Maybe I Just Donít Get It

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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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I stand in the middle here - as a stress eater I have just gain about twenty pounds from my low point in the year in perhaps 2 months. Was I aware, yes I was but dropping into old brain patterns is extremely easy. I console myself with that I have formed some strong good patterns as well which makes it easier to change back. I think what you are questioning, is why they do not have a stronger motivation to lose -- I would suggest that losing weight is like quiting smoking -- an individual has to make that decision for themselves and no amount of conversation will encourage them. For my friends that are not addressing weight, I don't try to convince them one way or the other nor do I enable them by either overeating for planning activities that include a lot of food. Losing weight is an individual decision. Report
If it were easy for them, your sisters would have already done it. You don't have to "get it" to respect their struggle.

You also don't have to - and can't - take responsibility for it, judge it, or convince them of anything. Their journey is theirs Report
It does seem simple, but trust me it's not. Struggling with weight for years it took me 61 + years to finally "get it." Moving to healthy living was not a punishment, but it was what I needed and wanted to do to be a healthier person. Finally realized that I didn't have to be perfect, but had to be consistent in making healthy choices in food, exercise, sleep, meditation....Now 4 years later these habits are pretty much ingrained and I do feel better, great in fact.
As someone else said, "it's not easy, but it's not complicated either." I'd add, "it's the starting that is the hardest." Report
Perhaps you have no guilty pleasures? If you have never struggled with obesity you have absolutely no concept of what I go through. From the beginning of being able to draw on my memory bank, I have been fat. I was a fat child. Do you think I wanted to make myself that way? Of course not.
Fat feeds on itself. I know that now. I did not have a normal childhood. I did not play the same games other thinner children played. I did not have the same quality of social life and children do not understand what is setting them apart from the group. It becomes a downward spiral that never stops. Less physical activity and socialization make more weight and comfort seeking in the only friend a fat child has-food. More weight, less friends, less physical activity and it keeps on going.
By the time adolescence comes and the knowledge that you are very different, the life of a fat child is on such a different course of self loathing that it is hard to self correct. It is a constant struggle to avoid what others take for granted in social situations where most celebrations or gatherings are food focused. You have absolutely no idea what you are speaking of unless your are acquainted with some form of substance abuse.
I am 60 years old and for most of my life I have been ruled by food and fat. It is just recently that I have stopped the cycle of losing large amounts of weight and gaining it back. At a moments notice I could still erupt into an eating binge that would completely mystify a person who has never experienced the desire to eat like that.
It is not a simple matter of impulse control. I do not know how I started my life like this. I certainly would not have imprisoned myself in a life limiting wall of fat. No food payoff is that great.
It is possible to learn, but never to be free. There are times that I slap my own hands in a grocery store to keep myself from picking up something I know I should never eat. I learned that I feel better when I eat a healthy diet.
I will never look right. I have loose skin from losing and gaining weight. My body has been a battle ground. Do you think I would do that to myself just to exceed the normal boundaries of good nutrition?
So no, you absolutely do not get it. Look at your own deficiencies and figure those out, but do not presume to understand what I go through in my daily battle. Report
They're just not ready to hold themselves accountable. When they are, they'll change--even if it's the day before Thanksgiving. You can't make it happen, but they need to accept that they're in control. Report
I'd also say, "you don't get it," because a person who doesn't have or hasn't had to deal with emotional food issues can't really understand how difficult it is to cope with, let alone change. No matter how well I do one day, when I wake up the next it hits me like a truck: "I have to do it* all over again!"

("It" being to eat, but not overeat; think before eating, make good choices, weigh and measure, and withstand countless temptations and triggers; and more than likely, intensely struggle with the emotions that come along with all those decisions - sometimes, being too afraid to even try to eat.)

HOWEVER, if a person isn't ready, it doesn't matter what you say.

It sounds like you used the same reasoning I've tried with people in my life: start with small changes, take it slow and look long-term; and most of all, it's not a diet, you're building a healthy lifestyle you can live with every day... BUT, if they don't want it for themselves, they won't be able to hear you!

