Maybe I Just Donít Get It

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/7/2010 6:01 AM   :  369 comments   :  31,033 Views

A few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with two of my close family members. They are sisters who have both struggled with their weight for a number of years. Both have been able to lose weight and change their lifestyles temporarily, only to gain the weight back (and sometimes more) within a year or less.

I donít remember exactly how the conversation started, but I think they were both complaining about how their clothes donít fit and they needed to do something about the extra weight they are carrying around. They discussed starting a diet program in a few weeks, after the Labor Day weekend festivities with parties full of yummy food and drinks. "Why wait?" I asked. "If youíre really ready to change your lifestyle, you shouldnít wait for a specific event to pass before you do it. Why not start today?" They both gave some excuses about how hard it was to stay on track when everyone around you is indulging (which I understand), and that it would be easier just to hold off. My response was that there will always be another event coming up. There will always be some reason to wait, and the timing is never going to be perfect. But you learn to cope with those tough times so that you can stay on track no matter what the situation.

One of their comments really struck me: "I was happier, I had more energy and felt better about myself when I was in-shape and eating right." My immediate response was: "Knowing that, doesnít it motivate you to try to change again?" Her response was that itís not that easy. "You just donít understand because you havenít been there."

They both feel like their lifestyles- activities they do and friends they socialize with- make a lifestyle change more difficult. One said that her friends like to eat out a lot, or if they were gathering at a friendís house, for example, snacks were always involved. I understand that can make healthy eating more challenging, but Iíve been out to eat with both of these women before. Eating out does not mean that you have to order the fettuccini alfredo or fish and chips. And if youíre bringing a snack to someoneís house, bring a veggie tray instead of cheese dip. It seems simple to me, but maybe thatís where Iím missing something.

At the end of the conversation, I felt like we were no closer to change than when we began. They felt like I didnít understand how hard it was to make permanent changes. I felt like they were making excuses and not even trying. I tried to emphasize the idea that you donít need to drastically change all of your habits overnight, because even small changes can lead to big results.

What do you think? Am I missing something because Iíve never had these kinds of personal struggles? I know lifestyle changes are hard, but am I oversimplifying it? Maybe they just aren't ready yet?


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Comments

  • 319
    I think you are right, you can't talk anyone into a change they are not ready to make. I believe everyone has to come to that place in their life and only they can make the commitment to change when they are ready for it. It seems to take some people longer to feel the NEED to change, some never seem to feel it. - 9/17/2010   6:40:05 AM
  • 318
    You can lead a horse to water....Making him drink is a whole different matter if he's not ready for a drink. - 9/15/2010   7:27:52 PM
  • JEAN_WIKE
    317
    They just aren't ready yet. - 9/15/2010   6:03:47 PM
  • ZYXKONRAD
    316
    I don't get it, either. My stepdaughter moved in with us to go back to college. She smokes heavily. She has smoked/quit several times, and she was going to quit by the time she moved in with us in July. Hasn't yet. Says that a good target date is "the great American smokeout" in--NOVEMBER. Now, she doesn't smoke in the house, but still, a smoker is a smoker--it's revolting. I want her to start NOW. What's with "November"? - 9/15/2010   9:17:54 AM
  • 315
    Every person must walk their own path. The article makes perfect sense when one is thinking logically; but having hypothroidism and being an emotional eater, I have used all those excuses and more. No one can tell you what to do. You have to be ready to commit to lifestyle changes, but also be ready to forgive yourself if you slip. - 9/13/2010   3:26:53 PM
  • WINEDINETRAVEL
    314
    I wonder if you had suggested, "What is one small, positive step you could make today?" if they would have started thinking about lifestyle rather than diet. - 9/13/2010   1:47:36 PM
  • 313
    You don't really get it. It is one of those things you have to actually go through to understand. Many of us have starved and lost weight and gained it back. It is very frustrating and you get to the point of why bother. When my daughter's dance group was going to Disneyland to dance I knew I had to get some weight off or I would never make it. I happened to run across an article in People magazine about a lady who lost over 100 pounds using Sparkpeople. It was the right article at the right time and I have never been happier than I am losing through Sparkpeople. I still have about 105 pounds to lose but I know I will make it. You don't starve and you can occasionally eat your favorite foods only in moderation and if you do fall your friends are there to pick you up and get you right back on track. - 9/13/2010   11:50:30 AM
  • 312
    I needed to lose weight for a long time and was not willing to give up all the foods that i liked. Then when my weight was close to me being obese i knew i had to do something. Or i would develop all the medical problems that most of my family has. When i mention to my daughter that i was trying to lose weight she told me about SP. Wow was i glad that i didn't have to give up all my favorites treats, but had to eat them in moderation and fit them into my calorie count for the day. It took me 20 years to be ready to lose the weight i needed to. So your right they have to be ready to lose the weight, we can lead them into the right direction but can't do it for them. - 9/13/2010   10:10:47 AM
  • 311
    Everything you said is absolutely correct - but the same statement coming out of your mouth and my mouth may be received differently. Your credibility comes from training, my comes from pictures. I look to people like you to teach me what I don't know and to correct misconceptions I may have. People look to me - cause I've been there done that. BUT - I have a friend who "says" I'm her inspiration, she's watched me do it and says she wants help doing it and quizzed me about what I eat. But then we stopped at Red Lobster - she saw what I ordered and watched me NOT take the cheddar bay biscuits - saying they freeze well and some time when I've saved for one I'll pop it in the microwave - she gobbled both of hers, even after I said they had so many calories - her two biscuits had nearly as much in them than my grilled salmon sandwich, and she also had her entree. She is just not ready to make the commitment. She's joined spark, but doesn't use it even after seeing me and a lady at work loose over 100 pounds each. Sometimes people just want to complain and not do anything to help their situation. Sad to say! - 9/12/2010   9:29:08 PM
  • 310
    Maybe you just don't get it!

