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The perils of self-delusion

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A lot of us try to figure out where, exactly, all this weight came from. How we got so big. When it happened that we accepted being fat. How do we not see what we're doing to our selves?

My theory is that you DO see... you just don't want to acknowledge it. Even when directly confronted with it, you aren't ready to accept it, yet.

I can use my own husband as an example of this. He has been in denial about his weight gain for quite some time now. He still tells people his sizes are "large" and "34 waist" even though he hasn't been either for years, and wears ill-fitting pants that look terrible on him. He's between a 36 and a 38... probably bearing down on 38, though his belly is far larger. IF I had to guess, he's probably easily 46 around his belly button.

When asked how much he weighs by someone the other day, he said "185" - when I'm almost 50 pounds lighter than he is at 190, and I know this because he was just weighed a couple of weeks ago at 235 by the doctor - which I was present for. He honestly heard 185, because that's what he wanted to hear.

He says his large gut is because of bloating (because he has a medical condition that can and has caused bloating in the past, but it's always gone down after a few days... this has been persistent for over a YEAR. It's fat, hun.).

He says his butt hangs out of his pants because they shrink in the dryer.

He's finally starting to have to admit that there's a problem, though. It's gotten badly enough that his too-small pants are rubbing open sores on his stomach scar, that his belly is hanging out of his too-small shirts. He said earlier today that he's going to have to start buying XL shirts. He missed the XL boat 20 lbs ago. He's a 2X or I'll eat my hat.

I love him, but he's very self-deluded right now. He knows I'm very health conscious, and count calories, and I've made a lot of progress, but he's not willing to trade in his plates of fried food and refusal to eat regular vegetables yet, nor start exercising. When he's ready, I'll be there with him, but until he's ready, it won't happen.

It's so difficult when I'm struggling to stay on board this train, and he's refusing to acknowledge he needs to be on it at all. If we could do this together, we could help each other so much. Instead of fixing his favorite high-calorie low-nutrient meals, we could make healthy things together. I've gotten him to eat a little healthier, by subbing salads for baked potatoes now and again, or always making veggies when I cook, but since he's the primary cook, it's always fried pork chops, steaks and taters, french fries, and macaroni and cheese. He's always downing sodas... at least 2-3 per day.

It doesn't help when he sabotages me. It's not on purpose, ever, but my willpower is very shaky these days. I just can't always say no when he presents me with my favorite foods, like Velveeta shells and cheese (360 calories a cup... and that's not even considering the sodium overdose.) He'll surprise me with treats. He bought a bag of powdered donuts "for the kids" and when I asked him what they were for, he said "breakfast."

Really? We have two young children, one of whom is confirmed ADHD, and you're feeding them powdered sugar for breakfast?

It's not that he wants me to fail (not consciously, at least) but he genuinely has no idea how what he brings into this house affects me. I can even see the difference on those rare occasions we go to the buffet. his plate is always BROWN, and I always load mine and the girls' up with colorful veggies. The problem is when he fixes one of their plates, it's just as brown as his. It doesn't help that we live in the south, home to fried chicken, fried fish, french fries, and vegetables so drowned in fats and meats that whatever healthy might have been in them is long gone.

It's an uphill battle that I'm fighting by myself. I can't make him join me until he's ready. If he can't even accept his own weight when he sees it on the scale himself and is told by a nurse, how can I expect him to do it at home? So I struggle within the bounds I'm given, and hope and pray that he'll eventually join me. I ask him to join me on walks, I talk about my calorie range and hand him celery any time I'm nomming a veggie tray. He knows, he's just not ready to join me.

I can't make him see, all I can hope is that he'll see the way I did. And when he's ready, I'll be there to celebrate with him and hold his hand through the process.

Photo courtesy of John Hyun: www.flickr.com/ph
Used under Creative Commons license.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are so right. The thing is, we have enough trouble taking care of ourselves when WE know what's wrong and how to correct it. We can try to educate others, but THEY have to want to make the changes before it will work. As I've said so many times before, a person needs that reason, that driving force, before they can truly begin their journey. Then, they need motivation to keep it up.

