So your dad may have been your coach at some point or another. Whether that was a sports team, a debate team or just your personal coach, he was there for you leading your gameplan. Unfortunately, doing the same for him is a little tricky. When it comes to seriously talking about your dad’s health it’s best to remain emotionally connected rather than trying to “coach him.”
1. Tell him it’s not the diet you care about, it’s HIM: Put it in real terms. You want him to share some of the same moments with your kids that you had with him. You don’t care about the scale, you care about his heart — literally!
2. Participate: Eat some of his diet meals, buy some healthy snacks for your house that you actually like and bring them over to your parent’s for a get-together. Angle it as a must try, not an EAT THIS NOW! As far as the fitness aspect, join the gym if you can. Call him every once in a while to go on a walk. You can always recruit another team member—maybe mom is looking to be healthier too! Have her give you some reports on their daily exercise.
3. Make it creative: Okay, so we said not to “bother” him, but a little friendly competition may just help get him back into the game. Find small challenges or activities to do along the way. For instance, check out this Rails to Trails Program. Based out of Washington D.C., Rails-to-Trails Conservancy “is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.”
4. Subtle Positivity Rather Than Judgmental Check Ins: “Avoid phrases such as ‘Did you stick to the plan today?’ Or ‘You should have been more careful,’ or ‘Why did you eat that?’ You are not the umpire of their life, so remember it’s not your role to criticize or judge,” says Fordham University motivational psychologist Paul P. Baard, PhD. (WebMd)
5. Sneak In Made-over Man Meals: Use some Skinny Swaps and start very subtly cooking healthier. Use a light butter or swap out the steak sauces for a lower calorie version. Don’t tell him unless he asks about it. If he doesn’t like it, don’t push it on him. Don’t be the food police.
6. Use Holidays and Birthdays to Get Him FitGear: A new pair of running shoes will go a long way. But, you can also buy him a heart rate monitor or other gear to keep him up to date. JUST DON’T OVERDO IT! If he isn’t a tech person, a tracking system probably seems too pushy. Every time you see him shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to push a healthy cookbook his way. Remember you are on his team, not his coach.
7. Celebrate Small Victories Without Using Food: Rather than going out to eat or buying a sugar-loaded cake, take him to a ball game. Buy him some new clothes. You are trying to change his relationship with food. Don’t use it as a reward system!