I'm fat. Everyone of my friends are fat. My best friend is the heaviest, most unhealthy, and the most depressed. We have been best friend for nearly a decade and I love her with all of my heart. Periodically she asks for help, but most of the time she just wallows in her weight and sinks in to misery- taking everyone down with her. I am terribly worried for her. She told me that my weight loss makes her think about her own body more. We've always been heavy together, but I am now edging towards wonderland; except for it is bitter sweet. She has gained a lot of weight since she entered a long term relationship (don't we all?), and her SO isn't very supportive, she is actually an enabler (I think was the word used...). We use swim together and hit the gym (sometimes...), but now... just prying her out of the house for a walk around the block is a chore. My heart breaks every time I see her. I've politely expressed my concern over her health, and have not pressed her or pushed my progress or knowledge at her.
It is stressful. I can't seem to mind my own business. Her and I have always said, "If it affects you- IT IS YOUR BUSINESS." Well, herself abuse is breaking my heart. We have been sisters, girlfriends, best friends and more... and this barrier... this size difference between us... that keeps getting larger and it is a killer. When we go out she is restricted by her size- in the summer she hates to leave her house and see the girls in their summer dressed. She starts to be concerned, she cries about it, she is pale and depressed over it, and she gives up so damned easy. I want to empower her. I want to be healthy together. Does anyone have any suggestions? Tonight, we are going to try jogging. I have been jogging for 4 months. We are going to try a slow jog-walk (jog one block, walk 2) for her tonight. Any words of inspiration would help. Any suggestions for motivation would be great. I'm too worried that as she creeps past 300, with a high stress life/work/relationship, with no sign of stopping, just more depression- that I am becomming perilously close to losing my best friend.
02-28-2007, 10:23 AM
I admire you for caring so much about your friend! That is very, very loving and sweet!:hug: I can really feel the tug that you feel about breaking free of the past heavy times yet wanting your friend to join you on your journey to health.
The sad truth is that weight loss is always a PERSONAL JOURNEY. Nobody can make us lose weight, and even if we ARE committed to losing weight, the journey is NOT an easy one! Sometimes, though, a simple gesture can break the bonds that our sadness creates.
Here's my idea! What if you write her a letter with the heartfelt things that you wrote here? You don't have to mention that you put this information out on the website. Write the letter on beautiful paper and maybe put it in a beautifully decorated envelope. Find a time when it is just the two of you. Hand the letter to her, and stay there beside her as she opens it and reads it. I know if I got something like that from my best friend I would be profoundly touched. I probably would read it over many, many times. It would be one soul reaching out to another soul. It MAY save her life.
Also, if you are a believer in the power of prayer, you have The One Who Never Fails right there with you to help you save your friend! I will pray for you and your friend right now! :hug:
02-28-2007, 10:37 AM
The letter is a great idea, because then she can save it and read it when she might be able to hear your message on a deeper level. Beautiful idea, Cheryl. :)
I would say to continue to invite her to do healthy things with you periodically. I'd also encourage her to take care of other areas of her life, because when you have health in other areas you will eventually want physical health. This can mean finding a different job, establishing boundaries with family members, etc.
02-28-2007, 10:41 AM
I agree with Cheryl14, weight loss is a personal journey. Yes, you'd like your friend to come along--but sounds like she's got other things on her mind right now. Good rule of thumb is to focus on yourself. You are the only one you can "save." You say it's your business because it affects you--but really, it's only affecting you because you are focused on her. By that I mean, just as an example, you're not gaining weight because of what she's doing. That would be affecting you.
I don't mean you shouldn't be supportive of her. Just keep the focus on yourself.
I'm glad to hear that you're doing exercise--however--if she's getting close to 300 pounds, jogging might be dangerous. She could hurt her joints, her feet, etc. So you are probably going to have to slow down to meet her level, which would probably mean a slow walk for a short distance and back.
It's OK to express your concern, but also try to just enjoy your time together. No one likes being with someone on "a mission" if you know what I mean.
Good luck with everything! Send her your best thoughts and prayers!
02-28-2007, 11:06 AM
I would say to just keep loving her and lead by example. Definitly sounds like there are other areas of her life she's not happy with. Just be there for her but don't drive yourself crazy worrying about it. Have fun together. If you can get her out of the house, invite her over for a nice healthy dinner once a week or so and maybe she'll learn some things from you that she can carry over into her home life.
02-28-2007, 12:25 PM
I'd not suggest jogging unless she has a death wish. You need to be in pretty good shape, not 300 pounds. Why not just walk whatever distance she feels comfortable with - then increase it by a block the next time, etc.
You can do NOTHING about her weight. She has to do it all. You can give her advice if she asks, but it will have no effect on her unless she puts it into action.