Last spring, I committed to a 55-day health and nutrition program that left me feeling vibrant, clear-thinking and 15 lbs lighter. After the program, I promised myself that I'd continue it on my own. After 15 days, I went back to my old way of eating, pulled by gatherings with friends and family which revolved around foods I stayed away from for a couple of months. The desire not to be the odd person out cannot be underestimated. I began to feel like my old self again: heavy, bloated, disappointed with myself. I had to do a lot of self-evaluation to determine why I let myself go.

What I learned was there are costs and rewards to my behavior. For example. my wanting to be accepted was the reward that came at the high cost of my health and well-being. If I continued to pay that price, I would get sick and would have a bigger problem to deal with than group acceptance. I decided I was not willing to exchange my health for that feeling of comfort anymore.

I am starting a long-term program of plant-based nutrition, regular exercise, and meditation starting November 1. My priority is me; my attention is on my health. I know the discomfort of changing old habits will be great--that is the cost. But the reward of great health, longevity, being disease-free, and being proud of myself will be worth it. Report
Sorry, but no, I don't think you really get it. I do think you'd need to walk the walk in order to truly understand the struggle of changing one's mindset and lifestyle. Overeating has many causes; it's not just a matter of willpower.

Frankly, I'm a little surprised SP would have a blogger post an article like this which has a slightly judgmental tone to it. After all, if losing weight were as simple as you want to make it be, then there'd be no need for Spark People. Report
Losing weight is so much harder if you have been overweight for years- people (including myself) are dealing with an addiction. An addiction where they can't just stop going to the liquor store or bar or move to a different neighborhood. Every day at every meal and every social occasion they are tested by their addiction. if they watch tv or even drive on the highway they are faced with ads for food- and not healthy fruits and vegetables. Food addicts are exposed to constant triggers and it is hard work. And when you think you have it licked- another emotional situation may come up that has you right back at food's mercy not you never stopped. Report
Maybe they should become active members at SP???? Report
just like everything else they have to want to change to actually change. it really is that simple but those of us who are overweight dont see it as simple. its a huge mountain we have to cross over. it isnt until weve crossed it does it look that small and simple. if they really want to make a change there will no longer be an excuse. they obviously dont want to change they just want to complain and grouch. if they wanted to they would find a way. Report
I think what is really going on here is they don't think someone who hasn't walked the walk can truly understand to talk the talk. It truly is as simple as you say, but it is also much more difficult for us to get to that realization than you think. Does that make sense? Doesn't matter. Your relatives will have to fight their demons themselves. Let them know you will support them starting now, by carefully choosing where you suggest to go out to eat, by providing a healthy fruit/veggie based snack at functions, and by encouraging other family and co-friends to do the same. You could start a revolution of your own, because after all, you are really the only one you can effectively change. Report
There are a lot of perspectives on weight loss and healthy lifestyle. As a species we evolved in a feast-or-famine world. How fortunate for those of us who live in constant feast land - but for some of us, be it biological, emotional or what have you, the ability to fight off the feast urge is more difficult. Make healthy choices? Sure, but we have also evolved to pursue the highest calorie content possible, that is why fat and/or sugar taste so good.

I don't mean to make light of the effort a healthy person makes to maintain their health and weight, I admire it, but does it not make sense that that ability would vary from person to person? It is worth the struggle, at any weight or ability level, but maybe there is a reason so many people gain the weight back, even after all of the hard work they put in to losing it.

I wish everyone had the strength they needed to overcome their personal challenges when they needed it, I just don't think the world works like that. I think the obesity epidemic agrees with me.
Hi! I'm not as thin as I used to be and I'm beginning to realize that working 80+ hours a week doesn't make working out everyday or eating healthy easier. Still, thats no excuse to procrastinate. It sounds like your sisters haven't made weight loss a priority. I wish everyone would understand how much harm the excess weight can do. I'm a doctor and it breaks my heart to see so many of my patients being handed a death sentence because of obesity - that's what keeps me on track at the end of a 30 hour shift. I'd keep working on motivating them!!! Report
If you have never had those struggles then you have no idea what it is like to be in that place. I am uncomfortable with the judgmental tone here. Losing weight, making life style changes is hard work. And the person has to be ready and even if they are ready and get started they may relapse back to less healthy habits. People overeat for many reasons, it is not as simple as just being lazy or lacking motivation. Many overweight people are using food to mask or numb pain and if they strip away the numbing agent, they have to face the pain. Not easy. I think it is might be more helpful to have some compassion, less judgment and simply hope that they find their way to a healthier lifestyle. Report
I don't think anyone wants to be overweight.

