General chatter - Dear Mom,




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JudgeDread
01-24-2012, 05:30 PM
Hey guys, I am about to confront my mom about losing weight. I am doing it via email so she can't argue with me.

She just came to visit with my dad last week, it was a three day drive here and three days back.

A little background...she has been overweight since having me..about 27 years.

She has gotten Diabetes and Sleep apnea from her weight.

She also has:
-Diverticulitus (digestive problem where your intestines can get infected easily, very painful)
-Restless Leg Syndrom (she doesn't sleep much)
-Asthma
-Shes had two partial knee replacements
-Lap Band surgery, which she has lost NO weight on after 3 years. (partly doctors fault for not paying attention)
-chronic pain
-BAD charlie horses from probably RLS..I have heard her scream bloody murder in the middle of the night
-Undiagnosed depression I am sure...


She is on tons of meds for all of this, and often has stomach issues. The last time I confronted her about 3 or so years ago she got mad when I asked her how much she was eating during her late night "snacking". She said she couldn't sleep or her stomach hurt and that was the only fix...ug.

Intel (my dad) tells me she can probably go through a bag of Cheetos a day! SO this last time around visiting she spent more time sick or lying around in pain than I have ever seen. It has gotten worse, she may try to blame it on the drive down or just "being sick" but it's bull and I KNOW she will feel so much better if she loses weight.

She's done a bunch of yo yo dieting but has never kept it off, she always gains back. My dad is on board to help, I even talked to her doctor. At this point it just talking to her about it...I just hope I can get her to realize what needs to be done.

Here is my letter to her. I would appreciate any feedback so I can edit if need be, before I send it. Thank you.

__________________________________________________ _____

Mom,
I hope you are feeling better from the trip. I wanted to write this down because every time I have brought up this issue in the past you get mad at me and make excuses.

I am extremely concerned about your health. I know it has been a rough several years for you, but it is only getting worse. I know you have it in your head that you are helpless to do anything without a medical treatment. However, I really believe your health WILL improve with weight loss. There is absolutely no down side to loosing that weight and you may be able to get rid of your diabetes and sleep apnea. I have even read (which I am sure you know) that the symptoms of restless legs can be reduced with weight loss too.

Iíve really wanted to encourage you more for a long time. I guess living this far away makes it less motivating for me, until again I am reminded of what ails you. What is so disappointing is that you had that surgery that was going to help you, what 3 or so years ago now and it hasnít done anything but mess up your stomach more.

I think it is time for you to stop relying on the surgery and do it the old fashion way, counting calories and exercise. You can go to your local doctor and have her set up a plan for you or I can help you too, but you have to listen and do it. Dad needs to diet too, and I told him thatÖso there is your support right at home.

I understand you are in a lot of pain many times, and your diverticulitus and various meds make your stomach hurtÖbut is that an excuse to eat to excess that will only destroy your health more? I know it will be hard to exercise for awhile with your toe, and you will have to go easy to start until you start loosing enough to make you more limber and comfortable.

You know I wouldnít be saying this if I didnít care. I love you, everyone in the family does and we want you around as long as possible. Not only that the quality of your life can be so much better...you will be able to keep up with your grandkids and maybe not get sick so often. I know you want to watch your grandchildren grow up. If you donít want to do it for yourself, do it for all of us. I am begging you mom, please work really hard at this. I know you can do it, but you need to stop making excuses even though they are good ones you canít go on telling yourself its ok not to care about what you eat because youíre in pain.

So if you donít think you can do it on your own, I am sure your doctor will help you. I know youíve dieted so many times over the years, but it is just so much easier to watch how much you eat and add a little movement than depending on some yoyo miracle diet.

Believe it or not, this is the only part of your health you really have control over. You canít turn off your RLS or diverticulitus but you can lose weight without the help of drugs or surgery.

You donít have to do it alone because I can help you. If you need to be held accountable daily I will do that. All you have to do is write it downÖbut really I think once you see what you eat on paper you will know what needs to be taken out. I donít see you eat a lot at meals but I think your late night ďpainĒ snacking is what is getting you. You donít count servings, and just eat for comfort and/or boredom. I donít see you eat every day, but I know you are not eating something right or you would have dropped your weight by now.

