What not to say.

BetsieLTMay 3, 2003

I would very much love to encourage my adult daughter to lose weight. She has so many health problems and too little health insurance. Still I keep quiet because I don't want to hurt her feelings. I know her overeating goes back to her childhood when treats were used to soothe the rough times; very bad parenting choice. Still I want so much for her to lose weight. Was there anything anyone said to you in a constructive way that actually motivated you to lose weight?

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Nope. Mine was a personal "straw" that broke the camel's back.

Instead of focusing on losing weight, focus on eating right. If she has health problems, she's aware of her weight problem. In fact, I dare say even without health issues, we all were aware before we started trying to eat healthy.

My doctor even 'tried' to give me advice. HA! 2 months after giving birth to my daughter, he advised me to eat 1200 calories a day. I tried it and nearly keeled over from low blood sugars!

One thing that helped me personally was taking the test for Diabetes risk factors on the link shown here. I don't know if you have family with diabetes, but it is not a trivial disease. And it is the one disease that CAN BE PREVENTED by changing two key factors: eating healthy to lower weight, and exercising at least moderately.

You can play around with the settings on this test and see how adding exercise can reduce the risk, as well as losing weight.

And the risk only goes up as you get older, not down.

I know you want her to lose weight. Just reading your post makes ME want her to lose weight.

But only she can make that decision. You don't say whether she lives at home. If so, fill the fridge and pantry with healthy foods. We can give you suggestions. Eating healthy does not mean going hungry, like it used to! Trust me, if it did, *I* couldn't do it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Are you at risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2003 at 11:15AM
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I agree with the eating right strategy. Losing weight has and is always a very personal choice for myself and only successful once I get 'my head' around it. The most success has been achieved through focus on better eating habits and better care of myself such as:

1. less caffeine and more water
2. slowly introducing changes: adding a fruit to my meals, preparing a munching bowl of ready to eat, washed veggies for when I want to munch, switching to low fat products - gradually

3. TREATING MYSELF - and not punishing myself for off days - like a nice soak in the tub, a light meal in a restaurant (like a gorgeous caesar salad and tea)

4. learning to let go - the moment has passed. Whether good or bad - not to fret nor beat myself up because I had a weak moment. Each step is a step forward, each small change is a change for the better.

5. drink more water. I bought a water filter jug - one excuse I had was the taste of the water - yeach! Now I have a refreshing jug in the fridge as well as lovely flavoured water.

If you are not sure how to approach, maybe introduce a new product that you have TRIED YOURSELF AND LIKE.

Good luck and keep us posted. If your daughter is looking for support, introduce her to this forum. There is something for all of us here and most folk are extremely supportive.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 4:23AM
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This forum is great for hearing what you need to hear, when you need to hear it.

I am coming off a few 'off' days, and I feel miserable. I know that I feel bad when I am off, and feel great when I am on program.

I have not gone to pilates in a few weeks due to them not having class or me being busy at home. I debated not going last night, but in the end, I went. I know I will feel better if I at least do a few moves every day. So I committed to a classmate last night, that we'd nag each other every Monday to see if we each did some every day.

I also started my day well today. Already up to 32 oz of water!!! YAYY!!! I also plan to journal starting today.

No more excuses! And no punishing myself about the off-days. I was really regretting them until I read your post.

THANKS, PEG!!! Today is a new day!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 7:40AM
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Hi TREKaren,
Yep, don't beat yourself up - that is the quickest way I know to quit on yourself and never take another step forward. EVERY step forward counts, even if recovering a couple of feet. It is all in your mind towards the effort that wins in the end!

My experience with SMALL STEPS - I was not well many years ago, panic disorder, depression and finally full blown agoraphobia - I could barely go to work and get food without feeling the world crushing in on me (I was a recruiter in the military at the time - NO ONE knew I felt miserable and panicked). I got over it. Years later when I finally got a good doctor and we reviewed my history he was very interested to know how I dealt with that situation in my life...my response....

one step at a time

I got better in the long run and never gave up on myself. There is way to much to gain by trying and so much to lose for beating yourself over the head.

Heck, aren't we just human after all?

LOL to all. I still hope Betsie keeps in touch with us!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 8:20AM
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Thanks! And as friendly as you are, I can't picture you agoraphobic!

As to the original poster, I ran across this thread over on Gardenparty. It talks about this very subject. How to help loved ones or even if you should. Many posts are deeply touching. One quote for example:

Weight is an emotional and highly personal issue. It's so hard to talk about it with somebody (even if *they* bring it up) in an honest way without making them feel judged.