    So my prayers are with you and yours to find yourselves and find your way.
    1948 days ago
    Poeple can see and hear what they want when they want. The trick is to find the things that will make a difference.

    One of my influencer worked in a mental hospital. At one time there were two Jesus Christ on the floor. Each patient belived that he was the Lord. The director assigned each patient to Milton. He promptly changed thier room assignments and put the in the same shared room.

    Someone asked if he was not afraid that they would come to blows?

    Miltion said, "That would not be very Christ like, now, would it.?

    After a few weeks one of the patients said to Miltion, "That other guy thinks he is me, I thing there is something seriously wrong with him."

    Miltion responsed, "You would have to be in serious trouble to think your 'Jesus Christ' when you are not."

    A few weeks passed and the same patient came back and said, "He is very good at beeing me, in fact, I sometimes have a difficult time tell the difference."

    A few more weeks and he said,"Doctor, that other guy is crazy and I can not tell us apart, I think I need some help."

    Funny the little things that can shake up self-delusion.

    1951 days ago
    I'm glad (per your status update) he's finally starting to realize this for himself! It's hard watching someone you love delude themselves, especially when it's to the point you fear for your health. My hubby keeps claiming I'm shrinking his clothes. I ask him why my clothes still fit fine. After all, my clothes are thrown in with his, so if there is a problem, mine should shrink, too, especially because I have eczema and my clothes are mostly cotton, but he claims it's the polyester content (which is actually very low in truth). Last week, I finally got him to run, only to have him cramp out after about a block and then hand me a mini kit kat right after. Really? Lol, it's like men have a whole different reality sometimes emoticon
    1952 days ago
    I have the same issue with my parents... Fortunately they started being careful and my mum even counts her calories in Sparkpeople. My dad started counting, too, but was bored so now he just eats less. The bad thing is that I think that he eats less than recommended...

    They are adults. We are here to offer them any help they need but we cannot brainwash them to do something they don't want. Stay true to yourself and maybe you will inspire him to take care of himself.

    I think that you must go for shopping immediately! He will understand that something is wrong when he'll see that his size is much more than he thought. My clothes were my motivation during my journey and, unfortunately, they are the most harsh judge!

    1952 days ago
    Have you considered asking him to read this blog? Ask him to have a serious talk with you about how YOU are feeling. Remind him that you can't change him and can't force him to do anything, but that YOU ARE HURTING. It sounds selfish, but if he's not ready to face his own unhealthy issues, maybe he can become better aware of how you're being affected. Tell him you feel happier, healthier, and all around better when you eat right and exercise, and you're hoping he will support your goals. When he makes dinner can he make something healthier for you? If you're making 2 meals to please him, can he do the same? Whatever ways you feel he can better support your journey, let him know and ask for his help because this is extremely important for you to make these changes. You don't expect him to make the same changes, but you are requesting him to support yours. Over time as he becomes more aware of your changes and that this doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing change, just doing a little better every day, he may become more open to it for himself and start naturally gravitating towards a few easy changes.

    I figure it's worth a shot, right? My assumption is he loves you, he cares about you, and he wants you to be around for a long time. That would lead me to believe he'd be willing to show you some support in your changes. Sometimes all it takes is to be honest and ask for that support.
    1953 days ago
    You're right, you can't do it for him. I'm going to tell you to back off!! Any pushing from you now, will have precisely the opposite effect to the one you want. He's not only in denial, he's in refusal!! He WILL not acknowledge the truth, and if you force him to, you'll end up somehow the 'bad guy'! It'll be YOU that's obsessed, YOU that is always on at him. You are going to have to do what you're doing despite him. Which is very difficult. ( been there, done that) Sorry, no easy solution.
    1953 days ago
  • 1935MARY
    Keep trying don't give up. My husband is about the same. He is diabetic and don't eat right sometimes he kind of does. I am diabetic too and it is hard when he brings in forbidden foods. Just keep trying to slide in healthier foods. Since he does the cooking tell him what you would like, or simply tell him you are not eating that. What you let or kids eat when they are small will stick with them when they are older. Try to get him to do something like family walking. Good Luck I am pulling for you. emoticon
    1953 days ago
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