Almost daily during nutrition sessions in my office, clients say, “I want my mother to come in for a visit,” or, “My wife needs to see you.” Statements like these make me squirm.
I know all too well from doing this for a very long time (I started Foodtrainers on the verge of motherhood myself, and my “baby” is now 12) that buying someone nutrition sessions or a gym membership doesn’t always work. And yet I totally get that watching a family member ignore their health can be difficult and frustrating. So how do you avoid the common mistake of buying fitness and health? Here are five easy ways to get the point across and make it stick.
1. Do it together
Whether it’s taking a walk in the park, playing tennis or enrolling in a healthy cooking class, suggesting to meet for an activity is often better received than “You should do this.” Plus, working out or exercising with a friend or in groups increases its benefit. So do it together!
2. Mention it and let it go
Yesterday, I received a voicemail from a prospective client saying, “I’ve had your business card for two years.” I loved hearing this as I knew this client waited until the timing seemed right. If you know of a great trainer or yoga instructor, give your mom the contact info. After that zip it! Don’t say another word about it.
3. Order the kale salad
Even if a family member mocks your healthy choices, it means they are noticing. My own mother used to roll her eyes when I asked waiters about the preparation of certain dishes, but she now drinks kombucha and goes to the farmer’s market. A little influence can go a long way.
4. Put it in writing
I recently released a book. I When I wrote it, I envisioned women my age (40 years old) or younger reading it. A funny thing happened after it was released. I started to hear things like, “I gave my mother your book and now she’s sprinkling hemp seeds on everything and has lost five pounds.” There is something about sending someone an article or a book that’s less daunting. We can read in the privacy of our own homes. There’s no pressure to make changes as nobody knows if or how much reading we’ve done.
5. Don’t do it on Mother’s Day
This Sunday, if you’re lucky enough to spend time with your mom, spouse or kids, don’t use the day as a health intervention. I know it’s tempting, especially if you don’t gather as a family all that often. But keep it light! The same goes for birthdays and holidays. No need to mar the day if a gift, comment or well-meaning nudge backfires.
Lauren Slayton is the author of The Little Book of Thin and creator the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and has appeared in Allure, In Style, Cooking Light, and more.