Weight Loss Support - My little brother... *sigh*

View Full Version : My little brother... *sigh*

05-28-2010, 12:12 AM
OK... before anyone tells me that "you can't change his mind"... I know this. I'm just... venting I guess. It frustrates me... I'm feeling GREAT. I have a goal. I want to get down to 140 lbs. Running gives me energy... I love this. I'm not craving food... I'm discovering who I TRULY am... now who I made myself be.

And then... there's my little brother. 14 years old. EXTREMELY smart... wants to be a astophysicist. Wants to get his PhD in Physics. But he's becoming how I was. :( Sneaking candy from my mom's "secret" drawer, going to the store and buying HUGE bags of M&Ms and stuff. He acts like it's no big deal... but he finishes two bags full of M&Ms (and I'm talking about the BIG bags, 1680 calories total per bag) in a day or two.

I just... I don't want him to get to the point where I was. Crying every time I'd go to the store (because I NEEDED a new pair of pants and/or some other article of clothing). I don't want him to be like the guy who sits by me in art class... SUPER smart... sweet... kind... but grossely obese, extremely unhappy... dissapearing for the first 30 minutes of every day's class... claiming he was "in the bathroom". I don't want to see the pain in his eyes like I saw in that guy's eyes.

He's not at that point... I don't want him to be at that point.

If I lose this weight... he'll be the largest guy in our family. Yes... "large" does run in the family (on both my mom's side and my dad's side)... but... there's a difference between "large" and obese. I got to the point of obese. Still am... and my little brother is quickly getting to that point...

When I casually ask him if he wants to lose weight with me, he'll say "I want to... but I just don't have the motivation"... then he laughs. Like a joke. And... it kind of is... but... for me at least... it's not funny.

I just... I know I can't force him to do anything. And it does have to be his own decision... like this was mine. But... I love my lil' bro. And... it hurts me to see him... well... allowing his body to deteriorate in this way. I don't want him to waste his high school life being obsessed with food (for me... it was more because my brain associated sweet things with being "good"... even if I really don't like them... and I don't... I realize that now... I genuinly think that HE likes food though), not being able to pick up girls (hehe...) because he's the "chubby" one, or the one that just does what he wants to do.

He's had a hard life. He's been verbally and physically bullied by his classmates in Serbia. I've only been verbally bullied (called fat all the time), and would put myself down a lot. He has a big problem with anger. Small things get him upset and angry. Not that I blame him. He's moved around as much as we have... he just doesn't really have a... well... outlet. I have online forums (this one and another one) and sometimes him (if I know I'll get nothing but lectures from you guys... :p ), but... I don't feel as though he has an outlet... and maybe that's why he eats as much as he does.

I just don't want him to lose that sparkle in his eye... I care too much for him to let that happen. :(

Just... well... any words of advice... either from people who have gone through this... on either side of the spectrum...

05-28-2010, 12:54 AM

I know it's hard to see someone you love hurting themselves in some way. I know you want him to change, to reach his full potential. But HE has to want it for himself.

Before I started my journey, my husband would always try to coax me to go to the gym or to get up off the couch, or to just not eat fast food. I knew that he cared about me and wanted me to be healthy, and I saw how upset me doing nothing made him. But until something inside me clicked, I just couldn't bring myself to do anything about it. I had to want it for myself, not just because he was nagging me.

My advice is to just be supportive of his scholastic goals and to lead by example. You know all the benefits of losing weight and exercising. SHOW him in your everyday actions. Just be a happy supportive person. Talk about your goals. When people see how happy, energetic, healthier you are becoming things will start to stir inside them and they will want in on your 'secret.'

I hope my rambling made some sense and is helpful in some way!

Take care!

05-28-2010, 07:27 AM
Keep walking your walk. Be a good example, but don't pressure him. He needs to find his own way through this. Are still at the school where he was bullied? It could be that until that situation gets fixed, he will continue with this behavior. Is that kind of behavior tolerated by the head of your school? I know that at the school where I teach it goes on, but when the administration is notified, they at least attempt to stop it. (I'm a teacher at a large public high school in the US, so I imagine it is very different from your school!)

I wouldn't pressure him too much at this point. So many people push back if you push them too hard. Keep setting a good example and if he approaches you for help, be available!!

05-28-2010, 07:48 AM
Hey Serbrider, this is a good place to vent! :)

It seems to me that you are projecting yourself too much onto him. He is only 14, and he will go through big changes before he's an adult. You are making judgments about his future and then feeling bad because of the story you've created. So for you, it would help not to focus on him and his "problems" and instead just stay with your own.

