What to Do When a Loved One Struggles with Weight Loss?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I've blogged in the past about my mom's struggle with weight loss and how she's been on and off diets for most of my life. She never put pressure on me to look a certain way. In fact, she always encouraged me to accept myself for who I was. But I saw her weight fluctuate as she tried one diet or another, only to slide back into her old habits after a while. And now I'm wondering if this yo-yo cycle will ever end.

A few years ago, she lost a significant amount of weight and I really thought she had kicked this struggle once and for all. But eventually I noticed her slipping here and there. For example, one night we went out to dinner and she ordered fish and chips- a standard choice in the old days. I didn't want to seem like the "food police" by quizzing her about why she was eating something that seemed to be a trigger food for her. But soon fish and chips became the norm instead of the exception. Consequently, she gained the weight back.

It's probably been a year or two since I've seen her make an effort to start changing her habits again. When I gently bring up the idea of exercising or trying some healthier recipes, she says "I know. I need to get back on the stick." (Meaning she has to get back on track.) But nothing ever comes of it.

This past weekend, I bluntly asked her what it was going to take to get her to start taking better care of herself. Her response was more of the same: "I know, I know." I told her that I want her to live a long and healthy life to see her grandchildren grow up. And I wasn't sure that was going to happen if she continued down this path. I told her that I don't care what size she wears. As long as she's happy with herself (which I truly believe she is, no matter what her size), that's what matters. But I do care about her overall health. And eating fast food, heavy desserts and exercising sporadically is not going to ensure that she lives to be 100.

I know that you can't change someone- they have to want it for themselves. I just wish I could figure out what that trigger is, what I can say or do to help her think about things differently and want to change. She's got all of the tools at her finger tips. She knows all about a healthy diet and how to start making small changes to develop long term habits. She's got a daughter (me) who's a personal trainer and would gladly lead her through workouts whenever she'd like. But so far, that's not enough.

I don't want her to change out of guilt because of anything I say, because I know that's not a change that's sustainable. I want her to change because she wants a higher quality of life for herself. But how do I get her to want that too?

Do you have anyone close to you who struggles with a healthy lifestyle? How have you handled the situation, and what have you done to support them?

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I gotta tell you... I have a daughter who could have written your blog.
Here's the thing.... we who "comfort" ourselves with caloric intake could all wear bumper stickers on our butts saying "please don't remind me of my faults I am well aware of them"

Help from others doesn't help. It makes it worse.

Just love us. Unreservedly. Make sure we know it. And please... Don't make a big deal out of our weight ... up or down.

You mean to be encouraging but it's far more complicated than you think.... "No, Rhonda, I can't just stop eating."

I wish it was easy. I quit smoking by just deciding to. I started wearing my seat belt by voting to make it law.

But weight loss is a whole nother planet.

Jen, as Dr. Phil might say, "How's that workin' for ya?" meaning - is what you are doing (talking to your mom about getting healthy) making her change her lifestyle? If what you're doing isn't working (and it sounds like it isn't), then you'll have to change tactics.