Anyway, just thought it was worthwhile reading this thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: thread on gardenparty

    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 10:16AM
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Betsie - I think that every person has to find what works for them and what they can live with. I've never known anyone - child or adult - who didn't take an offer to help with weight loss as a criticism. One of my sons is heavy, and I have to be careful in sharing information I learn about health and weight loss. He doesn't mind if I share as long as I don't put any pressure on him to try anything. Even if your daughter welcomes information, you have to be careful. I don't know how your relationship is overall. Many people resist anything that comes from a parent, and we just have to trust them enough to find their own answers.

Have you had a weight problem yourself? Metabolism imbalances can be difficult. Does she have a computer so that she could join support groups with people with similar problems? Is she interested in learning more about nutrition and eating for health? I've been reading Diana Scwarzbein's, The Scwarzbein Principle II, and it's been helpful to me. You could say you heard good things about it on the internet. My son has known that it's a good idea to limit carbohydrates and eat more protein and fresh fruits and veggies, but his comfort habits have still been stronger. He got the information from his kung fu teacher.

Maybe you could just let her know that you know that she is struggling with some health issues, and ask her to let you know if there is any way you can help. Is she aware that her health issues are related to what she eats? Ask her if she wants you to share ideas in case any of them might be helpful. If she says no, doing it anyway will probably elicit resistance. Let her know that you have confidence in her ability to take care of herself and come out OK.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 1:18PM
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I sent this to my son yesterday -
"Here is something I thought you might be interested in (from Diana Scwarzbein's web site):

"Question: I've never taken supplements-are they really necessary if I am healthy and eat well?
Answer: If this question had been asked several years ago, I might have agreed that supplements were not essential. Unfortunately, we have damaged our food supply by processing most of our foods and depleting our soil of many essential nutrients. We are surrounded by chemicals and toxins daily, which require antioxidant protection. Therefore, a pharmaceutical-grade basic regimen of a multivitamin with minerals, calcium with magnesium, stress B-vitamins and omega-3 fats is needed. You may require more than these to help protect you from oxidation as well as heal your metabolism."

"Dean Ornish also strongly recommends an omega-3 fats supplement, such as flaxseed oil or fish oil - 1000mg a day." (I mentioned Ornish because DS has a book by him and thinks he is on the right track.)

I got this back from him today - "Thanks, Mom. I'll pick those up and start taking them." But if he had reacted negatively, I wouldn't keep sharing. If the other person doesn't want it, it feels like control.

Although it is tempting to focus on weight, I believe that it is more productive in the long run to focus entirely on health and healing the metabolism. If you do that and are consistent, you usually get better results in the long run than if you focus only on weight. Many people with damaged metabolisms make their overall condition worse by focusing on weight loss instead of on repairing their damaged metabolism. In any case, low-calorie eating can make things worse and is not an answer for most people.

If you have time, let us know what you decide.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 3:54PM
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I was heavy all my life. My Mum used to tell me "you have such a pretty face, if you'd just lose some weight, you'd be a knock out!" I was given food as a reward as a child. I was given food as encouragement as a teenager. I ate to feel better about being so fat as an adult! My doctor talked to me a bazillion different times about losing weight and how my obesity was affecting my health. My weight was starting to become an embarrassment to my son. I watched my Grandmother's health decline from her obesity. Nothing anyone could say or do could open my eyes and make me see how I was slowly killing myself.

The more people talked about my weight, the more I hated myself. The more I hated myself, the deeper I sunk into a depression. My life was awful, I hated it and didn't want it much longer.

Then one day last year I took a look at some pictures from our "family" vacation and actually saw what other people saw. What had once been a vibrant young woman was now this mass of cellulite. There was no light in my eyes. I didn't care about my looks and it showed. Wow. Reality bites. I scraped up what was left of the "real" me, the person who was strong and confident and decided right then and there that I was going to give my life 1 year. I would either lose this weight or end my life.

I walked into Weight Watchers on 20 May 2002 with absolutely no support system to catch me if I fell. I didn't want a support system because if I failed in my weight loss, that meant I failed everyone who was behind me. I had to lose this weight FOR MYSELF!

I have 2 weeks to go on my year promise. I've lost 95 lbs and I'm 2 lbs away from making my goal. I've done this FOR MYSELF and I can't begin to tell you how great it feels!

My Aunt was a Weight Watcher's leader for years and years. Everything she preached to me over the past 20 years never sunk in. Why? Because I saw it as preaching. Nagging. I had the "no one likes me for who I am" attitude.

Today, I could care less if no one likes me for who I am. I love myself now that I've found myself. And that's what matters.

I hope your daughter will make this realization before it's too late.

Wishing you both well....


