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View Full Version : How to help motivate my wife and daughter?



alaskaboy
02-09-2010, 09:07 PM
We have all been overweight. I cleaned up after my brothers death last year and have dropped over 20 pounds in the last four months and am still shedding the fat off my sorry carcass. I am not starving to death by a long shot and I am not a total gym rat. Only going 2-3 times a week currently.

My wife and daughter are another story. While the daughter is interested in going to the gym with me on Saturday mornings, her diet the rest of the week is just as bad as mom's.

My wife is diabetic and very overweight and should be watching her diet, but she does a poor job of it and is currently not really watching her blood sugar at all. When I try and get her to go to the gym or share in the foods I am eating, she always finds an excuse not to. If I try the tough love approach, I feel like a bully, if I try the gentle approach, I am ignored or met with excuses.

Well today, my daughter had her sports physical and was rather upset at the findings of the nurse. The nurse even called home to make sure we knew about it. My 14 year old daughter has high blood pressure due to her weight and diet.

My wife was upset over this and it got even worse when I opened my big mouth and said that I have been offering to help clean up the diet of the household, but have been stonewalled at every turn. Needless to say my wife just gave me the "I know, I know" look and did not say anything.

How can I motivate them to clean up their lives and get healthy? They both have been commenting on how I am looking and feeling better, but they seem to be unwilling to give up a constant diet of bad carbs and fatty foods.

I really want to help them, but I fear that the more I try, the more they (my wife especially) will resist. My daughter is starting to come around, but the biggest hurdle in the way is her mom.

My wife is very resistant to change. Takes her a long time to accept change and even longer to admit that the change if often good. But I fear that if she waits too long, it will kill her. We have been married nearly 19 years.

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Tapeworm_George
02-09-2010, 09:26 PM
You would be surprised about the little things that stick with you, you may need to back off for a bit and then come back to it in small ways.

One of the biggest motivations for me was incredibly small. I had been getting back pains after certain activities and occasionally throwing out my back which I assumed had a lot to do with my job back then as a construction worker. One day I was complaining about it around my mother and she simply said, "If I say something here it is only because I've been there. If you lost some weight you probably wouldn't have that problem." It was really surprising how that motivated me to start cleaning up my act and today I am 50lbs lighter and on my way to shed quite a bit more. I doubt that what she said would have been at all effective if she hadn't struggled with her weight for the entirety of my life.

Basically mentioning just how good you feel all the time, how you are sick less often, and how much more energy you have might help along with occasional gentle criticism.

Shr3dJunki3
02-09-2010, 09:37 PM
We have all been overweight. I cleaned up after my brothers death last year and have dropped over 20 pounds in the last four months and am still shedding the fat off my sorry carcass. I am not starving to death by a long shot and I am not a total gym rat. Only going 2-3 times a week currently.

My wife and daughter are another story. While the daughter is interested in going to the gym with me on Saturday mornings, her diet the rest of the week is just as bad as mom's.

My wife is diabetic and very overweight and should be watching her diet, but she does a poor job of it and is currently not really watching her blood sugar at all. When I try and get her to go to the gym or share in the foods I am eating, she always finds an excuse not to. If I try the tough love approach, I feel like a bully, if I try the gentle approach, I am ignored or met with excuses.

Well today, my daughter had her sports physical and was rather upset at the findings of the nurse. The nurse even called home to make sure we knew about it. My 14 year old daughter has high blood pressure due to her weight and diet.

My wife was upset over this and it got even worse when I opened my big mouth and said that I have been offering to help clean up the diet of the household, but have been stonewalled at every turn. Needless to say my wife just gave me the "I know, I know" look and did not say anything.

How can I motivate them to clean up their lives and get healthy? They both have been commenting on how I am looking and feeling better, but they seem to be unwilling to give up a constant diet of bad carbs and fatty foods.

I really want to help them, but I fear that the more I try, the more they (my wife especially) will resist. My daughter is starting to come around, but the biggest hurdle in the way is her mom.

My wife is very resistant to change. Takes her a long time to accept change and even longer to admit that the change if often good. But I fear that if she waits too long, it will kill her. We have been married nearly 19 years.

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Maybe the problem isn't the quality of their diet, rather than quantity, so maybe encourage them to eat whatever they want, just less, maybe being this lenient would encourage them and let them know they can still have the foods they want.

halcyonnwar
02-09-2010, 10:05 PM
Check out the women's forum too. A lot of men come in and ask this question.

