Weight Loss Support - Lack of support from family

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06-26-2008, 09:00 PM
I have 2 things to vent about here. I'll start with the general and move to the more specific issue. Warning this is a huge long vent!

Why isn't my family more supportive of my losing weight? They have all been nagging me for years about my weight (especially my mother), and then when I find an eating plan that I enjoy, I get people doing some or all of the following:

- unhelpful or critical comments
- pushing food on me
- having unhealthy foods around me
- no compliments or encouraging comments (for the most part)
- complaining that they want to lose weight too but not willing to consider my eating plan

Here is specifically what upset me recently.

2 times my brother has shown great interest in my eating plan. He has talked about how fat he feels, and how much it bothers him. And he has said that my eating plan sounds really good, and he'd like to learn more about it. But his wife interrupted him (she was pregnant at the time, in her third trimester) and said how she doesn't want him going on a diet at that time because she doesn't want to be the only "fat one". [That hurt my feelings but I didn't say anything. But I was thinking, "Oh, it's ok for me to be the fat one? That is how you think of me?] I understood that she is hormonal and feeling weird about the changes in her body. So I let the issue drop.

Well they had their baby, and we were visiting together. The baby is 2 weeks old. And my brother started complaining about how much his back is hurting him and how he thinks he needs to lose weight. I asked him if he was still interested in my eating plan and he said "YES" with a visible look of relief on his face, like "Yeah, I want to eat healthy!" I thought that perhaps his wife looked a little put out by it. But I wasn't sure. I went home and thought about it, and then I read somewhere that it is not recommended that pregnant women go on a diet for the first 6 to 8 weeks because their bodies are healing and the milk supply is being established. So I emailed her and let her know that it dawned on me that maybe she would rather not hear more information about dieting right now, because I wanted to be sensitive to her needs right now. She wrote back and said that it is true she is not interested in thinking about diets right now, and when the time comes, she will be looking for a "low fat plan". I interpreted that to mean that she doesn't want to learn about my eating plan because it's not a low fat plan, per se.

Then I started to feel really persecuted because all I want to do is help my brother, since he keeps telling me that he is interested in learning about my eating plan. I mean, if he wants to follow my eating plan, why should it bother her? If he cooks and prepares his own food, it should not matter to her.

So I wrote to my brother and told him more about my eating plan.

Then I emailed my sister-in-law and let her know that I had shared some information about my plan with my brother via email, but that I hope that is alright, so long as he is helping with the cooking and food preparation.

I haven't heard a word back. I'm sure she is annoyed with me. But honestly! I just don't understand why she is being so negative about my eating plan unless she either (A) Doesn't want to have to cook special meals for my brother, or (B) just wants to reject anything that I have to say.

This is the same sister-in-law who made such a HUGE deal about cooking only healthy meals after my other brother (not her husband) had bariatric surgery last year. It was this brother's birthday, and I wanted to make him a birthday cake and she (SIL) made this huge issue about it, saying that we should have steamed pears instead for desert, as well as spinach souffle and other strange things for dinner. Before the party, I felt I should call my brother (the one having the birthday, not her husband!) to explain why I wasn't giving him a cake, since I had promised him to make a really special batman cake for him. (He is a super heroes fan). When he heard the reason why, he said that he didn't understand why she was so insistent on keeping a cake from his party, since he could just take a tiny taste of it, or he could just enjoy seeing it and not eat it. It wasn't such a big deal to him, except he was looking forward to me using this special, vintage batman pan that he had bought off of ebay for me. (LONG story, but this brother has been really supportive of my interest in cake decorating, and has bought some vintage pans for me, including superman and wonder woman). It was honestly the weirdest birthday party ever with all the food being soft like baby food. My brother said he appreciated her concern, but he didn't have to eat baby food because he was back to eating solid food for months previous to this day!

Evidently, now that I am having success on my diet and looking thinner, my health doesn't matter? I don't need to be encouraged? I just think it is weird how controlling she is being about not letting my brother go on a diet. Why does he have to stay fat until she is ready to lose weight? I mean, if he lost weight now, he could HELP her later on when she wants to start losing, by cooking all the healthy recipes he learned!!! Plus, he could just feel better, be in a better mood, etc.

Heart disease runs in my family. My grandfather died of a massive heart attack. My brother takes after him a lot. I worry about his heart health. I guess she doesn't care? She just keeps saying to him, "I don't think you need to lose weight. You look fine."