    Bookmark   May 6, 2003 at 9:43PM
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I absolutely agree with your feelings. Although I have never been obese, just under, realizing how you feel personally and recognizing to do something because YOU want to do it for YOURSELF is the turning point for many folk.
My sister is obese. She was always on the heavy side except for a few years in university when she really worked hard to lose weight with dance classes and diet. She did maintain a size 8 and looked fabulous but inside she was not happy. Constantly stressed out and worried, she turned to food for comfort. She still does. It has been hard for all of us to accept her larger size because we worry about her. It has been at least 10 years now that she is obese. I saw her recently for the first time in a couple of years. This was the first time I felt 'comfortable' and 'accepted' my sister for who she is today. Although large, she seemed happier. I felt happier to see her feeling better. I think the worst thing of all is the way I and my siblings have been treating her - we were often angry with her because of her weight. We all wanted her to get control again and lose it. Easy for us to say. But our behaviour towards her was terrible. We really deserved an 'attitude adjustment'. I love my sister. If she is honestly happy then I can't ask for more. If she decides she wants to lose the weight, she will. If not, that's fine too.

We all have our own path to follow and walking a mile in another person's shoes with understanding would certainly be a step in the right direction for many.

Thank you, Maryanne for sharing your story and feelings. It sure helps to appreciate the personal difficulties faced.

Congratulations for your success with Weight Watchers. You are an inspiration!


    Bookmark   May 7, 2003 at 7:28AM
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I recently picked up a book called, "The Carbohydrate Addict's Healthy Heart Program", by Heller, Heller & Vagnini, and it made a lot of sense to me. The primary focus of the book is on the body's insulin response when certain foods are eaten.Their suggestions are relatively easy to follow. Mostly, it is a matter of balancing each meal with three food groups and the best news is that for one meal each day you can eat almost anything you want as long as it is balanced. The goal is to avoid the high and low insulin levels but an added benefit is weight loss!

Particularly interesting was the chapter on artificial sweeteners. The body does not differentiate between artificially sweetened foods and those sweetened with sugar. The insulin response is the same. The authors explain how people can become addicted to diet sodas.

I had always thought that obese people were at risk for diabetes but it appears that it is the other way around. High insulin levels eventually impair the body's ability to produce insulin and weight gain is the result.

This is a rather sketchy description of their book but think it would be well worth the effort to find a copy and read. So many of their recommendations take very little effort to implement.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2004 at 2:49AM
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I think the photos helped do it for me. Maybe you could both join a Weight Watchers club together or a spa. If you're with her, maybe she won't feel so alone with her weight problems. But, I think sometimes people have to just make that decision on their own. Pushing doesn't help. I understand your concern, though, and hope that you find a way to get thru to her.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle and it takes WORK!!! Reading labels takes time. It's a commitment, everyday. Good luck with her. Put one of her photos on the fridge----maybe, just maybe---she'll want to work on her weight.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2004 at 3:29PM
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I agree with Yellowhair and the others that say a photo may help her jump into a weight loss plan. I never thought I looked that fat until I saw pictures of myself in my Mothers photo album.

The "Carbohydrate Addicts" plan that Subrosa mentioned above is a easy low-carb diet that helped me lose 20 lbs. a few years ago. The weight loss is slow however and I reached a plateau about 20 lbs. over my goal. I didn't stick with it (gained the weight back), but I do think it is a good starting point.

She really has to want to do this for herself.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 11:18AM
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Nothing motivates me more than noticing how I feel, and realizing I'm at risk for diabetes if I don't do something about it.

One thing I'd like to add is that I believe many people don't want to do anything to lose weight because they believe you have to go on a very restrictive diet to do so, depriving themselves of all their favorite foods. Nothing is further from the truth. Simply eating smaller portions of everything and adding exercise every day is usually all it takes for most people. I eat just about anything I want, but in small portions or I limit it to once or twice a week. A small scoop of ice cream instead of a whole bowl full... a few cookies instead of half a dozen, etc.

Best wishes for your daughter.

Amy -- would you please explain how to fix a damanged metabolism? Is there a book or web site about that?


    Bookmark   March 2, 2004 at 3:34PM
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Betsie, I wish there were something we could do as parents to get our daughters to loose some of that unhealthy weight. My daughter is extremely overweight so you can imagine my worry when she became pregnant for the first time at thirty-three. She is okay now, but did have some problems. Unfortunately, as aamylynne as said, if we mention anything about loosing weight it is taken as a criticism and rightly so. I don't want anyone telling me I need to loose weight. As you know, we all know very well when we need to loose weight and our daughters are painfully aware of it also. I get very depressed when I get a little overweight and I have seen my daughter cry about it when she didn't know that I knew what she was crying about. Anything that affects our looks upsets us greatly. If only we got that upset about our health before it was too late.

Since I found that I have a blocked artery in my leg and have been having to eat practically no fat I have come up with and people have helped me come up with a few healthy recipes. I have told my daughter about them and plan to have her family over to eat some of them. This is the only thing I know that might possibly help her and her husband to eat more healthy, that is if I cook something they like and she takes the recipe home with her.

It is so painful, hurts us so much to watch our daughters ruin their health.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2004 at 10:07AM
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