    It is very discouraging to work so hard to lose weight by starving yourself and working out like mad, get to a plateau or worse start gaining and have to blame yourself for not succeding. I've been there over and over and got so frustrated I quit believing I could really do it. Putting off the frustration makes perfect sense.

    Having a tool so you know what to do and some encouragement makes all the diffrence. Spark really does empower us to do this for ourselves. The nutrition calculator allows me to know what my real calorie intake is. Having the fitness calculator gives me an aproximate idea what my outgo is. Encouragement and the assurance that going slow is a good thing really helps. Without this help I would be so discouraged i wouldn't even want to try. Now I am succeding and loving it. It is still hard but it isn't hopeless and frustrating.

    THANK YOU SPARK!!!

    - 9/12/2010   6:56:28 AM
  • 309
    I think you nailed it in your question at the end - they are simply not ready yet. When they are, they will do their own research and figure out what works for long-term weight loss and maintenance, but until then, no one else's opinions are going to matter. Weight loss is deeply personal, it attaches to extremely basic parts of people's identities, so it's not surprising that most of us are here on SP because we didn't make the simple choices that would have left us feeling healthier and happier.
    - 9/12/2010   6:29:48 AM
  • JEANNIEBUG55
    308
    I've been where these ladies are. At some point in the years of dieting and failing you begin to lose hope that change can happen. No one can make them change. They have to want it. I had to get to the point that I was sick and tired of being obese. I pray God give me the strength for the journey and friends to help me along the way. I don't need critisim, but sympathy isn't good either. Just good friends that will suport me. - 9/11/2010   10:10:06 PM
  • 307
    everything you say is true..and everything they say is true. I had a friend who always said.."if you want to know anything about a diet, ask a fat person because we have tried them all". we all know the 'rules' but sticking to them is easier said than done. And though support is wonderful..ultimately...it is the hand that feeds the mouth that makes the decision. - 9/11/2010   6:30:02 PM
  • 306
    My husband's always telling me "You can't push a wet noodle" Seems to me these women are finding desire for change, but haven't committed. I think you opened the garden gate, planted the seed and when the season's right the seed will grow - 9/11/2010   5:23:46 PM
  • 305
    I don't think you were missing anything it is just that you didn't understand their mindset or logic. You were looking at logically and they are not there yet. I've been where they are. I watch others that I know struggle with daily things, not necessarily weight, and they make similar types of excuses. I become frustrated and ultimately avoid conversations that might veer into excuseland. Complaining about their weight then making excuses says that they are not ready to take responsibility yet. I doubt that it is only a weight issue... it is probably a stinking thinking issue. - 9/11/2010   12:19:54 PM
  • 304
    I would have to agree with you and I understand where they are coming from. Eventually they will get tired enough to stop making excuses. I used to always do that. Make up a reason why I couldn't start now or stick to it. I was just feeling like my motivation was starting to slip and reading this makes me want to get up now and go do the workout video I have in the VCR to make up for missing the gym yesterday! - 9/11/2010   11:17:51 AM
  • KARRIESNEWLIFE
    303
    From what I read that you wrote, It sounds like they B...CH too much & don't want to take Full Responsibility fer Their Weight Gain Actions. (I believe like you, "Why Wait fer Tomorrow, It might Never Show U-p". ) Or the other saying, "When your 100+ & Your still Wondering, The What Ifs in Life".

