Ask The Fit RV: How Do I Help My Spouse Get Motivated?

Welcome to our new column Ask The Fit RV, where we respond to your questions! Here’s a recent email I received and the actual email reply I sent. (Note: emails have been slightly edited for privacy…)


Dear Stef,

I am reaching out to you in desperation.  I purchased a new campervan in the hope that my wife would adopt a healthier lifestyle as we get closer to our retirement years.  She has battled her weight throughout her life, but is now to the point where I am deeply concerned for her health. I am trying to find ways to motivate her, but have been unsuccessful. Do you have any strategies or advice that could help me help her?


Concerned Husband


Dear Concerned,

This is unfortunately far too common a scenario, where one spouse worries about the health of the other. You’re not alone, but that probably doesn’t make it any less frustrating. The biggest problem is that even if you want it for her, SHE has to want it, too. Enough that she’s ready to take action and make some big changes.

Here’s a little tangent. This past Christmas I had 2 different husbands purchase personal training packages with me as presents for their wives. Training packages aren’t cheap. Here we are almost half a year since Christmas, and neither of these wives have reached out to me to start their training. While both husbands had good intentions, I’m sure you get the message here. Fitness can’t be forced just because you want it for her.

Now, that isn’t to say you couldn’t try to manipulate things a bit. I’ve got some ideas for you on that.

1.   The book “Younger Next Year.”  There’s the original one and then the “For Women” one. Get them both. They are easy to read, and the chapters alternate between the chattiness and humor of the author who’s “just a guy”, and then the more scientific approach of an MD in the next chapter. Somehow, it works. I like to prescribe it to new trainees who are just getting into fitness. It’s the kind of book that sticks with you, reminding you that fitness is non-negotiable if you want to age well. Think of it like a book club. You read the original, she reads the women’s and once a week you get together over spinach smoothies and you compare notes, discussing what struck you.

2.   Model it.  As couples, we have a tendency to mold our ways and habits towards each other. So, if you start taking a fitness class for example, and friendships strike up, and you come home with funny stories about the class, she might get interested and want to come along so she’s not missing out. Or! If you were to put yourself on a strict and structured healthy eating plan and you 100% committed to it, she’s going to see your discipline, and the big changes you’re making for yourself, and well that can be some pretty powerful motivation (perhaps a little peer pressure, too?). You can’t change her, but you CAN change yourself. And since you’re both on the same team, your changes just might carry over and give her a desire to change, too.

3.   Find like-minded friends.  This can be tough if she’s more of the introverted loner type, but even introverts need friends. In fact, research shows people with strong social connections have better health and live longer. If you seek out active people to hang out with, she’ll be more motivated to be active. Maybe you could attend some group RV rallies or find other active RVing couples to meet up with. If your wife can make some RVing friends that lead a more healthy and active RV lifestyle, she’ll gain a new interest in living more healthy and active, too.


Those are just 3 suggestions; hopefully there’s something here you can take away. But one more thing…and perhaps this is the most important piece of advice I can give you. You need to tread carefully here. Trust me, your wife knows she’s overweight and she knows you’re unhappy about it. She’s unhappy about it, too. Women who already feel they’re losing the weight loss battle tend to struggle with self-confidence. They can easily equate concern like yours with lack of love. I know your concerns have nothing to do with how much you love her, but it’s just how the psyche sometimes works for women who battle with their weight. So, be supportive and be thoughtful with your words! While it may be in your nature to want to “fix” everything, this one has to come from her. You can be there as her biggest cheerleader, but only she can do the work. Stay optimistic that day will come!

I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for that.

Warm Regards,

Stefany Adinaro,

The Fit RV



Stefany Adinaro is an RVing fitness pro and is the self-proclaimed “better half” of the Fit RV website. While she loves her RV adventures, her favorite adventure is being “Mugga” to grandbabies Amelia and Eli. When she's not on the road, you can find her training clients in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    3 thoughts on “Ask The Fit RV: How Do I Help My Spouse Get Motivated?

    1. al and sherryl

      Good ideas Stef. I especially like the ‘model it – lead by example’ suggestion. Walking is often one of the most overlooked fitness activities by some people. It has so many benefits.

      1. Betty ROSS BROWN

        Stef, I have always had a battle with being overweight; got up to 310 at one point. Tried all the so-called diets to try to lose weight; none of them really worked.
        It was not until I found out that I had developed Post-Polio Sequelae/Syndrome, that I finally found something that would work. Let me explain what the Syndrome is: When recovering from the Polio virus, the nerves in the body that were not killed/injured by the virus started trying to stretch out and replace some of the nerves killed/damaged by the virus.
        By doing the regular/normal type of exercise and diets, I was just making those nerves that had stretched out start dying from overuse. I have had to do a complete life change to slow down the damage and be able to lose the weight. I have learned that the best exercises are the type like Tai Chi or Yoga; the slower I do them, the better. The exercises for Senior Citizens that use the chairs, etc. are fairly good; cannot do them all, but do what I can. Water exercise, as long as it is not too strenuous is also good.
        I found a book written by Dr. Richard Bruno who started doing research on Post-Polio patients in the late 1970s. (I think you being an exercise/health instructor, would enjoy reading it; gives a detailed scientific report). In the book, he tells how Post-Polio works, how it affects the body, and how it can be turned around so you can lead a fairly normal life.
        By following his instructions, I have been able to live a normal life (staying out of the wheel chair so far) with the aid of my family and the use of a cane at times. I have started following his exercise suggestions and the diet that he recommends (high protein, low carb, cut the sweets/caffeine).
        I am now down to 207 lbs., and am aiming for 205 by my birthday 3 August. If I make it to there, am aiming for 200 by the end of the year.
        I made crocheted bathing suits for my daughter and her friends years ago, am now planning on crocheting a bathing suit (1 piece, not bikini) for myself if I make it to the 200 lb mark.
        Tell James that I am in the process of drawing up some plans to build a basic camper for the back of my 1998 Dodge Ram 2500 truck. Am on disability, so cannot afford a Class B like I have always dreamed of having. But I figure I can still go “Bucket Listing” with my truck and a new camper on the back of it.
        Thank you for all you both do for us “Wanderkins”. Really do appreciate it and love watching the videos.
        Respectfully, Betty Ross Brown

        1. Stefany - Post author

          Hi Betty…I’ve not had any experience with Post-Polio Sequelae/Syndrome and therefore you’ve peaked my curiosity. As a therapeutic specialist (meaning I mostly train people with medical conditions and injuries), I’ve come across many rare and unique conditions; it’s one of the things I find so interesting about my field of work. I’m so glad you were able to get an accurate diagnosis and help figuring out how to overcome it. Looks like you’re on the road to success! Good for you. And how exciting, your DIY camper build project! You can “bucket list” in any rig, and DIYs will get you there, too. Keep us posted Betty and may you continue to rock your weight loss battle! Rooting for you!

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