10 Sneaky Tips to Get Your Partner Back in Shape

You're worried about your partner's health, to say nothing of his appearance. But no matter how much you wish that he'd shed those extra pounds or lose the spare tire around his middle, it's really not up to you.

"You can't force someone to get in shape," says Jennifer Brennan, RD, CDN, who works at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "The initiative has to come from them."

That said, she adds, you may be able to help motivate your partner. "Often it can be that very important support person encouraging the partner that starts the partner on the way to a healthy lifestyle," Brennan says.

If you want to motivate partner, here's how.

1. Set a good example. Eat more fruits and vegetables yourself and reduce the amount of junk food you keep in the house, says Camille Eroy-Reveles, MPH, a diabetes exercise educator at the Friedman Diabetes Institute in New York City.  "If you're trying to motivate your partner, you should be heavily involved yourself in eating healthy," she says.

2. Buy smaller dinner plates. "Serve meals on smaller plates and fill up the plates with fruits and vegetables and with whole grains," Brennan says.

3. Make dinner together, suggests Bonnie Matthew, a fitness trainer at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. "You'll eat much healthier and it's something you can do together," she says. Then sit down and enjoy each other's company as you eat. Turn off the TV and savor each bite.

4. Have a "house meeting" at the beginning of each week to discuss what meals you plan to make in the upcoming week, Eroy-Reveles says. Make out the shopping list, plan the menus and decide which nights you can eat together. "It's important at this meeting to talk about what your goals for the week are in terms of your health," she says. "Otherwise, if it's always one person doing the cooking, the other partner can feel like he's being disciplined."

5. Make it a priority to eat together at least three times a week, and to immediately take a 20-minute walk together afterwards, says Eroy-Reveles. "Think of it as a time to just talk about your day and to be together," she suggests.

6. Figure out a way to incorporate sports or other active past-times into your life. "As spring draws near, it's nice to get outside," Brennan says. "If the weather is bad and you live in the suburbs, you can walk the mall together."

7. Exercise together even when you're not at the gym. "You can do lunges in place together while you're standing in the kitchen waiting for the soup to get hot," Matthew says. "Stand in place and do three sets of 12 lunges. Every time you do a lunge, you get  stronger, and this is a great exercise to do together."

8. Start cooking with healthy fats and using less of them, and reduce the amount of salt you put into foods.

9. Consider offering your partner a six-month gym membership, session with a nutritionist, or personal training session. It may be exactly the motivating factor your partner needs to get moving.

10. If your partner feels uncomfortable going to the gym, offer to accompany him. Once he starts getting into the spin class and feeling the natural endorphin high that kicks in as you exercise, he may be motivated to keep signing up for more classes, Brennan says.