Seeing you this last time was really painful to see how much you suffer from so many different things. I just want you to feel better so you can live your life to the fullest. You arenít as old as you think you are, and it is never too late to drop weight. Please mom, please take this seriously and donít get upset. Please donít be mad that I brought it up, I love you no matter what, but it is killing me to see you suffer so much. I can only imagine how much it hurts dad, and the rest of the family who see you suffer more than I do. They donít want you to suffer either. You donít have to suffer as much as you do if you just trudge through the hassle of keeping a food diary. The weight will come off and you will feel better I have no doubt about that.

I know you want to feel better too. Please let me or the doctor work with you for a game plan. You donít have to feel alone. I know you can do this if you put your mind to it and commit. You arenít working or feeding a family anymore so it shouldnít be as hard to keep track of the things you eat. You donít even have to exercise that much if you watch what you eat real close. Exercise can come later.

I love you mom, and I want you to feel better. This is the only way I know I can help youÖbut you do have to help me help you.


mandalinn82
01-24-2012, 05:47 PM
So, I have an honest question.

Do you think she doesn't know that she is overweight and it is affecting her health?

Do you think she doesn't know how to eat healthfully?

Do you think she is ignorant as to what steps she could take to lose weight?

Do you think she doesn't know why she's in pain or what is causing her health issues?

It's sort of like smoking. There is not a smoker in the country who doesn't know that smoking is bad for them. There is not a smoker in the country who doesn't know that he or she can decide to stop smoking cigarettes. There is not a smoker in the country who doesn't know that he or she can find support for quitting smoking in many places. So why do they still smoke? Because changing that habit is much easier said than done, and until the smoker is READY on the inside to quit, he or she won't be able to.

I appreciate your concern for your mom, but you're doing the same thing as telling a smoker "Smoking will kill you, all you have to do is stop smoking the cigarettes, and we'll support you in doing so". All true, but functionally useless unless she's ready to change her habits. True, this can work in a FORMAL intervention (say, for a drug or alcohol problem), but that's an entirely different animal than a letter.

It's very hard to accept that we can't make other people change, but ultimately, we have to accept it. I would have written a letter like this to my dad 100 times over the years, but I know that he won't change until he is ready. Until then, all I can do is demonstrate what healthy living looks like, and provide him with support if he asks.

free1
01-24-2012, 05:54 PM
My two cents....

First, your concern and genuine love is so obvious from your message. I really like your offer to partner with her. A few suggestions:

1) In my job, I do a lot of negotiating. The first rule of negotiating is to start with what's right. I would suggest starting the letter with the paragraph that says how much you love her and how much she means to you and the family. Compliment, compliment, compliment....it will make the hard stuff easier. (A little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down :) ).

2) Remove anything that seems as if it's accusatory. For example, I would respectfully suggest removing words like "excuses" or "you just eat for comfort and boredom" or "stop relying on the surgery" or "you would have dropped your weight by now". I would especially reconsider "you aren't working or feeding a family." This may be true but these are offensive words. It's natural for one to defend an attack (even though i know you don't mean it that way). Try to find another phrase or remove the language.

3) I would offer to help her find "lighter" alternatives for her late night snacking.

4) You've asked her to help you help her. That is GREAT! But ask the next question....how can I help you?

My humble opinion and not criticism. I think your concern is GREAT and the LOVE is clear. That's the most important. :)


linJber
01-24-2012, 06:08 PM
I agree with Mandalinn and Free1. You can lead a horse to water . . . as the saying goes.

Write the email, but edit what you have down to a few lines. Tell her how much you love her and how concerned you are. Tell her you want her to feel better and want her to be healthy. Tell her you'll do anything she wants to help her along the way. Tell her your dad will help, too. DO NOT point out all the things she is doing / has done that don't work or are unhealthy. She knows what they are.

Your letter sounds like I could have written it. I am so apt to logically put it all down on paper. It makes so much sense. I then wait a day and re-read and edit. Then again. And again. Your mom knows all the things she should do. Offer her the help to do them without pointing out what they are. Try editing your original post down to the few facts and run it past us again.

Lin

JudgeDread
01-24-2012, 06:13 PM
Hmm good points. It is a little harsh in spots, as I think my utter frustration with it seeps out. Good thing I am taking time to edit before sending.

But Mandalinn, I know my mom doesn't want to be overweight, but I think she expects that the surgery should have done it for her. That's why maybe a doctor telling her would be better. I don't know if she would listen to me.

I know smoking isn't the same as weight loss, but in some ways it has those addictive habits that are similar.

I can't sit back and watch without voicing my concerns and having them heard instead of her making excuses..because she does that. I may not word it like that when I edit.