    Think of Weight Loss like any other Addiction. If they aren't ready to take the 1 St Step, to Resolve the Addiction, They will keep Failing. From what I read, Your Family Members aren't Ready. And please don't think me Cruel but, when one of them ends up in the Hospital, because they Can't Breath, under all that Weight, It might be their Wake Up Call.


    Good Luck my Friend & Keep Nudging them.

    Karrie C.
    - 9/11/2010   2:43:29 AM
  • 302
    I think it's kindda like being an alcoholic: Until THEY want to really change, it's useless to try to 'advise' them... it was probably like that for you too... the change to commitment to getting fit by losing weight and exercise didn't 'stick' until it was really YOUR decision, in YOUR time. Your best example is your silent one: fit and feeling fabulous with lotsa energy, oh yeah :) - 9/10/2010   11:03:06 PM
  • 301
    What do I think???
    Well, Since you asked....big grin. I don't have any background on these two ladies you are referring to so I can not give specifics for them.

    As to are you missing something because you have not had the same kind of personal struggles....perhaps...Although I do not think that means you can not give good advice and counsel. Perhaps...they are not just ready yet as you say..

    I can speak on my own struggles and I can tell you it is not easy...I have been thin...overweight and now very overweight....OMG...I said it again...boy that was hard!!!

    First....Everything IS MUCH HARDER WHEN YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT!!!!

    Second...In my personal opinion,
    if they are giving you reasons as to why it is so - the label "excuses" just sounds harsh, uncaring and unmotivating.

    Third - It seems like
    they are having inner conflict as well....I often struggle with this...food as comfort and food as fuel...

    Wanting to lose weight and look and feel good. And, Wanting to just eat and enjoy the comfort that food
    provides.

    Now, I am working
    on a balance of the two. And, yes...It's not easy but I am doing it!

    I could elaborate more and more but, I think you'll get the idea.

    Love you, Jen

    - 9/10/2010   10:53:45 PM
  • 300
    No goal will be obtained until you are ready to work for it...and trying to lose weight, just to make someone else happy, DOESN'T WORK...I can tell you that by personal experience...and it just leads to yo-yo weight gains and losses...when they are ready, they will join us in our quests...

    - 9/10/2010   8:43:50 PM
  • 299
    I think if you're going to make a commitment to healthier living, you have to do it NOW, not later. Like you said, there will ALWAYS be "something" that will stand in your way. Labor Day has come & gone, and now the colder weather will come, along with some major holiday obstacles. I have been there, and the ONLY way you are going to make a change for the better permanently is to change your mindset. I used to feel like it was punishment to have to order the healthier meal at a restaurant. Now I look at it as: Yay! I don't have to cook, I get to spend time with family/friends. It's NOT about the food. Would I like to eat my share of the appetizer? You bet. And please don't get me started about dessert. But the fact is: if you want to be healthy, you MUST make that commitment, regardless of the obstacles.

    Sounds like a bunch of excuses to me, or the desire to be skinnier without the gumption to work for it. - 9/10/2010   5:29:32 PM
  • 298
    It is neat... I'm seeing that I was like them a year and a half ago. When friends would mention going on a diet together... I would avoid them! I think it was because several times before I'd been on various diets, successfully, but felt very deprived, and ended up gaining back even more than I'd lost with each attempt.

    This time it is better - and my idea :o) The amazing thing is that each day I'm learning to keep going after "failures", and learning to enjoy more healthy choices as well. It is going slowly, but I think that is helping it to be a habit, rather than something that I'll eventually rebel against.
    - 9/10/2010   10:42:35 AM
  • KALVINS_MAMA
    297
    They stated why... It may not be your choice but it's theirs.. Respect it! A lot of people wait for specific days like New Years Day. Is is right? I dont know, maybe for them it is. I think you should have just listened and offered encouragment for when they do start by saying you will be there for them. Think outside of your box ,never reply without thinking things over in your head. You should have thought what they might feel like or think if you made a comment like that. You should not be telling them what to do and when but offering pointers instead. - 9/10/2010   9:10:16 AM
  • 296
    Sometimes people need to resolve something else in their life before they can have success in other areas such as weight lose. I can see now how simple being healthy is, but while I was working at a job I hated, my body deteriorated because of the hard work, my children fighting with health issues, my heart in an unforgiven state from my childhood and my husband seeming to be no help because he didn't know how to help, well, yes weight lose was too hard.