What I've noticed is that most people don't want to work at losing weight. They want the fast , easy magic cure.
I've had a lot of people ask me how I lost weight. They want to know my secret. As soon as I start talking about weighing food, exercising & counting calories - they lose interest. They all tell me "That's too much work!"
I'm not sure what to say to that comment.
All I know is that YOU have to be ready to lose weight. Ready to do the work! Report
You hit the nail on the head with this!! I have two girls at my work exactly like this and it frustrates me so much! They are constantly saying "lets go to lunch, it's my cheat day, " OR "I start my diet tomorrow, lets go eat out today." The sad thing is every week it is one of the two!! I am glad someone finally has said something about these kind of people!!! Report
I have been trying to change my thought patterns about eating out. When I look forward to it, I focus on catching up with my friend(s) and the experience of having someone make my food for me, more than what I'll eat. I envision myself trying a new salad or finding a new way to prepare veggies when we go out. Sometimes I check the menu online beforehand to see what healthy options will be available, so that I can pick one of those once I get to the restaurant. It helps, and I can still enjoy the experience of eating out! Report

People like Jen who have never had a weight problem shouldn't even open their mouth to judge those who do. It is a nightmare,a burden, a curse.I wouldn't wish out on a dog, or my worst enemy. Why are you on this site anyway? Report

People like Jen who have never had a weight problem shouldn't even open their mouth to judge those who do. It is a nightmare,a burden,,a curse.I wouldn't wish out on a dog, ormy worst Report
In my experience, there are some lifestyle changes that are easier to make than others. I can work out every day (or almost every day). I can eat vegetables and lean protein. I can go to bed earlier, and I can drink my water. But I can't seem to always be able to keep my portion sizes down, or fall asleep when I get to bed early. I think some whining is just plain laziness, but others might be more biologically body really doesn't work right unless I've gone overboard on my calories/portions sometimes. Report
Sounds like they just arent ready. I am going thru the same thing with my M.I.L. She knows what she needs to do, knows that is will make her feel better and diminish some of her health issues, but she chooses to stay on her path, laziness and unhealthy eating instead of healthy eating and an active lifestyle. I dont understand how she can just sit there and watch tv all boring!!! Report
I think that's a common response to all kinds of problems, not just, educational, career, family, relationships, etc. It's much easier to whine and complain than to take action to change your situation. Report
While I agree it easier to complain & not put in the effort that is needed to really change, unless you've been in their shoes, you really have no idea. I have always been heavy, a lot of it had to do with emotional abuse which led to emotional overeating. Then I went off to college & dropped a good 50 pounds. I did it by eating very limited amounts of healthy food and walking over 15 miles almost every day. Then I started working and did not have that much time to devote to exercise and the weight slowly crept back on and then I got married and gained even more. I know my body pretty well and it only responds to massive amounts of exercise to slim down and I just don't have the time and energy to devote to that. Well okay, I guess I could but then I would either have to give up sleeping or housekeeping or spending any time with my husband. Sure that sounds like an excuse but that is my reality. I have returned to Sparkpeople because my husband has changed jobs and works nights 3-4 times a week. I have been using those nights as my "diet & exercise" nights. It's going to be slow. Report
Rupture: you're talking about taking control of your own health, they're simply enjoying the opportunity to converse about complaint. In fact, they don't want to change their lives, just wish it didn't have any side effects. It's kind of a cultural thing I think. But it's alright if they are actually happy with their lives (and with the right to complain about what they 'can't' control). Your life is your own to arrange, eh?

