts to change it, there is most definitely going to be an impact on your relationship. So, let’s talk through it.

Here’s what we’re going to cover today: We’re going to talk about the three main types of nonsupport that I have come across between partners. They each have their own characteristics, and I want to be able to help you identify them.

And then next, we’re going to talk about where this nonsupport is coming from. So again, in order to change anything, I think it’s important to understand the source or the root of the problem, so we’re going to dive into that and pick apart why your partner may not be supportive.

And last, we’re going to talk about what to do or what your options are when your partner is not supportive. All right? So, let’s go.

To start, I’m going to share with you the three main flavors or types of nonsupport that I have come across coaching loads of women and men through this. And this isn’t something I found in the literature, this is what I have gleaned and filtered from the experience of coaching many people around this and what I see repeatedly come up. The first type of nonsupport I see is refusal to participate. This one is pretty straightforward and fairly obvious when it happens. And it can show up in multiple different ways. The most common way I see this play out is in the kitchen.

I had a client who was working really hard to lose weight. And she recognized that her nutrition habits were really holding her back. Most of her meals were either from a restaurant, takeout, or fast food, and she was buying it and bringing it home to her family. But when she was able to make the connection that her food choices were a large part of her inability to lose weight, she made a decision to stop getting takeout and start cooking more meals at home.

Her husband, however, he was not on board. He was not interested in eating the meals she cooked and wanted to take out. And so, he did try for a few weeks to eat the meals that she was making. Ultimately, he decided he preferred takeout. And the way this panned out was he would stop on his way home from work and pick up food for himself and the kids, who were teenagers and also decided they didn’t want the food that my client was cooking. And then my client would make her own food.

In another example, I had a client who was working really hard to put on muscle. She was going hard at the gym doing a very solid, structured lifting routine to get to progressive overload and build muscle. And she also adjusted her nutrition to go along with it. And it was working. It was working very well actually. She was losing weight and getting muscular, and people were noticing.

My client asked her husband to come to the gym with her, but he didn’t want to, he said no. We’ll get into the reasons for this in just a little bit. But at the end of the day, he just didn’t want to participate. And where does this come from? Why doesn’t your partner want to participate? Well, the obvious would be that your partner just doesn’t want to partake. Again, we all have our likes and dislikes, and that’s what makes us unique.

So, your partner simply may not be interested in the same food and exercise that you are. But beyond that, on a much deeper level, your goal might be keeping your partner from fulfilling one of his own habits or vices that he is just not ready to give up.

To understand this a little better, think about it for yourself. For any of you who have been successful at changing your habits, or for any of you who are in the thick of it right now, think of what it took for you to be ready to change. Think of how much back and forth, how much indecision, or how much mind drama and questioning you had to overcome before you ultimately decided to change.

For many of you, it can take weeks, months, or even years before you are ready enough to get started. And I say, ‘ready enough’, because it is exactly that. It takes a large dose of courage to get started. And while it feels really, really good when you do, it’s easier said than done.

So, maybe you are in a place where you are ready enough to take on some big changes, like addressing your diet and exercise. But maybe your partner is just not in a place yet where he is ready to stop having burgers and fries regularly.

Maybe your partner does not love the idea of exercise in any form, because he’s not sure that he will measure up to the same level of fitness he had in high school. And it’s not that he doesn’t want to spend time with you, but really, he’s just not ready to start making changes. And you know, you can’t force it. You can’t force your partner to participate in your lifestyle habits. It just doesn’t work. And that’s okay. Right?

As humans, we have free will. As adults, we have the option to do or not do whatever we want. Everything you do and everything your partner does or doesn’t do is a choice. And in the two examples I gave, and I have many more examples, but I’ll leave it at those two. In those two cases, the client’s partner was simply not interested in participating. The partner is exerting his freewill and choosing not to participate.

But to you, it may be coming across as not being supportive. That’s how you’re interpreting his refusal to participate. And we’ll talk more about how to process this in just a little bit.

