How to motivate others

Has anyone had any good experience motivating others to lose weight/improve their health?

Typically, I am not at all the type of person to push others to lose weight. To me that is a personal decision. However, I am becoming increasingly concerned about both of my parents' health, and I am trying to figure out what I can say or do to help them. It's a true concern. They're both in their mid 60's and both obese. I would say they are each at least 300lb now. They've been big my whole life, but now probably bigger than ever.

The reason this is bothering me so much now is that I can clearly see the affects it's having on their health. Over the holidays they stayed with me, and granted I know it's not uncommon for people to overeat on the holidays, but it seemed like my dad was eating non-stop. To make things worse, he's been out of a job for several months now, and when he finally did find a temp job doing filing work, he had to quit a couple days later because the job was "too physical" for him (standing and filing for most of the day). He also needs a few naps throughout the day as he does not sleep well at night.
At one point I suggested we all go for a short walk, and said, "ready to go, dad?" He said he would later. Which he didn't.
My mom did go for a walk with us. However, she quickly fell behind, had to stop many times for long periods, and at one point was bent over trying to catch her breath (she's asthmatic as well). My uncle who is the same age was keeping pace just fine. It was a very slow, short walk.

My mom expresses to me that she wants help losing weight, but when she fails she blames it on my dad because, for instance, if she has a weak moment and says "I want pizza", he will agree and then they get pizza. I try to explain to her that no one is going to make her lose weight and it's about her own self-discipline, but it's hard to get through to her. She also likes to use the excuse that it's harder for her to lose weight because she's older.

The other thing that concerns me is that my dad is diabetic. At one point he got healthy enough that the doctors told him he was no longer diabetic! Now it's back in full-force and he even said he doesn't have good feeling in his feet anymore. This is the kind of stuff that brings me to tears. How do I stop them from killing themselves? When is enough, enough?

When I've talked to them about it, they seem responsive and say they want to do something about it, but nothing ever happens. My advice is not being taken. I just don't know what to do.

Sorry for this very long-winded post. I just want to know what could possibly help. If anyone else has positive experience motivating someone else to get healthy, please share!


  • BekahC1980
    BekahC1980 Posts: 474 Member
    I wish i could offer some advice but the truth of the matter is they have to want to change, for it to work.
  • Meganthedogmom
    Meganthedogmom Posts: 1,641 Member
    I'm afraid that may be true. :( the thing is, both of them have told me they want to. I just don't know if they want it bad enough or what.
  • BekahC1980
    BekahC1980 Posts: 474 Member
    Remind them that they can still have tge foods they love. It's all about learning portion control
  • auddii
    auddii Posts: 15,359 Member
    They're going to have to come to the decision themselves. My mom had three stents placed last year, and it really doesn't seem like she cares about taking care of herself. She has horrible eating habits, sleeping habits, and she does not exercise at all (and gets very little movement).

    I finally just told her that I hope she lives long enough to make it to my wedding (this July). Sadly (and rather telling), she said she hadn't even thought about that...
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,633 Member
    You can't motivate others, any more than others can motivate you.

    It is a personal decisions and people come to it (or don't) in their own time.
  • LKArgh
    LKArgh Posts: 5,173 Member
    You can be honest and tell them you see that they are not coping well with everyday tasks and that you believe that soon they will die because of their weight. But, you cannot force them to change.
  • BZAH10
    BZAH10 Posts: 5,579 Member
    I'm sorry. That is so painful and frustrating to watch. My mom is the same way: overweight, diabetic, cannot walk long distances at all, doesn't drive anymore due to all the medications she's on, yet complains constantly about her weight. Nothing I can do. I keep doing my thing and hope she will learn from example, but she dismisses my lifestyle as "too hard and obsessive". No, it's neither of those things. Sadly, no matter how much you love someone you cannot change them.
  • I agree that they have to decide on their own, like I did. Since you are getting married soon, you might gently remind them that you sure hope they are around to become grandparents to your children, even if that will not be soon (all the more reason to start now!). Believe me, being a grandparent is THE BEST thing in the world, and they want to be healthy enough to play with those precious little ones. I was so large when mine were born that I didn't even have a lap for them to sit on!
  • Meganthedogmom
    Meganthedogmom Posts: 1,641 Member
    That is so heartbreaking, Auddi. I feel like roles have been reversed when the kid knows what's best for the parent, and the parent won't listen.

    Dorothy - I am not getting married soon or having kids. Perhaps you were talking to Auddi.
  • goalss4nika
    goalss4nika Posts: 534 Member
    I can understand what you're going through. My mother is about 5'3 and I think she is close to 400lbs. She walks with a walker, can't talk without losing her breathe and has to sleep with oxygen mask. Washing herself is such a battle and is tiring to the point where she is sweating bullets just from trying to reach her areas. I have offered many times to walk with her, but she rejects it. I am literally watching my mother die at the age of 56. She can hardly drive her two vehicles because she can't get herself up to drive. I get very sad when I visit my mother. I have no clue what to do. I'll continue to keep your family in my thoughts, Megan.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    I'm afraid that may be true. :( the thing is, both of them have told me they want to. I just don't know if they want it bad enough or what.

    I'm so sorry. They really do need to want it for themselves, but I wonder if it might be fear of what it would require that's holding them back. Offering to help and explaining they don't have to give up foods or exercise like on Biggest Loser or the like might be helpful if you can do it in a way where it doesn't seem like pushing, but natural.
  • MostlyWater
    MostlyWater Posts: 4,288 Member
    No. You can't be the Food Police. It just gets you hated.
  • SuggaD
    SuggaD Posts: 1,369 Member
    I'm in the same boat with my mom and have thrown in the towel. It saddens me, but they have to want it for themselves. I helped her last year get set up and learn to use MFP but she quit after a few weeks. Although she keeps gaining weight and worsening her health conditions, she doesn't want it bad enough to make the necessary changes. She just makes excuses. I try to educate her about calories as she swears she isn't eating much, but she is eating very high calorie foods and is quite short. She also blames her medication. They may make it harder, but she is definitely consuming too much daily and not getting that. We went on vacation recently and it was miserable for both her and me as she chose the destination, but was unable to do the minimal walking that was required to get around daily.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,859 Member
    people have to want it for themselves. all we can do as individuals is be positive examples of good livin'...but ultimately, people have to make the decision for themselves as to how they want to live their lives.