I agree with those who say, be a good example. You don't want to alienate him by being too pushy. My own feeling is that another person's weight is none of my business. I surely didn't appreciate comments on my weight when I was heavier, and I still don't.


05-28-2010, 08:40 AM
He's not still in that school... and not all of the school was bad... he had a lot of friends there... and kind of was a novelty... being the "American" and all... but yeah... he was pushed around and ridiculed.

Thanks guys. I am just worried because... well... he loves food. And he'll lie, cheat, even steal to get food. I had a long talk with him last night... and he just loves food too much to even think about trying to lose weight.

I want to encourage him... be there for him... but sometimes it's hard when I feel like I see him going down the path I took.

05-28-2010, 08:50 AM
I teach high school, and let me tell you something: LOTS of boys put on a lot of weight 14-16, and LOTS of them lose it 16-18. There are two things at play: 14-15 they are gearing up for a huge growth spurt, and they are hungry--real hunger--all the time. Second, 14 year old boys, however intelligent, have no judgment. They are basically brain damaged (frontal cortex very undeveloped) and suffering from permanent, terrible PMS (testosterone levels through the roof). Generally speaking, they just don't have it in them to systematically lose weight. About all you can do is put healthy food in front of them and encourage them to be active.

At 16 or so, it changes. They begin to get control of their own brain. They also grow 1 or more inch a month, which is like working out for hours a day. They start to be able to think 2 or 3 steps into the future. And frankly, once a teenage boy decides to lose weight, it just falls off. They are fat burning machines.

So don't worry to much: 14 is not a "now or never" point for a boy. Just model good behavior and make sure he knows that if he ever wants advice you 1) know what you are talking about and 2) can give it without judgment.

And when he frustrates you, remember that he really, truly is seeing the world in a different way: his perspective is really screwed up, but for him, that is his reality.

05-28-2010, 08:59 AM
Wow... he has MORE to grow? He's already 5'10"!! :p

Thanks... and it's not really that HE frustrates me... just the situation my mind's eye seems him getting into that kind of does...

And I have seen that "weight loss potential" with my older brother... the lucky duck. He's now super skinny. Then again... he also takes after my Grandpa who is super skinny... and always was.

05-28-2010, 09:14 AM
as a person who was ONCE in your shoes. I say it is a good thing to be worried. Especially if your family has a tendency to gain weight. I watched my sweet little brother go from a very healthy even skinny individual ...to a VERY overweight adult.

it didn't happen overnight. Pat kept eating larger and larger meals, partly because he was encouraged that he was a growing boy. He had size 15 feet at 15. we knew he'd be tall. HE ended up 6'5" He was very active at first, loved basketball and sports. He kept eating huge portions of food. Partly my dad's fault, who never had trouble with his weight and worked moving furniture but put the guy on Man vs. food to shame. I would notice Pat would eat cereal out of a serving bowl with a serving spoon. He would also eat 3 or 4 of whatever, and he was always eating. My mom has major weight issues on her side of the family. My dad, had only one overweight person in his family.

anyways, Pat is probably 6'5" and around 300 lbs. I know he's not happy at his weight. He plays it off. But I know he wants to be smaller so he can do things with his little boy--he just became a father.

05-28-2010, 12:11 PM
as a person who was ONCE in your shoes. I say it is a good thing to be worried.

Sorry to hear about your brother, jendiet, but I have to ask--exactly how did your being worried about it (or anyone's being worried) change one single thing? :chin:

See, I think that one can be supportive and caring... and even comment in a loving way--although that can backfire really badly!--without getting overly involved in someone else's perceived problems. Think about how you, or any of us, would feel if a sibling started pressuring us about our weight, especially when we were young teenagers. Gosh, the teen years are a nightmare anyway!

Serbrider, you have invited him to lose weight with you, so keep that door open. But don't try to lasso him and drag him through.


05-28-2010, 12:32 PM
I feel like I could have wrote that myself. I have the EXACT same problem with my little brother (13) He is growing up with the same mentality my parents inflicted on me, that being healthy isn't important and if you want food you should just eat it.

I know how much you want to help. TRUST ME I have tried everything to help my brother, but he just doesn't want the help. All we can do is wait for them to come to us. I have tried a 100 attempts to get him to workout with me and he just doesn't want any part of it. We just have to let them make there own mistakes.

I wish I had someone when I was his age to tell me how to be healthy and save me from embarrassment and heartache, but for some they just don't want the help.