I sort of did the reverse this year. Last year to year and a half I lost about 15 pounds and added some lean mass (8-10 lb of newbie gains! yes!) But anyway I really looked better. I am at school so I went home and visited my parents and they were shocked. They wanted to be a part of it but didn't think they could. I found my parents a gym, helped set up workouts for them, and told them what I'd done for diet/exercise. Made them take photos and their weight. It's now february. My dad has already lost 17 lb and my mom is down a pants size/dress size.

I think focusing on their own motivation and emotional issues with food is a good starting point. Clean out the cupboards. Throw away the bad food. Make time to go grocery shopping with them to pick out better foods. Understand that we can be emotional about food (men can too) but sometimes I think it's different for women.

help them set small, achievable goals. invest in a personal trainer for your wife and daughter. Find fun fitness classes for them that they'd like. Encourage them to lift weights. Maybe get each of them a bodybuilding.com account and have them post questions, or scroll through the fat to fit forum with them.

Food is the biggest and hardest hurdle. Take them each to a nutritionist who will set up a plan for them. Buy food scales, cook for your family and figure out caloric intake for your meals. Make it easy on them to eat well at first so that it can become a habit.

I will say, I hate the tough love approach, but it works. My boyfriend is tough love on me about eating/dieting. He knows I want to drop more body fat and compete eventually, but I'm still emotional and wish he'd just tell me I look good. But hell it works, and they will thank you later.

daYDreAmErX
02-10-2010, 05:06 AM
^^^good advice right there

Also, try to maybe get them involved in a sport they would like ? I have a friend who hates sports and weight lifting in a gym, and after I brought her to the semi-private strongman and conditioning facility I train at, she was hooked. She was overweight and out of shape but she liked the prowler, sledgemahher on a tire, kettlebell work, etc. She dropped a lot of weight and she got super storng and now she even started buying stuff to train extra at her place.

It's really about finding something your wife and daughter will like and enjoy.

halcyonnwar
02-10-2010, 05:38 AM
^^^good advice right there

Also, try to maybe get them involved in a sport they would like ? I have a friend who hates sports and weight lifting in a gym, and after I brought her to the semi-private strongman and conditioning facility I train at, she was hooked. She was overweight and out of shape but she liked the prowler, sledgemahher on a tire, kettlebell work, etc. She dropped a lot of weight and she got super storng and now she even started buying stuff to train extra at her place.

It's really about finding something your wife and daughter will like and enjoy.

Yeah! That sounds awesome. I would be so into that!

iDrive
02-10-2010, 05:44 AM
Start slow.

halcyonnwar gave great advice. Losing weight is the most important thing it sounds like right now and that can be done 100% through diet.

The most daunting part to a beginner is that they try to do it all right away, strict diet, join a gym, etc. then they burn out mentally when they can't keep up and the results aren't coming fast enough.

Like Shr3dJunki3 suggested, they don't need to change what they eat, at least not to start out, just get them to eat less. Tell them to cut every portion in half.. or better yet start to portion food if they don't already. This way you can gradually start to change what they eat when they see they can eat a feild of greens vs just a handful of chips.

The gym can come later if they don't want to start there but in the event they start to go start them out slowly, walk on the treadmill for 20-30mins at a pace they can handle then slowly work up to walking longer or including some weights.

You can only provide the tools but there isn't a way to make them motivated. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

gmaellex
02-10-2010, 05:45 AM
Giving your wife the opportunity to educate herself on the glycemic index of foods would be incredably helpful. As a diabetic your wife experiences powerful sugar cravings which are stimulated by high-GI foods. These are miserable and a diet consisting of low-GI foods would help mitigate these cravings.

I believe that when people are craving junk food they're generally craving macro-nutrients. When your daughter is craving a cheeseburger, for instance, it could be her body asking for some fat. Maybe in the future she'll be able to teach herself that these cravings can be satisfied with good food.

To help with this try having good food on hand all the time. Chicken breasts, nuts (almonds, peanuts, etc.... avoid too many brazil nuts and cashews), peanut/almond butter, fish, fish oil, oats, whole wheat bread. These foods can even be combined and made really tasty and the end result is a family that's conditioned to crave healthy foods to satisfy their dietary needs.

Maybe eventually you can get your family to start lifting, tracking their foods, getting 1g/lb of bodyweight, and creating a deficit so to lose 1-2lbs/week. Your wife will probably enjoy cardio as well once she finds how much it can help control her diabetes. Reconditioning your mind to do these things is a process.

gmaellex
02-10-2010, 05:58 AM
Oh and the power of goals is enormous. Just learning how to properly set goals is so important for people just starting out. I believe 'Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle' by Tom Venuto starts out with a good chapter on goal-setting.

inkblue
02-10-2010, 06:35 AM
This must be a really frustrating situation for you. I have tried to change the eating habits of my mom and brother, both have had tumors. The main obstacle I experience is that everyone thinks there is a magic pill and lifestyle can be fixed with magic pills. There's a drug for everything, but more people are dying from heart disease, cancer and diabetes everyday.

