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Worried about DH's health and lifestyle

(28 Posts)
CrispsCrispsCrisps Sat 17-Nov-12 05:00:16

I have been on Mumsnet for a while but tend not to start threads. This time I feel I need advice. Sorry, but this is long.

My DH is 33 and has a busy, pressurised job. Pressurised mainly because he doesn't like what he does mainly due to the amount of workload and person he works for. He is a professional and the option of moving roles isn't an option due to having a vested interest in the business. His way of relaxing is by having a beer and eating junk or rich food.

Our DS is 10 months old and is our first. I have never been big on exercise but for energy and health and to know my son will have a healthy Mum I will make time to get to the gym and eat healthy. For a few years now I've battled to get DH to think the same way.

DH has no desire to live a healthy lifestyle. If given the option of any meal he would pick a pizza or kebab and relaxation for him means having a drink. I've asked him to try and only drink on weekends because I feel there is no need to have beer during the week. Yet this week he has had cans every night apart from Tuesday and it is usually 3-4. There is a history of high cholesterol in his family and his Father passed away at a relatively young age. Checking DH's health usually means having a guilt trip argument with me followed by me making him a docs appt to have his bloods checked. In 2010 his cholesterol was over 9 points and a year later went down to over 6 points but only due to me making changes to his diet. This usually means a daily battle to add fruit to his lunchbox, cut out junk and request he limits his alcohol intake. In the last 4 wks there have probably been 4 kebabs eaten and pizza possibly 4 times. There is a list of veg he won't eat, fruit he doesn't like and so on. I have foods I dislike but will eat for my health but as an example if I make two veg with a meal he whinges.

We have a treadmill which he last used in June. He says there is no time. I believe time can be made by waking up earlier, having a run before bed etc but each time I bring it up we have an argument.

Some of his clothes have become tight but he will insist they were a slim fit anyway yet it's more a case of the top button on his shirt not fastening due to his neck being fat. This has also lead to him snoring loads at night. His blood pressure is high too.

The reason I'm posting is because it worries me that he won't be around long enough and won't have the energy to be a fit and healthy dad who can run around with DH. I'm at the end of my tether and just cannot keep having the same battles about not drinking in the week and asking him to try be healthy. I'm worried sick about his health because I know heart disease and high cholesterol is in his blood. His brothers are aware of the history in his family and have made lifestyle changes by eating healthy, running and cycling but DH just won't try. He says he has no time and we end up bickering.

Please don't advise me to just leave it because I can't. I cannot sit back and let him destroy his body at such a young age.

Does anyone have any advice? Do I have reason to be worried?

wheredidiputit Sun 06-Jan-13 21:36:22

You can't make him change unless he wants to.

He sounds like my DH. He was 40 drank far to much, ate very badly or not eating anything but dinner each day. I nag him and nagged him and nothing changed.

So although I cook healthy meals because he didn't eat properly it didn't matter.

On the plus side he got a cold last year which went to his chest and he ended up at the doctors. He was diagnosed with high blood pressure, cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. It really shocked him but on the plus side he takes his tablets (water, blood pressure, statins and metformine (sp). He has stopped drinking everyday only goes out on a friday now. Eats 3 meals a day and goes to the gym 2 or 3 times a week. He lost 3 stone and is so much happier in himself has far more energy to do things with the DC.

HappyGirlNow Sun 06-Jan-13 21:25:21

and I do hide veg in different meals

I thought you were talking about your child not your husband here?! Honestly? He's an adult and makes his own choices and all the nagging from you (however well-intentioned) can only be counter-productive..

marriednotdead Sun 06-Jan-13 20:54:08

My DH is like yours, probably worse.

He's 47 and been borderline diabetic for a couple of years. High blood pressure and cholesterol went untreated for several years (he knew) until he had an accident and it was revealed to me by the hospital. A nurse begged me to take him to the GP within 24 hours of discharge as she was convinced he would have a stroke within days. It took another 2 years of rowing before he would take the medication regularly. A kidney stone in December had him in hospital on morphine. To pass it he needs to drink lots of water. He hasn't so it's still in there.