Sad, and I've been there. I have a dear friend who is close to 600 pounds! She can hardly move any more, but I love her still. Her house looks like a bakery - but I can't change that.
Perhaps she has other issues that need to be addressed so that she no longer comforts herself with food.
You are a great friend - just be there for her the way she is.
02-28-2007, 12:28 PM
When I was at my highest weight I always hated people that told me I should loose weight, as if I didn't know, it made me angry and stupidly made me eat more. I got over it now and I understand they were worried about me. One day I just felt too scare of my weight and my healt and started doing it by myself.
But a good strategy not to make her feel pressured would be instead of offering helping her to loose weight, is asking her to help you, it can make her feel important to say that you would really like for her to help you, and maybe she'll feel like doing it for herself too. A very good friend of mine supported me when I started my diet and excercise and it really made a difference.
02-28-2007, 12:45 PM
Give her some credit. You paint her as being pretty pitiful, but her willingness to speak and listen to you about the subject, and even moreso her agreeing to try jogging with you shows a lot more motivation (bordering on stupidity) than you're giving her credit for. You are further along on your journey than she, and you may have even started closer to your goal, so you may not truly understand what she is up against. Even suggesting that she try a high impact activity like jogging gives me the impression that your expectations of her are very unrealistic. You can't drag someone along with you at your pace.
I think you need to ask her for her feedback on what you are telling her and asking of her. Ask her if your encouragement is helping or hindering her, and asking her what you can do to help. Let her be in charge of what steps she can take and be successful at. Everyone's abilities and sustainable pace for weight loss and change in general, is unique.
You're at the enthusiastic stage that to others can easily begin to feel very high pressure and judgemental, especially those close to you, because the closer you are the more personal and harsh it feels. She'll not only worry about disappointing herself, but you and others she is close to as well.
02-28-2007, 04:35 PM
We are going to try a slow jog-walk (jog one block, walk 2) for her tonight.
I know I, at probably less than half her weight and in pretty good muscular and aerobic condition, would be turned off to a weightloss plan if it entailed jogging. I find it really hard on me and I've always hated it. I just truly cannot imagine pulling it off if I was around 300 lbs and totally out of condition. To me getting her to jog is akin to the dieters that eat whatever they want until "monday", when they will switch to eating 2 carrot sticks, a slice of dry toast and a lean cuisine for dinner. In other words, so restrictive and hard that one just gives up on it. So my point is, wouldn't it be easier for her to get into a fitness regime if she starts out slowly with just walking? If she can't keep up with your jogging, even with plenty of rest periods, sounds like she'll get immediately discouraged and give up entirely.
I for one am all for not giving up on your friend, whether she wants to hear it or not. If she was using crack, wouldn't you keep at her til she stopped? Well what is the difference if her eating is causing her to become more and more morbidly obese? At that point she could very well actually be healthier as a drug addict. Possibly an exaggeration but you get the point and the urgency.
02-28-2007, 04:52 PM
You can't fix other people.
Think of all the people who tried to fix you before you were ready to lose weight and get healthier. Didn't work, right? Made you feel bad, right? Strained the relationships, right?
Also, wasn't it you with the very big woman friend who was calling your weight loss a betrayal? Is the "staying bigger versus getting smaller" dynamic a recurring thing?
02-28-2007, 04:54 PM
You can tell her how you are concerned now(instead of at her wake), but you can't make her listen to you....she has to make that decision for herself.
Maybe you can help her find that spark that will inspire her...if it's not jogging, something else....climbing stairs, walking, you can be a coach.
02-28-2007, 05:12 PM
Never in my life has "tough love" comments from friends and family helped. Being reminded of how unhealthy I was, and how concerned they were for me, and how I was hurting them, and high pressure tactics to "inspire" me to jump on their bandwagon at their pace, only sent me in the opposite direction. Made me feel like more of a loser, more of an idiot, more depressed, more angry and more likely to isolate and console myself with food, because "no one understands."
When she asks for advice, give it, without pressure. She knows how serious this is, and thumping her upside the head only makes it seem more intimidating and more impossible. And when efforts, successful or not are met with disapproval or an "it's not enough," attitude, it becomes that much more difficult to even allow friends and family to know about, let alone assist in future attempts.
02-28-2007, 06:10 PM
I agree to start out with jogging is not a good idae. I say to try to get her out and motivated a little WITHOUT losing weight in mind. Just out and into society! You can work on the weight issues later, just be a friend and of course...in my world anyway...PRAYER is sometimes all we can do for someone else. Better get going though those NW Washington summers can be HOT! you may need to go south to the Tri-Cities to cool down...hahaha
02-28-2007, 06:52 PM
Perhaps, since jogging really isn't a good idea, you could make a date with her to go out window shopping or something that entails lots of walking, several days a week. Maybe then she won't see it as you pushing her to exercise. She might enjoy the walks without thinking about it being exercise. And as the walks get easier, maybe lengthen them, or get her to jog a bit.
