Lifestyle Changes

by Jay on April 15, 2011

Day 5 of my diet and, other than a wayward donut yesterday, I’ve done quite well. Breakfast has been a big glass of carrot and celery juice and then either toast with almond butter or a vegetable omelette. Lunch has been a sandwich and dinner has been organic meat with steamed veggies. I’m starting to get used to soy milk and cheese, and am not thinking about sweets nearly as much as I was earlier this week. I haven’t been as good about the gym as I would like, but I will get there tomorrow.

I have another motivation for doing this diet that I didn’t mention in my last post – in fact I hadn’t even thought about it much as I had planned for a while to start dieting this week anyway. But now that a few days have gone by, it’s standing out in my mind. I visited my Mom and Dad last Friday. My mother is in her late 70s and extremely overweight. She was quite fit until her 50s, and then her metabolism changed. She started putting on the pounds, just a few per year, but after 15-20 years they really adding up. She has type 1 diabetes and high blood pressure (both treated with pills), and is now suffering from congestive heart failure. She has spent the better part of her life depressed & miserable, and cedes a lot of control and responsibility to my father. She also blames other people for her weight and health issues. I find it impossible to talk to her about her health because I tend to approach issues logically and always recommended that she make some lifestyle changes, especially around diet and exercise. I’d point out that she could stop putting butter in everything, limit carbohydrates, avoid the two or three glasses of wine she has every day; and that she could exercise a bit more, even a little walk for 10 minutes — but she always had reasons why none of this was possible. Usually these reasons related to my father. If I pushed the subject she would either lash out in anger, or break down in tears. So I learned to avoid the subject, as have her other relatives and friends.

When I arrived at her house last week though she broke down in tears almost immediately –before I had even had a chance to say hello – and wailed that she has the most miserable life that anyone could imagine, that she can’t get out anymore, that her legs are too swollen to put on pants, her back is killing her, and she is utterly miserable. It was a sad moment for me because I realize that it is too late — changing her diet won’t make much difference, that exercise really isn’t possible anymore, that when one is in their late 70s it really is hard to bounce back. I didn’t say this. Instead I let her cry for a while, and then changed the subject when the moment seemed right.

I feel badly for my Mom. She has abused her body for many years now, and did not take some simple steps that would have put her in a far better place than she is today. People in my family generally live long, healthy lives – most of my relatives made it into their late nineties and were healthy right up until the end. She could have avoided her current predicament. But I have compassion because I recognize that I could easily end up the same way myself. I have the same weaknesses that she has – self-indulgence, love of good wine and food, and worst of all, procrastination. My mother was never one to take action. She bought hundreds of diet books over the years, but she never managed to stay on a diet for more than a month or two.

I’ve never been able to stick to a diet for more than a month or two either. Up until now I’ve been saved by youth and a fast metabolism, but now that I am approaching 50 I will either have to make some lifestyle changes of my own, or deal with some pretty heavy consequences in another 20 years.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul April 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Wow, sorry to hear about you mom.

Steve April 18, 2011 at 4:38 am

Sorry to hear about your mom. I am a type 2 diabetic and 55 years old and have worked on my weight for years and have tried multiple diets as well. Sometimes the pills we take can affect the way we feel and sometimes make it hard to loose weight. Hence the depression and all of the rest. This is not excuses but reality. I had my doctor tell me to quit worrying about my weight because I was putting so much pressure on myself to loose it that I was causing other symptoms to bother me as well. Everyone is different. I will be following you on your adventure.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: