The Obstacle Meter – 29: Support

29: Support

I lack the support I need to make a lasting dietary change.

It is downright difficult, if not impossible to complete a huge project by yourself.  It does not matter how big, tough, strong or skilled we are, we all need (at least some) help.  We all wear a lot of hats.  Spouse, parent, son or daughter, friend, caregiver, coworker, housekeeper, gardener, yardmaster, shuttle service, dishwasher, cook, housecleaner, money manager, laundromat, exerciser, mentor, volunteer, the list goes on and on.  Needless to say, when we are stretched too thin by all the responsibilities we have, something has to give.  We have to cut something or pay less attention to it and more often than not the thing(s) that we stop paying attention to includes meal planning and preparation.

When most people think of –support– in a diet setting they tend to think more in terms of words of encouragement such as

You are doing so good


Keep up the good work

While that is nice to hear, that is not what I am talking about in terms of support.  Kind words only go so far.  What I am talking about is the support from others in their ACTIONS and not just their WORDS.

Making a lasting dietary change is a huge undertaking, it takes a lot of upfront work and continued work/vigilance over the course of time.  I highly doubt that someone is going to swoop into your life and take care of your meal planning and preparation.  That is not going to happen unless you have the money to hire a personal chef or have a truly amazing, selfless partner.  Unless you are really lucky, your spouse is not going to do all the meal planning and preparation for you.  That was the 1950s and oh how times have changed.

So, in the end it is up to you to meal plan and prepare the meals.  If your spouse or significant other can share some of these responsibilities with you, that is great.  But let us assume that you are solely responsible.  In this case, the support that your significant other should be giving you is in all of the other roles you play in your household.  You need to have a conversation with your significant other to see what duties and responsibilities they are willing to share with you.  To do this, I would encourage you to do the following:


Make a List: of all the things that you are responsible for and all those things that your spouse is typically responsible for (if you have one).  This list should include work hours, child rearing, and household responsibilities.  Have your spouse complete this same list on his/her own and see if you agree on the perceived duties and responsibilities of your household.  If you do not have a partner perform this same exercise and see where you can delegate to other people in your life, pay someone to take care of some of these responsibilities for you or cut out some of the things that you think you need to be doing but do not actually need to be doing.

This exercise is not intended to make your partner feel guilty nor is it a contest of one-upmanship, we are trying to get an honest assessment of where each of your time goes.

Leisure Activities: make another list of the leisure activities that you do.  Include social events as well.  Do you typically do these together or separate?  How much time do you spend performing these activities?.

Not all activities are or should be weighted the same.  Some are more aggravating, frustrating, and/or time consuming than others.  That is up for you and your partner to decide.  If you truly want to make a dietary change, you will need to get buy in from your partner and/or your family.  If they can take on some of your roles and responsibilities to lighten your load (and support you in their actions), then you will have more time to focus on the meal planning and preparation necessary to eat healthy.

The bottom line is dietary support may not be dietary support at all.  But by removing some of the burden of the other responsibilities that you have, you will have more time (and energy) to focus on meal planning and preparation.