02-28-2007, 08:16 PM
Thanks everybody. I think who really needed the tough love was me, and I forgot it was a personal journey. As far as expressing my concern, I've said that I am worried about her health and her happiness and if she ever wants help or a friend I am here. She's not a pet project, she's a great friend. So I will refocus my mind, or try, and keep it about me. Though it is difficult because we have practically been conjoined twins since we met- doing everything together and such. -_- Stress. See why I titled it mind my own business? I suppose i will just have to relearn how to with her and respect her boundaries and choices regardless of what they entail. Thanks every one.
02-28-2007, 10:25 PM
Reddalice :hug: Love ya, keep on going!
03-01-2007, 12:15 AM
I think you are a very good person for wanting your friend to be healthy and happy, and for wanting only the best for her. But IMO, it must be a decision she makes on he own. She has to want it more than anything else, and no amount of browbeating her is going to make her want this before she is ready. The desire to make such a commitment has to come from within herself. No amount of telling her your concerns and worries, or begging her to join you is going to make her want this for herself. She, and only she, can make that choice, the choice to live a good and healthy life. Now if you tell her anything, tell her that you are worried about her health, and that you will be here to help her when she is ready. Until then, you will not pressure her anymore to lose weight, becuase you know how it feels to be pressured.
We have all been fat, right? Nobody wants to be fat. Nobody likes being fat. Whether it be 50 lbs or 250 lbs overweight, we have all been there. Nobody knows better than we do how it feels to be browbeaten by friends and family to lose weight (even when we want to, but don't know how), no matter how good their intentions were, it always felt more like they were rubbing in the fact that "I am fat", rather than inspire me to "get thin", you know what I mean? But when we had enough of looking in the mirror and seeing Tubby the Whale, we decided it was time to make a change. For some, the change of lifestyle and diet is easier than others. Some people are so addicted to their way of life, no matter how unhealthy it may be, that it will be nearly impossible for them to change. People like this, it will take every ounce of strangth they have.
My advice to you, is to continue to lose weight, and maybe seeing your success will inspire her to succeed as well, maybe even reach out to you for help. But you must be patient and wait until she is ready to make this major commitment. I mean, losing 160 lbs will be no small task, that is going to take a MAJOR commitment. She has to be serious about it, and want it for herself, and not want it for you.
PS... NO JOGGING!!! I'm not even 200 lbs, and I can't even jog yet. OMG, if that doesn't kill her, it will surely discourage her..... Maybe a slow - moderately paced walk would be a better choice for her....
03-01-2007, 02:14 AM
^-~ Gotchya. Its okay if we hit rock bottom at different points. She'll have her turn, maybe not now, but in her own time- and I'll be there for her if she needs me.
03-01-2007, 03:03 PM
One of my very best friends wore a size 30/32 and is 5'4". At the time, I wore a 22 and am 5'. Obviously, we were fat together.
She started a diet I gave up years previously (and had told her about and got her started on) and began losing gobs of weight. I had moved to another project so I didn't see her as this happened but of course she kept me posted. Over the course of the next couple of years (and the death of her husband), she dropped to a small and I rose to a size 24. I saw her again when I flew out for a weekend, and she was so thin I didn't even recognize her! I was very excited for her, of course and wished it was me, but that was that. And like your friend, I'm subject to depression.
She's in an extra small now and I've finally dropped to a size 20 with designs to get to a size 16 (although now I'm thinking a 14 might be nice). I know she's very excited for me and I am concerned she's gone a little off the deep end (extra small is way too small for her, IMHO) but I understand her push and drive.
I never resented her for her successful weight loss, and so far, she's kept it off at least two years. We talk about dieting and weight loss all the time but she never preaches to me. Fortunately, she loves me too much to push something that I apparently need to do at my own pace.
So just keep on being you - you never know when she'll change her mind and say "this is it!" and do what she needs to do. I do not suggest anything as drastic as jogging or walking. I use Body Flex, a system that seems to work particularly well for larger ladies since it is low to no impact on the joints. It's about weird breathing and a few yoga positions as well as a resistance bar that we ladies over 40 so desperately need. It could be something you do together (you'll laugh over the really silly faces you make) and does not require any special clothing - whatever is comfortable will do. You don't need a lot of space to do it - there's usually plenty of room in the living room for a couple of chairs in front of the television.
Since you'd both be new at it, she might not feel as intimidated as a more "physical" regimen would be. You can find them pretty cheap on ebay these days.