My DH and I are both gastric bypass patients (2 years out). We work as patient ambassadors with people who have recently had the bypass surgery, and we meet a lot of people with a lot of different thoughts about losing weight. From personal experience, I never liked my family commenting on what I "needed" to do to lose weight. In fact, I probably know more than they do about dieting, having done it since I was 14 years old (I'm almost 44 now)! Deciding to lose weight is definitely an emotional, intellectual thought process. Nothing you can say to your mom is going to cause her to "get on the stick," so IMHO, you should hug her often, tell her you love her even more often, and when she comes to you for diet or exercise advice, you can smile and answer her questions. You can invite her to take walks instead of eating out, and if she declines, don't make a fuss. Just say, "Ok, maybe another time!" When eating out with her, don't comment on her food choices or suggest healthier options unless she asks for your opinion. Keep the discussions about anything but dieting unless she brings it up first. Even then, keep the discussion very neutral, with statements such as, "Well, what I do is..." One thing I say to patients when they ask me how I manage my weight is that I tell them to make very small goals for themselves, and try to meet the goal over the period of a week. For example, I gave up drinking soda (JUST soda) for one week. The next week, I gave up drinking soda AND I made sure I ate at least fruit for breakfast each day. The following week, I continued to eat a piece of fruit with breakfast, didn't drink soda, and had fish for at least one meal that week. Not all dieting is about taking things away, but about adding in something healthy. The week after that, I might add a walk to my routine, 10 minutes a day, on 3 days of that week, along with the other three things I'd changed about my diet. In this way, I tell people that dieting doesn't have to hurt...and if you get to the end of a week and you decide you don't want to eat fish once a week, or you don't want to completely cut out soda (allowing yourself one or two cans a week), you could make those changes - it is all under my control, what I put into and get out of my body and how I treat it. Keep the "I" statements when you talk to her, and then ask her what SHE thinks she should do. That might help her feel less judged and more open to discussing her health with you as time goes by. Report
My mom has always struggled with her weight, although sometimes I wondered why because she never seemed siginifcantly overweight to me. I now realize that she would have been had she not put forth the effort. I became signifcantly overweight, and while I'm sure it was painful for my mom to watch me become more unhealthy she never did lecture me or confront me. This may be because she remembers my contrary personality too well and knows any comment would not be helpful but set me in my unhealthy way. I'm so grateful for her knowing me well enough that she gave me the space to get to the decision on my own. Once the decision was made she has been very supportive and I am trying to return the favor by being supportive withhout being intruding. As she and my dad get older I wish I could make the hands of time just stop. But of course that is not the way of life. Eventually I will have to say goodbye, for a time anyway, and my heart will surely break. So it is my highest hope for everyone I love to be as healthy as possible. I guess it's a good thing my mom isn't as contrary as I was! Report
My brother-in-law is extremely unhealthy and my husband and I wish he would loose the weight. He knows he needs to but does not do anything about it. He has already had a scare in the hospital, developed diabetes, and can't apply for the job he really wants - cop - all because of his weight. The past two times my husband saw him at home he was eating McDonalds' hamburger and fries and then fried okra! He lives with my mother-in-law who is also overweight but she has many medical issues that prevent her from exercising. But, she mostly watches what she eats, except when her son brings home McDonalds and such. I wish my brother-in-law would get to the gym and start eating healthy because him and his mother are the only family we have in our city. I want them both to be around to see us have kids and enjoy them. It's sad to see someone slowly kill themself and not be able to do anything about it. Report
I have two people in my life who are not healthy. I have asked them to join me, but they don't wish to do so. In my journey I've had to learn to take full responsibility for my actions (those fudge cookies didn't force themselves into my mouth). Just as I am in control of me, those other people are in control of themselves. They have to make their own choices. I have to be at peace that they have chosen to remain unhealthy. Report
Your mother has to want to change for her,.. It's not about you.
Sometime quality of life beats quanity hands down!! Report
I can't think of a lifestyle more unhealthy than yours. Get a grip. This isn't about your mom's yo-yo dieting and what it is doing to your mom. It is about you and what you want. Report
I have a family member who has put on 100+ pounds since she got married 9 years ago. Her mother always tried to blow it off that her daughter wasn't eating that much at home, so therefore she must have a medical condition. My ex-husband would often see this relative sitting alone in her car at a fast-food place just stuffing her face. And she would be the first to tell you that she was overweight simply because she liked food. Now, her husband has left her because of her weight, and she is trying to lose the weight for herself. I would love to tell her about SP, but I don't want to seem like yet another person is trying to tell her what she needs to do. If she asks me, I will lead her in this direction. She knows she hasn't been living the lifestyle that she should. Report
Keep setting a good example and be encouraging. You're right, you can't MAKE her change, she has to want it for herself. And you say she knows what she needs to do to live healthy, so what more can you do? Nagging will only get annoying and make her feel like you're judging her, it could even put a rift between you two if you're not careful/tactful. When she's really ready to change, I bet she knows she can count on you to be her cheerleader and help her if she needs it. In the meantime, accept her as she is or chooses to be. I believe we all have a purpose in life, there are no accidents, everything happens for a reason, so if it's meant to be, it will be. Report
wow, sorry i didnt mean to write a book, just my emotions started pouring out and all i could do is write them down.
WOW! reading this blog, really brings back some painful memories... You described me to a T.