All right, so the second flavor of partner nonsupport is ignoring; I’m not sure how else to describe it, so I’m going to leave it as ignoring. And really, that takes the form of not acknowledging the work that you’re doing or not celebrating the success that you are seeing along the way. I want to pick this one apart a little because this one can cause you to feel a sting.

I had a client recently who was making some really amazing change for herself. She got to a weight where she wasn’t happy. She wasn’t feeling strong, and she decided it was time to do something about it. So, she started lifting weights very intentionally to build muscle. And then she started paying a lot more attention to her nutrition and what she was eating.

I just started really dialing in her nutrition, and it was working. She lost quite a bit of weight, and she was getting notably more muscular. When she went to share and celebrate this with her husband, it was not a response she was expecting. In fact, he told her not to share too much about her wins, because it would make him feel jealous and insecure and he didn’t want to feel it. So, he asked her to tell her some, but not too much about her weight loss success.

I had another client who was losing weight to the point she had to buy new clothes because nothing fit anymore. And because of this, she decided to treat herself and buy clothes that actually fit her body properly. Before, she would find the biggest baggy thing she could find. And now that she had lost weight, she decided to dress in a way that felt good to her.

When she asked her husband for input, he said he hadn’t noticed her weight loss. He found a reason not to stay with her while she tried on different outfits, and left her to try on clothes alone. And it didn’t come up again, and this pattern continued.

She received compliments from friends and other family members, including her in-laws, about all the things that she had been doing to revamp her lifestyle, but her husband remained silent. She said, on more than one occasion, it was like he didn’t notice or he pretended not to notice. It was like the elephant in the room.

So, in both of these examples, I would call this ignoring. Or you can call it a lack of acknowledgement. You choose the wording, okay?

The third, and often most obvious form of partner nonsupport, is sabotage. And this type of nonsupport may be conscious or unconscious, but in either form, it can totally throw your habits for a loop. I have an example, which I share all the time, from one of my very first clients.

This client was looking to lose weight, and was making serious strides to cut back on her carb and sweets intake. During one of our coaching sessions, she told me about her husband, who had recently come home with a whole blueberry pie for just the two of them; it was just the two of them at home. He kept offering her the pie, and she refused. And his response when she refused was, “I don’t understand why you won’t have this pie with me.”

And whether he realized it or not, he was very much sabotaging her weight loss efforts. And this was a tricky one to work through. The irony here is this, a few months later, that same client’s husband was diagnosed with diabetes, and that’s when everything changed for her and for him.

And she said it best, she said, “And now, I have a partner in this.” Those pies stopped coming home, and they got on board with a major lifestyle overhaul together. So interesting.

Another place where I’ve seen sabotage is related to exercise. I have another client who gets her workouts done early in the morning, because it is the only time she can reliably get them done. And on more than one occasion, we have worked through the feelings she’s experienced when her alarm goes off, and her husband rolls over and tells her, “Why don’t you skip it and stay here in bed with me?”

As you can imagine, this gets challenging. Imagine what it would feel like to still be establishing the habit of getting up at 5am to do your workouts, and then what it feels like to get out of your warm fuzzy bed to go sweat or grind it out at the weights. And then, add to that a partner who was whispering in your ear to just turn off your alarm and go back to bed. So, that can create a challenge.

And whether you realize it or not, that is sabotage; be it intentional or unintentional. All right? So, again, to review, we just went over the three main types of partner nonsupport. They are refusing. Very simply, your partner does not participate in the habit changes you are making. Ignoring, meaning your partner does not recognize your efforts or does not celebrate them with you. And last, sabotage. Your partner is undermining the work that you are doing, either intentionally or unintentionally. Or you can always see a combination of these, we’ve definitely had that.

Alright, so now that we’ve talked through the ways in which your partner might not be supportive, let’s talk about where this is coming from. There could be multiple reasons fueling your partner’s response or nonresponse. But I’m offering you what I most commonly see come up when my clients address this with their partners.

So first, is fear. This actually goes back to identity. And you know, I love, love, love, to talk about identity. This is just another place where identity matters a lot. When you change your habits, if you want it to stick, your identity will need to change along with it.