We went to see the practice nurse that day (while he was still frightened). BP is not low enough despite medication so dose needs adjusting. BMI is 37 and he's smoking 10 a day whilst working 50+ hours per week in a stressful job which requires a beer to relax every evening hmm

I'm fed up of fighting, he has to be prepared to do something different if it's going to change. I have told him many times that he's no good to me dead.

He's stated that he's going to change his diet and as I do the shopping, I need to know what to buy. So far, less meat, more fish. And coconut water instead of a standard sweet fizzy drink can. Baby steps but never big enough to make the kind of impact needed.

I am resigned to being a widow in my 60s rather than 80s. That or nursing an invalid.

He literally watched a dear friend die of a stroke at the age of 65. He'd previously lived just like DH. If that didn't change him, nothing will.

You can support him in making changes but if you nag, he will dig his heels in. Trust me, I am married to Mr Stubborn Bastard.

dequoisagitil Sun 06-Jan-13 20:28:07

I don't think it is sustainable long-term. I am sorry, but my mum hugely resents her dh for having to 'dictate' what pills he takes/injections.

She has ended up doing all the check-ups,blood-tests etc, while he expects her to take responsibility, and it just isn't FAIR. He acts like she's the spoilsport, and she ends up feeling she has failed when it's his decision to eat the wrong stuff or drink.

You're on her road, and it's not a happy one.

susanann Sun 06-Jan-13 20:20:34

dequoisagitil, He has taken responsibility now. Im helping him, as a loving partner should. We are in our early 50s we wont be having kids! He also appreciates my help.

dequoisagitil Sun 06-Jan-13 20:18:52

I profoundly disagree, giveme.

GiveMeSomeSpace Sun 06-Jan-13 20:17:44

Susanann Way ta go! Well done

dequoisagitil Sun 06-Jan-13 20:16:46

Oh susanann. Don't go down this road.

15 years on, my mother is struggling to control his diabetes - it's tiring - it's endless- it's fucking annoying. He has NEVER taken responsibility for his own heath. It is his thing to look after.

Think about it when you have children (and are exhausted through trying to look after everyone), think about when you're under pressure or grief and having to cope.

susanann Sun 06-Jan-13 20:06:07

Ive recently had a similiar problem with my fiance. He has type 2 diabetes and wasnt taking it seriously. After months of being nice about it, trying to guilt trip him into it and nagging I decided to take firmer action. I told him the wedding was on hold till he did something about it and I went to stay with my daughter for a couple of nights. (My fiance and I live together) He is now eating a sensible diet and taking some exercise, though not as much as I would like. His blood sugar is down and hes lost some weight.

dequoisagitil Sun 06-Jan-13 19:58:40

(It just seems relatively benign). smile

dequoisagitil Sun 06-Jan-13 19:56:58

Sorry, but it's only if he wants to change lifestyle that it will stick.

Tbh, he sound generally a lovely guy, so just enjoy your lives together. Maybe I've been hanging around the relationship board too long grin.

aurynne Sun 06-Jan-13 19:48:21

He is an adult, and perfectly capable of making his own decisions in regard to his own health. If somebody was pestering me about my lack of exercise as much as you are pestering your DH, I would not be half as polite as he is with you.

Advice is ok. But when it mutates into nagging and pestering it has no place in an adult relationship. You are right about being worried that he could die young. But it will have to be you who deals with your own worry, he is obviously not worried enough. He already knows about the risks and still chooses to not act on his. It is his right as well. He is not a child and you're not his mother.

itspeanuts Sun 06-Jan-13 19:30:38

I think you are going to have to leave it though. Where have all your efforts got you so far? All you've achieved is to put his back up and him now switching off to anything you're saying to him.

You can not control his lifestyle and as hard as it is to watch him play Russian roulette with his health, this has to come from him.

Unfortunately it might take something as serious as a health scare before he sits up and takes notice but until then he will just continue to see your concern as nagging.

I think you have no other option than to back-off here for a while.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 06-Jan-13 19:21:48

I was listening recently to one of the Hairy Bikers talking about how they'd lost weight, started exercising, spruced up their diets etc. The discussion went on to talk about motivation for men more generally. Some of the conclusions were that men tend not to want to publicise that they are on a diet etc because they see it as an admission of failure. They'd often rather do things on their own terms, privately rather than do anything like seek advice. The best prompt is often another man doing the same thing and buddying up rather than being told what to do by a doctor/partner/self-help book.

fromthehealthyheart Sun 06-Jan-13 18:52:52

I had to reduce my cholesterol last year - can send you the recipes I used to help me to do so if you like. Hard enough to motivate oneself never mind someone else. Good Luck!!