[After posting: or what I see SBNormal said just below me, but much more succinctly] Report
They are talking about a diet not a lifestyle change. You all are not talking about the same thing. Report
It's true though, that who you hang out with has a big effect on your weight. My mom has always made a genetic argument about her weight (she gets horrible headaches and dizzy spells when she cuts her calories back) and since I take after her physically, I just started with the assumption that I was going to get heavy as I got older. The last thing I said to my husband before walking down the aisle at our wedding was to look at my mother and be sure he was okay with being married to someone who eventually looked like that because I wasn't going to give up good food. But when DH got diabetes and made a number of changes that looked completely livable to me, he lost 30 pounds in 6 months. That gave me the encouragement to lose my own extra 30 pounds (although I took two years to do it since I didn't have the threat of blindness and amputations hanging over me).
Likewise, I started running not when I had friends who were long-time runners tell me how fun it is (I have YET to experience a runner's high!) but when a close friend with a lifestyle and body morph a lot like mine started running casually and fell in love with it.
I think what your sisters need to do is commit to a few small changes that they will make WITH their friends. If all their friendly get-togethers are noshing events, go berry picking together and then gorge on blueberries. Find ways to keep what they love about getting together with friends, but make the food healthier or build in some physical activity or both.
I don't think it's about either of you missing anything - it's about deciding not to accept the limitations and FIND A WAY to get the things you really want for your life. Report
No you didnt miss anything . The world is made of excuses and heavy people ( i am one) use them all the time. A life style change is not easy but one day they will run out of excuses for sure and i hope it just isnt to late when they do. Just keep on encouraging them and maybe they will ...Have a great day !!!! Report
I talked about it for over 2 years - knowing I wanted to, but until I was given a health warning I was not ready or I would have done it. Changing your life is not something you can do overnight. The changes take practice and time. I am just closing in on my first month and down 17 pounds. I have been very faithful and am trying to get into working out, but I have not been ready for that step yet. My plan is on my 1 month anniversary to get moving. Everyone has their own needs and ways of doing things. By just telling someone to do something does not mean it will happen. Maybe you made this blog out of frustration or out of curiousity, but sometimes when someone cannot relate it is better to stay out of it and just support when they need it. Report
People are different. Coach Jen is too simplistic to think we are all the same, weight-wise, food-wise or otherwise. There is nothing to "get' or "not get."

1. On Christmas 2011 or thereabouts, my wife Susan and I planned a New Year's resolution to lose weight. I told her that I had learned of Spark People from a friend. It's internet basis appealed to my need for time-management.

2. Susan elected to consider joining and "doing" Spark after the first of the year, New Year's Eve being a traditional "last hurrah" with food and drink galore planned. In that sense, she was the sisters in the Coach Jen blog. My answer was to dive head-long into Spark at 5AM on Dec 26th. Once I researched Spark, I could not start soon enough. I am like Coach Jen!

3. We all are Sparkies because of food issues at some time in our lives, which we are endeavoring to address. But the food issues differ in detail among us, just as fingerprints do. My issue is all about portion control. For others, it's all about emotional eating. For others, perhaps a metabolic disorder. For others still, no easy explanation.

4. Some may be afraid of what being thinner brings them socially or culturally. I for one, bristle at the "how much better you look" compliments, no matter how well intended. The insinuation is not that I looked bad before (too fat), but that I was being judged based on this physical attribute. Some aspects of human nature totally suck - few more than this one. Report
People are different. Coach Jen is too simplistic to think we are all the same, weight-wise, food-wise or otherwise. There is nothing to "get' or "not get."

1. On Christmas 2011 or thereabouts, my wife Susan and I planned a New Year's resolution to lose weight. I told her that I had learned of Spark People from a friend. It's internet basis appealed to my need for time-management.

2. Susan elected to consider joining and "doing" Spark after the first of the year, New Year's Eve being a traditional "last hurrah" with food and drink galore planned. In that sense, she was the sisters in the Coach Jen blog. My answer was to dive head-long into Spark at 5AM on Dec 26th. Once I researched Spark, I could not start soon enough. I am like Coach Jen!