    Fast forward to the present, trusting God with my childrens health, quit my job, replaced unforgiveness with forgiveness and showing my husband how much I appreciate him, well weight lose is a breeze now. I actually enjoy the journey, mistakes and all. - 9/10/2010   8:55:27 AM
  • 295
    Yes, Jen, you're missing something. If you've never had to lose a lot of weight, you don't know how much shame and regret you have to wade through to start the struggle back to where you used to be. In the years after college, I was the smallest I'd ever been in my adult life--size 6 and 125 lbs. I could run a 5K in 23 minutes on a very good day. 15 years, 3 kids, and 80lbs later, I talked a lot about wanting to lose weight.

    And the only way I knew how to lose weight was as a young, single person. Back then, I could ride my bike wherever I wanted to go, I had the time to go to the gym or go for two and three-hour bike rides. I also worked like crazy, setting my own hours, often skipping meals. Most of those things that were easy fixes when I was single are extremely complicated as a mother. I can still do them, obviously, but it's not simple, and I have to plan and make time now. When I was on my own, and even when I was married with no kids, a lot more of my time was just there, and I wasn't responsible for keeping anyone else safe and accounted for. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it's more complicated and I didn't know how.

    I'm 25 lbs of the way back to my jogging, healthy, smaller self, but I had to come up with a completely different set of tools to do it. Here's how I finally started: I spent over six months talking about wanting to lose weight, thinking about what I needed to do, how I was going to do it, where I was going to find the time for exercise, how I was going to find, buy and prepare healthy food, easing the kids off the family pizza addiction, etc. I didn't know that's what I was doing, but I was getting my mental house in order. I'm grateful nobody got all "Do it right now" in my face while I was figuring things out, because when I started, I was ready, which means I was successful.

    By telling you they want to wait until Labor Day, your sisters are telling you they aren't ready for the stress of a serious life overhaul. All change involves stress, even good change. I admire them for knowing their limits.

    I see that you really want to help them, and I know how frustrating it is when people you love are doing things you can see are hurting them. You look at them and it's like, "If you would just walk over to where I am, I could show you the most amazing view." They can't walk that far. Or they're afraid to walk that far. Or they're more interested in the little boring view from where they stand.

    I think a good way to help is this: the next time they're talking about things they used to do when they were healthier, suggest a small version of the same thing. If they're talking about how they used to run, suggest going out for a walk. Make it easy for them--arrange the time, pack the food, make it family friendly if they've got kids.

    Then if they say yes, you'll get them out having the actual feeling that they miss so much. That's actually got a chance of helping them to feel like maybe the trip back to health is worth the struggle.
    - 9/10/2010   8:23:19 AM
  • LINDALEE51
    294
    You shared your experience and strength. And that does not mean that anyone else will see it that way, but you might have planted a seed, maybe a new way to think about "dieting." By the very fact that you are on SparkPeople, you are trying to take care of yourself. My weight has been an issue all my life. If I don't stay close to healthy plan, the weight comes pouring on. When I'm talking with a friends, like you were, and share my struggles or share comments like you did, I get the same responses. And they think is it just so easy for me and say so...and that is so far from the truth, but they are not going to see it. BUT, when in a conversation when I can add a piece of my journey I will add to the conversation, because I do have things to share that have worked for me and have lead me to eating healthier. I think you done good. I do believe if people take it personally or with contempt, that is their issues showing up. - 9/10/2010   12:16:32 AM
  • 293
    To me, telling people about healthy eating habits and change is like witnessing to others about Jesus. They are not ready to listen all the time. - 9/9/2010   11:47:18 PM
  • TESS_O_LANDS
    292
    I think a number of things are true, your relatives are in denial and don't really want to change, or perhaps they want to change but think it is too hard and also they are projecting their inability to change their weight/lifestyle permanently (and it IS hard but it is do-able) on you because they think you don't understand or they are jealous because you "haven't been there."

    The other thing that may be true is that you DON'T understand if you haven't walked in these particular shoes.

    Or have you? Can you honestly say that everything in your lifestyle that relates to this issue is 100 percent perfect, that you eat perfectly (I don't lol), exercise perfectly (ditto), etc.? Are there other things about your health that you are neglecting or in denial about, even if only a little?

