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Adult son is very overweight. Should we say something or not?

(14 Posts)
MrsLadywoman Thu 06-Oct-11 16:16:05

My stepson is 20 years old and very overweight (by about 3 stone? I?m guessing). He has been heavy since his early teens, but the weight has really piled on in the last couple of years. My partner (his dad) is really concerned about his health and wants to talk to him about it. There have been conversations in the past, and they have usually been very painful for both of them, but never hostile or angry and always ending in resolutions. My partner is saying he will broach the subject again this weekend when he sees him, but I am not sure if this will simply make the boy more anxious. Then again, we are seriously scared that he is jeopardizing his health by carrying so much extra weight. To speak or not to speak? And if so, what to say?

NatashaBee Thu 06-Oct-11 16:23:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsLadywoman Thu 06-Oct-11 16:34:58

Yes, he is definitely aware. He grew up with his mum (about 150 miles away) but had regular contact with us and stayed here frequently. He's really not the kind to get angry and he gets on very well with his dad. Despite not growing up with him, they are really close. He's at uni at the moment. I don't think there is an underlying health cause but you know it might be worth a visit to the GP GP to make sure.
We've tried the meals, teaching him how to cook and the exercise, but while they work for a month or so, they always fizzle out before they have any real effect.

Carrotsandcelery Thu 06-Oct-11 16:38:40

I wouldn't say anything too direct. He will know he is overweight and probably feel rotten about it. Having it pointed out by someone he loves will just make him feel more rubbish and probably fuel more weight gain.

I would offer love and acceptance and should HE ask for support improving his health and fitness then I would give it by the bucket load. Until then I would make him feel as good about himself as you possibly can.

NatashaBee Thu 06-Oct-11 16:41:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsLadywoman Thu 06-Oct-11 16:43:16

Yes, I know what you mean. That's kind of my view Carrots. I don't want to knock the boy's confidence and also, he is an adult. I feel that the impetus should come from him in order for it to have any effect.

But I do see why my partner wants to say something. He sees his son sweating and wheezing, just on the walk to the station, and he's terrified that he'll be in the grave before he's 40.

Carrotsandcelery Thu 06-Oct-11 16:50:25

I totally understand your fear MrsLadywoman but gaining control of your weight, stopping smoking, dealing with a drug addiction or tackling alcoholism are very complex. Everyone who has a problem in these areas knows they have a problem.

Confronting him (however gently) about it is very unlikely to have any positive result but it is likely to make him feel shut off from the people he loves. He will have to tackle it when the time is right for him.

Is anyone else in the close family and friendship circle overweight? Could they tactfully ask for his help by coming with them, for moral support, to a weight watchers class? (Obviously this would also have to be apporached tactfully too) It wouldn't need to be anyone very overweight but someone he would want to love and support by helping them along. Once there he might be motivated and get the help and support he needs without feeling anyone is disappointed in him.

Jaquelinehyde Thu 06-Oct-11 16:50:40

Do you now have regular contact?

Is there anyway your dh can suggest that they do something together during the week. Country walks, tennis, gym etc. This way dh can ensure your son gets some extra exercise and gradually bring up the weight issue and maybe get your son to open up.

This would work better than ambushing him and then sending him home because I promise you no matter how good the relationship is he will walk away feeling ambushed and low.

Carrotsandcelery Thu 06-Oct-11 17:00:03

Is there a sport that he loves? Offering to participate with him or helping to finance it somehow (if you can) may help him on the road to a healthier lifestyle. He may reach a point where he wants to progress further and can't unless he improves his fitness.

Sadly exercise alone won't crack it. You need to do an awful lot of exercise to burn off the extra calories in the food available to those inclined to over eat. The only guaranteed way to reduce his weight is to reduce his food intake.

I really feel for you. You clearly love him. Sometimes loving someone is sitting it out with them and waiting for them to need you.

MrsLadywoman Thu 06-Oct-11 17:01:43

They have talked in the past about his weight and it's usually ended with tears and big hugs and promises of mutual support which has actually happened.
He took up walking and was getting more exercise and I taught him how to cook some meals. His dad was doing a workout with him and going running in the park. But he's now moved nearer to uni so we only really see him once a fortnight.

I'm afraid I can't think of anyone who could go to weightweatchers with him.

No, we're not trying to ambush/scare him into action. We know that would be really counter-productive. I guess I'm just looking for advice to see whether there's anything we could say or try that we've not done before.

Like I say, really think ity has to come from him. But his dad is worried that if we do nothing he will end up ever worse.

I will suggest maybe the GP visit, though. It might make him feel less self-punishing if there is a chance that it's something he can't help. And once he's at the doctor's, maybe an objective voice will give him the impetus he needs.

Carrotsandcelery Thu 06-Oct-11 17:59:50

If he is at Uni then could he socialise by going to the Uni gym or a Uni sports club of some sort. My dh even did aerobics at uni - I am unclear about his motivations in this one mind you grin wink

MrsLadywoman Thu 06-Oct-11 18:09:48

Bit of a vicious circle, I think. He's probably unlikely to want to go to the gym because he's self-conscious about his weight...

Carrotsandcelery Thu 06-Oct-11 18:19:40

This is what so many people don't understand. A team game would be the best thing, like rugby, football, basketball etc. At our uni all shapes and sizes played in team sports and no one batted an eyelid. That doesn't mean that many didn't participate because they were conscious of their weight though.

You could put it to him that employers like to see evidence of a rounded individual who likes to work as part of a team, to participate and who has interests outside work to keep their body and mind healthy. That way it is a career concern rather than a weight issue.

Poor you. It is hard to see someone behaving in a way you view as self destructive.

MrsLadywoman Thu 06-Oct-11 21:28:33

That's a good idea. I will use the team games thing, actually. He's bang into football and maybe we can talk him into getting involved in a 5-a-side or something.

Thing is,I think it was tough for him growing up away from his dad. That's never easy. And I think he is someone who sought solace in food. In some ways it could have been much worse. I mean, he never did anything else self-destructive - no smoking or drugs or alcohol. Was always good at school and he's a really sweet-natured and kind person.

Our worries are purely that being so overweight is damaging to his health.

But thanks loads for your suggestions. Will def talk to his dad about suggesting both GP and some kind of team sport.

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