I think I might just need to vent, because I know that it's not possible to get someone else healthy. I'm really, really worried about my younger sister. She's 23 years old and weighs almost 300 pounds. She's pretty miserable about it, but she's also depressed and not really motivated to do things to try to improve her life.
She claims that she doesn't like most healthy food and that she gets really hungry if she tries to cut portion sizes, to the point where her stomach hurts and she gets terrible headaches. I see her eating tons of junk and enormous portions, and it just makes me so sad that it's making her so sad. She doesn't really know anything about nutrition, so I tried giving her something to read just about calories and nutrients, but she didn't read it. She tried taking up walking, but she said that it made her hips and knees hurt, so she decided that she just wasn't into exercising. She keeps saying that she's going to change things when she gets a new job, or after she moves to a new place, or after some other event in her life, but she never does.
I also can't really talk with her about it because she's incredibly sensitive. She sometimes brings it up, but she almost always ends up crying when she talks about it. Any time I mention my own efforts to eat better food and exercise more (and I don't even frame it as a weight loss effort, just a health kick), she dismisses it as something that won't work for her. My mother tried to bring it up with her, and she just shut down the conversation and still talks about how mean it was for her mother to call her fat.
On some level, I know that I just have to let her live her own life and not butt in. But is there anything I can do to make it easier for me, emotionally, to see her so sad when I know that there's a solution to the problem?
04-08-2011, 02:08 PM
Unfortunately, as you already know, we can't force people do do anything they're not ready for. I've had people pressing me for sooo long but just recently it just hit me hard and I had to make the decision for myself to start on the road towards what I really want. It's hard but all you can really do is be there and let her know you love her. I've heard people calling it "hitting rock bottom" and maybe she just hasn't gotten there yet. I can understand talks being incredibly sensitive but it is possible (since you've gone through the weight loss yourself) that a serious talk might get the gears moving. Change, no matter how positive, is scary. Something is keeping her from accepting your help. Maybe she just doesn't think she can do it so she doesn't really want to try. I dunno...maybe I'm just rambling lol I know it's hard for you and her too (I lived for so long in her position hating the way I was but not doing anything about it). I wish you luck and hope things turn out well.
04-08-2011, 02:08 PM
I think all you can do is just be there for her. Maybe she could take up doing some things that make her happy first-if she's depressed, she may not even think she's worth the work. I have been like that much of my time as an overweight woman. I hated myself, my body, and had a dysfunctional relationship with my self esteem. Perhaps if she could get out and do something a few times a week that she thinks is very fun, it would boost her confidence/happiness level. Maybe you could even invite her along to an event like that-if she likes crafts, perhaps a women's knitting group or something of that nature. In my town, there is also a quilting club where one may learn to quilt. Does she like to write? Writer's group, perhaps-and if that isn't in your town, you and her could get together. Insert interest here and there is probably something you guys could go do involving it. I've been where your sister has been. I had to drag myself out of my own self loathing and pity to want to do things for myself. Even, go have a few sisters days, perhaps-shopping, get nails done, spa, etc. Maybe if she boosts her self esteem a little bit with a new outfit, she might want to do something else nice for herself. But, as much as it hurts for you to see your sister unhappy, you can't pull her out of it-you can only offer her unconditional support, and hope that she wants to make a better go of it soon.
04-08-2011, 02:09 PM
Is there a way you could get her to see a doctor for a checkup? Do you think she would take a professionals advice?
Or maybe give her a link to this site! I remember my turning point was when I found this site and went through pretty much every GOAL photo post. It got me so motivated, it made me think, "This IS possible, lots of people do this healthfully and successfully."
04-08-2011, 02:27 PM
Anyway you could ask her to do something with you seemingly as support for YOU - like swimming indoors or something that she could do with less stress on her body? Joining an aqua aerobics class or something like that if they're offered near you??
04-08-2011, 03:02 PM
Unfortunately, she doesn't live near me, so I can't do anything with her. And when we're visiting, she usually says no to suggestions that we go for a walk, and she turned down an invitation to my yoga class when she visited me last.
