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Old 05-07-2012, 06:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How do I help my dad?

My dad is very overweight, he's on medications for cholesterol, etc. He has been told by his doctor that he must lose weight. He's in his mid-60s and very set in his ways. He has said he wants to lose weight, and he has made some improvements, such as using stevia in his coffee instead of sugar. However in other ways he just doesn't seem to really want to commit to it.

He still eats very large portions of food and refuses to weigh or measure them. I think he's eating at least two times more calories than he thinks he is.
When he pours a bowl of cereal, he doesn't use the food scale to measure the grams serving and he doesn't even use a measuring cup, he just dumps the cereal into the bowl by eye. Same for milk, no measuring cup, just pours it in there, as much as he pleases. He's not losing any weight this way even though he thinks he's eating lower calories.

He seems to think if something is "healthy food" that he can eat as large a portion of it as he wants. This is obviously not true.

I'm very angry and upset with him because I feel like he's being selfish. I've told him before that when he gets older and needs my help that it's going to be very difficult for me if he's very heavy to help him do things like get to a bathroom. He'll also be more prone to things like bed sores if he's super heavy.

He eats way too much meat, even though he's been told he's only supposed to eat a deck of cards sized portion by a dietician. I chalk that up to our Southern culture and the fact that he grew up believing that men should eat a lot of meat. He's unwilling to try new foods (he once saw a different type of bread and it freaked him out).

He has a very stubborn and confrontational personality and I'm afraid that if he goes into a nursing home when he gets older that he will say mean things to the staff and it will lead to him being abused by them. I want to avoid putting him in that type of situation if possible, because I don't want him to be hurt.

If he's 300 lbs though, how am I going to be able to do things like help shift him in bed or help him get to a toilet on my own? He's too young for all that now, but it could be 10-20 years from now when this will be a big issue and if he could just try to drop some pounds now then it would help my peace of mind tremendously.

How can I help someone so set in their ways to improve his eating habits?

It would make his quality of life so much better even now.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Unfortunately you can't push a rope. You can't decide for him, he needs to want it badly enough to go throught the pain of changing. What is his activity level? If he is unwilling to change some of his eating habits would he be willing to be more active? Even walking is a great activity. Maybe something you could do together? Or is there a recreation center or senior center he could get involved in some group activities?

Keep trying to educate him on nutrition (something our society fails at) and perhaps the lightbulb will come on eventually. I personally disagree that we should only eat small amounts of meat. I believe lean meats are a great source of protein and saturated fats (they aren't necessarily bad either). Saturated fats have been shown to help elevate testosterone levels in older men which in turn helps them lose weight. Hope this helps!
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Old 05-19-2012, 08:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am in a very similar boat with my father. I didn't see any mention of whether or not your dad has a wife/partner, because if he does and she can be of any help, my first thought is to partner up with her and see if you two can help coax your dad in the right direction.

My dad is probably up near 280 or 300lb and is a big guy (barrel-chested, sturdy build), but he is definitely obese. I'm sure that that's where I've gotten most of my (old) poor eating habits from. My dad is extremely intelligent, logical, and ridiculously bullheaded. He refuses to listen to "his kid" about nutrition, because he's the king of his castle and how could I know something he doesn't. Usually he's right, but in this case he's wrong.

I don't have much sound advice besides "you're not alone". A lot of guys from the older generation are SO set in their ways, even if their ways are detrimental to their health. They have doctors and nutritionists telling them what to do and how to change their ways, and it's just waved off with "oh, I'm not doing that, it's stupid." My dad had a heart attack 4 years ago, and he has cut back on his sodium and red meat (to a point), but he still sits his arse on the couch with the "low calorie" chips (and eats the whole bag) and routinely brings cakes and breads and meats into the house while I'm trying to make quinoa with grilled veggies and lean chicken (which is delicious, by the way).

He gives me this line of nonsense about his "quality of life" as though it's an excuse to eat poorly and be lazy. My mother knows he's doing himself wrong but there's only so far she can push him before he does the "woman, please" dismissal. He considers a slow meandering walk with the dog around the block to be his "cardio activity", and then he has several drinks and polishes off some kind of white flour, processed sugar treat as his "reward".

Frankly, I have almost resigned myself to the fact that he is probably going to die "young(ish)". I'm not going to suggest that you threaten him with ultimatums, but perhaps you could discuss with him that you won't be physically able to care for him if it becomes necessary. If the funds for personal care aren't there either, he may be in a really tight spot if he continues on his current course. If you've already had this talk, it might be pointless, because I'm responded to with an eyeroll and a "yes, dear, thank you for your concern" dismissal.