As an example, when you want to change your diet in order to lose weight so you can run around with your kids, often you tell me you want to get healthy. You’re working to take on the identity of a healthy person. But if the last decade or two decades of your life have been built on behaviors that are not healthy, and you and your partner share them, that can be a challenge.

And then, when you actively change your identity from someone who is not healthy to someone who is healthy, you’re not only changing how you see yourself, but you’re changing how you show up to the people around you. And your partner may see you differently. If your partner knows you in one way, i.e., unhealthy, and then you decide to shake that up because you want to become healthy, you’re becoming a different person.

That is one of the most beautiful things about habits. It’s not just a behavior, your habits are a reflection of your identity. So, when you take on habits that reflect the identity of a healthy person, and your partner knows you in the identity of an unhealthy person, that can be very unsettling.

And here’s why people like to be right. They like to be correct, right? Remember, what we believe, we then go and seek evidence to prove correct. So, in the case of your partner, your partner likes to be right about who you are. And if he has known you as an unhealthy person, he will be looking for evidence to support that belief.

So, when you go and change that, when you actively work to change who you are in order to be healthy, but your partner hasn’t caught up in his thinking and beliefs about you yet, ye is no longer right about you. He’s no longer finding evidence to prove his thoughts about you true, and that does not feel good. It does not feel good at all.

Along this, another reason for your partner’s nonsupport is insecurity. Most notably, it comes in the form of insecurity about being abandoned. Think about it. When you change your habits, and in turn, you change who you are in the process, you become a different person. You’re becoming a better version of yourself. And that is the whole point, right?

We are here, in my opinion, to grow and change and expand in the best way possible, and blow our minds with all that we can accomplish in our short time that we’ve got here on Earth. But when this happens, and your partner is not on board, there may be insecurity in the relationship. Your partner may develop an insecurity that he or she is no longer good enough for you.

I see this especially for some of my clients who have had dramatic weight loss. I had one client whose partner finally admitted he was afraid she was going to leave him after losing all of her weight, and he would be abandoned. He was worried that because she was losing weight and making all kinds of positive change for herself and he wasn’t, that she was going to leave him for someone else.

So, now your partner is not only dealing with a different version of you, he now is also worrying that this new version of you is no longer interested in him and is looking for someone else. And again, that does not feel good. That’s threatening and will lead your partner to react in ways that you may not expect.

All right, so next, your partner’s reaction or nonsupport may also be coming from a place of jealousy. You may have experienced this for yourself. Sometimes when the people closest to you make serious change for themselves, it causes you to reflect on your own behaviors and shed light on your own habits.

When you start focusing on your protein intake, or you start saying no to fries, or start a new exercise routine, it will likely cause your partner to examine what he is doing. And if he is not adopting similar behaviors, but he’s seeing you do it and see results, it may evoke some jealousy. He may want what you have.

Your partner may very well want to lose weight, but he is just not in a place yet where he has committed to it. Or he is not in a place yet where he is being consistent in his choices. When you see someone you are close to taking new and different action, sometimes you turn around and make that mean something about yourself.

So, if you’re doing all kinds of great work to take care of yourself, your partner may see that and make that mean he is not doing the best job of taking care of himself. He’s observing you do all of the things that he wants to be doing, but he’s not doing them. He may feel jealous, and that can be hard.

Along with that jealousy, can come a serious dose of self-doubt. When your partner sees the work you are doing to improve your lifestyle, it may cause him to take a look at his own behavior and wonder if he is capable of similar change. And the natural human tendency when we consider change is to question it.

Remember, your brain likes the status quo, your brain likes comfort, even if that comfort is making you miserable. Your brain likes the comfort of emotional eating, if that’s what you’ve always done, because that’s what your brain knows. Your brain likes the comfort of not exercising, if that’s what it’s known for years. And your partner’s brain is no different.