I guess I have never been satisfied with myself when I was overweight and wanted to change it, and I did. I never thought of it from a point where I didn't care. Probably had more to do with my body image than health at the time.....but my mom has some really serious health issues and needs to be pushed in the right direction.

I believe the doctors have not stressed it enough, or offered her help other than surgery. When she had the lap band done, that doctor retired...and NOBODY was following up with her on fills and making sure she was making good food choices. They STILL aren't and she had to have the fill taken out recently because it caused her a ton of stomach issues.......so now what.

I just think she believes she can't do it without a miracle diet or surgery. She has never lost weight by simply counting calories or adding exercise. It's either been like weight watchers, nutrasystem..where they count it for you..and then she doesn't learn how to maintain because it doesn't teach you how to eat healthy in the real world. (well weight watchers more...but she did it a long time ago)

So yeah, I get it that she may not want to change it but I can't NOT try. I hate seeing her suffer so much.

Italiannie
01-24-2012, 06:14 PM
I agree with mandalinn82.

Please think twice before you send that letter. You may want to just keep it for your own therapy to help you deal with your mom. Maybe you could send her a letter telling her how much you love her and that your hope is that she would be able to become well for all of the wonderful reasons that you do state.

Offering her specific advice is going to make her defensive and will hurt your relationship, and I know that is not your goal here. I think your tone was fine, but I doubt she will receive it that way. Lack of knowledge is not her problem.

Do anything to keep the lines of communication open, offer love and encouragement and only give specific advice when it is asked for. I know that is very difficult to do. In time she may open up to the idea of taking care of herself, but if not, love her anyway.

Does she have any close friends that you could call on to encourage her?

We're pulling for you. You have a great heart and compassion. She is blessed to have you as a daughter.

berryblondeboys
01-24-2012, 06:20 PM
So, I have an honest question.

Do you think she doesn't know that she is overweight and it is affecting her health?

Do you think she doesn't know how to eat healthfully?

Do you think she is ignorant as to what steps she could take to lose weight?

Do you think she doesn't know why she's in pain or what is causing her health issues?

It's sort of like smoking. There is not a smoker in the country who doesn't know that smoking is bad for them. There is not a smoker in the country who doesn't know that he or she can decide to stop smoking cigarettes. There is not a smoker in the country who doesn't know that he or she can find support for quitting smoking in many places. So why do they still smoke? Because changing that habit is much easier said than done, and until the smoker is READY on the inside to quit, he or she won't be able to.

I appreciate your concern for your mom, but you're doing the same thing as telling a smoker "Smoking will kill you, all you have to do is stop smoking the cigarettes, and we'll support you in doing so". All true, but functionally useless unless she's ready to change her habits. True, this can work in a FORMAL intervention (say, for a drug or alcohol problem), but that's an entirely different animal than a letter.

It's very hard to accept that we can't make other people change, but ultimately, we have to accept it. I would have written a letter like this to my dad 100 times over the years, but I know that he won't change until he is ready. Until then, all I can do is demonstrate what healthy living looks like, and provide him with support if he asks.

In total agreement. She may never have the strength to change. But your letter won't help her get there. She already knows how you feel. I wouldn't send the letter. As much as it hurts you to see here destroy here health, you can't change it. She has to want to change it and be ready to change it. This letter is for you to feel better thannitnis to prompt her to do something. So, write it, but tuck it away and don't send it.

If she only realized a lot of these problems would disappear with the weight loss. I didn't believe it possible was possible until I did it. But I did it when I was ready. No pleading would have gotten me there faster. Probably would have made it even worse for me actually as it would make me feel like an even bigger failure to know i was disappointing my family so much.

mandalinn82
01-24-2012, 06:22 PM
If you need to say something so YOU feel better (which is what I'm hearing with the "I can't NOT send this" and "I have to try" parts of your response), then send it for you (or better, write it, get it out, and don't send it). But I'm telling you honestly, don't expect that sending it will help HER unless she is ready to change. The letter, as written, will make her defensive and even less likely to come to you for help even if she does decide to change.

I can sense how frustrating it is for you, and really, I couldn't understand better than I do now, since I'm in almost exactly the same position. Don't think that I don't worry about my dad not getting to meet his grandson if he dies from a heart attack. Don't think I don't think he COULD change, if he wanted to. But I also KNOW that I can't make him want to change, and until he wants to change, he won't change.