When i was young i was always so skinny, never had to worry about weight. I thought I was one of the few lucky ones. but as i got older and started having children, i noticed that taking off the baby weight began to get even harder, by the time I had my 3rd and final child, it seemed as if I couldnt loose any of the weight. Here I am 12 1/2 yrs later, wondering where the time has gone. Still over weight, infact gained more than I did when I was pregnant.

about 8 years ago I was at the store, saw an old high school friend, I tried to avoid running into her, because i had gained so much weight. (I seriously was dodging behind clothes, running around corners, anything to avoid her from seeing me). well just when i thought i was in the clear I hear,"hey girl, I havent seen you for a while, how you been?" i looked over and there she was. I wanted to run, but I stayed and went to asked her about how she was doing, she looked down and before I could say anything she said," OMG how far along are you, and touched my belly". I was so imbarrassed, mad, and hurt. (I was not pregnant, but i didnt want to say anything so i went along..."5 months I said.") I wanted to leave the store, my entire day was shot. I was in a slump, and feeling very depressed. I wanted to cry.... but I didnt.

you would think after that imbarrassing ordeal i would of changed my eating habits, but I didnt... Infact it made me eat more, thats when i found out that i was an depressive eater. Years later I began to develop health problems... I was always sick, my mom would call and chew me out for not going to the doctors, she talked to me till she was blue in the face. but still I had excusses. "I went to the doctors, Im on meds, I just got sick, Its allergies," none of which were true, I never went to the doctors when i said i did, I was not on meds, but it just became a way of life for me, see i was always sick, that most times i didnt even know i was untill someone said something.

I decided it was time to do something about my weight, when everyone around me was going on diets... at work, at home, friends and family on the phone. so I tried... a good 3 months i lasted, lost 30lbs too. but then as soon as i noticed i was already back to my old ways. gained back all 30lbs and more.

I always said to myself that i need to go on a diet again. but time went by and i never did, just same ol excuses everytime the subject came up. then one day in november my mom emailed me and told me about spark, she said take a look, try it out, So later that night... very hesitatly.... did i want to get back into dieting? did i want the burden of watching what I eat, what I buy, and what I did all day long? well after looking at sparkpeople it was clear, this was not like a program i had ever been of before, everyone seems to want everyone to succeed. so i created a page, and thought about adding false information. (to make myself feel better, to hide from the truth like i had done for so many years) but then i thought about the times I was taken to the hospital by ambulance, because i couldnt breath, the times that my children would tell me that they dont think im going to live much longer, the times that my mom would be so concerned with my health that any time my phone would accidently call her up, and no one would talk she would be in a huge panic, thinking i was having an asthma attack and couldnt talk. THIS TIME IM GONNA TELL THE TRUTH, PUT IT ALL OUT THERE FOR OTHER TO SEE. this time i was going to do tell all, but I didnt want to have a face to go with my shame, my hurt, my pain... so I posted pictures with no face, created a profile with no name.

My only hope is that one day, I will be so proud of my accomplishments that I wont have to hide any more. that I can post my pictures with a face. and say my name without the shame. so my goal is that no matter how many times i fall off the wagon, eat the wrong thing, dont exercise, have guilt.... I will take it one day at a time and get inspired to do better tomorrrow, by reading spark blogs, articals, and talking to spark friends.

because no matter how many times it takes me to get to a place that i am truely happy with my self, as long as i have support, and motivation I will not fail. its not going to be an easy fix by any means. it will take time.... but i will keep trying because of all of you.

thanks spark people. Report
Well, I can understand your frustrations with your mom....me....that was me for years and years....up and down the scale over and over. My daughter grew up with me perpetually on a diet (she says) . I am not sure if that is what the problem is with her weight now. She still says I fuss too much, concentrate on eating right too much...excuse me...if I had NOT been dieting all my life, I am sure I would have been very huge!!! Course, I also believe dieting makes you fat...I don't DIET anymore...I eat sensibly and exercise!

