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Obesity and Weight Management

Hes overweight and wont help himself

06/14/2005

Question:

Dear Expert, My father is about 250lbs over weight. He wont help himself, My mother and my whole family have tried to erge him and motivate him to be more healthy.. and lose some weight. He thinks this is impossiable he has been to the gym, been through many diets, and still is gaining and not helping himself. he tries and then depletes and gives up. He told my mom he has about 2 yrs left.. which really scared us.. he has no self control, medical problems from being over weight, applied for surgery for a jump start to lose weight and was denied. HOW CAN I HELP HIM!? WHAT ARE HIS OPTIONS?

Answer:

Some people need a stronger support system than others. If you and your family are not leading by example, then it will be hard for your father to succeed. Healthy eating and adequate physical activity need to be a family goal.

It sounds like your father has lost weight many times before, only to gain it back. Unfortunately, the body gets used to this routine, and it becomes harder to lose weight each successive time, so maybe you should concentrate on lifestyle change that will increase physical activity and make simple changes in eating habits and not weight loss. Concentrate on getting in 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits each day and the equivalent of 3 ounces of bread/grain products without added fat or sugar. These are foods that delay hunger because of their higher fiber and/or water content. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to get a personalized healthy eating plan for each member of your family.

Have your father concentrate on improving other indicators of health besides weight. Concentrate on improving blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and blood cholesterol. In fact, all family members can do this. Try making some family rules about healthy living. Only eat at the dining table and never eat alone. Start each lunch and dinner meal with a salad (think beyond lettuce and carrot sticks though), or broth-based soup - even on pizza nights (make it a veggie, thin-crust pizza). Eat a high protein, high fiber breakfast. Don't skip breakfast. Limit screen time (TV, computer) to 1 hour each evening. Be active during TV commercials. Have snack foods in the house that are not processed or refined (and only eat snacks at the dining table) Walk the dog before or after dinner. If you don't have a dog, walk anyway. Your father may only go 2-3 houses to begin. That's OK. He and your family are making a commitment to a lifestyle change, no matter what happens to the weight. Even heavy people can be 'fit'.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University