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To talk to MiL about her lifestyle

(8 Posts)
TransformersRobotsInDaSky Mon 20-Jun-16 13:53:16

I have a good relationship with MiL and I would consider us to be closer than most. She is 66yo and has had a difficult life having lost her first husband when DH was 5 and then she sadly lost her second husband two years ago. She doesn't have any other family apart from us (parents have died and she was an only child).

When her second husband died she moved in with us for a year while a house she bought was being renovated and to give her time to grieve whilst surrounded by family rather than on her own. During this time I got to know her lifestyle better and was quite shocked at how much she drank and how little she ate.

A typical day for her would be a slice of bread with jam for breakfast, no lunch, a green salad with a small amount of chicken or fish for dinner with numerous coffees in between and no other drinks. She would then drink 2-3 beers and 3-4 glasses of wine. Obviously, during this time she was grieving and looking after herself wasn't her priority but I got the impression that this was typical and not just a result of grief.

While she was with us, we encouraged her to eat more than that and include some extra fruit and veg and a greater variety of food. She complained that while she was with us she had put on weight, it is important to her to be very slim. She is about 5' 10" and when she was with us, weighed 9.5st.

Since she has been living on her own for the past year I have noticed that her weight has dropped. Her legs now look really thin and she complains of weakness, she struggles to pick up my son (he's 3.5st) and can't open the tops of jars etc.

DH and I are worried about her and that she isn't doing her health any favours. The problem is that I am overweight myself, a size 16, so she probably feels the same way about me and DH who is just in the overweight category too. DH and I have both really upped our exercise levels over the past 6 months and are eating healthier too but it's an ongoing battle.

DH says she's always had issues around food and he remembers her being painfully thin when he was a young boy and hardly eating anything. He feels that if we say anything to her she will be upset and withdraw and won't change anything anyway. AIBU to think he/we should talk to her about this anyway? What is the best way to approach this type of subject (if at all?).

VioletBam Tue 21-Jun-16 10:49:56

No. You shouldn't say anything. She knows...she's not happy. Instead of saying something, try to engage her in a hobby or regular activity. Something she can enjoy which might help her feel more like herself.

Sorry you're so worried.x

margewiththebluehair Tue 21-Jun-16 11:24:27

Better not to say anything, but take her out for meals!

MrsJayy Tue 21-Jun-16 11:27:22

The not eating is worrying my mum has always had disordered eating and lives on coffee and fags and eats hardly anything there is nothing you can say though you cant force anybody to eat healthier or drink less just like you cant cajole anybody to go on a diet it is worrying and painful to see my mum is always cold clothes dont fit her and she is very very thin.

MrsJayy Tue 21-Jun-16 11:28:50

Disordered eating is about control not food iyswim

Birdsgottafly Tue 21-Jun-16 12:34:40

You could broach the subject of her lack of appetite, from a health POV, but if she doesn't engage, then drop it.

Do you have relatives, that stick their nose into your body size? If not, how would you like it and if so, does it really help?

The drinking is a concern, but if this is a long term issue, she might not want to make a change, until she hits a health crisis.

AyeAmarok Tue 21-Jun-16 18:57:09

You could mention the drinking, but don't mention the food.

I wouldn't appreciate someone who doesn't have a healthy diet castigating me about my diet.

Fairylea Tue 21-Jun-16 19:02:18

I agree with the poster above that suggested not saying anything but inviting her out for meals etc instead (if you can afford it). Unforunately where another adult is involved I really don't think you can tell them how to live. My mum is similar, drinks too much, eats the wrong things etc but what can I do? You can lead a horse to water and all that...

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