My daughter is morbidly obese. At 38, says the Dr. says her health is fine....BUT....I too had no issues then, though I was not as heavy as she is...still, I started to see hypertension when I moved into my 40's.

So now, my frustration is to see HER get this weight off finally. She has been BIG since her marriage 15 years ago, but is alot bigger today than when she married. Her husband has a huge problem too. Both sleep with C-pap machines, I am sure related to their obesity.

All I can do is represent myself to her....getting my weight off...keeping it off for good...hope and pray she gets inspired one day, seeing her mom has been successful at managing her weight finally.

Hope does spring eternal! Report
I have the same problem. My mother is 83. She's been about 20 lbs overweight most of her life, mostly because she was on a lot of short term diets. In the last four years she developed high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes as a result of her 50 lb weight gain. She complains about all the pills she has to take and that clothes don't fit properly, but she won't do anything toward correcting these problems. I've been eating healthy for the past five years and now I can barely eat a meal with her. She finds fault with my healthy food and my size. It seems like she eats extra junk to annoy me. Some of my friends say that at 83 she should be able to relax and eat what she wants. I'm very afraid she'll develop serious health problems and want to start a healhy lifestyle after it's too late. Report
My mom struggles with her weight too. She has hypothyroidism. She is morbidly obese. Report
I am in the exact same shoes that you are in. I have always had to work hard my whole life not to gain significant weight, and although I haven't been perfect, I was far more successful than my mom and sister. My sister last year decided she had enough and began losing weight. She looked and felt great! My mom has been morbidly obese for as long as I can remember, but as she gets older it is having a significant impact on her health. She's now on blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, she's had to have cortisone shots in her foot because the excess weight is causing issues with walking...I could go on and on. My sister and I are so concerned and have both tried to talk to her about the importance of living a healthier lifestyle. We only want her to be around as long as possible to enjoy us and her grandchildren. But even though she says she agrees with us, she makes no attempt to change. I have finally given up. Somebody posted a message that said you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink it. How true is that! It saddens me that my time with my mom may be more limited than would be necessary if she made some changes, but at the same time, I can't MAKE her do it. She has to WANT to do it, and unfortunately she doesn't want to. So, now I stay out of it and just try to lead by example. Which isn't easy when she makes her yummy chocolate chip cookies every time I go home! :) Report
My sister just lost 19 lbs and I keep encouraging her and found that she is more aware of her food intake--sometimes I know but just eat it Report
Being someone that has struggled with weight my entire life, I can understand your concern. My mother was always the person that placed "food restrictions" on me ~ but it was never a 'lead by example' scenario.

I was never given any direction in healthy lifestyle or nutrition and was put on oh so many different diets, that it makes my head spin (grapefruit diet, cottage cheese diet, protein diet, etc).

Now I have the choice ~ wether I make good choices or bad choices, they are MY choices. It's very difficult to change 57 years of bad habits ~ but I'm already noticing changes.

In the past year, I've gone from the pizza, pasta, bread loving diet to craving things like broccoli, asparagus and salads. I will get to my destination ~ just not as quickly as my mother expects me to arrive! Report
There is nothing you can do. It is a lot like quitting smoking, you really have to want it or you will not stick to doing it. Unfortunatly the wakeup call may be a stroke or heart attack. With some people this is not enough
Just enjoy the time you have with your mother and support her if she asks Report
-Lead by example
-Don't judge
-Make time to spend together
-Enjoy the time spent together
-Laugh... talk... share Report
It quite upset me to think you are so critical of your Mother ,

perhaphs you are just so fit and slim she feels that its would be impossible to be like you

in our family it was my Mother who was the slim one always balancing her eating

it was me who went on one diet after another with gaps of years between
and now at 66 trying to lose more weight yet again

I would have hated it and been most upset if my Mother had said to me what you said to your Mother