3. We all are Sparkies because of food issues at some time in our lives, which we are endeavoring to address. But the food issues differ in detail among us, just as fingerprints do. My issue is all about portion control. For others, it's all about emotional eating. For others, perhaps a metabolic disorder. For others still, no easy explanation.

4. Some may be afraid of what being thinner brings them socially or culturally. I for one, bristle at the "how much better you look" compliments, no matter how well intended. The insinuation is not that I looked bad before (too fat), but that I was being judged based on this physical attribute. Some aspects of human nature totally suck - few more than this one. Report
What do I think? Are you missing something because youíve never had these kinds of personal struggles? You know lifestyle changes are hard, but are you oversimplifying it? Maybe they just aren't ready yet?

I can't resist sharing what I think! The numerous responses to this blog makes me want to offer an alternative to the You Can Lead A Horse To Water Theory.

First, let's start at the end: asking if they "are ready" is asking the WRONG question. There is a paternalistic, negative tone about YOU asking. Ready? It is NOT a question of simply being ready and then taking action. Which leads us to the next questions. Yes, you are missing something and you are oversimplifying. If it was simple to lose weight there wouldn't be so many here on Spark seriously wondering what to do about "plateaus" or how to get "back on the program". It is not simple. I wish I knew how to assemble the complex puzzle and list the missing pieces (and then I'd write my own bestselling how-to book).

I doubt if you are "missing something" because of a lack in your own personal struggles --- who has not had personal struggles of some sort? In part, that's how we humans develop empathy. We can understand because we share life experiences. We all face challenges and sometimes we are successful and sometimes we fail. Sometimes success or failure IS in our own hands and IS a factor of preparation or "being ready". But careful preparation will NOT always end in success. For example, be ready and plan for the basics (good shoes, proper clothing, water, food, safety gear) needed to hike a mountain but know a change in weather conditions can make the reasonable hiker wait for another weekend!
You are so right. They are not ready. I lost 80lbs and have gained it back. Today, after 2 days of being back on track it hit me that moderation and choices must be my healthy life style mantras. There WILL always be a gathering, dinner, holiday, bad day, etc. Eating in moderation and making great choices are a must. Report
You hit it right on the head--they are just not ready. Perhaps the conversation you had will help them realize that all the excuses they gave are just that: excuses. They are no different from any of the rest of us--I have a million choices a day that could either help or harm my health. It's much easier make excuses; to convince ourselves that our situation is so different from everyone else's, that OUR circumstances are unique, that change is IMPOSSIBLE. It's much easier to convince ourselves of those things than it is to commit to making healthier decisions every day. Even baby steps require some amount of commitment, and to risk change is to risk failure.
The difference with most of us who have made those commitments is not that we have never failed. I have personally made mistake after mistake over the years. But the difference is the realization that setbacks are not the end of the world. Eventually you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and try again. The important thing is practice. The more you practice healthy habits, the better you get at keeping them. Report
Changing our habits is`nt easy.When you are surrounded by coworkers eating doritos and you are eating brown rice is`nt easy.
But I have found that I feel better,my clothes fit better and life is easier after losing 15 lbs. Report
Well you are definitely on the right track more than they are. I agree with them that it is tough and that our friends and our lifestyle can make it tougher. But the key is that both of those (friends & lifestyle) are OUR CHOICES!! Our life is constantly based on our choices. Which way we drive to work? Highway or not? Eat lunch out or pack one? Get up when alarm goes off or hit snooze? Every little step we make each day is a choice and we must start to take responsibility for those choices! I'm not saying they should necessarily drop those friends but they could do what you suggested, bring healthy items to gatherings, eat healthy ahead of time so not so tempted by the other food, if it's usually junk food. They can encourage their friends to join their new healthy changes themselves and get a group making better choices and motivating each other! And of course they can eat healthier themselves, at the restaurants! The real problem is, they don't really WANT to yet. They are making excuses and until they are ready to accept responsibility for their weight struggles, any changes they would make would not usually be permanent. And by the way...if those friends were not supportive and did try and sabotage their efforts, then maybe they should look elsewhere for new friendships. Otherwise, it's still not a bad idea to make additional friends that do have similar goals and a lifestyle more in line with what they are trying to adapt themselves. Meet people at the gym or fitness, sport events, join a walking or biking club. Take aerobic or yoga or any fitness or nutrition type class, even cooking classes! There are many ideas and places to start going to, to try and make friends that might be more of a positive influence in your life! Again...all comes back to choices and they are ours to make! Report
They have to be in the right frame of mind to commit to change. Not always easy. Report
"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?"
* As one who has been on both sides of this discussion, the discussion above would look roughly like a discussion between myself now and me 5 years ago.

