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My mom, Jenny, is 62 years old. I am happily married to Joe, and we have our own family; two sons, ages 9 and 12. I am very close with my Mom, and she is very involved with our family. Mom devotes spending a lot of her time with us and our kids. My Dad, whom I was also very close with passed away four and one-half years ago from a heart attack at age 57. My problem? My mother is “obese” – I hate to use that word, but she is easily 70 or 80 pounds overweight. Mom just followed up with her doctor, and now the doctor said she is borderline diabetic Type 2. She is already on medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I have talked with her about changing her diet and exercising more. She is not completely retired as she still works about 20 – 25 hours per week and is pretty active socially, but she rarely exercises and loves to eat spaghetti, breads, cake and ice cream! I am so concerned about my mom’s health, and I’m afraid I am going to lose my Mom! She is such a big part of my life! What can a daughter do????
Signed – Worry Wart in St. Augustine
Dear Worry Wart:
Goodness, as a “large” girl myself – I hate people trying to tell me to lose weight, or HOW to lose weight – but to begin with, go to lunch with your mom and share your heart with her. Tell her you are not trying to “judge” her, but you are deeply concerned with her health and wellbeing. Tell her you would love for her to really commit to a weight loss program of her choosing and also a fitness regimen. You might share your feelings: “I already lost Dad, and I don’t want to lose you too, Mom. You have so many wonderful years ahead – and I want you healthy!” Now at this point, you may offer to be her “accountability buddy”, someone she can call and check in with daily. Or, ask her to find a “weight loss buddy” to help hold her accountable.
Ask your mom if she has ever thought of going through a particular weight loss program such as:
- Weight Watchers – https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/
I like the approach of Weight Watchers where you eat well-rounded meals through portion control and focus on a “group” setting where members can share their journey.
- Nutritionist: Get a referral to a good nutritionist from your mom’s primary care physician. The nutritionist would be able to start Jenny in the right direction while creating a “food plan” for her.
- Mayo Clinic Diet – https://register.diet.mayoclinic.org/d_Search_Google_STD_new/free-diet-profile2-684FG-6965HS.html
This plan uses clinical testing results while being able to eat food you enjoy.
These are just a few of many weight loss programs available. Please note: I am not advertising or “pushing” any of the above programs, but these would be a start for you and your Mom to investigate. Call for information on some of these programs, look them up online, or go to a meeting with her (i.e. Weight Watchers meeting).
In addition, any “movement” (exercise) would be better than nothing. Here again, offer to walk with her, swim with her, or do whatever she is interested in. She may want to get a Yoga DVD, so she could do Yoga at home. Maybe she would be interested in joining a gym or even walking the neighborhood. But, I would suggest you offer to do some form of exercise with her. Don’t expect your conversation to be immediately well received – let her “digest” it, and see how she is doing in few weeks. Ask her if she has, “given any thought to our conversation about your health?” I would suggest you make it about “health” rather than her being overweight (trust me, it can feel like a personal attack when it appears someone you love is telling you that you are overweight).
Just remember – a person has to WANT to change bad habits – you can’t force her to! Most importantly, be positive and avoid judgment. Change can be difficult even if you are excited about the change. Any steps, even baby steps, are positive moves in the right direction. Applaud any simple changes she may make, and cheer her on! It is amazing what we can do when the people who love us are encouraging us – it makes us want to be better (and healthier)!
Readers – any suggestions for “Worry Wart in St. Augustine”?
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Until next time~