So, when he entertains the idea of taking on change in a similar way, as you have, he may be filled with self-doubt. He may immediately find all the reasons that changing his habits is impossible. He may find all the reasons he’s never been able to keep weight off in the past. He may find all the reasons that getting back into running will be an uphill battle. He may see you succeeding, but he may not be able to see that the same is possible for him. His brain may be offering all kinds of drama as to why he can’t make the same changes you are, and that will bring on major self-doubt. Right?

And these are just some of the reasons that your partner may not be supportive. There are certainly many others. I tried to pull up the most common reasons for partner nonsupport, ad these were the four I landed on. They are all somewhat interrelated, but I have seen them come out in subtle variations, in so many of my clients’ relationships.

And I want to make something super clear here, okay? I am not excusing your partner’s behavior. I am not at all saying that it is okay for your partner to be offering you slices of blueberry pie because he feels insecure. That is not the point here, at all. The idea here is to try and understand human behavior, and especially your partner’s human behavior, to make sense of an often-frustrating obstacle in your relationships. But I’m not here to excuse or make excuses for anyone’s behavior.

Instead, I want to help you understand it and there’s a big difference. Here is the other huge take home: Notice a common thread through all of this. Your new habits, they are not the problem. The problem is not that you stopped eating french fries. The problem is not that you started running four days a week. The problem is the way your partner is thinking about it. The problem is what your partner is making your actions mean about him or herself. Right?

Your partner may be afraid he doesn’t know you anymore. He may be afraid of being left in the relationship. He may want what you have. He may have doubt that he can’t do what you’re doing. Do you see this? It is so important to understand it is not about what you are doing. It’s about what your partner is making it mean for himself. And that’s a really important concept to take home. Okay?

All right, so now that you know how to recognize the various forms of partner nonsupport and then understand where it is likely coming from, let’s talk about what you can do about it. And I want to keep it as practical as possible. So, this may be stating the obvious. And this is true for, really most any issue in relationships, but communication is essential.

If you are not feeling support from your partner, or if you notice straight-up sabotage, it is time to have a conversation. The first thing you can do is explain your goals to your partner. If you haven’t told him already, it might be worthwhile to let him in on what you’re doing and why it matters to you. If you want him to support you getting up at 5am to get your workout done instead of telling you to stay in bed, explain why it matters to you.

For me, it’s important that I take care of my body and my mind so that I can turn around and be present for my family. That’s why I get up and get my workouts on early. When I take care of myself physically, I feel better. And then I can bring my best version to both my kids and my husband.

So, whatever the reason is for you, consider sharing it with your partner. It may be that he doesn’t understand how important these habits are to you, so tell him. And then next, you continue to do your thing. Whether your partner decides to join you or not, that is not your decision. But I would encourage you to continue your healthy behaviors and not give them up because of your partner.

I know that may be hard to hear and I may get some flak for it, but here’s what I’ve seen happen when you give up your workout. Or you give in and have the piece of blueberry pie because you think it’s the right thing to do in order to make things better for your partner, resentment builds.

You can end up resenting your partner and feel as though he is the reason you’re not meeting your goals. Don’t fall into this. Remember, you are responsible for your actions, and you always have a choice. So, when you decide to have the burger and fries, because you think you’re doing your husband a favor, you’re really denying yourself the opportunity to follow through on the commitment you’ve made to yourself.

Remember, when you take care of yourself, everyone around you wins. Taking care of your own needs, in the form of eating and moving and managing your mind, is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. And it ultimately benefits your partner, too. So, I would encourage you not to give up your habits in order to make your partner happy, because you cannot make your partner happy. Your partner needs to make him or herself happy.

At the same time, when you execute these healthy behaviors, I would encourage you to do it for you, and for you alone. Here’s what I mean by this, it is fine to try and lead by example, but recognize that your partner may have zero interest in taking on an exercise routine or eating more vegetables or going to bed earlier just because you are doing those things. So, do not take on your behaviors with the expectation that if you lead by example, maybe your partner will follow suit.

If you operate under that expectation, you may be setting yourself up for major disappointment. And again, you and your partner, you guys have freewill. It is not up to you to make your partner eat or move differently. Take care of your own mind and body first, you cannot control how your partner takes care of his.

