In Need of Advice

My dad, who is in his early 60s, is quite overweight. He needs to lose at least 60-70 pounds, maybe more. He’s been overweight for as long as I can remember, though it seems he has gained even more weight in the last year or so.

A few years ago, when my nephew was born, he decided to do something about his weight. He wanted to be around for his grandson, so he followed the Atkins diet and walked each day on a treadmill at home. During that time he managed to lose 50 pounds. Unfortunately that weight loss was short lived. Since that time he’s gained back all the weight he lost plus some.

I’m extremely worried about him. My grandfather died just after I was born from a stroke. The last in a series of three. The second one left him paralyzed; unable to speak or walk. I’ve feared for my dad’s health since I was a child. I carve out time in every nightly prayer to ask God to watch over him.

I would do anything to help my dad lose this weight, but I’m just not sure what to do. When family members bring up the topic he says we’re nagging him. We constantly tell him how much we want him to be around, how much we love him, and how we want the best for him. This usually sparks his enthusiasm for a week or two, but as time goes on he falls back into his old patterns… poor eating habits and a lack of exercise.

I was wondering if any of the readers of this blog have advice on how to help me help my dad. I’d do anything for him and I could use some advice.

12 thoughts on “In Need of Advice”

  1. Weight watchers flexible points plan.. Do it online so you don’t have to go to those weigh-in meetings. It’s a nice mechanical approach that appeals to a guys sense of simplicity… you can eat anything you want as long as you stay within your daily food points.. you can become more active to gain more food points… or not.. up to you… Lots of 0 or 1 point foods to eat whenever you get hungry…

  2. I hate diet plans, but I must say that weight watchers is a good one. Instead of not allowing you to eat certain foods, weight watchers limits the amount of food you eat (any food).

    He also needs to get into a routine of working out. That can be walking on a treadmill, jogging, lifting weights, biking etc. Starting a routine is the hardest part, so if he has someone to go with, that will definitely help.

  3. I’d also recommend Weight Watchers as a lifestyle not a diet. Here in Australia they have a special Mens’ version – I suggest seeing if they have the same where you are…

    Be warned though – your Dad may be stunned by the amount her has to eat when he starts on Weight Watchers!

  4. An idea I had recently is to have healthy low calorie snacks readily available. I tend to snack a bit and just eat whatever’s convenient which is often biscuits (U.S cookies) which are high in both both sugar and fat. You could research some products or recipes and buy or make some for your father – something he can put into a routine. Something tasty and filling – filling is important as if you are feeling hungry all the time it’s only a matter of time before your willpower breaks and you eat like crazy. High protein foods are good for this.

  5. does he have a weight-loss buddy? The only times I’ve successfully lost a significant amount of weight (for me) was when I had at least one buddy or was part of a group. do you, or another family member, live really close to him? If so, you could ask him to start going for walks or biking with you.

  6. First, accept that you might not be able to do anything. I’m not trying to be crappy, but I’ve been battling this with my mom (also in her early 60’s) for 15 years, and there are more bad times than good.

    A program like weight watchers might help, but really you have to figure out what might motivate him, and then find what’s keeping him from acting on it. In my mom’s case, she KNOWS she is unhealthy and has tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt to prove it; she is often just too lazy (her word) and unmotivated to change because, really, junk food tastes good and she doesn’t like anything that seems like work.

    My mom feels nagged, too, whether it’s because I offered to pay for a gym membership or exercise equipment, cook for her or give her some food ideas, or sometimes just because she calls and I’m at the gym. What can we really do?

    Your dad has to want to do it for himself, and he has to feel that there’s really something worth living for and know that he’s in control of his life. I don’t mean to imply at all that he doesn’t care about you, but that’s somehow disconnected from his lifestyle choices.

    If you can, unpack these issues with him, or at least get him started. Then be there with an arsenal of ideas when he’s ready to work – reminders of when he succeeded, new foods to try, and workout ideas that will suit him. Best of luck – I know firsthand that it’s a trying process.

  7. Yeah, the above poster is correct; there may be nothing you can do. The only things I can think of:

    1) Make it clear (if it hasn’t already) that you are openminded and willing to talk to him about methods to lose weight, be his buddy to talk him down when he’s craving an unhealthy snack, etc., walk/run with him (if you live close).

    2) Talk about your difficulties with eating correctly, exercising regularly, etc. Sometimes when you’re off the wagon, it’s hard when others are so ‘good’ at keeping a routine that you can’t seem to follow. make sure he knows everyone struggles, and it’s a day to day, one-decision at a time kind of thing, not all or nothing, which is how he seems to live.

    3) who buys his food? If it’s your mom, maybe she can cut back on the junk food buying and lay out easy healthy snacks–I know that I would eat better if there were a plate of yummy cut up fruit and veggies in the fridge to snack on quickly.

    4) Make it a family thing. If you guys are ALL committed to helping him, when you get together, ONLY have healthy foods available. Additionally, go for a walk as a family after the meal; make it a social, fun family activity.

    5) when the grandkid is older, use him to motivate your dad. i know i was a big factor in getting my dad to stop drinking–a few words from me were all he needed.

    Good Luck! I also struggle with my dad’s unhealthy habits. It’s tough to see them kill themselves slowly…

  8. Thank you all for your advice.

    I like the idea of having snacks and other healthy foods available on a more regular and permanent basis. I will try to recruit my mom to make healthier choices available for him.

    I also like the buddy idea. I don’t live close enough to my dad to exercise with him. My mom does encourage him, but usually she fails to get him to walk her.

    I may be able to recruit my brother, (who lives just a few minutes away from my parents), to exercise with him. Even one night a week would be better than nothing.

    I’m wondering if I could get my dad a fitness coach, or if he would resent me horribly for doing something like that. It’s not exactly a buddy, but it may be good motivation to have someone watching his progress and encouraging him to exercise.

    While I research that I’m also going to look into a Weight Watcher’s membership for my dad.

    As the anonymous commenter noted, my dad has to want to change his habits, but I’ll certainly do all I can to encourage him.

  9. change his lifestyle, diets don’t work, but eating healthier and more appropriate portions does, combined with exercise.

    swimming at a local pool is great exercise, and very easy on the body.

  10. Some little exercise can help your dad. A ten minute walk around the neighborhood. There are lots of ways for your dad to loose weight. But i don’t not recommend diet. He might not follow it.


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