If you really need to send something, I'd really encourage it you to pare it way down as the other posters have stated. Honestly, telling her what to do as if she doesn't know implies that she's not smart enough/educated enough to know what she needs to do on her own, and again, it'd be a miracle if she didn't just get defensive and shut you out.

mandalinn82
01-24-2012, 06:30 PM
I want to add - the people in this thread telling you that it won't do any good are almost all people who have experience with being truly morbidly obese. We've been in your mom's shoes, with our bodies hurting and our health failing, and we know what it took to get us OUT of that place. Unfortunately, we all know from experience that no one else telling us we needed to change could have made us do it. We had to make that decision for ourselves.

I really do feel the compassion you have, and your worry. It's heartbreaking, and I know how it feels. But as someone who has been there, it's really likely that sending this kind of letter to your mom will push her further from where you want her to end up (because if she gets defensive, she won't want to ask you for help, and if she gets hurt emotionally, she may eat emotionally, making the problem worse).

MariaMaria
01-24-2012, 06:49 PM
I want to add - the people in this thread telling you that it won't do any good are almost all people who have experience with being truly morbidly obese.

I haven't been morbidly obese, but I have been the hypothetical smoker discussed above.

Don't send the letter.

ennay
01-24-2012, 06:53 PM
In total agreement. She may never have the strength to change. But your letter won't help her get there. She already knows how you feel. I wouldn't send the letter. As much as it hurts you to see here destroy here health, you can't change it. She has to want to change it and be ready to change it. This letter is for you to feel better thannitnis to prompt her to do something. So, write it, but tuck it away and don't send it.

If she only realized a lot of these problems would disappear with the weight loss. I didn't believe it possible was possible until I did it. But I did it when I was ready. No pleading would have gotten me there faster. Probably would have made it even worse for me actually as it would make me feel like an even bigger failure to know i was disappointing my family so much.

+1

Plus if she is like many of us are it actually fires our inner rebel who doesnt want to do it just because you say so.

My first thought when reading the letter was "Wow, that comes off superior and condescending" I know that isn't what you intend, but that is easily how it can be perceived. No only can you not change your mother this way but email is probably the WORST medium for communicating anything of emotional importance anyway.

JudgeDread
01-24-2012, 06:58 PM
Thanks for the criticism, it is a way different point of view. What happens when you decide for yourself? I can't compare myself to my mom as I was heavier when I was young, and she was older after having kids.

I know she's miserable and she knows she has to loose weight. But what is a breaking point I don't get it..? I think she has a lot of issues to deal with in regards to her mom, and her health causing more depression.

She's been through the surgery and clearly wants to lose weight. It didn't do it for her and I think that is what she expected it to do. So now what?

I am just confused as to how you can sign up for a commitment like that, do it..and when it fails not question why? I think she believes if surgery can't do it she will never be able to by herself.

mandalinn82
01-24-2012, 07:17 PM
What happens when you decide for yourself?

It's different for everyone. Something snaps. For me, it was trying on a wedding dress. For Lori Bell, she got inspired by the calendar, and started her journey on March 4th (get it? March Forth?) Something just HAPPENS. It's all very vague, and not something you can induce in someone else. It's a lot like addiction - the addict has to "hit bottom", but "bottom" is different for everyone. It can be near death for one person, and just barely slipping out of control for another.

You CAN do subtle things. Talk about 3FC and how great it is (I've gotten a couple of friends on the weight loss wagon with a referral here). Offer to cook and bring over healthy meals. Ask your mom if she'd like to take walks with you, if you're local, because YOU are working on getting healthier and you'd like the company. That's a whole world apart from telling her that she needs to change and how to do it, and may be received a whole lot better.

JayEll
01-24-2012, 07:25 PM
I think it might be helpful for you to accept that in reality, she may never be able to do it for herself.

And I think it might also be helpful for you to consider that it's not up to you to help her, and that she may not want your help--at least not in the terms you've set it out.

I'd say don't send the letter. It is bound to hurt her feelings. That may not be what you intended, but that's what it will do. You have way too many judgments about her.

Meanwhile, I'm sure you have a lot going on in your own life that you can focus your energies on. Look to your own health and well being.

Jay

cherrypie
01-24-2012, 07:35 PM
I think it might be helpful for you to accept that in reality, she may never be able to do it for herself.

And I think it might also be helpful for you to consider that it's not up to you to help her, and that she may not want your help--at least not in the terms you've set it out.