Foods that are full of sugar, fat and salt bring a sense of pleasure to the one who consumes it. Healthy foods, not so much. Choosing healthier foods and exercising regularly used to seem like restrictions and a burden, respectively. I now understand them to be freedom.

While there was always a rush during the temporary weight loss efforts when stepping on the scale, there was always a sense/burden of not being able to eat the things that I wanted to.

When friends or relatives, who one has shared that lifestyle with, are involved, social pressure becomes stronger.

Listening to them (what they say, both verbally and emotionally) will help you better understand where they are.

Have you ever had to let something or someone go that you knew was bad for you, but it was a part of your life? Especially if it was a big part of your life that made you feel good once?

Did you ever have to trudge through something to get somewhere important or better than where you are. You hated the journey, but knew that it would be worth it.

If you can associate the feeling of letting go of what's bad (even when it feels good), you may be able to understand the mentality.

If you can remember the really painful parts of the climb up the mountain, or "that class" you had to trudge through to get that degree or whatever, you might be better able to understand where they're coming from.

I dunno. Report
People won't change unless they are ready for change. Until then, they will constantly be making excuses for why it's just too hard. There's nothing anyone else will be able to say or do to make them change their minds. I've stopped trying to convince people that their excuses are just that - a reason to keep from making hard choices and changing.

And I say this from experience (rather than from an "I've always been skinny" mindset)!! I used to say many of the same things about weight loss - "I'll do it after X holiday;" "I'm too busy to fit in gym time;" "If I'm dieting, I can't be social because I can't be around that food;" "It takes too much time and money to eat healthfully;" etc etc etc. What it came down to is I didn't want to change. And when people would say well-meaning things about making small lifestyle changes, my typical defense mechanism was "You don't understand; you aren't living my life; you couldn't possibly know!" Basically, I had every excuse on the planet, and I was sincere in my belief in those excuses.

But when I was ready for change, my whole thought process turned around. Once I really looked at my life and thought "Ya know what, I don't want this anymore" things suddenly became easier than I thought they'd be. Does that mean that everything is roses and rainbows and sunshine all the time??? Hell no, it's still tough!! But it's a choice I make every day to be a healthier better version of myself! And it has to come from a place of inner strength! You have to "Change Your Mind" as the Sister Hazel song says! Report
I agree that it is very hard to stay on track when the people around you are eating the things im despreate for but at the end of the day, what do you want more? one evening of stuffing yourself with carbs and calories or to stick to your weightloss plan and say 'no thank you'?! x Report
I don't think you are missing anything. You said it yourself that when you are ready you are ready. They don't sound ready. I've had this conversations millions of times from both sides :) In the end they have to want it for themselves. We can't motivate someone to motivate themselves. Keep on doing what you are doing and maybe they will see that it really isn't as difficult as they thought it was all this time :) Report
I think the best thing you can do is lead by example. Maybe post your goals on your fridge with the spark website so they see them while they are over at your house. Cook them a healthy meal. If there is a family get together, bring a healthy dish or two. Talking to them before they are ready may further set them down the path of self destruction. Whenever anyone said anything to me, it spurred me into emotional eating, self hate and self loathing. Offer to go on walks with but don't say let's go for a walk for exercise, say let's go for a walk to chat, catch up and view the scenery. Report
It really does have to come from within , doesnt it ? You can cry yourself hoarse...but if its not happening for them right now....well then its not happening for them right now !! Report
They just arent ready yet. There will be something that will just click and than they will do it. Until than its not good to talk to them about it , because you are just backing them up in a corner and no one likes that. I know because
Its been done to me. Wishing for that one moment for them to start back to come soon. Im still waiting for it also. Report
I understand where your sisters are coming from, because I used to do the same thing. It was always about finding excuses to wait. After an event passes, then you wait until Monday, because it's easier to get a fresh start at the beginning of a week. Then you think, "But, maybe I should start at the beginning of the month instead of the end of the month", as if it would make a difference. And then the beginning of the next month comes along, and you think.. "But, now there is another holiday coming up, I'll wait until after that", and so on and so on.