06-26-2008, 09:20 PM
I think it's great that you are concerned about your brother.

I think it's great that he wants to learn more about the plan you are using, and you should definitely help him by passing on information.

I think it's great that you are losing weight and getting healthy.

Since your sister-in-law is uninterested in what you have to say with regards to your meal plan, I'd stop sharing information with her and seeking her approval. It sounds like you aren't going to get it right now, and that's okay. You don't need it! Look how far you've already come!

06-26-2008, 09:23 PM
I think it's great that you are concerned about your brother.

I think it's great that he wants to learn more about the plan you are using, and you should definitely help him by passing on information.

I think it's great that you are losing weight and getting healthy.

Since your sister-in-law is uninterested in what you have to say with regards to your meal plan, I'd stop sharing information with her and seeking her approval. It sounds like you aren't going to get it right now, and that's okay. You don't need it! Look how far you've already come!

Thank you! Your words have the ring of truth. I mean, really...I am not going to please certain people who just seem to have an issue with me no matter what. I really do try to be sensitive but I need to back off more. Thanks!! (and I'll even tone it down with my brother. I mean, I already passed on the information. What he does is his business. His marriage is his business and I don't want to know more!!)

06-26-2008, 09:32 PM
IMHO, it sounds like you have been handling these situations in a reasonable, mature way; your SIL, on the other hand......

I don't think you need "permission" from her to give tips to your OWN BROTHER (!) if he is truly interested in what you are doing. I understand that there are hassles with cooking for two different diets, but if they are both looking to eat healthier then what is the problem? Maybe she is somehow threatened by you, or just thinks that she must feel "superior" to you in some way...I don't know. But the most likely answer is that this woman simply has ISSUES that have nothing to do with you; she is just taking out her frustration on you by acting :censored:

As for responding to your family in general, my advice is to stay positive and don't let them get to you! Many people will try to provoke others and elicit a reaction from them, including those who seem to have a problem with others losing weight. If someone makes a nasty comment, say something like, "I wish you wouldn't make such critical comments; my health is very important to me," or, "I would rather not discuss my weight/etc. right now. Let's change the subject," and do just that - talk about something else.

I'm sorry that you are living in an unsupportive environment; if you find that there is no one you can "recruit" to be more helpful towards your WLJ, you will have to acknowledge that they are either too negative, self-absorbed, or whatever to do so right now. Some may come around, others never will, but this is something that YOU are doing for YOU - so in many ways you will have to be your own cheerleader! Well, besides all of 3FC, of course ;)

Good luck!!

06-26-2008, 09:39 PM
You're not alone--many 3FC members have shared about just this sort of thing!

It would be nice to have their support, but you don't need it in order to succeed. Just make sure that YOU stay with your plan, that you say NO to foods you don't want to eat, and that you avoid any discussions where you feel like you have to justify what you're doing.

Worst case, you may need to keep your distance from some of these people for awhile. You don't need to tell them why--just be too busy!

Your brother is going to have to solve his own problem as well. I think it's fine for you to share information with him if he asks for it. You don't need anyone's permission, let alone his wife's, to do that. But on the other hand, you can't control what happens in his house--nor should you try.

Keep you focus on yourself. You'll get a lot further that way! :yes:

Good luck!


06-26-2008, 09:42 PM
It seems to me like your SIL thinks she's in charge of the whole family. I have a similar person in my family (my BIL .. in fact).

I would say simply ignore her. NOt in a rude way .. if she protests about something you send her husband, simply say "oh he asked me for some info and I sent it to him" ... but don't be proactive about letting her know you did either. If that makes sense.

I find that in dealing with my BIL, it's best to just nod and smile a lot and then do what I want to anyway. :)


06-26-2008, 10:27 PM
I think it's very likely that your SIL feeling very insecure, and afraid that if she is the 'only fat one," your brother may lose interest in her. Maybe it's the hormones of pregnancy, or maybe she's just insecure and controlling by nature.

Either way, it's not your problem. You can choose to think of her sympathetically (or not), but I don't think that needs to change your behavior. She's not able or willing to be a source of support, so you can't look to her for it. And that's really true of every one of your family members. If they can't or won't be supportive, you have to find people who will be.