I'd say don't send the letter. It is bound to hurt her feelings. That may not be what you intended, but that's what it will do. You have way too many judgments about her.

Meanwhile, I'm sure you have a lot going on in your own life that you can focus your energies on. Look to your own health and well being.

Jay

^ this. Part of being a grownup is accepting that other grownups don't have to do what you think is best. Just concentrate on your own journey. Maybe you losing weight will inspire her.

theox
01-24-2012, 07:48 PM
It's clear that you care, but I have to agree with the others that this isn't a good approach.

Perhaps she doesn't see herself as being able to lose weight with the way her life is. Obesity, her other physical health issues, and the mental health issues you've alluded to may mean that she isn't able to lose weight without other things being resolved first. The impression (perhaps incorrect) that I get from reading your posts is that you view this mainly as a lack of willpower on her part. Given the other things you mentioned, my own experiences, and the posted experiences of many of the other people on here, I would be surprised if that were true. And even if it were true, she is an adult who is responsible for managing her own health and making her own decisions. Also, unless your mother is fairly mentally subnormal, it's absurd to think that she isn't aware of the basic relationships between her weight and her other health issues.

If you want to help her, hold off of the judgement and condescension and offer her some real aid and support (telling her she should keep a food journal that you'll use to "hold her accountable" and remind her of what she "should" be doing ain't it). Since physical pain and possibly depression are issues that you think might be driving her poor eating and apparently aren't being controlled that well, perhaps you could offer to help her find and pay for treatment with a specialist in pain management and/or counselor. And since those are real and debilitating problems in themselves that may be having a major impact on her quality of life, there's no need to even get into your desire to have her lose weight.

And if you offer and she doesn't take you up on it? That's her prerogative.

Best of luck.

theox
01-24-2012, 07:52 PM
But what is a breaking point I don't get it..?

There was no "breaking point" for me. I finally got the mental health issues that had plagued me all my life diagnosed and treated. Once I no longer felt chronically miserable and overwhelmed, I could focus generally and focus on less urgent things (than just maintaining a relatively low level of functionality) like losing weight and keep myself together enough to have some success at it.

Heather
01-24-2012, 07:58 PM
Another who suggests you not send it. I had to have my own breaking point, and nearly did not start weight loss because my loving husband made one comment that set me off.

Sunshine73
01-24-2012, 08:21 PM
I agree totally with Mandalinn.

I am in the same situation. My mother is morbidly obese with all the attending health issues: diabetes, COPD, CHF, knees that need to be replaced but she's too overweight to even consider surgery, sleep apnea, etc. etc. etc.

She knows she's overweight. She knows that she would feel better and be able to better manage her conditions if she lost weight. I don't need to point that out to her - it would just hurt her feelings and reinforce her own low self image.

My mother is horribly addicted to food and she's a binge eater. It's a complex issue that isn't as simple as saying "you need to eat less and move more" - and it sounds like it's the same thing with your mother.

What I do instead is to tell her about MY plan - what I'm doing to get thinner and healthier. If she's interested, I share more and give her information I've discovered. If she says she's going to try, I support her. If she fails, I support her efforts.

I'm morbidly obese too (with diverticulitis as well by the way) and I know how many years I tried and failed to make any headway in getting thinner or healthier. I know that sometimes I just gave up and didn't really care all that much because there didn't seem to be much point.

I KNOW you love your mother and you want her to be around and healthy - I do too. The truth is though that we can't make them take care of themselves any more than they can make us do the things that they'd like to see us doing in our lives. :(

Justwant2Bhealthy
01-24-2012, 08:33 PM
I do not think you should send any letter to your mom about this topic. You will only offend her more. Your mother has tried to lose weight many times, and even had WL surgery, to boot -- that is proof enough that she needs no one to tell her anything ...

What she does need, is your unconditional LOVE; that will do more to help her deal with the stresses & health issues she already has in her life now ...

LittleBrownBike
01-24-2012, 08:43 PM
There are some great comments and suggestions here...

I'm not an expert by any means, I am new to this site and I am new to my weightloss journey. But, everyone has to find their own breaking point or "bottom"... I think YOU will feel better if you send the letter, but it won't be good for your mom.

Instead, I would find creative ways to hopefully encourage her to start taking baby steps. Since you don't live close that won't be as easy... but maybe something as simple as "hey mom check out this great recipe I just made, it was delicious, I think you and dad would really like it too"... and send her a delicious but healthy recipe...