    Perfection IS hard to achieve, so maybe you can find a common ground with them by reflecting on and sharing your own struggles with weight/fitness/health, whatever, even if they are not the same struggles they are experiencing. Maybe that would help them not feel you are harboring feelings of superiority over them but that as sisters you are all in it together. - 9/9/2010   10:27:10 PM
  • 291
    Wow, look at all the very long comments. Obviously you touched a sore spot with a lot of people. I feel compelled to comment because I have been in your spot and in your relatives spot. They are not mentally ready to commit to sticking to a healthy lifestyle change. It is one thing to say you want to change and another to be ready to take that first step. Its not easy. This site would not be successful if it was. I think it is a self-esteem issue. Once they value themselves and their own health, they will be ready to make the commitment and stick to it. Until then, they will continue to yoyo diet and swing up and down in their weight. There isn't anything you can do except keep being a great example and a motivator. - 9/9/2010   6:00:10 PM
  • 290
    I understand the sisters. I have been there and done that. I have a solution for them but they may not be ready...WLS. Once you committ to it ...it is amzing. No more hunger and no more over eating - 9/9/2010   5:59:40 PM
  • WISTERIALODGE
    289
    I don't see that they made a true lifestyle change if they've lost and gained within a year multiple times. A lifestyle change is ongoing, over years, not just something that can be neglected once the challenging weight has come off, allowing complacency to creep in.

    It's like being an alcoholic. Just because one has been sober for an extended period doesn't mean he can slip back into his old ways without consequences.

    Waiting for a specific date to roll around to begin is just justification for not doing anything.

    When I started on June 11nth, it was a good day to go to the gym. There was a class the next day, so it was a good day to go. After a week I was hooked. Since then I've missed 7 days, 3 of which I wasn't up to it physically, once because I could find any car keys to get there (I now have 4 sets), and the other 3 were within the first 2 weeks when I was still getting into the habit.

    The only obstacle date-wise to overcome was the end of babysitting 12 hours a day while my neighbor had a long term temporary job. No holiday, no New Year's resolution.
    No excuses. - 9/9/2010   5:06:40 PM
  • 288
    Since you haven't had the same struggle, I would say 'yes, you are the one missing something.' I think they already know how to find the healthier options on the menu, and to stick with the veggie tray at parties. As you said, they've lost weight and gained it back. They've done the hard work necessary to lose that weight, but for some reason all the diets and health magazines forget to tell women that maintaining is even harder than losing. Maybe they feel embarrassed, frustrated, defeated over the fact that the weight is back. Maybe they need to make excuses to themselves as much as to you just to cope with the heartbreak of so much work undone! People who haven't been through the experience of the ups and downs of big weight loss really don't seem sympathetic to how damaging it is to one's self esteem. - 9/9/2010   1:40:46 PM
  • 287
    I think they are already trying, they are not going to admit it. If they admitted it they would be held accountable;results, a success of some sort. They are afraid they will fail. When you feel like a failure, you just don't try, why bother? In their minds, they are better off not trying than failing. - 9/9/2010   11:24:44 AM
  • 286
    I see this from both sides - it's incomprehensible that they won't make the changes they need to make now when they know how to do it and that they need to do it, but I know how difficult it is to make those changes when life revolves around certain types of situations.

    Right now, I know what I need to do to lose weight, but I'm stalled because of some things that are going on in my life that are causing me to eat out a lot. Fortunately, I know how to order things that are better for me when I do eat out. Also breakfast, lunch and snacks are usually foods at or from home, so I'm not eating totally awful foods. I also exercise every day - even when I have a cold, I do something, even if it is yoga or just walking slowly around the block. (Blood circulation is really important when I have a head cold.)

    Maybe the best thing would be to convince your sisters that they don't have to "diet" but to make a small change or two to help them get started. Who cares if they indulged over the labor day weekend if they eat well the rest of the week? Who cares if they didn't walk 30 minutes every day for a month as long as they did 10 minutes of something 5 days a week? Who cares if they had a diet soda, so long as they had 8 glasses of water that day? It's not like we have to be perfect every second of every day to be healthier people. - 9/9/2010   10:47:54 AM
  • 285
    Well, I don't get it either, but reading this "clicked" something in me, and I am back on track. Thank-you. - 9/9/2010   10:34:37 AM
  • JAYEACTS
    284
    It's a tough spot to be in: to want the highest and best for those you care about. However, they are on their own path - no matter how painful it may be to watch. You offered. They didn't accept the invitation. You never know, though, you could have planted a seed! Keep up YOUR good work! You might be serving as an inspiration without having to say a word!