A support system is important, and if you can get support from the people you live with or socialize with frequently, WOW that's an amazing miracle of a gift. However, if you can't get support at home, you've got to go out and find that support.

My husband, even when he wasn't interested in weight loss himself, tried to be supportive of me, but it was difficult for me not to be sucked into his lack of interest. When he would agree to join Weight Watcher's or TOPS with me, he would make it very clear he would do it "for" me and not because he had any interest himself. Same with going to the pool to swim, he'd offer to take me, but he wasn't getting in the water. I'd usually let his lack of interest be an excuse for not following through. If he wasn't going to participate, well I wasn't all that interested either. Finally, I decided that I didn't care whether he was a reluctant participant or not. Fine, I said I want to go to TOPS and I wanted him to join and I didn't care if he was willing to only to please me. Fine, I said you can drive me to the pool, and I don't care if you do get in the water. Then I said, your hip is bothering you and I know the water will help - you're getting in the water.

I've learned to be a lot more bossy. I can't make him do what is good for him, but he loves me and is willing to take direct orders (and I'm learning to give them). However, if he wasn't learning to be supportive, I would go to TOPS with or without him and get the support from people who do want to be a support.

Sometimes family is too close. Their identities are as much wrapped up in the existing system as yours is. Change is difficult and when things start to get "different" it scares people. What if she gets thin and loses interest in me? What if she gets thin and thinks she's better than me? Crazy stuff goes through people's minds, and nothing is quite as crazy as family crazy.

06-26-2008, 10:59 PM
I felt so bad reading this. About a year ago, I was the unsupportive one of my fiance losing weight.

He's now very thin and although he got there in a very unhealthy way (two cups of rice and three diet cokes diet - hello!) I was envious and resentful of his success and felt like he was only making me fatter. Which of course is crazy, I was making me fatter regardless of what he did to himself. I even got into a bitter argument with him at one point that there was *nothing* I could do to lose weight, my metabolism would crank up or rev down no matter how many calories I was putting into the machine. Crazy, you say? I really had myself convinced.

I'm willing to wager your sister in law is as insecure as I was. It's a scary thing to think your significant other is going to do something that you think is impossible for yourself. Who knows the differences that might create?

But I think the advice here is great. Do this for yourself, and let your brother make his own decisions. You can try to help people, but you usually can't try to fix 'em without getting yourself into some serious poo poo.

Hang in there, and remember, even when you don't have the family support, you've got us.

06-26-2008, 11:12 PM
You know your family, so I'm sure you know what is going on, but she may not be replying to your email or plan at this time because she is overwhelmed and/or recovering from birth. How old is the baby now? For the first 4-6 weeks, she'll be doing good to make it to the shower, much less reply to emails....her response may actually have nothing to do with you and everything to do with her.

Your brother is an adult and when he is ready, nothing will stop him.

Just as nothing will stop you! Hang in there and stay strong. You will make it happen because you have the power to make it happen.

Lori Bell
06-26-2008, 11:22 PM
I think it's great that you are concerned about your brother.

I think it's great that he wants to learn more about the plan you are using, and you should definitely help him by passing on information.

I think it's great that you are losing weight and getting healthy.

Since your sister-in-law is uninterested in what you have to say with regards to your meal plan, I'd stop sharing information with her and seeking her approval. It sounds like you aren't going to get it right now, and that's okay. You don't need it! Look how far you've already come!
Amen Sister!

What she said!

You did what you could do, you planted the seed. It's time to let go. I know about lack of support, I live in a tiny little town that LOVED seeing the city girl get fat. No support here. Do it for you...that's what I'm doing and success feels GOOOOOD!

06-27-2008, 12:19 AM
I find that in dealing with my BIL, it's best to just nod and smile a lot and then do what I want to anyway. :)


ditto! my SIL is very similar in this way..... accept for the added fact that its like she is always competing with me for my brother.... its crazy! and I liked her at first and I'm still always nice to her ( even after she is a youknowwhat to me! ) .. but it still does not change ...sometimes I am more tolerant than others depends on my mood :) but really I just feel like #1. shes wayyy overly insecure and that is not MY problem and # 2 if shes competing for my brother I will win :p :lol:...now I have learned to just be civil and polite with her .. but continue to socialize with my brother as I please and if she doesn't like it owell .... I don't search for her approval anymore nor do I want it ... ( and would never get it ) some people will not budge no matter what !

