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to ask about obesity

(32 Posts)
deliverdaniel Mon 13-Nov-17 00:56:03

I'm genuinely starting this thread because I"m at my wits end and v frightened, not to be goady. But I am aware that it's very very easy to get this wrong.
DM is morbidly obese (approximately 12 stone overweight.) She can now barely walk across the room without getting out of breath. She is in constant pain from her knees and hips. When we see her we have to arrange all our activities around this (we have v active young DC but have to go with her to places with zero walking involved/ a place to sit down immediately etc etc.) She can't really play with her DGC at all as she can't move around/ cant' get down on the floor to do a puzzle with them and certainly cant' take them out etc etc so I feel she misses out on a lot. It seriously affects our relationship in lots of ways.
She does work (in a sedentary job) and her life revolves around this . Her work and how busy she is, is always the reason/ excuse she gives as to why she can't make any lifestyle changes at all.
I am terrified that she is going to die soon and so sad to watch her quality of life be so low. I am also scared (selfishly) that soon she will need full time care, and I am the only one who will be able to provide this. She occasionally says she will go on a diet or whatever, but never does, and just eats more and more.

I have tried everything- staying quiet and saying nothing about it, encouraging her to diet/ offering to do various exercise things with her etc etc and even getting angry and saying that its affecting all of us (I'm not proud of this last one.) Sometimes I do feel angry about it though and it's really hard not to feel this way.

If you are or have ever been obese- can you help me understand why she would be this way? Why she wouldn't even try to make a change? is there anything I can do to help her? I'm all for body positivity etc but I love her and am frightened and would love to know if I can do anything.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Battleax Mon 13-Nov-17 01:02:08

You need to ask her, not appeal for random fat people to explain her to you in the assumption that all obese people are the same.

Is it hard to broach? Can't you express your fear?

CardsforKittens Mon 13-Nov-17 01:16:18

The thing is that she has to come to the decision herself. Not quite the same thing, but I know several smokers who only quit when they were diagnosed with cancer (and already had COPD so it was already affecting them). Major lifestyle changes are really really hard. It's also really hard for you to stay quiet when you're so worried. But you've already done everything you can and your mum's health is her issue.

I'm not sure anyone can answer your question of why, beyond the fairly obvious matter of denial. Unfortunately I think you have to accept that her refusal to address her health is her choice, and one she's entitled to make as a competent adult.

(I used to be 8 stone overweight. Nothing anyone said made any difference. I was lucky because a change in medication helped. Probably not applicable to your mum.)


Bunbunbunny Mon 13-Nov-17 01:18:15

How old is your DM? Everyone who is overweight or obese is different. And if you haven’t had an issue with your weight you will never understand. No one chooses to be obese you just make choices that lead to it. short term gratification you don’t always think about the long term.

Have you spoken to your DM about your concerns for her health not her weight? Don’t focus on the weight itself, easy to focus on the numbers. She has to want to change, no one can force her to do it. Ask your mum if she’s happy, ask her does she want support, remind her you do love her and I’m not talking about body positivity but sometimes you distract yourselves because dealing with weight issues is hard. It’s easier to stick your head in the sand and the biggest battle is with your head when it comes to weight loss.

OldWitch00 Mon 13-Nov-17 01:35:14

Has she tried to loose weight in the past?

Want2bSupermum Mon 13-Nov-17 01:48:34

It's something that creeped up on me. I gave too much of me to my family, my job and left no time for me. I was horrified when I was weighed at my annual check up and told I was officially obese. My doctor sent me for therapy to diagnose and treat food disorders. I laughed and rolled my eyes. My doctor was clear that there is a 50% chance of me having a heart attack in my 50s if I don't do something about my lifestyle and I needed to go for the therapy sessions with an open mind.

Well I never thought that I had an eating disorder but heck I did. Terrible emotional eating and overall overeating due to self sabotage. I worked with a therapist and dietician for 3 months who then had me join weight watchers. I'm now overweight and have 10lbs to lose to get to a normal weight.