I finally decided that I couldn't do that anymore, I wasn't fooling anybody, least of all myself. I was just making excuses to keep my bad habits for just a little while longer.

But, I think people need to get to a point where the desire to change outweighs the desire to eat indiscriminately. Until then, they will continue to make excuses, just as I did for so long, to keep eating what I wanted. One thing you can emphasize is that starting now doesn't mean you can't indulge once in a while during the holidays or special events. There is no need to wait to start forming healthy habits, and while resisting those foods is difficult at first, it becomes easier once you start to see results. Report
What I gathered from your sister's responses was that they are in an environment that doesn't support a healthy lifestyle, and it would be difficult for them to change their lifestyles because their friends like to eat out, there are potlucks going on all the time. Studies have shown that the best predictor of obesity is having an obese friend. I'm not saying that your sisters are obese, but what I'm trying to get across is perhaps it is too difficult to eat healthfully around people (their friends) who do not eat healthfully or have an active lifestyle. Yes, they may not be ready for the change in their lifestyle simply because the people they are around will not support it. Report
hi i'm thin (always have been ) age 55 and people always say how lucky i am that i can eat "anything " i want but they don't understand or realize how untrue this is also after a certain age you just have to watch what you eat (you just can't let yourself "go")and i am very careful about that and have always been that way because i have one body and need to take care of myself by eating right and exercising. even if i overdo it i get right back on track the next day- people envy me but they could have the same results if they just looked at themselves instead of others and stopped making excuses because the extra weight isn't going to go away on its own just like it didn't get there "by itself" also if you are thin doesn't mean you don't have fat its just that it isn't seen but we know its there. so just remember to be kind to your body its the only one you've got . and is a great site and helpful to people of all sizes
one last thing its an ongoing thing don't approach it as a diet but as a way of life! Report
I had a discussion with my friend about this just last night. A lot of people want to want to change, but they don't actually want to change yet. My friend has been watching me lose my weight, watching me head out the door to the gym or to take the dog for a walk, and she knows that she's always invited to come along. But she's just not ready yet. I've seen people talk about that "Aha" moment, when they realize that what they are doing is working and that they are actually changing. I think you need the same sort of thing to get you started. Sometimes it's a little easier to pick a date in the future so that you can psych yourself up for it and make the move from wanting to want the change to actually wanting the change.
All you can do is continue setting a motivating example to show them how rewarding and do-able a healthy lifestyle can be, and when they are ready they'll come to you. Report
I was recently sitting outside my office at lunch. One of the women with me was complaining that going through menopause has caused her to gain 15 lbs in 6 months. She went on and on about her clothes, her fatigue, etc, etc. I got excited and told her about SPARKPEOPLE. She proceeded to talk about how diet programs don't work...the food costs too much...etc, etc. I tried one more time to explain how different this website is and that she might like it as much as I do. When she continued to "blow me off", I realized she wasn't looking for help, just wanted to be heard in her complaint. All we can do is provide the information in a positive way and then leave it alone. If she does reach the point where she's ready to make a change, maybe she'll remember our conversation and seek me out to get the info. Report
Everyone has to deal with there issues in their own time. I catch a lot of flack about worrying about weight because I am small, but hey - 5 pounds turns into 10 over time. It is not about deprivation, it's about a healthy lifestyle. Report
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