I think you are handling the situation VERY WELL ... your compassion to her and maturity with the whole thing amazes me and makes me want to be better like that! ( I wish I could really)

fact is he is your brother.... and he is a adult and you are a adult and she is entitled to her opinion but she is not entitled to make either of your decisions for you .. I'm not saying to go out of your way to "go against her " of course but if your brother asks you for some info ( about food I mean common FOOD!?) and you want to pass it along .. then there is nothing wrong with that and I wouldn't worry about what she "wants" or "says" about it ....

I also think that she may have mis-understood your email .. maybe she thought you were informing her for bad intentions and not good ? I'm just saying everyone takes in things differently.. who knows ...but I wouldn't worry so much about it .. it is between your brother and yourself ... don't answer to her :)

also the thing about family members and being supportive .. I hear it time and time again and I see it in many different situations... a lot of time family feel as though they are in a "safe zone" to say what they please and voice their thoughts to their family and either not think about what they are saying or they don't think of it as being " hurtful "..... this rings especially true on my husbands side of the family and it becomes quite a rocky road at times being that half of them are "step" yikes! ..... I wouldn't worry yourself about it to much anyways regardless though ( I know easier said than done right , you want their support and praise) but fact of the matter is .. when it comes down to "the end of the day" your accomplishments will not be determined by their support or praise anyways ( although it would help! ) its going to be determined by YOU .... and when your feeling you need a little extra from someone .. you can always come to us! :hug: ( I know its not the same at all ) but its something and these people are the experts of support IMO :cheer2: ) ...

I know this because I've been hanging around here for a few weeks now ..and I'm a stay at home mom with 0 RL friends .... ( yes ZERO not being sarcastic)and don't see or talk to any of my family at all , and my husband is barely supportive at all ...) he even hates that I come to this forum and tells me that I will never lose weight and that I should "quit the forum and go do pushups or something" :mad:

Back a few weeks ago I would have listened to him and probably got depressed and quit:no:

The beautiful thing is .. I didn't and don't listen to him nor do I let his lack of support bother me anymore (its almost as if I was using his lack of support for a crutch for a bit ) after being here a few days.. one day it clicked that I don't NEED anyones support or praise I'M doing this for ME I give extra to myself... this site has been a important tool for me and I have lost around 6lbs so far ... and I will continue to cheer myself on and do it untill I reach my goal :) :cheer2:

you will get through too !!! don't forget you have YOU :carrot:

( wow!! sorry about the super long post haha )

06-27-2008, 12:53 AM
I am totally overwhelmed by all the thoughtful and insightful responses you guys made to my post. Thank you so much!

I am definitely going to pursue my own health and well being. I want to become strong physically so that I can deal with the slings and arrows better. Sometimes things seem worse than they are. Thanks again, guys! What a great community. :)

06-27-2008, 12:59 AM
The book (and WoE) I use is "Neris & India's Idiot-proof Diet" (although it's not really a diet - it's a lifetime maintenance plan).

The reason I have suggested it as a read to anyone coping with losing weight is because of information covering things like "why we got fat", "how we feel about it", "friends and family not being helpful", etc.

See if your library has copy of it for some interesting reading.

I'll quote two paragraphs from the book which touch on what seems (to me) to be related to what you are dealing with:

"It's the same thing about weight. People don't like too much movement around the status quo. You're supposed to be fat, they think -- it's just how you are. If you wanted to do something about it, surely you would have done it by now. No, you must be really comfortable in your skin, and happy with your lot. So, you get pigeonholed: you sit in your little box, which says "My fat friend," and you're not really allowed to jump out. People are threatened by change, and they are especially threatened by change in their close friends. This is particularly true of people who aren't especially happy, and for whom the smallest change can tip the balance in a negative way. For these people, the fact that you have done something and confronted an issue -- your weight -- head-on can seem threatening. But, do you know, that's their business. It's not yours."
"So it shouldn't surprise you that the friend who's offered to cook you dinner "forgets" about your eating plan, and puts a chocolate cake in front of you for dessert. You shouldn't be too shocked when, out for the evening, your friend urges you to eat something you're not supposed to, "just this once." And neither should you be surprised if the same friend -- or another: this has happened to both of us with a variety of people -- suddenly tells you that you're getting too thin, when you both know perfectly well that you've got another 30 pounds to go before you're anywhere near a healthy weight for your height. It's not just your skinny friends: your overweight friends are more than likely to be incredibly dismissive of your dieting plans, because, of course, the act of you dieting reminds them that they could do with losing weight too; that you're doing something about your problem and they're not. We know this to be true because we've done it ourselves."

