"Maybe that's enough, honey" she said as gently as possible, referring to his 4th
glass of wine. Because she knows that there are limits what a healthy liver can process "You are a fat, lazy, drunken
cow" he heard as he glared across the table.
let this scenario of an otherwise happy union happen to you!
Women are the harbingers of health as we always have been. I see
the differences between how men and women approach their health in my private nutrition practice all the time. Women tend
to be pro-active and ask a lot of questions for themselves and their family. Even when the appointment is about her peri-menopausal
weight gain, she will ask about her husband's love handles and her child's aversion to cheese. We can't seem to help ourselves;
we want to spread the wealth. Men wish to come in once a year and be told 3 things they can do better than will solve the
problem at hand. If those things make sense to them and are easy to do, they will do them. Period.
Assuming you want to help (which is a huge assumption of which I am pretty
sure...) here is plan:
When I see couples together
I explain that:
*She does not
think you are stupid or lazy (well the first 25 times) she tries to help. She is biologically designed and socially driven
to take care of you. What her "nagging" is, really, is worry. She worries what will happen to her if something
happens to you. She worries how the kids will be if they have to grow up without a father. She worries that if she doesn't
say something your habits will get worse. She also does not like acting like your mother and wishes that you would accept
responsibility for yourself so she can start worrying about herself again and leave you alone. Win win.
*He is biologically designed differently. He is made and
socialized to ignore the feelings of hunger, thirst and use of the bathroom so he learns from an early age to shut these distractions
out. If you think about it in an anthropological sense, he has to ignore these sensations in order to keep hunting or gathering
or protecting the pack. Slowing down to poop is a dangerous, smelly proposition (which also explains why he feels the need
to hide in the bathroom/cave until the job is done and the danger is past). He wants to be healthy and safe. He also wants
to hear you but he needs the information to be simple and framed in the positive.
When each knows and understands the other's reality it helps us to help each other! Here
are some techniques that have worked wonders: 1.Know and accept that men and women are different in how they approach
health, neither is wrong and both can do better.
needs to limit her "tips" to three.
.He needs to hear her tips as love rather than nag.
She needs to frame her tips in the positive tone of voice (saying "you can't" or "you shouldn't"
doesn't work, he needs to hear the plan and the goal):
a) Let's get a special bottle
of wine for Friday nights so we can look forward to it!
If I stopped drinking wine during the week, will you help me and do it too?
c) I am going to make more vegetables and show the kids we can do better! Which one would you like
to see more of?
d) You did so well last week! Let's
do it again!
As pathetic as it sounds, we all need
positive reinforcement and someone has to start it. I wish it weren't true and I know it isn't always easy but, man, does
5) He needs to listen. Nod and smile
and appreciate. That's simple, right?
THERESA ALBERT, DHN, RNCP, is a registered nutritional consulting
practitioner with a busy private practice in Toronto. Her new book Ace Your Health: 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck (McClelland
& Stewart) is a fun, practical guide to making healthy, weekly changes for improved health using morsels of
information and tasty, healthy recipes. Her television show "Just One Bite" aired on the Food Network for over two
years in a daily time slot and introduced her energetic style to millions. She is also the author of Cook Once a Week,
Eat Well Every Day. Theresa is a recognizable news media and online face as a resource for consumers and marketers who
seek to remove the bologna from their lunchboxes and their news. She prepares a free weekly newsletter to make you laugh,
eat well and be inspired www.myfriendinfood.com