Every time I hear the pharmaceutical companies want something I just want to scream don't give it to them. It's just another way to keep you sick, but alive long enough to give them $5,000 a month in medication.

Nick2s
02-10-2010, 07:06 AM
Focus on yourself. Get shredded and try to change the family meals stating you are not eating that crap anymore. Tell them you only have one life and you want to get the most out of it. halcyonnwar said it better.

I found by saying things to them you may cause tension but leading by example "can" work. I ended up getting my mother to the gym this way.

GregTR
02-10-2010, 07:40 AM
I recommend reading the book Mindless Eeating (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553384481?ie=UTF8&tag=grswelobl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0553384481).http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=grswelobl-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0553384481 This book talks about the family's Nutritional Gatekeeper who I'm sure is your wife in your house. You need to change that. You will have to take over the grocery shopping chores and just by doing that you will influence 70% of what they eat. If there is no junk food at home they can't eat it.

I have also found that positive reinforcement ("Look honey, I feel/look great") works a lot better than the opposite ("Honey, you really should lose some weight"). The thing is that they will have to want to change. You can't force it onto them it has to come from them.

jay24k
02-10-2010, 08:10 AM
While I'm not big on Dr. Oz, he did have a show last week (it was on at the gym lol) about how sugar affects diabetics. Literally tears their arteries and can cause major complications. I'd find it and show it to her.

Unfortunately, you can't change someone sometimes. You can make your daughter eat better by providing her better foods but if your wife buys junk, she will cheat probably.

dbluegoat
02-10-2010, 08:16 AM
I wrote teh bolded portion below on another board in response to a guy trying to get his wife to workout and change.......the same applies to you and your daughter and wife basically....but the best thing is lead by example and DO NOT BRING IN THE JUNK FOOD. limit it....if its not readily available they cannot eat it

nothing you say will change her, she MUST want to do it herself. I know this for a fact because I was morbidly obese approx 400lbs at my highest, I have been fat my entire life. My wife is not a model or something, I would call her skinny fat and she has pushed me to loose weight, made some remarks that I consider hurtful etc. None of that did ****, she would say you dont care about me or the kids, your eating yourself to death etc. honestly all that **** did was make me resent her and eat more.

She did not know my situation, she did not know how much of a struggle it was, eating and obesity imo is basically a disease. Skinny people dont understand and never will, call people fat, putting them down etc does nothing but make it worse. Low self esteem will destroy you. One day I found my inner demon and met it head on, I looked forward and never looked back. It is and always will be a constant battle, I love to eat, I love big fat greasy cheeseburgers, bad food fuking tastes great. I have conquered though......I love the adrenaline rush of a great workout, I was 100% sedentary, worked a desk job at home, slowly ballooned up, never had any form of exercise.

This all changed 18 months ago. Technically I am what most people still call fat and I do have more weight to lose but I am not morbidly obese anymore. I have made a lifestyle change that I will always continue.

If you love her and support her then you must ALWAYS remain positive, just keep encouraging the healthy lifestyle. Don't bring in the junk food if possible. I now battle this with my wife who is 5'7" 170ishlbs basically skinny fat but she eats like garbage, I wish she would eat like me now and it would be a team. Sometimes she drags me back into the bad food just by watching her eat or her having it around. Nothing I can do, slowly one day I hope to convert her to my new lifestyle but I can see it taking along time.

the fact is though she must want to change herself, no one can make her or guilt her into it. It could takes years for her to want to change, or maybe she never will.
It took me 34yrs to change, been fat my entire 34yrs although I was only 205 about 16yrs ago, almost doubled that weight since I been with my wife. The **** creeps up on you easily.

Dths
02-10-2010, 08:16 AM
I recommend reading the book Mindless Eeating (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553384481?ie=UTF8&tag=grswelobl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0553384481).http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=grswelobl-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0553384481 This book talks about the family's Nutritional Gatekeeper who I'm sure is your wife in your house. You need to change that. You will have to take over the grocery shopping chores and just by doing that you will influence 70% of what they eat. If there is no junk food at home they can't eat it.