Personal opinion: Sounds to me like your sister-in-law is feeling self conscious about her own weight and taking it out on you and her husband. She doesn't want him to lose weight because (god forbid), he might start looking hawt and having other women look at him.

06-27-2008, 01:55 AM
Your (sil) is very controlling and does not want to be out done by her husband (or you). If she can keep other people down she feels she is on top, and can blame them for their weight problems or other problem. By helping your brother conquer his weight you are empowering him to be independent of her and takes away of her control. People are afraid of change. If you change the norm even to better it, they will get fearful and resist until the change becomes the norm. Keep pecking away as long as your brother accepts your help. Good luck. You Rock!

06-27-2008, 10:19 AM
Your brother is lucky to have you!
You sister-in-law sounds very controlling to me. I wonder if, perhaps, the reason behind her telling your brother (her DH) that he looks fine is that she 'hiding' behind his weight and as long as he is overweight, her own weight does not stick out like a sore thumb (I don't know, you did not say whether she was overweight prior to the pregnancy). Or it could be insecurity about him, once he gets thinner, whether he would still be interested in her (like somebody already said).

Don't let her attitude (although I totally understand how it must hurt) spoil the support you are providing to your brother, I think it is wonderful that you are so close that he would like your help, etc.

I watched an episode of X-Weighted 2 nights ago and I was shocked by the participant's wife. He was a young guy, close to 300 lbs, but very determined to lose weight. He got on an eating plan and stuck to it, and also worked out quite hard. His wife, though I admit she did not need to lose weight, kept eating all the bad stuff and kept TONS of it at home - ice cream sandwiches, cookies, chocolate, candy bars, you name it she ate it all, in front of him.
He was actually pretty amazing because he said he does not expect her to change her eating habits only because HE needs to lose weight (although if she was smart, she would have realized her 'diet' cannot be good for her in the long run). In six months, he lost 113 lbs, and became the "biggest loser" of that show.

06-27-2008, 10:35 AM
To be honest... I would go with my new motto... "let it go". You can only be concerned with yourself... You are doing a fantastic job...keep up the good work!! We, as good souls, want to save the world...especially our family but in the end we have to let them decide at their own time... The SIL is probably just having a hard time wrapping her mind around getting started on a diet and doesn't want to see your brother succeed.

06-27-2008, 11:04 AM
Your SIL might not have time to cope with meal-planning, dieting right now....she (and your brother) have a NEWBORN in the house, disrupting their sleep, taking responsibility, and she probably still feels not quite herself after only a couple of weeks.

Give your brother the info. and then just sit back and take care of yourself, your results will speak for themselves! congrats.

06-27-2008, 01:16 PM
Thanks guys! Many wise words here. I guess I have some serious issues with lack of forgiveness and understanding. I know that they have a newborn, and I was in that same boat a couple years back so I do understand. It's a little frustrating because I find myself saying over and over again, "This is a special time in your life. Let's talk about this later, after you have the baby. Or let's talk about this when the baby is older, and you guys are getting regular sleep." And there are some really outrageous things that are being said to me, so I have to keep giving them the "baby pass". But that's ok. I think maybe it's time to accept that things are not going to get any better. I can't make them like me. In fact, I think I gave up a long time ago and just resort to basic politeness and a remnant of decency when dealing with them. I just don't want our kids to be affected. I have literally told them, "Let's try to be more sensitive to each other and speak only positive things so that our kids will have the best opportunity to love each other and love their Uncle and Aunt. That's what I am thinking about now. I feel like I'm wasting my breath. But I told them there is no sense in upsetting each other intentionally because our kids will pick up on that and it will affect how they feel about family. We need to stop being jerks and let the kids have a chance to enjoy their family. I'm really really hoping that this will happen.

But yeah, this weight issue is the latest in a string of irritating situations. Control is the word of the day! Big time! I am allergic to controlling people. I'm meditating these days on whether I am controlling. If I am, I'd going to kick my own butt and make myself change that. Because it's nasty and ugly. Hate it!!!