I agree with Jay.. all you can really do is what I have been doing, and just keep asking, any maybe one day he will want your help. That is what I'm hoping for at least :/

05-28-2010, 03:03 PM
I have an older brother at this point now. He doesn't care what he eats and he is big because of it. It frustrates me to no end because I don't want to see him develop diabetes (runs in my family) or die young. I've tried to encourage him, but he always takes it as a slight. I can hope I can be a role model to him and somehow motivate him to take the weight off.

:queen: Dhani :queen:

05-28-2010, 03:35 PM
Does he like any sports? If he likes something like badminton/tennis/hockey etc if he does maybe you could find some thing local and you AND him join to play even if it's 2 times a week!

If he wants to get his physics degree, that means he likes to design. Maybe getting him to build something would get him outside.

My dh is getting engineering physcics and physics degrees next year ( on his last year) and he has an issue with motivation but we've found projects and sports are what get him in the game! Forjust working out, he hates it. So we definitely understand and your brother being that "different kind of smart" ;) it's a struggle to find something for them.

I wish you luck!

05-28-2010, 03:37 PM
My little sister is headed for the same place I was at. In fact, right now I think she is bigger then me - okay I don't think, I know. She is 14 and it really upsets me. I have mentioned a few things to her, but I know it hurts her. And I know it hurts her because it hurt me at that age when people would comment about my weight.

No one could make me lose weight, why should I expect I can make her? I can't. It sad, really sad. But I can not help or change her. I don't think it has clicked for her, I don't think she realizes she is now bigger then me - and that I haven't lost any weight to make that happen. She doesn't understand why the clothes I am buying are smaller then the ones she is.

We were trying on some jeans together and I don't think it hit her the the same ones were fitting me and not her. She told me she wishes she had all the "cool jeans" like I do. So I causally said, "when they get to big for me, you can have them." She just looked at me and said, "are you saying I'm fat." I felt bad, I didn't even mean for that to slip out in the way that it did.

She is making more of an effort now though, then she was. So hopefully she can get back to the size she was. She has always been bigger, but not as big as she is right now. Our whole family is bigger, and while all the emotional things that go on in our family - it's a hard place to be.

I figure the best thing I can do for her is to try harder for myself to lose weight. We don't live in the same house, but I hope if she sees me getting smaller that she will become more aware.

05-28-2010, 04:01 PM
I think it's hard to see other people doing such things to themselves. The thing is, though, you should be there for him but not on him. I honestly can't say I'm a big supporter of trying to coax or offer assistance to people unless they ask you first. When I was younger I would always get told that I could go on diets with my friends and family, "we'd all be in it together". But I didn't want to be in it, at least not then. I was getting really hurt by having everyone tell me that so I ate even more, gained more, etc. Instead of helping they were really kind of hurting (not an excuse, of course, just saying).
And don't worry about the girls, Serbrider, they'll come. There was this kid who use to live here, he was kind of larger guy, and the girls were all over him. I think I had two of my closest friends go out with him at one point.

05-28-2010, 04:41 PM
I'm sorry, it must be tough :(
My brother eats bad too, and if he could get away with it, probably would eta 2 large M&M bags in 2 days
He's pretty big too, I get used to it, but when I see him at school with his friends...he's just so overweight >.<
He eats so much, and so unhealthy too, it disgusts me so much

If I were you, I would try to sit down with him and have a real serious talk...
I should do that with my brother, but it would be way too akward because we aren't close at all anymore- which is probably my fault..I distanced myself between us when I realized his eating habits and life style, and started noticing how bad he smells too... Don't let that happen to you and your brother, it's pretty sad .-.

05-28-2010, 07:09 PM
Maybe you can try just hanging out with him as his brother and doing something active yet something you both can have fun with. Play sports, go swimming, ride bikes, go hiking, play active Wii games, go bowling, etc. Whatever it is, just be a good brother and don't make it about his weight. Don't make him question your motives. Truly just want to spend time with him and have fun. You'll both be getting exercise in disguise, and you'll show him that you're his ally so when he is ready to get healthy he will be able to come to you. Don't push him about his weight because it could end up pushing him away and inadvertently make him feel worse about himself.