She does see her doctor regularly, but unfortunately, like most doctors, she doesn't give a lot of specifics about diet or exercise. I don't think that's going to help.
Honestly, I think I just need to get comfortable with the idea that she's an adult and I can't make her do anything, even if I think it would be better for her.
04-09-2011, 07:48 AM
Ugh, I'm sad for you. That has to be really hard. And I think you are right-on with your post -- what YOU need to do is to figure out how to come to peace with the whole thing, realizing that there is nothing you can really DO about it.
Maybe next time she brings it up, just say something like, "Man, it sure sucks that we got gramma's fat genes. But I'm having a pretty good success with a weight loss plan, and if you ever feel like you are ready to give it a go, I have tons of information I'd love to share with you! We can even email each other our food and exercise every day and give each other suggestions and support. Sometimes it takes contemplating about it for awhile before we are really ready to give it a try, so just take some time to think about it and let me know if you ever need me for anything!"
She may cry, but that's okay. I'm one of those "sensitive" people, I feel like my tear ducts are just closer to the surface than a lot of other people's. :p I can cry at the drop of a hat. But that doesn't mean I can't handle hearing what someone may say out of kindness and love, even if I'm reduced to blubbering during the conversation. :hug:
04-09-2011, 12:38 PM
I agree with the others here. You can't push someone into losing weight no matter how badly they might need to. The only thing you can do is be supportive, and make sure she knows that you're there for her no matter what she weighs, and will help her if/when she's ready to do what she needs to do. My family pushed me for a long time, telling me to lose weight, to stop eating, to exercise... and none of that stopped me from becoming morbidly obese by the time I started high school. And when I finally lost the weight --that came from me, nobody else.
This is hard, I know... you want to help those you love, but sometimes good intentions don't lead to the outcomes we want.
Best of luck :hug:
04-09-2011, 05:05 PM
I was berated, cajoled, bribed, and begged to lose weight my entire life. It took me until I was 32 years old to do it for myself. I lost 150lbs with the help of gastric bypass surgery and maintained it for two years. Over the last five years, I gained half of it back. I lived in denial - again - until two weeks ago when I realized - again - I had to do it for myself.
Someday your sister will hopefully realize the same thing.
04-10-2011, 12:33 PM
I've had friends in the same position. I tried to encourage one just by taking her for walks. That's it, I didn't nag her or anything...I just asked her to walk with me. She wouldn't do it. That was 10 years ago and I just leave it alone. I know she hates her weight but she's going to have to change on her own and I don't say a word.
04-10-2011, 12:53 PM
I hate to say it but no matter what some people just don't care to try. My sister is around the same size and she was recently diagnosed diabetic and the only change she made in her life or eating style was to drink diet soda instead of regular! It is really frustrating because I hate to think of what she is doing to her body and how her children are most likely going to lose their mom at a young age.
She keeps junk food in her house at all times and all of the meals are easy prep processed frozen junk and now her 14 year old daughter is gaining too and it breaks my heart! She says she doesn't want to get heavy but has no choice because if she is going to eat at all she has to eat what is there and its all crap junk food.
My sister says healthy foods make her sick and hurt her stomach. She also says it is too much work to learn to cook and eat healthy foods. I am a graduate of culinary arts and have offered to teach her but she refuses. It comes to a point when there is nothing you can do and unfortunatly there is also nothing you can do to ease your own pain on the subject either because it will always break your heart to see it. You can just pray that one day they will see the light and make the choice themselves to get healthy.
If your sister cooks you can create a cook book for her full of heathy foods that don't seem to be so. That way you know you did what you could with out turing it into a big emotional ordeal. Good luck to you I know it is really hard to sit by and be able to do nothing!
04-10-2011, 08:17 PM
SInce your mother has also been concerned, (for some reason I assume she lives with your mom, but I am likely wrong) maybe she could talk to your sister's doctor about referrals to dietitians etc for weight loss.
Other than that, I would take the topic away. Even when she brings it up, don't go there. Just say, we shouldn't talk about that, its upsetting. or "thats between you and your doc/caregiver"
But of course do be supportive when she is ready for it.