I lost my Mother three years ago at the age of 88 my Father 16 weeks later at 86

my brother sadly died at 55 slim, fit and healthy until cancer struck

I have learnt you do not know what is around the next corner in this life

Christmas coming up so go back to your Mother give her a big hug and tell how much you love her

they used to say in England you never know when you will be hit by a tram

I am sorry to be blunt but for us without Mothers we know you are very lucky to have yours now ,today .
Aliciamary Report
Pray for your mom and then give her and her unhealthy lifestyle up to God to handle. It won't be anything you do or say that will change her, but you should continue with your example of a healthy lifestyle. I struggle in the same way for my grown children who don't eat properly and are slightly overweight. I only want them to be healthy. I finally realized that I was stressing myself out and aggravating them over something that I have no control over and cannot change. It must come from within them. I have given them to God and asked Him to take over. This brings me peace. Report
Your mom's story could be mine! The only thing you can do is to pray for her and make sure you let her know that you are concerned without nagging. When she has that definite moment when she decides to 'Get on the stick' then you will be available to help her all you can. How neat to have a close family member who is a personal trainer. Report
You can lead a horse to water but drinking it is up to them, I think that's how it goes. Just live your life life being healthy, sexy and vibrant and maybe someday she'll want to be like you. Good luck. Report
" I want her to change because she wants a higher quality of life for herself. But how do I get her to want that too?"

You can't. It has to come from within her. You're living a good example and that's all you can do. Also, for me "gentle hints" are about as subtle as a sledgehammer and cause backlash eating, so I wouldn't recommend trying that for your mom. Report
For years I've sat across the kichen table from my mom, blowing her smoke back at her. She use to always snicker at me. Over the years, I've gotten asthma and other respiratory problems. Finally one year, the day after Christmas, as we were driving along on our regular roadtrip, I looked over at her and said, "I know what I want for Christmas next year ...", Learily she asked, "what?". I said, "I want you to quit smoking!". As an only child of an only child, she really couldn't refuse, especially after she could see the effect is was having on my health. When I went home for Thanksgiving the next year, she asked if I'd noticed anything. I asked what. She said she'd quick back BEFORE I was home for Labor Day. I told her I loved her and explained that I hadn't noticed that I hadn't been coughing. (Heck it's so 'normal' for me to be coughing that I don't even notice one way or the other). And, hey, it only took 40+ years for me to come up with that brilliant Christmas present!!! Report
Hmmm, I didn't know that eating healthy and exercising guaranteed we will live to 100.... Is this issue more about you than your mom? My mom is overweight, so is my hubby. I am simply trying to lead by example with them and hope they can reach the point of needing to lose weight for themselves, not for me. I'm not a pinicle of health myself yet, but I am making better choices and hope they will follow. My mom goes to the Y with me now and my hubby walks with me, but neither is actively doing anything to change eating.... I have to remember it is not my problem and I have no control over their lives. Report
I know where you are coming from. My father is VERY overweight and it is affecting his health tremendously. However, that being said, you can't force any one to do anything they don't want to do. I would love nothing more than for my father to join me on the healthy lifestyle change, but if he doesn't want to, I can't make him. I can only hope that I can lead by example and maybe he might think about his own health after he sees the effects of my weight loss and lifestyle change. Report
My DH is just getting on the bandwagon. The sad thing is that he thinks of it as a diet instead of a life style change. Which is what it really has to be. Otherwise we just fool ourselves and slide back into our old habits. Weight loss starts in our mind first. I still struggle with it but I also try to exercise daily. I just keep doing my thing and hopefully my DH will stay with it this time. Report
First let me just say that telling someone you hope they live to be 100 is like wishing misery on them. That is selfish in my eyes. I didn't realize it until I hit 50 & started facing the truth about life. There is little to nothing that is delightful for most who live much beyond their 90's & in many cases 80's.

Otherwise, I have had a daughter finally realize it was imperative for HER health & happiness (not mine) to get a grip on her excessive weight. She lost 125 lbs in 9 months & kept it off for 7 yrs. Size 6 looked good on her, but so does size 10. (I remember when I had to buy her maternity clothes even though she wasn't pregnant).

Now I have a weight issue for the 1st time in my life. I've put on 20 lbs in the past 2 yrs & pray it never reaches 120 like it did for our daughter. I have learned to speak to her like I would like spoken to when we are out for lunch or planning a meal to cook together.