Along those lines, the next thing to do is own your behavior. In my previous example, if your partner is tempting you with blueberry pie and you do decide to have it, or if you do choose to sleep in instead of workout, remember, that’s your decision.

Remember, you are responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Even if your partner is laying on the guilt or repeatedly asking you to eat food you don’t want to eat or bringing food into the house that you asked him not to, it’s ultimately on you to own your behavior. While you are not responsible for your partner’s thoughts, feelings, or actions, you are responsible for how you respond to them.

And that can be tough. It’s often, in situations like these, that the victim mentality comes out. It takes the form of ‘can you believe he did that? Can you believe he kept asking me to stay home and watch Netflix instead of going to my workout class?’ When really, yes, while he did that, you are the one with the final say. You always have a choice. So, if you give in and decide to skip your workout, own it. If you have the pie, own it. Own your choice and own your behavior, you are not a victim here.

Now, if you want to get clear on this, and maybe even avoid running into these situations in the first place, the next thing you can do is establish boundaries. And I know, sometimes when I say the word boundary, it comes with a negative connotation, but I don’t see it that way at all.

I found this quote about boundaries that I really just love so much. And when I really let it sink in, it made sense and reframed how I see boundaries all together. I want to share this quote, it’s from the writer and therapist, Prentis Hemphill who said, “Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.”

The distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously, so good. And that’s just it. When you are establishing boundaries, whether it’s with your partner, your kids, your in-laws, whoever, in order for them to be effective, they should be established from a clean place. From a place of love and kindness towards yourself, and towards the person you’re setting the boundary with. So, be clear.

Setting a boundary is not about getting all finger waggy and saying, “If you bring home another pizza, I’m leaving.” No, that’s not really it at all. Remember that I mentioned before, humans have free will. Your partner is a human, you’re a human, you both get to do whatever you want. And when you set a boundary, you recognize that.

So, the boundary is not about what your partner needs to do. It is not a demand, it’s not an ultimatum, it’s not about the other person at all. Instead, it’s about you. It’s about how you will respond when your partner exerts his free will. There’s a huge difference here.

As an example, let’s go back to my client whose husband brought home the blueberry pie and kept asking her to have some with him. An appropriate boundary could be something like, “You can bring home the pie. And I appreciate that you offer it to me. If you’d like to eat it, fine. But if you continue to offer me the pie and ask why I won’t eat it with you, I may need to walk away.”

Or in the case of my client whose husband kept asking her to shut off her alarm and go back to sleep instead of getting her workout done, she could say, “I appreciate that you want me to stay in bed a little longer. But when you ask me to skip my workout, I’m going to respond by saying no once, and then I’ll get out of bed because this is important to me.” And that’s it.

Again, this is not mean, it’s not an ultimatum, it is not a threat. That is really important to understand. When you’re setting a boundary, you’re not threatening the other person, you’re simply making it clear, both for yourself and your partner, how you respond in a particular situation.

Notice there is no request or demand being made of your partner here. Your partner can still bring home the pie, your partner can ask you to stay in bed, and ultimately you don’t have control over what he does anyway. The boundary recognizes that and clarifies what you are going to do in that situation. And that’s the beautiful thing about boundaries. It took me a really long time to understand this.

So, boundaries, in order to be effective, have to come from a clean place. They are not coming from a place of anger or resentment or irritation. They’re coming from a place of love and understanding. Remember, your partner’s job is for him or her to be present, for you to love them; nothing more, nothing less.

And when you create boundaries from that place and from that space of acceptance, that he is there for you to love, it will feel very different than if you’re doing it from a place of resentment. Really let that sink in for a minute.

The last thing I want to talk about is asking your partner for support. You can absolutely ask your partner to support you. You can explain why changing your lifestyle matters so much to you, and you can ask for your partner support.