Unfortunately, there really isn't anything you can do until she is ready to change for herself, and trying to push it might do more harm than good.

Aunrio
01-24-2012, 10:25 PM
Well I had this conversation with my diabetic mom who has fibromyalgia, hypertension, and restless leg syndrome and a Bmi of 40. She hung up on me and we got over it. A month later a neurosurgeon told her that part of the pain in her legs was due solely to obesity and to lose weight. You can let the medical professionals handle it or you can just say I know you have some work to do in that department, how can I help.

knoxie
01-25-2012, 02:50 AM
I agree that you should not send the letter. It's obvious that it is coming from a place of love and concern but you can't help someone who isn't ready to be helped.

She may well feel that she "can't" lose weight and well if the surgery didn't work well there's nowhere else to go right? When you're in the frame of mind no amount of well-meaning advice and guidance is going to help (In your mind people offering their advice just don't understand and if they understood they'd stop being so hard on you. You had the surgery and it didn't work for goodness sake!). It is of course absolutely true that she can lose weight, but no matter how rational a prospect that is, it's one that seems impossible to her.

As for how you make it seem possible to her, I have no real advice to offer. I never hit a bottom as such, I just decided that I didn't want "this" to be the rest of my life. I was crippled with back pain, leg pain, knee pain and had serious medical issues that were being compounded by how much I weighed. I saw doctors and hospital dieticians who gave me the advice you want to give your mom, I could do it and I had to do it, and I listened. But something in me just wouldn't do it.

You know your mom better than we do, and maybe a brief letter would start a conversation on the subject with her? Even a small weight loss could ease her symptoms substantially, and she doesn't need to go for huge numbers on the scales to see a benefit (my knee pains have gone with a 10% loss for example). Ultimately all of us who were/are obese know how we got here and in some ways what we need to do to get out of here. Whether we actually do it or not is another story.

fatferretfanatic
01-25-2012, 09:12 AM
I agree with everyone. Your mama is a grown lady, and she has to be ready for herself. A letter like that would have sent me reeling into food, love for it renewed. Only when I felt ready myself did I want to change at all. Period! All of the comments from hubs or my parents telling me I needed to lose weight felt like attacks and sent me spiraling even more out of control. When I was finally ready to take responsibility and accept that I could change, and what's more, that I was worth that change, I did it. It took six years longer than I would have liked, but even so, it happened.

MissGuided
01-25-2012, 09:27 AM
I understand your general concern for your mother & with that comes unconditional love. But you can not force what YOU would like onto HER. This will only hurt her more in the long run. She may ultimately feel that she is doing it to make you happy instead of her own personal gain.

My advice is to skip the letter & be there for her. She'll come around on her own. We all have.

sontaikle
01-25-2012, 09:28 AM
I'd have to agree with the other posters that telling someone to lose weight, even out of concern for their health will backfire. Granted I was a child when my parents did this, but the constant telling me to "lost weight" did nothing for me. I knew I was fat. I didn't need someone to pull me aside and say "Hey, sontaikle, you're fat. You should lose some weight."

I also can't pinpoint "the moment" that caused me to do something about it, especially because I've been working on getting healthier ever since I set foot in the gym when I was 16. However, THE MOMENT that caused me to buckle down and get my eating under control? I can't really explain...I just decided to try something one day and it happened to work.

I'd focus on healthy habits and modeling them for your mom. Maybe cook a healthy meal for her, suggest that you go on a walk or something. Badgering someone about their weight is going to just make it worse. They need to want to lose it on their own. Some people can get to that point...while others never do.

I've noticed that because of my success that those around me are attempting to get healthier. My mom is cooking healthier meals, my brother is watching how much he eats, my father is tracking his calories in an app on his smartphone (I don't know which one) and even my fiance who has never had a weight problem in his life is trying to stay away from soda and eat healthy foods.

I never said anything to any of them. The most I've done is help my Dad figure out the calories on some bread pocket things we have. They're all getting there on their own because me telling them what to do would have done nothing. I just kept doing what I was doing for ME and I think they all said "hey if she can do it, we can too."

MiZTaCCen
01-25-2012, 09:43 AM
You can't even help people who don't want to be helped.