I know you will handle it well Jen & hope your Mother accepts whatever you can offer to help her lead a healthy life for however long it lasts - the 100 yrs is asking a little much of anyone in my eyes! I know I am not the only one who has no desire to live that long. There is life beyond life on earth that many of us Active Older Adults look forward to!

Grandchildren are nice, but there comes a time when it's not about children & grandchildren anymore. I think I would encourage you to focus on your Mom, not your children. Report
Maybe she is just tired of always being on a diet. Do you struggle with your weight to know what she is really going through? Is she obsessive with dieting or think about dieting most of the time? Maybe she just needs a mental break from someone, including herself, about dieting and when it is not thought about constantly, then maybe it won't seem such a chore and she will find the interest again. It is like trying to run up a steep mountain with weights tying you down at the bottom. Anyone that struggles with their weight can understand that. It seems no matter what you do weight goes up and down. It is great though that she loves herself no matter what size that is important. It is also wonderful that she has you to be supportive of her both in good and difficult times.. It is interesting that you are a fitness trainer. What sparked your interest to become a fitness trainer? Was there something in your childhood that sparked your interest to become a trainer? Just curious. Also, as we age, our metabolism naturally slows down making it harder to lose weight if we do not change habits and it especially gets difficult to loose weight after menopause. Although I understand your concern with your mother's health, remember the age differences between you and your mother and the different nutritional intake and exercise needs based on that factor. And if your persistence and concern is truly about your mother's health and not about fear of following the same path as your mother, then just be supportive. Your mom knows what she does/doesn't do right/wrong and doesn't need to be reminded, but by being there to listen and being supportive when, she decides on her own, to make that change will be the best gift you can give her. One thing my mother taught me with weight problems, of which we have both struggled with for years, is this....maybe ask her instead of what she is eating but what is eating at her? Sometimes emotional eating can be a dieter's worst nightmare. Report
Have you invited your Mom to join SparkPeople? Then if she does, show her how fun it can be to lose weight with others on the same journey. Don't nag, just encourage. Report
I am in a minority here! When my husband or son makes note of how often or much i am eating, I appreciate it. I am initially defensive, but after some time, i see their point. I am already committed to lose weight and be healthy, so that may be the difference.
The comments are not made as put-downs or guilt trips, but out of love and concern. I think it is worth saying something to an overweight loved one. If they are inclined to take it to heart, you will know by their response. Report
I am the one who struggles with a healthy lifestyle. From my perspective you really can't fix me but show love and support when I do decide to make an effort. Nagging or monitoring what I eat and letting me know it isn't good for me doesn't work - trust me I do know what is good for me. Sometimes it pushes me the wrong direction because of frustration. The most encouraging thing to me is to not make a big deal of my efforts but ask me do you want to go for a walk with me, swimming or whatever small fitness activity that we could enjoy together. The other thing that helps is during family food times (reunions, picnics, etc. try and bring healthy choices for everyone not just because "so in so is on a diet". We can all use healthier choices anyway. Report
It makes me sad to read this blog, mostly because it's about me. I am the mother of two daughters, and I am the same as your mother. I have struggled all my life with obesity. I have bestowed weight issues on my girls as if they were favors. Now at 61, I am struggling once more. This time to be healthy. Don't get me wrong, I am not sick. My only real health issues are diabetes (mostly familial) and arthritis from my years as a bedside nurse. But now I have realized I am geting older, stiffer, less mobile. I don't like it. So here I am on SP trying to get in better shape. I have been exercising 4-5X/week and eating better. Not perfect, perhaps, but better. My motivation? My grandson and other grandchildren as yet unborn. I want to be around to enjoy them, not sit on the sidelines due to poor health. My younger daughter has been a great inspiration to me. She gained weight while in a bad relationship. She brought herself out of that state and dragged me with her, although unwittingly. She has been the catalyst that got me to exercise by doing a gym bootcamp. I relaized that if she could do this. I could use the treadmill in my basement. And so, Jen, don't think your mother doesn't hear you. She does. And when she is ready, she will act on it. Report
My son and Daughter-In-Law are both very over weight. Like 400 pounds for him and around 300 pounds for her. Nothing seems to inspire them to do something about their weight. They both have some health issues but deny their weight has anything to do with them. Now they encourage my Granddaughter to over eat. I don't want to see her have the same problem with weight when she grows up so I told her if she is full she should just say she is full and can't eat anymore. I do wish they would get active and eat more healthy but there is nothing I can say or do to get them motivated. My husband and I invited them to walk at the mall with us but that only lasted about a week and they just stopped showing up. If we called they just made up excuses. So we finally just dropped it and just walk ourselves. I think everyone is right it has to be their decision.
Talk about an age old question. When you find the answer PLEASE blog it - I have daughters that I would like to see develop healthy habits now that I have finally learned them. I regret that I didn't know while they were growing up what I know now. I've had numerous people state that I've inspired them - and that is great - but the two I want to inspire the most - aren't inspired. ;o( Report
About all you can do is pray for her, you cannot change her. Just support her and accept her, then leave it in God's capable hands. Easier said than done. Good Luck. Report
About all you can do is pray for her, you cannot change her. Just support her and accept her, then leave it in God's capable hands. Easier said than done. Good Luck. Report
My husband would hear no talk of dieting even though he has diabetes and was 70 pds. overweight. I don't know if it was me getting serious about losing weight myself (31 pds so far! and only 6 to go) but one day this past summer he just changed his mind and has lost over 50 pounds! I tried in the past and he only got angry, I don't know if my diet triggered him but something triggered him and I am oh so thankful! Report
it has to be up to them. My family has all been heavy and I decided enough was enough. I started to lose because I wanted to. My father does well during the week cuz I do most of the cooking but on weekends he blows it.My self image has always been low and it still is in many ways. Ive lost 124 lbs in about 2 1/2 yrs but still see myself as the fat person I was. All you can do is show them healthier ways to cook, try The Hungry Girl's cookbook, its awesome and redoes a lot of recipes, even the blooming onion. Good luck. Report
My 86 yr old mother is the only person who doesn't actively take care of herself and her diabeties. There is nothing anyone can say or do... she will do what she wants.