That may come in a number of forms, and I would encourage you to get really clear on what that support looks like for you. Is it that your partner encourages you to get out of bed instead of asking you to stay right where you are? Is it that your partner stops bringing home pies and asking you to share? Is it that your partner has an area in the pantry or fridge that’s all his for whatever foods he loves, and that you’re no longer eating? Or is it that your partner simply cheers you on as you work really hard to become your next best version?

Whatever it is, you can ask for it. But again, and I don’t mean to be all Debbie Downer here, you may not get it and that is the reality. I know I’ve said it a number of times, but your partner can and will do whatever he wants. And I get it, it’s your partner, you may really want support in the form of validation or cheerleading or encouragement, or in behaviors like shopping for and eating vegetables with you. But you might not get it and I want you to be prepared for that.

This was really interesting. So recently, a client was going through exactly this. He felt that he was not getting much support from his wife on all of the changes he was making for himself. And after we talked about it, I asked him what he wanted to do about it. And his response was, “I want her to come to the gym with me. I want her to ask how I make my food. I want her to try the foods that I’m having.”

Do you see the interesting thing about his response? I asked him what he wanted to do about it and he responded by telling me all the things he wanted his wife to do. But he doesn’t get to control his wife. Just as you don’t get to control your partner, and your partner does not get to control you. So instead, I’m asking you to get clear on what you can control.

I also want to remind you that you aren’t doing this to be noticed by your partner. You’re not busting your tail at the gym to get props from your partner. You’re not eating salads instead of fries to get a high-five from your partner. You are doing this to take care of you, and I am encouraging you to be your own cheerleader. You are doing this for yourself.

Let me be totally clear, this is not to say that you don’t feel something when your partner doesn’t show the support you’re hoping for, okay? You are allowed and you’re encouraged to feel whatever feelings come up for you. But my hope is that you’re learning from me that in order to be acknowledged and supported and confident, you have to offer those things to yourself, first and foremost. Cheer for yourself first.

And I get it, I will tell you that my own family, they are not involved. They have no idea what I’m doing in my life or what I’ve created in my business. I have spent a lot of time angry that they didn’t even recognize or acknowledge what I have built; I have created my business, I determined my message, I created this podcast out of nothing.

I really wanted someone in my family to acknowledge it. And when I didn’t get it, I made it mean all kinds of things. And then I did some work and realized I was missing the point. I was waiting for that validation to tell me that I was doing okay, that I was good enough. But I hadn’t told it to myself. I hadn’t supported myself; I was looking for outside evidence that I was doing a good job and succeeding, but I hadn’t told it to myself. And now, I get it.

The point here is to recognize that the healthy behaviors you are taking on, they should be for you. They are for you first, okay? You own your emotions, you own your power, you own your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You are not responsible for the thoughts, feelings, or actions of your partner. Okay? This is so essential to understand. I want you to validate you, it is so empowering. And it allows you to claim authority over your own emotional life.

So, all this is to say, you can ask for support, but I want you to be prepared for whatever response you get. And be ready to support yourself, because you’re absolutely worth it. All right?

There it is. I hope this helps you to see your behavior and the behavior of your partner just a little differently. Again, I am not here to excuse or explain away your partner’s behavior. Instead, I’m hoping you can see that your partner’s response to your success, it’s really not about you.

Because remember, you are losing weight, you are establishing an exercise routine, those are neutral circumstances. It is not until your partner has a thought about them that it becomes an issue. But it’s not about you. And I can only encourage you to keep going. Keep taking care of yourself and keep communication open. Your partner is there for you to love, just as you are for him or her. Okay?

And if you need help with this, please shout. I’ve given loads of examples today of how I’ve worked with clients to establish healthy behaviors, with or without partner support. When you coach with me, you’ll learn tools to use to communicate with your partner while you continue to develop habits that serve you better. So, check out my website. Go to www.CarrieHollandMD.com/contact. Send me a message, and let’s get started.

All right, thank you again for hanging out with me, and I will catch you next week.

If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. And share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media. Be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram or Facebook, so I can follow along and engage with you.

This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong, inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better or eat and move differently but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up. And you know, making that change starts with how you think. And that is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.

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