I have also found that positive reinforcement ("Look honey, I feel/look great") works a lot better than the opposite ("Honey, you really should lose some weight"). The thing is that they will have to want to change. You can't force it onto them it has to come from them.

This

Control the food that comes in the house. Teach them to eat less of what they are eating, switch to diet sodas/water eat nuts instead of chips, slow small changes are the way to go.

halcyonnwar
02-10-2010, 08:33 AM
I'll also say, people's spouses or significant others also sometimes get resentful or scared if their partner begins to lose weight. People fear change in their partner because they think that they'll end up alone. If your wife is an emotional eater this may also affect her.

While I do think that setting a good example, and just focusing on yourself is great it may make it even harder for your wife to start a healthy lifestyle. Bring her along with you and make her understand that you love her, and want her to be healthy, that you have so much you want to do with her and that you aren't pushing her to exercise because you want her just to look better. (obviously this is part of it, but focusing on that aspect instead of the health aspect might be traumatizing for her :) )

While i like (and hate) tough love, a lot of women (and men for that matter) like rewards/encouragement. People who eat for emotional reasons sometimes are eating because they're afraid of losing their spouse, or feel hurt, or lonely, etc. You can help ameliorate this. If you can afford to, maybe book a vacation for late spring. Some place warm! Use the time between now and then to work toward better health and better bodies. Maybe buy flowers and give compliments (that aren't food) when she loses a couple pounds, or looks better.

I mentioned my parents above before. My mom used to nag my dad about losing weight, point out that he'd gotten fatter over the years. Men don't like that! nobody likes that! I told her to start complimenting him and celebrating every success instead. man, my Dad loves the gym now.

Maybe your wife or daughter is competitive. how about have a contest? Who can lose more inches or more pounds (as a percentage of total weight) over the next month. Take photos, have a trainer do your measurements etc. I'm competitive as hell as is my boyfriend and boy do I love telling him i lost 1.5 lbs this week and he's lost 1 (or something).

You know what your wife and daughter are like, so you know what might work for them. Remember that they are different. Maybe tough love works for you, but not them. Try reward/encouragement or competition instead.

Peelen
02-10-2010, 08:57 AM
The short answer to this, like those above have said, is that your daughter and wife have to want to change on their own. While all the information above is great, it will be hit or miss as to whether any of it works. In my experience though, continuing to work on yourself to become more healthy by eating right, working out, and researching on these forums is effective.

My father is diabetic and was obese. My girlfriend was thin but ate horribly. I tried telling my father he was killing himself, i tried telling my girlfriend I wanted her to be healthier now so we can live longer later, and neither of those direct tactics worked. In the end I just did everything I could to become more fit, and along the way suggested things to my girlfriend and father that I found to be fun/delicious/interesting/healthy. If they didn't go work out I never said anything, but if they showed interest in exercising I went completely out of my way to make it easy/comfortable for them. I can't say that they are both eating/living perfectly, but they are both healthier than they used to be, and I think in this situation that is all you can hope for.

BLab5
02-10-2010, 09:08 AM
great posts above state everything so, i'm not going to beat a dead horse.

just here say, i wish you luck. send good vibes, and hope that your family embraces the change and works for a healthier/happier family :)

all the best

alaskaboy
02-10-2010, 04:16 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I will keep at it and hope that sooner or later they will come around. I have been trying to get them to make a small step here and there, maybe together they will start the journey.

I know they will eat whatever I make, just need to weed out the junk they tend to pile along side the chicken.

My daughter started to ask me about protein shakes last night. I suggested that she have one over chococlate milk or as a snack when she is craving something sweet. Bought her a tub of strawberry flavored protein (I hate strawberries, it is all hers) to try and she liked it.

Pointed her to this site as well. Hope she reads some of the stuff here. If I can get her on board, mom will be much easier to convince to take care of her health.

dbluegoat
02-10-2010, 07:00 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

I will keep at it and hope that sooner or later they will come around. I have been trying to get them to make a small step here and there, maybe together they will start the journey.

I know they will eat whatever I make, just need to weed out the junk they tend to pile along side the chicken.

My daughter started to ask me about protein shakes last night. I suggested that she have one over chococlate milk or as a snack when she is craving something sweet. Bought her a tub of strawberry flavored protein (I hate strawberries, it is all hers) to try and she liked it.

Pointed her to this site as well. Hope she reads some of the stuff here. If I can get her on board, mom will be much easier to convince to take care of her health.

thats another great thing, for instance I was never a huge sweet freak, but anyways the double chocolate myofusion as well as other flavors sometimes really taste like a desert. If you can find something like that really good for them and still tastes great it will help alot