05-28-2010, 09:24 PM
Amen Oh love! amen :)

05-28-2010, 09:46 PM
Thanks guys... all of those are things that I'm trying to do. I know how it was with me. My parents... well... my mom likes to control EVERYTHING. Which means... if I decide "hey... I'd like to lose weight", or even if she felt I was getting to too high of a weight, she'd force the entire family on a diet. And... I couldn't stand that. My brother's kind of like that too... which is why... when I talk to him... I try so hard to make it NOT about the weight, but about health, about having fun, etc. I was trying to get him to think of something he's always wanted to do... like sports related. I personally don't have much more time with him (I'm living with my grandparents my senior year), so I can only do things with him this summer.

Urgh... I'm frustrated... mainly at myself... for thinking I can change his mind. For trying to control him the way my mom tries to control me. I don't want to be like that... I just... I care so much for him... and I don't want to see him get hurt. It's not all about the girls. Not at all. It's about him being healthy. It's about him being able to do things. It's about him being able to look in the mirror and like what he sees.

Then again... he's a guy. Not a girl... like me... so the brain and body function differently...

05-28-2010, 11:18 PM
But does he feel that way about himself? Does he not like what he sees, etc, etc? If he's said something then talking to him probably would be good but if he hasn't I wouldn't try to fix what he doesn't see as needing to be fixed because that's when the backsliding could begin.

05-29-2010, 08:01 AM
Serbrider, focus on yourself. That is enough for you to deal with. Enjoy your time with your brother and do healthy things when you're together, but focus on your own health and weight loss. Don't let him become a diversion and distraction.

ETA: Just read your other post. Yeah, you really do need to focus on you! :hug:


05-29-2010, 01:20 PM
JayEll... which "other post". I have so many. :p

I do need to focus more on myself... but sometimes... I feel like I focus too much on myself... and that's not good. At least where I grew up.

I'm not all like "SCOTT... LOSE WEIGHT NOW!!!" or diverting all my attention onto him... more like... I'm concerned for him... not all the time... just... when I see him in certain situations, or doing specific things, etc.

If the thread you're talking about was my "cheat day" thread... I'm not happy aobut that. At all. Because I really didn't mentally or physically want to eat the burger, couple fries, and those two giant shakes. I really didn't. I know I know "you shouldn't have eaten them at all then". Well... easier said if you're not in that situation. ;) Shakes, ice cream, and sweets in general give me HUGE stomach problems. Like... to the point where I'm having to run to the bathroom every ten minutes because of the stomach aches.

I dunno... maybe I"m just reading that comment a little wonkey... but... it just kind of sounds a little "you're doing everything wrong so focus more on yourself" kind of thing... *shrugs*

05-29-2010, 02:23 PM
I feel your pain. I feel this way about my little siblings every single day -- this morning, while I had my fiber one cereal, they had pancakes, with whipped cream, syrup, and chocolate chips, no less! I also see it from the other side of the spectrum in that they DO need to want it for themselves to do it. Before March, my parents were CONSTANTLY telling me to do things. But then when something clicked in me, I just wanted to GO for it and not stop until I got there. I'm just hoping that my habits start to rub off on her, because she's already heavier than I was at her age. :(

05-29-2010, 03:24 PM
I dunno... maybe I"m just reading that comment a little wonkey... but... it just kind of sounds a little "you're doing everything wrong so focus more on yourself" kind of thing... *shrugs*

No need to take it in such a black and white way! But let's see if I can make my point without sounding so harsh...

You know how when you fly in an airplane, they tell you the oxygen mask will come down if the cabin pressure drops? And they also say you should make sure you have your own oxygen mask in place before you try to help your children or others with you?

In a way that applies here. You have to have your own program working properly (that is, your "mask" in place) before you try to help others.

So, until you can successfully manage to get through a busy day without downing nearly 3,000 calories (as you mentioned in your "cheat day" post), it's probably best that you concentrate on what YOU need to do rather than worry about your brother. See what I mean? It's not that you're a bad person! Of course not! But it does sound like you need more practice on sticking with a plan. :)


05-29-2010, 03:35 PM
Remember, too, that just because you don't say anything doesn't mean he doesn't notice the face you make when he eats something unhealthy. For myself, I am a contrary person. My own family (who are good people who love me unconditionally) really worried about my weight. The more they were concerned, the more they made "the face", the more embarrassed and ashamed I got, the less likely I was to take steps to fix it. Human nature is funny like that, but teenage boys, especially, would rather drive off a cliff than swerve to avoid it because someone told them to.

Honestly, the best thing you could do is have no opinion at all about his weight and health. You have no real power to help, and a real power to hurt--I mean, how would you react if he suggested you get more exercise and eat this broccoli? Wouldn't you see through him in a heartbeat, and would him trying to "fix" you make you irritated and embarrassed and resentful? Wouldn't it taint any interactions you had with him, even the ones that weren't about weight?