I'm not much help, but believe me I know how you feel. Best of luck, and if I figure out anything worthwhile I'll get back to you!
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I totally understand you. My father had a heart attack only three months ago and even though he quit smoking (which was a huge step, I admit), he still eats loads of crap. He's always been very skinny, doesn't matter what he eats, and he still believes he's healthy, even though he's seen his blood tests (pretty poor) and mine (which are perfect although I'm overweight), but still refuses to listen to any nutritional advice. It can be very frustrating, but I can't really force him to value his health.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks RPM. I don't think meat and saturated fat is necessarily bad either but he has such a cholesterol problem that I think it's wrong for him as an individual to eat a lot of meat especially when a nutritionist told him this years ago. I'm not sure if it's good for him to get his testosterone levels up either as prostate cancer runs in his family and both his father and brother had it.

His activity level is really low because his feet aren't doing well. He used to keep his weight somewhat in check by doing walks in the morning but he's not able to do that anymore. Even then he overconsumed calories, but he hasn't compensated by eating less at all now that his activity level went down.

To top it off I'm even angrier today because I found a Carl's Jr. bag in his van when we went out to the store and recently I've seen Whataburger bags in there. Apparently he's addicted to fast food in the morning and is eating it on a regular basis. I think what he doesn't realize is that it's not just his business. It directly affects me because I'm going to be his primary caretaker in the future if I can and on top of that I don't want to lose him early either.

I lost 100 lbs. over the last year but I've still got a ways to go and if he's heavy like he is now I don't see how I'll have the strength to help him if he really gets incapcitated.

We went out to the country a few days ago and we bought some vegetables at a farmer's store type place. One of the things he got was a sweet potato, which is a healthy food, but I told him to be careful with the portion size because the one I'd gotten and weighed by grams turned out to be over 300 calories. His eyebrows raised like he had no idea, and also like he didn't quite believe me. This wouldn't be a problem on its own except he's going to take that 300 calories, smother it in margarine, and then probably have something else on top of it like meat on the side to round out a meal which will probably be closer to 800-900 calories.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genesis23 View Post
I am in a very similar boat with my father. I didn't see any mention of whether or not your dad has a wife/partner, because if he does and she can be of any help, my first thought is to partner up with her and see if you two can help coax your dad in the right direction.
He's married to my mom but she feels equally powerless. We've tried to encourage him to eat healthy but he does NOT like to be pushed and we feel like it will just cause more problems if he feels like he's being 'nagged'.

Quote:
My dad is probably up near 280 or 300lb and is a big guy (barrel-chested, sturdy build), but he is definitely obese. I'm sure that that's where I've gotten most of my (old) poor eating habits from. My dad is extremely intelligent, logical, and ridiculously bullheaded. He refuses to listen to "his kid" about nutrition, because he's the king of his castle and how could I know something he doesn't. Usually he's right, but in this case he's wrong.
My dad has the same type of attitude. I need him to listen to me though and I feel like I'm going to finally snap if I don't say something again but I don't want to say it the wrong way and just get him angry with me. I'm 34 but he still talks to me like I'm 5 sometimes. I love him but he's really bullheaded and stubborn and I think on some level he doesn't really believe that the food he eats corresponds to his weight.

Quote:
I don't have much sound advice besides "you're not alone". A lot of guys from the older generation are SO set in their ways, even if their ways are detrimental to their health. They have doctors and nutritionists telling them what to do and how to change their ways, and it's just waved off with "oh, I'm not doing that, it's stupid." My dad had a heart attack 4 years ago, and he has cut back on his sodium and red meat (to a point), but he still sits his arse on the couch with the "low calorie" chips (and eats the whole bag) and routinely brings cakes and breads and meats into the house while I'm trying to make quinoa with grilled veggies and lean chicken (which is delicious, by the way).
Thank you. That also sounds very familiar.

Quote:
He gives me this line of nonsense about his "quality of life" as though it's an excuse to eat poorly and be lazy. My mother knows he's doing himself wrong but there's only so far she can push him before he does the "woman, please" dismissal. He considers a slow meandering walk with the dog around the block to be his "cardio activity", and then he has several drinks and polishes off some kind of white flour, processed sugar treat as his "reward".