Your mother has her own story. I'd highly recommend weight watchers along with weekly therapy sessions to address the real issues behind your mothers overeating. The only issue is that this needs to come from your mother and not from you. She has to want this.

deliverdaniel Mon 13-Nov-17 01:57:52

thanks for the responses:

*You need to ask her, not appeal for random fat people to explain her to you in the assumption that all obese people are the same.

Is it hard to broach? Can't you express your fear?*

It's very hard to talk to her about it. She gets incredibly defensive and hurt and sometimes angry/ passive aggressive. I don't want to nag her, hence not wanting to constantly bring it up. I know that everyone's experiences will be different but I do believe there will be some common ground, and I"m trying to gain some insight and understanding of the challenges that others may face to understand her better in order to help her. I don't think there's anything wrong with that- anythign that is useful/ rings true, i can take on board, anything that doesn't I can discard.

deliverdaniel Mon 13-Nov-17 02:00:03

want2bsupermum congratulations on your weight loss! that's amazing. I would LOVE my mum to do some therapy (I think there are some complex issues there and I honestly believe that people don't get to be that size without something deeper going on) but she always says she thinks therapy is a bit silly/ it's for self involved people etc etc.

I know she has to want this herself. But what if she never does? Do I just give up, never mention it again and leave her to die?

TheBeastInMsRooneysRoom Mon 13-Nov-17 02:00:10

I was 8 stone overweight. Ultimately, therapy and 5 years of an extremely restrictive diet to heal my gut wall have healed my body. I was completely addicted to sugar. Through obvious sugar and also starchy carbohydrates. If your have a leaky gut, sugars enter your blood stream unprocessed, and are more addictive than opiates. I had to go through withdrawal twice, and both times I felt like I might die. The first time, the hospital agreed, which is why I had to go through it again a year later. I've kept my weight off for 5 years and now practise intuitve eating, but it would be so, so easy for me to binge and lose myself again. The skin removal etc. were certainly not easy procedures and it is the thought of undoing all of that which keeps me where I need to be, which is wary of my own weaknesses. I no longer have to remain on a ketogenic diet, but that's through some really hard work on 'why' I fell into the patterns I did. Until I had healed my mind, I couldn't have any sugar. Not even a little bit.

I'm so sorry OP, it must be awful to watch someone you love in that position. I know my own dad found it painful to see me out of breath and didn't know how to help. In the end, it just had to be my decision. I wanted freedom.

deliverdaniel Mon 13-Nov-17 02:01:32

want2bsupermum also- any advice about how you found your therapist that specialised in food disorders? thank you!!

deliverdaniel Mon 13-Nov-17 02:03:52

thebeastinmsrooneysroom thanks so much for your lovely post and huge congratulations on your achievement!

Is there anything anyone could have done/ said when you were at your lowest that might have helped, or is it really a case of just shutting up and waiting for her to either do something about it or die of a heart attack? It's so hard to sit back and watch.

Want2bSupermum Mon 13-Nov-17 02:34:45

I live in America, just outside of NYC and saw a doctor my GP here recommended at NYU. That therapist in turn recommended I go to a therapist in my town who had studied under them because I wasn't a bad enough case for them. Contrary to what everyone hears in UK my medical insurance charged me $30 for each visit and and didn't limit visits. I didn't see the dietician after March this year after I had joined weight watchers.

I was the first to eye roll going to a therapist. I thought it was a complete waste of time and self indulgent bullshit. My friend told me I need to face reality and admit I have a problem controlling my weight. She said I have a doctor willing help so should accept help because clearly my efforts were not working. She is godmother to my youngest and I'm so lucky to call her my friend. She was totally right of course.

Want2bSupermum Mon 13-Nov-17 02:36:25

Tell your mum that if therapy is so silly why doesn't she try it for a laugh. See just how self indulgent it is. Honestly it was bloody hard work and I left each session exhausted from working through issues.

deliverdaniel Mon 13-Nov-17 03:28:38

want2bsupermum Thanks! that sounds great. I wonder if there are specialist therapists like that in the UK? I'll look into it....

I think she would REALLY benefit from therapy but think she says the self indulgent thing to avoid it....

Lozmatoz Mon 13-Nov-17 03:43:05

She’s probably scared, ashamed and in denial. Same as with any big change or self reflection people try to avoid.