CrispsCrispsCrisps Sat 17-Nov-12 16:19:22

I'm so sorry to hear that exexpat.

I may tell my DH that.

exexpat Sat 17-Nov-12 15:55:35

DH had a high-stress job, running his own business, working long hours, and doing a lot of work-related socialising in bars and restaurants. He was overweight, his blood pressure was high, and his doctor gave him advice about healthier eating, exercise etc, but he really didn't have time to fit in visits to the gym, and trying to eat healthily while still doing all the client entertaining was virtually impossible. He died of sudden heart failure at 41.

Obviously many overweight people with high-risk lifestyles live well into retirement - but lifestyle risks are real and changes can make a difference. You can imagine how much I now wish I had nagged DH more.

CrispsCrispsCrisps Sat 17-Nov-12 15:45:51

The spritzer idea is a good one

We've just had a chat about my concerns and DH has said he knows something needs to change and has agreed with everything I've said. We just need to make time in his daily routine to fit in exercise

QuickLookBusy Sat 17-Nov-12 13:28:45

I do feel for you Crisps. My DH used to be similar.

For my Dh it is to do with work stress. I know you say your DH has an interest in the business, but that's no good if he's ill or sending himself to an early grave. Is there any way at all, he could look into changing his job?

My DH runs his own business, we decided only this year that things had to change. He was living such an unhealthy lifestyle as he was living and working on his own in London all week. Changing things was a big risk but he realised he couldn't go on the way he was. He now works mainly from home.

We thought initially that he would earn less. Well that hasn't happened at all. He's much happier not living on his own all week, he has a much healthier lifestyle as I do the food shopping. He is less stressed and much happier and the business is doing very well, as he is thinking clearer.

If it is work that is making your DH overeat and drink, he will have to look at and change this before anything else will change. Could you say you want a serious conversation about your lives, rather than focusing on food/drink, and explore the possibilities of changing things? Even if things can't change immediately, talking about it is a start.

Offred Sat 17-Nov-12 10:41:07

You can't do this for him and I'm tempted to say the more you pester and badger and take responsibility for it the less he will do about it. If he wants to eat himself into an early grave he will and you will not be able to really do a thing about it. It is wasted effort. Why not instead think about things you can control like whether you want to be with him how he is (rather than how you'd like him to be)?

CrispsCrispsCrisps Sat 17-Nov-12 10:22:40

Thanks Izzy, the book is a good idea and I do hide veg in different meals.

Just to make it clear he isn't being difficult. I think it's just not in his nature to think about health and exercise and I was the same but seeing certain people go through illness has made me change.

Not sure about the shock tactics as they might upset or lead to an argument

CrispsCrispsCrisps Sat 17-Nov-12 10:19:42

Balotelli that's made me feel worse!

izzyizin Sat 17-Nov-12 08:58:52

If you don't stop worrying this particular bone, you may well find that you worry yourself into an early grave while he becomes a creaking gate that goes on to his 90s.

There's a wealth of recipes on the net and it's never been easier to adopt a low cal or low carb lifestyle, or to change someone's diet to low fat without them being any the wiser.

Get a copy of Dave Myers & Si King's book 'The Hairy Dieters' - it's amazing how many different veg can be incorporated into a cottage pie or similar and your dh will undoubtedly enjoy the burger and kebab dishes as well as many others.

To wean him off the weeknight tinnies, encourage him to have a spritzer with dinner. A small amount of red or white wine with diet lemonade in a tall glass makes a grown up drink with minimal brain damage health risks.

Alternatively, try shock tactics. Leave life insurance brochures scattered all over the house and frequently ask his opinion of black outfits - i.e. 'will my bum look big in this on the day of your funeral', 'will I look too much like a gay widow in this plungeneck backless number' etc?

CrispsCrispsCrisps Sat 17-Nov-12 07:54:03

Beaver I've said that and there is a temporary change for a few days usually linked to food but it needs to be more

CrispsCrispsCrisps Sat 17-Nov-12 07:53:09

I can't just leave it though

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