The struggle of having an unsupportive partner is a subject that has come up a lot throughout my career. Once diagnosed with kidney stones, lifestyle changes are necessary, and that’s not always easy for everyone.
The patient is overwhelmed with being sick having gone through a complex surgery and recovery process, medical bills are piling up, and now they’re tasked with figuring out how to prevent more kidney stones—usually without much help. To say this is frustrating and anxiety-inducing is an understatement.
When you find yourself without the support of loved ones, it can provoke anger, sadness, and isolation. And if your partner/family is filling the house with bad food options, it’s difficult to make the changes you need to make.
If you understand what this feels like, I’m glad you’re reading this today. I believe we are all responsible for ourselves. You can’t control what others do or don’t do, and, conversely, others are not responsible for your choices.
Is it more difficult to change eating habits when there are unhealthy snack foods in your house? Absolutely! It’s like a smoker trying to quit smoking while watching his mate smoke endlessly on the couch next to him. Nearly impossible.
So what are we to do?
Tell your partner that you want to sit down and discuss your desires to change your lifestyle. Explain why it’s important to you and how they can help. By discussing how you feel and what you need at this time and shifting the blame off of them, you will most likely get the love and support you need.
If your partner likes to eat at night, ask them to eat in a different room. If they like a food that is particularly triggering to you (meaning if you see it, you MUST have it), ask them to buy something different for a while until you gain more confidence. Talk to them about whatever they’re doing that you find unhelpful in creating the change you need to prevent new stones. In all my experience, the conversations always go way better than expected.
Each week, many people find support, solidarity, and safety in the Accountability Calls that come with the Kidney Stone Prevention Course. In there, we talk about everything from how to order when out to dinner to precisely the topic of today’s email. This is why my work is so rewarding—human connection makes my days unforgettable.
At the end of the day, we truly only have each other. And I can’t think of anything more important than that.
Let me know if you have struggled with this in your life. And thanks again for the love and support you offer me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
Your friend and advocate,
So helpful, Jill. I have a very supportive family (but it wasn’t always that way.) I sometimes reverted to “remember all of those surgeries I had in 2020?” and I politely explained I never wanted to go through that again, nor can we afford it!!
If I’m having a bad day I asked my daughter (who is my biggest supporter) to say “mom, you don’t want surgery!” and even though I don’t always want to hear it, it’s 100% accountability.
I’ve made some simple changes to meal prep too. If it’s a meal I can pretty much eat, I don’t add salt, take out my portion before the high Bsidium ingredients, sauce or beans are added. I move my portion to another pan, continue the recipe for the family and add herbs and extra veggies to my potion. Then, when I eat I sometimes scoop a tiny bit of the family meal on top (so at least I can taste a little sauce) and the trace amount of salt isn’t going to be hardly anything if you’ve been careful with your salt that day.
If it’s a meal I know I cannot eat I set aside a little of the cooked meat and then eat that with veggies and a little pasta. Or top a salad with the meat.
I also have my own shelf in the pantry with healthy choices. It took a year or so to stop craving the kids’ snacks and cereals but as you eat more delicious, nutritious food and feel better, your cravings will diminish. And like you always say, Jill, one day of “oops” is not going to form a stone. Last, I had my doctor write a letter for Human Resources at work. I am now allowed to have a mini fridge right by my desk, stocked with fresh veggies, fruit, MILK/calcium foods and my own bottles of salad dressing. This has cut the stress from my work week lunch time SO much!
PS -if you don’t own an instant pot, it will become your best friend. it’s a great way to cook your own low sodium meals!