    Ms. Jaye
    - 9/9/2010   10:18:54 AM
  • 283
    I made the change when I heard those exact words coming out of my mouth. . ."I'll start after. . .". I knew then if I didn't take control that day I never would. - 9/9/2010   9:31:23 AM
  • 282
    Your love and concern for your sisters is apparent. I am certain they know you love them, and they probably feel like you don't get it. Here is what I think is going on - you are talking to them about lifestyle changes, and they are talking about diets.

    They haven't wrapped their minds around the idea of lifestyle change (the forever kind) yet. They know they can go on a "diet" and give up all the stuff they "love" and that is what has helped them lose weight in the past. It's an unhappy, icky chore they don't really want to do, but it's the only way they know to drop weight. The concept of enjoying the holiday with friends and moving toward a weight loss goal at the same time is foreign language to them. You may as well be speaking ancient Greek to them.

    I agree with those who have encouraged you to not give up. You can't give up. You love them and they are killing themselves, so you have to keep trying to reach them. If you push them too hard, they will back away, so you might not speak directly to them about what they eat or what they do or don't do right now if they are not ready for that. Find the conversations that you can have with them, that won't put them on the defensive, and will steer them toward the idea of lifestyle changes.

    My sister and I have these conversations all the time. I think she did this with me - because she's the one who has never been more than 20 pounds overweight! She shares great healthy recipes with me. She doesn't tell me "this one will help with your eating problem". She just says, "here, try this, this is great!". When good food was my only language, that was the language she used with me. It worked so well, I've even reworked some of those recipes she gave me so they are now healthier than they were in the first place! I recently shared with her our mother's macaroni salad recipe (minus the mayonnaise). She was thrilled, and I don't think it's because she was hungry for macaroni salad. I think she was just thrilled that I finally get it!

    Invite them to the park for a picnic. Don't push them to do a 5-mile walk on the paracourse - just invite them to go outside and be around other people who are active. If all they do is walk from the car to the picnic table, have a healthy lunch that you packed with their favorite foods made over in a healthy way, and sit and talk about "remember the time" (anything but diets, exercising or lifestyle changes), it could be the beginning of opening their eyes to some things they have not considered before.

    They might ask you for a recipe, and if they do, you can mention it is a healthier version of ... (whatever). They will see people having a lot of fun while they are being active. Sometimes words are needed, but when they are not received, you just need to try something different, and be ready to share verbally when they are ready.

    Don't give up. Just look for different ways to reach them. Your love for them will win, because love always wins! - 9/9/2010   7:32:17 AM
  • 281
    Those sisters sound a lot like me. I knew I was overweight and that my eating habits were terrible and that I wasn't being active enough. The worst part is is that I knew better because I actually read a lot about fitness and nutrition but knowing is not everything...it wasn't until I hit my proverbial "rock bottom" that I was ready to change. From one moment to the next the excuses I had used for years didn't even make sense to me anymore and I knew I was ready to make healthy changes. I think it has a lot to do with being ready mentally to turn what you know needs to change into change itself. - 9/9/2010   7:10:24 AM
  • WEBGEEKSTRESS
    280
    I dislike using the language of addiction, since it so often becomes an excuse for avoiding personal responsibility, but I think it provides a useful metaphor here. If you think of these women discussing not weight issues but a problem with substance abuse, the language would be virtually identical. And of course I'm sure we've all seen some of the recent studies suggesting that foods high in fat, in sugar, in salt do indeed appear to trigger addiction, at least in some people.

    So yes, to some extent you probably are failing to get it, since people who don't have problems with addiction don't easily understand those who do. But I think you're also quite right that they're making excuses and know it. However, as in any addiction, I suspect they'll change if and only if they choose to do so in their own good time. You certainly will never be able to reason or argue or persuade them to change. - 9/9/2010   5:03:33 AM
  • WEBGEEKSTRESS
    279
    I dislike using the language of addiction, since it so often becomes an excuse for avoiding personal responsibility, but I think it provides a useful metaphor here. If you think of these women discussing not weight issues but a problem with substance abuse, the language would be virtually identical. And of course I'm sure we've all seen some of the recent studies suggesting that foods high in fat, in sugar, in salt do indeed appear to trigger addiction, at least in some people.