And don't say "I'm the big sister, it's different". It's not for him. He thinks he's practically grown.

05-29-2010, 04:30 PM
jayEll, i totally believed that if my brother was surrounded by parents or influential adults that would have guided him in better eating choices, instead of always telling him "he was a growing boy!". I totally did not like the answer of "how is being worried about it going to help" If someone had been PROACTIVE...that had any influence, he could have been guided to make better eating choices and taught about obesity and how you should make sure you are not taking too much more in than what you are putting out...and also how sugary foods are easily stored as fat if not burned up....

05-29-2010, 04:39 PM
Hey jendiet, I think you missed my point. :) All I meant was that worrying doesn't help--only DOING something helps--i.e. being proactive like you said--and if it's not a situation where DOING something is a good idea, then worrying helps even less.

I have to agree that it sounds like your brother could have used more guidance, but that's true for just about every kid in one way or another, I think, and not just about food.

And, since I'm the "older sister" myself, I do know where these feelngs come from... I spent a lot of my childhood trying to look after my siblings. More than I should have, really. I haven't had a lot of appreciation come back to me.


05-29-2010, 04:46 PM
oh, i know Jay, my siblings always poo-pooed at me. My 13 year old sister also is not close to me, and i have to watch her steadily gain weight. my other little sister--rox has lost alot of weight...and my mom was apalled when Bobbie was able to wear Rox's old clothes!

i remember how heartbroken i was when I saw Bobbie walking around at 2 years old sipping on a 2L of coke. Yes, a whole 2L. I hate soda. The soda industry is just as evil as the tobacco industry if you ask me...they put out all this propaganda about High Fructose Corn Syrup not causing any problems but there has been clinical study after clinical study confirming it CAUSAL relationship to diabetes...we are not ants, we should not be ingesting SYRUP...our pancreas's can't handle it.

and the sugar subsitutes are BAD for your brain, that is why sensitive people get headaches-- i do. they are bad for your neurotransmitters and cause Parkinson's like and MS like symptoms.

05-29-2010, 09:14 PM
Serbrider, I know you are frustrated and feel like you are not making an impact on your little bro, I can guarantee you that you are though! Human beings (especially teenagers) are absolutely influenced by the actions of those around us for good or for ill. If you are making healthy lifestyle changes and losing weight it has a positive influence upon him.

You already know that not much is going to be gained by directly pressuring him. It is very likely that he is going to snap out of this stage as he grows. If you are un-pressured support for him and a good example if things do go happen to go awry you will be there for when he needs you.

Worry doesn't accomplish ANYTHING. (It feels so deceptively productive though doesn't it?) What you can do when you start to worry is to stop yourself and try to think of ways you can channel it into something positive. Like ohlove suggested what about making plans with your brother to do things that are fun and good activity? Do you have time or the ability to make healthy meals for your family once a week? Does he like video games? (Dance, Dance, Revolution and Wii come to mind.) You know your brother and what you have time and energy to do. I am sure you can think of something! Don't pressure the lad, but be there to help facilitate healthy change when he wants to.

Like I said before making positive changes in your life absolutely is helping him. One thing you can do that is completely in your control is focus on keeping yourself on track to be that good example for him.

It sounds like you really love your little bro, I know it is hard to see loved ones make choices that might hurt them in the future. Hang in there!

05-29-2010, 09:45 PM
Thanks guys. :)

JayEll... nothing I say will change your mind on my "busy" day. I had made a poor choice in the morning with lunch, even though I felt sure I got the healthiest thing on the menu (apart from the shake, which I was expecting to be around 400 Cals)... but everything after that was out of my control. I'm not living on my own... my parents do have control over what I eat and don't still... which can be very annoying for me. Since I can't just starve... but it doesn't mean I want to eat that food. And my portions were small through all of it. Like... tiny. Nothing I got (except for the vegetable portion) was larger than half of my palm size. I'm not eating like that anymore... and it was one of those days where, apart from the morning (and I honestly thought the burger was more around 400 cals, not 850), I had little control over what was served for me to eat.

I've been counting today (just lightly in my head) what everyone around me is eating. At LEAST 5000 cals. At least. Yeah... my 2700 may not have been healthy... but at least I"m not to the point of everyone else around me. ;)

Thanks guys. I'm not worrying all the time. I'm really not. I am concerned when I constantly see him go back for thirds and fourths of five cookies each time... because it's not healthy...