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Can't Do It For Him

Friday, November 09, 2012

I'm trying to help/inspire/enable/support my 27 year old nephew. He was recently hospitalized due to ketoacidosis and was diagnosed with diabetes. He spent several days in the Trama ICU, so this was a serious incident. On the good side, he is testing his blood sugar frequently and keeping it at a good level. My sister (his mom who is diabetic but now lives half a continent away) gave him an easier to-use blood tester and lots of test strips. He has chosen a non-mainstream eating plan that is vegan and very low fat. I'm not sure it is a good plan for a diabetic, but it doesn't matter because he is totally committed to it, and I don't think anything I could say would make a difference.

He is willing to use Weight Watchers (SparkPeople does not appeal to him) to try to manage portion control. He lost 30 pounds with WW back in 1999 when we went together and our leader is still the same person! In his first week on WW he didn't lose any weight, even gained a bit. He didn't seem discouraged, which I guess is positive. He has given up meat, milk, and eggs totally. He's reduced his sugar intake dramatically. Clearly he is willing to make drastic changes, and I hope they get him to the health he wants.

Bottom line is I can't do it for him. I know a lot about weight loss for an older woman, but it may not relate to a young man at a very different weight. I don't know much about diabetes, and not much about vegan eating. And even if I knew exactly what he should do, he is a grown adult with strong opinions.

I'm hoping just to love him and encourage him, and so hoping that he can find the strength and motivation and wisdom to embrace healthy living.

PS I took today as day of rest for me. Counting down: nine days until my first half marathon!! I run short tomorrow morning with my Galloway group.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sometimes the example is all you can do.
    2469 days ago
    You are a good aunt!

    Be there with an interested ear, give advice if it is asked for, and accept him.

    The rest is up to him.
    2471 days ago
  • MIRAGE727
    You have done a lot of positive action and set an example, Marsha. You are so right though. You can't do it for him. As for his nutrition, it truly depends on how each individual responds to the choice. As a former Obese T2 Diabetic, I did a lot of research on proper nutrition. The vegan way is good but it needs to be monitored closely. It can be great for one's chemistry, and detrimental to another. This is so true for all solutions to all body types. Stay strong!

    2471 days ago
    You are SO right, wonderful woman! I have learned the hard way AND watched people go into a very hard place, because they didn't want any advise. I feel it is like if you see someone in front of an on coming train, wouldn't you warn them? Of course! But when it comes to our own emotions, I feel we have to figure out these things on our own. I remember when I was 100#'s over weight, no one could tell me, what to do!

    I think it is great he has you for encouragement! You are very special!

    Have a Sparkling weekend!
    2471 days ago
    Many positive thoughts and prayers for him. You can only be a good example for him and like you say love him through this. It ultimately is up to him to have a healthy life.
    Enjoy your week end.
    2471 days ago
    Hopefully this will work for him so continue to
    encourage and support him.
    9 days and counting- emoticon
    2472 days ago
    Yes, it is hard to not be able to help with change - that you know would be good. He is blessed to have your concern and support! Nine more days for you, woohoo!!
    2472 days ago
  • _LINDA
    I hope things go well for your nephew, sounds like he is making a serious effort and you did your part, bringing him back into weight watchers so he has a measure of support.
    Your relatives are sure lucky to have you on their side!!
    Enjoy your run tomorrow, bet you are getting so excited :))
    2472 days ago
    2472 days ago
    Managing blood sugars is the key to managing diabetes... I have a kid sis who was diagnosed before she turned 40. I've compared notes about eating programs with her and my six smaller meals a day is very close to what her health care advisors tell her to do.

    That said, as you point out... you can't take over and do it for someone else. But you can be a great cheerleader for him, and I'm sure you are.

    One more work day left (Tuesday) and a nice long weekend to prep for the drive. Got the cat arranged for... so about as ready as I'm going to get.

    See you soon.
    2472 days ago
    You are right Marsha! But, he definitely sounds motivated. Vegan diets like any others can be very healthy with wise choices; but leave room for poor choices too. Vegans usually need a B12 supplement regardless. Hopefully he will get some nutritional counseling. Usually better received from someone else than it is from loving family. Love, support, good example; you're already doing what you can do.

    2472 days ago
    You are right. No matter how much you may wish to, you can't do it for him. But your love, concern, support and example are wonderful gifts that you can give him. Your nephew is very lucky to have you in his life. I hope he does well with his lifestyle changes!
    2472 days ago
    I can hear the worry underlying the words in your blog; but your title says it all: we can't do it for our loved ones. My daughter is quite heavy and pregnant and I worry about her, but...I can't do it for her.

    We have 9 days until our half marathon as well, and we'll be doing a 5K Color Run tomorrow! Enjoy your group.
    2472 days ago
  • GABY1948
    You are such an awesome and loving friend/aunt. I do hope all your loved ones realize how wonderful you are! I have a son like your nephew and I have to keep repeating to mysef often that I can't do it for him!

    Your blogs are such an inspiration to me...every single one of them! You ROCK! I can't wait for your half marathon
    2472 days ago
    Your nephew is lucky to have an aunt like you! The vegan diet is actually fairly good for diabetics. My sister has a close friend who is diabetic and a vegan. The vegan diet helps him to control his blood sugar. On a regular diet, his blood sugar had wide swings but on a vegan diet it is pretty consistent. You may want to have your nephew talk to her at the next Spark Dinner. I was surprised at how much she knows about vegan eating and diabetics.

    I'm guessing that your nephew's sodium level yesterday was responsible for the gain. When you eat oriental food - even just veggies- the sodium level is usually off the charts. Perhaps if he drinks more water and watches the sodium better, he will show a loss next week. From what I can see, he is really making a good effort! Thanks to you, he has found WW again.
    2472 days ago
    So true: can't do it for ANYONE (but ourselves: sometimes).

    It's so good of you to keep right on caring anyhow.
    2472 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    Being male, young and if he is very overweight, then he evidently is not watching portion size if he did not lose weight with what he has eliminated from his diet as normally males lose weight much faster than females due to them having more muscle. I hope he is able to get a handle on all of this because the complications from diabetes can be deadly-I know 1st hand-my late DH lost his eyesight, had several strokes, 2 heart attacks, loss of kidney function, a kidney transplant, loss of a leg, and this was a diabetic who watched his diet! Of course, controlling diabetes has come a long way in the past 25 years so I will pray that he is able to do what he needs to take care of himself.
    2472 days ago
    God bless you for caring! I have loved ones who I wish I could "do it for them"... Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. Can't wait to hear about your Half!!!!
    2472 days ago
    I have a very good friend who is controlling his diabetes and high cholesterol with a low-carb, vegan diet. As long as he eats whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, beans, making sure to get proteins in... a vegan diet is extremely heart-healthy. My friend was gradually able to get off all of his medications (doctors first cut the diabetes pill in half, then eliminated it over a year ago. ) His blood sugars have remained normal just on diet alone.

    I wish your nephew all the best! there are a lot of great resources out there for vegans :)
    2472 days ago
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