    So yes, to some extent you probably are failing to get it, since people who don't have problems with addiction don't easily understand those who do. But I think you're also quite right that they're making excuses and know it. However, as in any addiction, I suspect they'll change if and only if they choose to do so in their own good time. You certainly will never be able to reason or argue or persuade them to change. - 9/9/2010   5:03:16 AM
  • 278
    Choices are just that.... choices. Part of them wants the changes, the other part knows how challenging it is. For them, at this point, it seems that perhaps it is easiest to make excuses for not starting again right now. Fear of failure looms large, and is a formidable obstacle. In their togetherness, they have validation. It is something that perhaps they will attempt again when they feel stronger, or ready.
    If you have not felt the same challenges, then you are fortunate. You have given them some valid points to ponder, and by setting a positive example, you have also given them a role model. Once they see your success, they may feel ready to try again. - 9/9/2010   12:50:15 AM
  • SUESSY
    277
    It's not logical, but it's not about logic. I think that's why you are not getting it. All kinds of things went into the blueprint in how we cope with life--big things and little things. Eating plays a major role in our coping mechanisms and years of patterns wire us a certain way. Pretty much we are clueless about why we eat the way we do, but as much as we may be uncomfortable with the outcome, we are comfortable with our habits.

    If there's some habit in your life that's ingrained and difficult for you to get past, then that's where you will find common ground with your sisters' eating habits. It's so easy for me to tell a smoker, "quit and you'll feel better, live longer, save money and not threaten other's health." It's easy because I have never smoked.

    Many things can and may happen to help an individual change. Bazillions of failures prove that will power alone won't do it. That's why sparkpeople.com is so empowering and helpful. It puts so many tools at your fingertips along with an understanding and supportive community. - 9/9/2010   12:03:26 AM
  • 276
    I think the difference is that your friends know they have to change, but they don't know how to change their wanter. how to change what they want and do a 180 so that they don't feel drawn to the cheese dip and gooey desserts. They don't know how to fight the tide at the get togethers and feel left out when eating the veggie tray. They want the camaraderie. - 9/8/2010   11:48:37 PM
  • 275
    As much as we want something for someone else, we can't do a thing for them. We want to help friends or loved ones stop smoking, fix their finances, heal broken hearts, and so on, but we can't do a darned thing for them. Nor can we do it for ourselves unless we get that lightbulb moment as they too must. Everyone is responsible for themselves when it comes right down to it and pointing that out isn't going to make it happen. Support them and if they ask, give them advice or support, but the more you push, I fear the more they will resist. I know that is how I did. Only when I realized it was only myself who was in control did things really start to change. - 9/8/2010   11:40:01 PM
  • 274
    You're not missing a thing! You are right. You don't have to live the nightmare of yo-yo dieting to understand how detrimental it is. But, your family members just aren't "there" yet. Maybe they never will be. It's really about personal choices. I have friends like that, and I simply refuse to get into these conversations with them any more, because it's so frustrating to hear them bemoaning their weight & their bodies while they sit on the sofa eating a great big muffin!

    Lifestyle changes ARE hard. But, anything that's really worth achieving usually DOES take hard work, dedication, commitment... And absolutely NOTHING tastes as good as being healthy feels!!! That burger or piece of cake can't fill the hole in your heart or the emptiness in your soul. But, a hard work-out can!

    I'm not quite 5'4" and since 1981 I've gone from being a 101 lb anobulemic young adult/teen to a 211 lb mom of a new daughter and finally, in the past ten months, down from a 160 lb to a 115 - 120 lb woman of 48. I didn't get back down to a "normal" weight range of 115 - 120 lbs by making excuses and sitting around on my couch thinking of reasons not to exercise. I have worked REALLY hard at changing my eating habits for good and making exercise a part of my daily routine. I had to have determination to begin, dedication & commitment to stick to my plan and now, every single day I have the choice to eat that "bad" food, or to read a book or watch TV instead of going for that run.

    Every day is a new opportunity to CHOOSE to eat nourishing, low-fat, low-cal, healthy foods or to stop off for a fast-food convenience meal. And yeah, some days I'd much rather have high-cal/high-fat convenience instead of chopping up veggies & making my meals from scratch; from planning tomorrow's lunch & dinner ahead of time. But, each evening there I am, CHOOSING to plan my meals for tomorrow, prepping what I can in advance and sticking with my new, healthy lifestyle. And, when I dine out, I CHOOSE to skip the pasta, bread, creamy sauces & fried foods & make healthier choices from the menu. And every now and again - I CHOOSE to share a dessert with a friend! And when I do, I make sure to really savour every mouthful and enjoy it to the fullest.

    Every day is a new opportunity to push my new body to perform to what I now know it is capable of or to skip that work-out, even though I know how absolutely awesome I feel both mentally & physically after a work-out.

    Every day I have to approach my life with the same determination, dedication & commitment to doing what's best for my health & to maintaining my weight as I did in my drive to get here.