As much as she is your mother it's like me telling my mother to quit smoking because it's bad for you. Food is just as much of an addiction as anything else. My mother used to be an alcoholic (she's also a nasty smoker lol), when I moved back home in 2010 she was still drinking...god I hate her when she drinks anyways May of that year I don't know what it was that snapped in her to quit, but she quit and hasn't had a drink since that year. Trust me the fights, the me telling her how much of a ***** she is the second she opens up a beer for years didn't work...me hiding in my room refusing to talk to her NOTHING worked, because it was an addiction and all though she knew she was a horrible humanbeing when she drank she didn't care and didn't want to quit....but that year something changed in her. May have been me coming back home (for the 6 month), her bestfriend dying from cancer who knows. I'll never know, but the point is she did it for herself no one else.

So one day you're mom may snap out of it and go HEY I need to change, or she may not. Either way it's going to have to be HER choice, not yours.

JudgeDread
01-25-2012, 10:03 AM
Thanks guys. I will probably not send the letter....or at least anything close to that. It is good to have your feedback so I don't piss her off.

I don't live even close to her anymore so I can't encourage her in person.

What if the doctor tells her what to do and how to fix it? Would that be different?

It is frustrating and I have been lucky not to have to deal with drug or alcohol addictions in the family, but this I guess isn't much different. She isn't morbidly obese, but she is obese. Dad is worried she will go into a nursing home if she doesn't change.

I did tell him I would talk to her, but I guess now I don't know what to say without making her feel bad. I could ask my dad to start dieting more and see if she goes with it, but he's kinda lazy.

I don't know it is just so dissapointing that the surgery failed to help her take the weight off.

Amy8888
01-25-2012, 10:46 AM
Perhaps a different approach...you say you believe she has undiagnosed depression. Is there any way you can go about helping her get it diagnosed and treated? The first time I really lost weight and kept it off for years, it happened along with finally getting treated for depression I'd had for I don't know how long. Prior to that, I can't even tell you how bad I felt about myself. My weight was just another thing to hate about myself. Once I started taking antidepressants I just felt more positive in general, and started to feel like I could actually accomplish my weight loss goals. I was able to actually talk about my weight instead of just shutting down if someone brought it up.

Of course, I was in complete denial that I was depressed and it took a major breakup for me to admit it and start treatment. So convincing your mom about seeking help for depression could be just as bad as weight loss, but if it's something you've rarely brought up in the past she might be more open to it. Personally I think there is less stigma with being depressed than with being overweight, and I think it is less obvious that you are depressed. So you really might have more luck starting with the depression.

And I can tell you I've never successfully lost weight because someone told me I needed to. As I said before, I just shut down and feel ashamed. And I know what it's like to live far away from your mom and see her health failing and know that there are things she can do to make it better. Trust me. It's the most frustrating thing. You feel guilty that you can't get her to change, you feel mad that she won't change, you feel sad that she is messing up her quality of life. But all those things, SHE is doing and you simply cannot make someone change for you. I like some of the other tips to just be subtle about it, occasionally bring up things, like little things that help you (not even as a suggestion she should do them, just "Hey! I feel so good this week. I lost 5 pounds just by drinking more water! I can't believe how great I feel!" or whatever).

Good luck. Just try to be there for her and when she's ready to change, she'll know she can turn to you for help.

Beach Patrol
01-25-2012, 10:47 AM
I agree totally with Mandalinn.


What I do instead is to tell her about MY plan - what I'm doing to get thinner and healthier. If she's interested, I share more and give her information I've discovered. If she says she's going to try, I support her. If she fails, I support her efforts.


^^THIS^^ :^:

I agree with everyone who says DO NOT SEND THE LETTER.

I know you love your mom. So of course you want to help her be healthier! You want her around for the next 20-30 years (or more!!) so OF COURSE you want to help her.

Perhaps you should just ask her: "Mom - I know weight loss has been a severe struggle for you. HOW CAN I HELP?" Then actually DO what she asks, if she asks anything.

:hug:

LittleBrownBike
01-25-2012, 10:49 AM
I don't think a doctor telling her would be any different. I know for me it wasn't... I had a doctor who was VERY blunt and even though in my head I knew she was 100% correct, hearing it from her made me less interested in changing for some reason... Hearing it from my friends, family and husband didn't help either... I had to get to the point where something kind of clicked inside me...

I agree that getting healthier is kind of contagious... my mom started weight watchers late last year and has been losing about 1.5 lbs every week consistenly since she started. She has been walking every night and eating healthier. I think shes about 3 months in and has had a loss every single week at her weigh in meeting. She now weighs about 25 lbs less than I do... I have to say, that was in part a motivator for me... we live about 3 hours apart so clearly can't walk together etc.. but its kind of fun to compare how much (walking etc) each of us did that weekend etc...