But fortunately, everyone around me in my family is fit and healthy. I am the only one who struggles with weight. Since I had my thyroid removed, I have had a hard time keeping up with them. Report
People know what they look like. I think nagging only reinforces their low-self image, especially for those who have struggled with weight. Her past of "yo yo dieting" means she is already having a hard time accepting how she looks, and though by encouraging her to diet again may in the end cause her to temporarily lose weight again, its not contributing to the permanent lifestyle change she needs to make. Like many have said here, if she taught you to accept yourself, be gracious to give her the same gift and love her no matter what. One thing you can do is set a good example; have your mom over for dinner, or take her out with you on an activity like hiking, playing tennis, or golfing. My partner wouldn't make exercise or eating healthy a priority. I make sure I do most of the cooking and try to keep him active with me by going on dog walks together. Since we started this he's shed 10 pounds without even trying! I admit I'm a little jealous, heh. Report
It's her struggle. Just let you mom know that you still love her as herself, and that if she needs any assistance, you will be there for her. Then let it go. If she comes to your place, have healthy choices there. And keep eating well, don't let this derail you. Set the example. And when she's ready, she'll make the decision and start eating healthy and working out again. Report
Sadly, it's not about you or your desires. Because she loves you, she would please you if she could. But she has to need and want weight loss for herself more than anything else before she can summon the inner strength it takes to lose it and keep it off. I've looked at the people from biggest loser who gained their weight back and as long as someone else was training them, pushing them, cooking for them, they could lose but there was no inner core that motivated them to keep it off. And I guess this is just garbled but for myself I think, pray, and hope my motivator is coming from within these days and not from without. Report
The only thing I'm able to do is show em how much fun your having and how good you feel and hope they want to join in at some point.... it's my DH for me... sigh Report
Jen, I know it is hard - but the truth is that if she is not ready, she is not ready! If she has been on/off different restrictive diets over the years, the dread factor and internal belief that all that hard work will come to nothing is going to be difficult to overcome. Her reality has been that ultimately nothing works. Planned PT works for many, but it is not the only and frankly not the best way to burn a lot of calories - an active lifestyle is far superior if you look realistically at how many calories are burned during a day. So match her wishes and needs. Invite her for physical activities that *she* enjoys. Don't assume that because you are a PT you know best. Take her walking through museums if she likes that. Bring her a a healthy meal for lunch - made from food *she* loves, perhaps a Hungry Girl adaptation of fish and chips - just because. Let her achieve stability in her life; it is far better than the yoyo. So what if she never reaches the perfect weight. Each little change will add to her health and lifespan.