    Has it been an easy journey, from a 101 lb 19-year-old to a 211 lb 25-year-old new mom to a 160 lb 47-year-old single mom of two young adults, just finishing up cancer treatment to a 115-120 lb 48-year-old woman who has new confidence, new health, new vibrancy, starting back to school so she can continue to make a new life for herself? No! It has definitely NOT been easy. But, I have learned SO much in through my many trials and errors in the past 29 years. And now, at 48-years-old, I have finally made it!

    I feel strong, healthy, vibrant, energetic, confident, proud, accomplished..... And, although it's still not easy, I choose to wake up each morning and make HEALTHY CHOICES because I don't want to lose any more weight and I sure as heck don't want to gain back the weight I've worked so hard to lose. And, quite honestly, I can't afford another new wardrobe on a student budget - and I REALLY love how I feel at my goal weight range. I love how I feel physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually after such a long, hard-won victory over my weight & body-image issues - and my battle with kidney cancer.

    I don't want to lose this feeling. It's not about "dieting" and deprivation. It's about your health and a healthy lifestyle. And, if it takes effort, determination, perseverance & commitment to maintain that healthy lifestyle & my new, healthy, strong, lean body - then so be it!!!

    Your family members will have to CHOOSE to make that commitment for themselves - when they are finally fed up with how the look & how they feel. And then, hopefully they will see it's not about today's "diet" but a lifetime of healthy lifestyle choices. - 9/8/2010   11:23:52 PM
  • 273
    I've been a member of Sparkpeople for a year now and I could never get the "want to" to make any lifestyle changes. I think if I remember right that I may have started and it lasted a day or two and I would get on here and read the articles and joined a couple of teams but that's all I did. It is very hard to get to that place where you "just do it". I knew all the things I needed to do but truthfully, I enjoyed eating too much and that in and of itself made it hard and I understand what your family members are going through. I was another one who was always saying well I'll start next week or after the holidays, etc. I have been finding it increasingly harder to go up and down steps and other things and I decided that I needed to do this for myself because I want to breathe better and feel better. This is my third day and each day seems to be a little harder but I'm going to keep trying. Your family probably knows that you care and yes they may even be a little jealous but don't give up on them! Maybe just try to be a little more subtle. - 9/8/2010   11:02:06 PM
  • 272
    I don't get it either. It is excuses. I beleive that we all have to make choices and it is just plan easier for those that are waker to make excuses. Struggle or no struggle - 9/8/2010   10:25:32 PM
  • 271
    I have come to the conclusion that some people prefer leading an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one. I have a friend who motivated me to get healthy. She was morbidly obese and lost weight... motivated when her doctor told her she had to go on blood pressure meds or lose weight. I watched for 2 years slowly losing 80+ lbs. I didn't have that much to lose, so together we started a healthy lifestyle change. She continued to lose but would have episodes of binging and she had friends who encouraged unhealthy food choices, not working out, etc. Everytime she binged it lasted longer until one day, she gave up her eating programme, her working out... told me she was ok being overweight (after all she'd lost over 150 lbs). I tried to tell her that she risked putting the weight back on, but she said she wouldn't and as soon as her clothes started to feel tight she'd get back on track so she'd never get bigger than she was. Well, over the next 2 years I'm sure she's put on 70 - 80 lbs. She doesn't work out and I think that though she knows she's gained weight she rationalizes by saying she's still considerably lighter than she was.

    I've tried to get her back to healthy eating and working out, but she won't. I think that she may feel like we are no longer at the same level. I've continued my fitness and am in pretty good shape and have kept my weight loss. But more than that... I think she just likes her unhealthy lifestyle. She loves eating. And she loves binging on junk food. And she never really like the gym. She likes going out with friends and eating stuff like chicken wings, fries, desserts, etc, etc. She loves it. I do wish I could find the way to get her back on track because I'm afraid she's going to be an old, obese, unhealthy couch potato... but I can't. And I've come to accept that it's her preference, her choice. Some people just can't see that life is worth living if they have to deprive themselves of things they love... actually most of us. the secret is to learn to love things that are good for you. I use to think this was everyone's goal. It is not. and I've had to accept that. - 9/8/2010   10:07:16 PM
  • OUPIONEER
    270
    In my case I feel for your friends. I've been there with yo yo dieting and the worst part is the feelings of failure when you have achieved so much. The best thing to do is to support them and be there when they need you. The mind is a strong thing. trying to control it is foolish. - 9/8/2010   9:52:34 PM

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