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My mum

My mother put on weight after my fourth sibling was born. She was very active then but slowly and steadily the weight has piled on her. She is 52 years of age and must weight 300 lbs. I am not sure how much she weighs, becoz she never gets on a scale.
Of late when I became conscious of my own overweight and am on the weight loss journey, I am trying to convince her to do small changes to lose some weight. But she gets on the defensive all the time. She hates to walk. She just hates it. I try coaxing her to come for walks with me, but she just refuses. She doesnt like to get dressed or do any makeup. She sits and watches tv the whole day. She does cook for us, I am not saying she neglects her children, but apart from the mandatory, routine tasks, she spends all her time watching tv, or napping on the couch. I feel so scared for her. She might just have a heart attack one day and just go away. I just cant express how emotional I am while writing this.
I feel so helpless. I dont want to lose her at any cost. I want her to live a long life and enjoy it. But she is just rotting it up. I feel ashamed at myself for having to speak like this about her, may god never forgive me.

I feel helpless as I watch her eating fatty stuff. She nags my dad about it as he has had a heart attack, but has no control over her own sweet and fried foods intake. She says she does yoga and even jogging at home, but I dont believe it. I havent seen her do it when I am at home.
How can I motivate her? I shud add here that she is going through her menopause and there are other very stressful things happening in our lives.
I am considering buying her a treadmill.. She agrees to do it. But what will I do if she doesnt like it? She hates to walk, so what guarantee I have that she is using it. She might say she used it during the day when I am away, but can I really monitor that? No, coz she is alone at home most of the time.

I am sorry I am writing this. I desperately need some help.


Thu. Feb 9, 2:55am

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That's a tough one because it's hard to help those who don't want to except it. But, here are some suggestions:

1) Be an example - your weight loss efforts/results might catch her attention...you could even tell her that it's hard for you to do it alone, and that a buddy system would help you out alot.

2) Offer to do the grocery shopping, or even cooking a night or two (healthier meals). Not sure of your age or age of siblings, but maybe you can make it a family thing...for a common goal. Remember, almost any dish (even the most tempting) can have a healthier version. Do some research on healthier versions of your mother's most common or favorite foods.

3) Get her a pedometer (cheaper than a treadmill that she may or may not use). That way, if she wears it, she can get an idea of how many steps she took in a day. Maybe just to be aware and to challenge herself to increase it each day (gradually)...and praise her when you see her wearing it. At first, you may want to just encourage her wearing it, and not to pry about #s as it sounds like it would be a big step to get her to face the reality that she needs to do this.

4) Lot of encouragement (positive comments on anything active/healthy she does...even if it's an accidental thing like having to park further way at the grocery store), but minimize the lectures. She feels bad enough about her condition.

5) Finally, I think this is a little sneaky but here goes...start journaling, and express your concerns...then leave it out. If she happens to read it, then she absorb it in more than if you confront her face to face. Face to face comments may cause her to be defensive, because the focus is on her and could reinforce her insecurities. However, if she's reading something she THINKS is your own private thoughts, the focus is not on her but on you and your feelings. Does that make sense?

Anyway, good luck in your journey to better health, and with your mother. We all have those we love so dearly, but worry about. Remember, you can't control what others do, but you can with yourself.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 6:32 AM

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Please, don't be sorry for writing this and say you will never forgive yourself! You are reaching out for help, and that is the loving and caring thing you can do as a daughter. Your mother may be depressed, the weight is probably a symptom of that or of trying to fill some void in her life, or looking for love from food. You are in a difficult situation. Of course she gets defensive. This can be very tricky. The other poster is right - you can set an example and encourage her to do things, but ultimately she is the one who must take action. You can only do so much.

Are there others - siblings, your father, a minister, her siblings; who can help you or provide you advice? Bless you for reaching out to try to find help for her. Keep us posted.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 7:47 AM

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Once upon a time I was in your mum's shoes...I was depressed and couldn't find the way out of the dark tunnel I'd eaten my way into. I hadn't seen my siblings in 2 years, and they struggled not to cry when they saw the state I'd gotten myself into (had gained almost 60 lbs in that time). I moved in with my best friend, who dragged me along to Weight Watchers with her. I wasn't really into it at first, just doing it to please all the people who loved me, but I lost 40 lbs, bringing me down to 190.

I guess my point is that I think your mum is depressed. I was quite docile and malleable when I was in that state, so having people cook me dinner and drag me to WW meetings worked extremely well. Not sure if your mum would respond as well as I did, but you can try...it'll also help her address her depression eventually.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 8:09 AM

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A daughter's love

She doesn't like to walk? Then take her shopping(walking in disguise). The mall is best to get a lot of walking in. If you want to buy her a treadmill enlist your siblings to help keep track of how much she uses it. You could try to make workout appointments with her. Buy some workout videos and if she refuses to do them with you then pop them into the TV right in front of her and exercise while she watches. This way she will have to see you having fun and getting healthy. Be persistent. Do not give up. Keep telling her you love her and you want your mom to be healthy to see her grandchildren. You do not have anything to be forgiven for! You mom is blessed to have such a wonderful daughter!!!!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 10:34 AM

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She sounds like she might be clinically depressed. You might do a little research on that, and if it seems like it to you, propose a visit to the doctor to find out.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 11:58 AM

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I'd guess your mum is a little embarrased about being seen outside due to her weight. At 300 lbs, it's very awkward to walk much and I'm sure she is quickly out of breath. My best friends mother was like this, she labored breathinig just sitting in the car. If you could help her understand that she does not have to walk far. Around the block is a major step forward for her. I think the treadmill is a great idea as well so she can exercise in the privacy of her home. Combined with the pedometer, you would know if she used it or not. I also really like the idea of leaving out your "secret" journal for her to read. In the end though, she is the one who has to decide to make a change, nobody else. There needs to be a compelling event to motivate her to change that is stronger than what is preventing her from eating right and exercising.

Thursday, February 09, 2006, 2:37 PM

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