Also, in my own home, I'm cooking healthier and now my husband and step daughter are in turn eating healthier and now I find them WANTING to eat healthier and kind of looking forward to healthier meals etc... so its kind of a circle... none of us were eating healthy because I (the primary shopper/cooker) was not preparing healthy meals, and now that I am, everyone is benefitting and its catching on... my husband has started going to the gym and my step daughter signed up with a friend of hers to go to a trainer once a week and on the other days is walking etc... then in turn I see them making small progress and so in turn I want to make progress, kind of like peer pressure a little bit I guess....

Its harder since you live apart... but there are still ways you can encourage her without being direct... sharing healthier recipes without being overly obvious etc... maybe you can see if there are activities in her area.. say.. an arts festival or something like that where you get out and walk around the booths etc and say ooh that looks like fun, why dont you and dad go... or if your dad is on board maybe he can say hey hon I'm gonna go for a walk to the end of the block and back will you come and keep me company? Heck, even a walk around the mall... anything to get her up and moving a little bit at a time and hopefully it snowballs....

Amy8888
01-25-2012, 10:51 AM
I actually wrote a letter to my mom about a year ago, similar to the one you shared. It wasn't about weight (more about our deteriorating relationship) but a lot of it was similar. Turns out I had a lot of things that just bugged me and I needed to just get it all out. I saved it on my computer knowing if things ever got really bad I could pull it out and send it. That was good enough for me, and I'm so glad I never have sent it. I think it would have really hurt her feelings, and just putting my thoughts down really helped me work through a lot. In essence, it was a good exercise for me, but not a good letter to actually send. I hope you got something out of that letter, and just know it's there. Maybe over time you can share snippets of it, by just dropping it into conversation.

JudgeDread
01-25-2012, 10:52 AM
More good points too. Yeah I have heard her say she's depressed. I don't know why she hasn't sought out help. I think that would be easier for her to go to the doctor for.

When I spoke to the doctor last week I meantioned counseling. I just don't know if she can take more meds with the cocktail she's already using. I think she may be thinking that too...

Although, reflecting on it now..depression has a lot to do with physical health too. Maybe that's the first step is to fix that, and then from there she may feel more motivated.

She did go to a pain clinic years ago, it helped I think for awhile...but she never has recieved one on one counseling.

astrophe
01-25-2012, 11:23 AM
Yeah I have heard her say she's depressed. I don't know why she hasn't sought out help. I think that would be easier for her to go to the doctor for.

If you are too depressed to care, why would you care enough to get to a doc?

Or if you are so depressed you feel stuck at the bottom of a deep hole, and you need a doc to help you get out of the hole, but the doc is up on the normal ground... it's kinda like you have to get out of the hole to get the doc to help you out of the hole.

YKWIM?

I'd get this checked out first. And you may have to go with her and get her there if she's really depressed. A depressed person sometimes cannot help their own self. They are too deep in the hole.


I just had to deal with a whole lot of parent mental health -- up to and including Baker Acting my dad because he just would not go get help at the hospital when it was clear that he needed to be there. I can only hope your mom isn't at that level. But if she is, please get her help.

GL!
A.

dragonwoman64
01-27-2012, 04:43 PM
maybe you could start by just talking to her, about your life, and what you're doing, and chat with her about her life. that support alone may make a big difference.

JudgeDread
01-27-2012, 04:45 PM
I hope so, thanks!

Skittlez
01-30-2012, 01:03 PM
I agree with everyone else. I'm sort of in the same boat, but my mother isn't quite that sick yet. She is very overweight and she does have diabetes though. When I started my journey I called her and shared what I was doing with her. She lives clear across the country so I don't get to see her very much. But I told her what I was doing, my goals and stuff. I also told her that I was concerned about her health, and that I'd love to see her get her weight under control. Our relationship has always been pretty open so I didn't feel bad sharing my concerns with her, but I tried to tell her it in a non-judging way. When she came to visit me last summer I got her into whole grain bread and pasta, baby steps! I don't see anything wrong with telling her that you're worried and that you want her to be around as long as possible. A letter probably isn't a good format for that though in my opinion, it seems a little impersonal. But it's her life and she may not ever lose the weight. All you can do is be there if she needs you. Maybe one day she'll start her own journey.