Want2bSupermum Mon 13-Nov-17 04:26:40

There are therapists in the U.K. The NHS tend to focus on the other end of the scale with anorexia and bulimia. Half the waiting room was underweight and the other half obese all being treated for eating disorders by the same therapist. There just hasn't been the emphasis yet in the U.K. on eating disorders that result in obesity.

camdentown17 Mon 13-Nov-17 05:35:08

My dm is the same. She needs a knee operation as can barely walk but she's not allowed to have it until she loses weight. This means she's more or less house bound.
My df tries his best with her to help her lose weight but she gets very defensive and angry with him.
I don't judge her at all as I know she uses food to self medicate...she suffers with depression. I always tell her she looks lovely and comment on her hair or clothes positively (she is very stylish) and gently encourage the losing weight but wait until she raises the subject first.
I feel all I can do is try to help build her self esteem, listen sympathetically and offer practical advice when it comes to losing weight.
Unfortunately she (as your dm is) is the only person who can make the change herself.
I'm sorry I don't have any advice but I so understand your concerns for her health.

JonSnowsWife Mon 13-Nov-17 06:15:06

What job does she do?

InspMorse Mon 13-Nov-17 06:44:28

If you are or have ever been obese- can you help me understand why she would be this way? Why she wouldn't even try to make a change? is there anything I can do to help her? I'm all for body positivity etc but I love her and am frightened and would love to know if I can do anything.

She's 12 stone overweight so her problem is obviously a long term issue.
Food can be used compulsively - an addiction for many people. It can be used in the same way other 'substances' are used & abused and for the same reasons.
You can't tell a morbidly obese person to 'just eat less' in the same way you can't tell a person with a different compulsion/addiction to just stop what they are doing.
First step - She needs to WANT to recover.

picklemepopcorn Mon 13-Nov-17 06:53:49

I’m 8 stone overweight. I have been smaller, but the lifestyle changes I made to achieve it weren’t sustainable. Like a pp, I give so much of myself to other people that there isn’t much time left to focus on me. For me to lose weight, it has to be the only priority in my life. That isn't going to happen.

You don’t mention your dad, is he around?

When did her weight gain start?

I do not respond well at all to other people telling me to lose weight. I know the information. I’m not currently able to do anything about it.

Flumplet Mon 13-Nov-17 07:29:15

I’m about 12st overweight but prob a lot younger than you mum so I have an ok quality of life still. For me 12st is just a massive amount to lose. Like how do you even do about losing that much weight? It’s a mammoth task and I feel like I’m going to fail before I even start so I don’t bother. Because losing a couple of stone here or there isn’t going to make all that much difference really.

CardsforKittens Mon 13-Nov-17 08:23:40

is it really a case of just shutting up and waiting for her to either do something about it or die of a heart attack?


I hope this doesn't come across as rude, but maybe you could benefit from some therapy yourself? It's hard to accept that you can't make someone change, and sometimes there's an element of 'if she really loved me/my family she would make the effort'. I can see why it might feel like that sometimes, but it's not necessarily an accurate assessment of the situation.

You can't change her. You can only change how you respond. If she won't get therapy, maybe you could? Really not trying to sound harsh here (I know I can be a bit blunt). flowers

silentpool Mon 13-Nov-17 08:35:41

Sounds like a relative of mine. I don't think your mother will be able to change, not unless she is willing to do therapy to understand why she has eating issues. It will require a great deal of will power to lose that kind of weight. My relative always has a reason why its a) not her fault and b) why it will be impossible to even attempt to lose the weight. It's been terribly damaging to her children and now they aren't very sympathetic to the pain she is in now as an elderly obese person. Really is a very negative situation.

notanurse2017 Mon 13-Nov-17 12:29:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MollyHuaCha Mon 13-Nov-17 12:49:01

I feel for you. She must know she is obese and possibly likes to pretend that she’s not as overweight as she is. It’s a complex situation without an easy answer.

I would suggest you talk to her making it your problem not hers - you are upset because you’re worried about her.

Then ask her if she would be willing to accept your support. If so, can she (not you) suggest any small steps to take that might help.

Even if her response seems uncooperative, who knows, you might be sowing seeds for her to think about and act upon later.

Good luck.

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