She's your mom. You love her. Love her in healthy ways that fit what she likes about her own life, not those things that you like about yours. Report
I have a sister that struggles with her weight and seems like she always has from a young child on. It is a very touchy or sensitive subject to even mention and so our family does not. Recently however, I have noticed that she is making comments about how she needs to do something about it, so I am trying to figure out a way to help her. I have given her the SparkPeople website address, but I don't think this is for her. She really doesn't like to spend much time on the internet or phone. She does this daily at work and avoids it when she is at home. I will keep trying to figure something out. I will never give up. Report
Don't nag! I understand you only want to help, but it's still nagging. If she doesn't realize she has a problem, your telling her won't help. If she does know she has a problem, all you'll do is make her feel worse. And you won't solve the problem.

I'm the fat mother, 68 years old and overweight. Thank goodness my daughter doesn't nag me. She knows better than to do so.

But my partner nags me, telling me how much he "loves" me, and that's why he "has to" tell me. All he succeeds in doing is making me feel worse. His pestering me doesn't make me able to lose the weight.

(And I'm horrified by the person who suggests an intervention. Yes, I know interventions are fashionable on TV these days, but they're really abuse. I know this from experience when I took part in an intervention, and it ended with the person intervened on attempting suicide.)

I'm sorry your mom has this weight problem, but I don't know that you can do anything but butt out and don't nag her. Report
If your mom knows that she "should" and she is obviously a very capable woman, because she apparently raised you well :) she will have to come to the conclusion on her own. SHE has to make the decision, and repeatedly reminding her of her short-comings may have the opposite effect by inadvertently putting more stress on her which can slow the decision. My suggestion would be, since she has taught you to love yourself for who you are, regardless, please love her as she is: a smart woman, a courageous woman, and she is your mother. You only have one, and once she is gone, you will wish that you had supported her and loved her unconditionally.

She knows what needs to be done, she is a responsible adult, and she needs to decide over her future on her own. Report
I agree with all the folks saying that no one will do anything unless THEY want to. And you can't make 'em want to... sometimes it means hitting "Rock Bottom". This has happened to me -- when I got heart palpitations and Type II Diabetes on top of my high blood pressure, my doctor got blunt with me and told me I was going to die unless I changed how I lived my life. I cried like a baby that night, but woke up with a resolve that I was not going to die like that.

Not even that may change someone's mind, or waiting until "Rock Bottom" may be too late and the news may inspire not action but hopelessness :-( How then to change the mindset?

I speak about this from experience about being on the other end of things... that subtle influence of friends works sometimes. However, it's only credible if those friends are close to me in size and know firsthand the struggles I have to go to.

There, I think, is where the author of the post is in trouble with her mother. The author is probably wonderfully thin and fit, the mom probably looks at that and says, "It's too much, I can't get to that high point. What's the use." Whereas if the mom had a friend close to her in age/size where she could buddy up on fitness goals, she would find it more attainable, and look at her own successes as huge achievements (as they rightly are!) instead of the inadequate, incomplete attempts to get to where her daughter is.

Where to get those friends? Well, you can't force friends on anyone just as you can't force a mindset on anyone. Sometimes Weight Watchers has social events, or maybe her church/synagogue has a group for fitness -- maybe talk to the pastor. Your mom can't just have a nagging daughter, however well intentioned. She needs a friend who can walk with her, not prod her. Report