Frankly, I have almost resigned myself to the fact that he is probably going to die "young(ish)". I'm not going to suggest that you threaten him with ultimatums, but perhaps you could discuss with him that you won't be physically able to care for him if it becomes necessary. If the funds for personal care aren't there either, he may be in a really tight spot if he continues on his current course. If you've already had this talk, it might be pointless, because I'm responded to with an eyeroll and a "yes, dear, thank you for your concern" dismissal.
I've told him this before and I told him if I need to help him get to the bathroom (like I had to help his mom when she was sick years ago) that I won't be able to. I told him that when his mom was alive she was very frail and thin and yet she felt like a ton of bricks when I was helping her carrying most of her body weight to help her get to the bathroom, and that there's no way I'll be able to help him do the same if I need to because he's too heavy and I don't want him to end up in a nursing home if I can avoid it. I'm afraid even there they would just let him sit in it and then try to cover up any evidence before I got there because honestly I don't trust those kinds of workers after they stole things from my grandmother.

Quote:
I'm not much help, but believe me I know how you feel. Best of luck, and if I figure out anything worthwhile I'll get back to you!
Thank you and I wish that my dad was the only one like this because I don't want anybody else to hurt themselves. At the same time it's somewhat comforting to know I'm not all alone in these types of feelings. Thanks for your reply.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Absentha View Post
I totally understand you. My father had a heart attack only three months ago and even though he quit smoking (which was a huge step, I admit), he still eats loads of crap. He's always been very skinny, doesn't matter what he eats, and he still believes he's healthy, even though he's seen his blood tests (pretty poor) and mine (which are perfect although I'm overweight), but still refuses to listen to any nutritional advice. It can be very frustrating, but I can't really force him to value his health.
I'm sorry that you went through that Absentha and sorry for him too. I don't understand how someone can continue to do that after they have a heart attack. I decided to start losing weight because I wanted to avoid having one and doctors warned me that I was getting dangerously overweight so I did what they said.

It reminds me of when a smoker with emphysema will be so addicted to the cigarettes that they will smoke it around their oxygen machine.

I'm glad he at least quit smoking but I do wish you and him well on having him not have a relapse due to his poor diet.
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hello All

I'm new to this thread and I'm on a long and difficlut wieght loss journey. Just haven't been able to loss as fast as I would like. A little about me. Lost 80 some pounds and made lifetime at WW. THen over the years I put it all back on. Just won't drop off like it did the first time round. My health is good and would be better if I could drop 60 pounds. Well that's all I have to say
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ruby, I'm not sure if this will help you at all, but something has seemed to click for my stubborn father in the past couple of months...

My father is an obese diabetic who needed cataract surgery; he got denied the surgery due to his blood sugar being OVER 300 when he went to the hospital (Thank goodness they checked!). He was put on insulin after the incident.

His doctor sat him down and gave him a talking to and asked him to do a simple thing - re-evaluate his own notions on food. The doctor didn't tell him to "Eat this" and "Don't eat that" but rather he said something like "If you think something is good or bad for you, why don't you look it up?" He gave him some resources (names of websites) and encouraged him to make pro and con lists of food.

My father actually did this on his own without input from my mother, me or my sister. He called me a couple of days later as though he'd had food revelations ("I always thought melon was bad for diabetics!!!") and he seems to agree with using the glycemic index for food, which is a good start. He started to tentatively make his own meal plans and according to my mother he's lost 18 lbs. in two months. He's still obese, but it's a good start.

It may be that if you ask your dad to look it up himself, he's more likely to believe himself? I wish I knew exactly what the doctor said to him, and it's likely the medical scare/being put on insulin helped nudge my father as well. I feel for everyone's pain here in dealing with a stubborn relative you're concerned about.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hanny60able View Post
Hello All

I'm new to this thread and I'm on a long and difficlut wieght loss journey. Just haven't been able to loss as fast as I would like. A little about me. Lost 80 some pounds and made lifetime at WW. THen over the years I put it all back on. Just won't drop off like it did the first time round. My health is good and would be better if I could drop 60 pounds. Well that's all I have to say
Good luck Hanny. Don't give up and keep working hard and it will come off again.

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Originally Posted by taubele View Post
It may be that if you ask your dad to look it up himself, he's more likely to believe himself? I wish I knew exactly what the doctor said to him, and it's likely the medical scare/being put on insulin helped nudge my father as well. I feel for everyone's pain here in dealing with a stubborn relative you're concerned about.
Thanks for the advice. I think I will suggest that next time I get the opportunity to. I've tried to help educate him a little. For example he had no idea that a big sweet potato was over 300 calories before I told him. The look on his face was shock. He just thought of it as a "Vegetable", and while it is a healthy food, it won't help him lose weight if he eats a very big portion of it and tops it with margarine. I think he's still under the impression that you can gorge yourself on food as long as it's "healthy food". You can get morbidly obese on broccoli and cabbage if you drown them in margarine.
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