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Old 07-05-2010, 10:01 PM
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Default Advice on helping my obese niece please..

I have an 18 year old niece who is morbidly obese granted my brother and his wife are as well. So it is no surprise how this has happened. My mother called me desperate wanting to know if I could help her. She thought I should just sign her up at my gym. I tried to explain that is not that easy as the girl has never worked out before and has serious social issues. She has no friends dropped out of HS (I'm sure it was because of teasing) graduated from home study program and is now entering community college to take of alll things cooking classes!!
My heart breaks for her since she has never been taught to eat healthy. I look at this situation like any addiction the person has to be ready to be well.
I personally think food addiction has to be the worst since we have to eat to survive!

She is moving in with my parent's to go to school and will be close to me. I thought I could start by taking her for walk's and somehow addressing her weight problem and see if she is available to be helped.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on this sensitive subject! Just to add she is about 5'11 and easily 325 pounds just horrible.

Thanks Guys!
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:13 PM
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Hi Carin! I think starting with a walk/talk to see where her head is a great first step. Ppl who are that heavy usually drop weight fast. Just suggest that you are willing to walk w/ her for a week. I wouldn't be surprised if she drops 5-10 pounds by adding something as small as walking to her day. Hopefully after a week w/ results it may be enuff to peak her interest to continue another week. The second week you can encourage to add more fruit and drop something high in sugar from her diet. Just try baby steps, nothing major right now.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:15 PM
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My sister, and her husband are obese. This is a very sensitive subject.
She needs to know that you are not judging her the same way society is. They can't eat anything without looks, and glares. Which oddly enough drives them to eat more.
I never said a thing to my sister... other than a "hey if you'd ever like to go to the gym I'd love the company." I left it alone at that. She did end up joining. She went with me for 4 months or so. She lost 35lbs+. Then started a silly arguement to put a rift in the relationship. She stopped going... the relationship is repaired, and she never started back with me. Since then she has put it all back on, and then some.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

My advice.. set a good example and be a friend.. and maybe it will become her idea.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:24 PM
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It is so hard to help someone, who hasn't asked for help. I feel your pain, as I have a sibling who has gone up to 220 pounds at 5' 5". And this was all after my Mother died from obesity.

My recommendation, is you two get together, do something fun. Build up a special friendship. Maybe she will ask you for help eventually. She'll become curious about how her fun aunt, stays in such great shape.

It takes a great deal of will power to go from obese to fit. She'll need to want it bad, in order to keep the motivation alive.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:37 PM
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Coming from someone who is obese, what ever you do, don't make it obvious it is about the weight. Everyone is dead on, if someone is not ready to make the changes, they won't. I know everything I need to lose weight, but lack the personal motivation. It is weird, I know it is unhealthy, and I know I am probably slowly killing myself, but I am also stubborn. The stubborness in part, is what is keeping me from changing things.

I know it sounds silly, but everytime someone mentions my weight to me, it makes me even less apt to change things. Though I know it is just them caring for me, it pisses me off. I am sure the day will come that I am ready to change, and I know I have the people in my life that will support me when I do. As for now, I am being a knucklehead with no reason.

My suggestions would be simple. Ease into things. Invite her to do fun things with you that also include physical activity. Invite her over for dinner, and have healthy choices for food. Ask your parents to remove all potential food stumbling blocks from their house. It will help a ton. Be supportive of her, and just be there. I know she is your niece, but befriend her as much as you possibly can. And most of all, just be an example for her. Be subtle and be patient. Ask her to help you with gardening, if you do that. Ask her to help with just little things that will get her up and moving.

The other killer for obesity is eating habits. Not necessarily what we eat (though it is horrible,) but the frequency of eating. My biggest issue, as well as my mothers (she is big as well), is we get into groves of only eating twice a day, and end up eating large quantities of crap. If you are around her, have simple things handy. Granola bars, celery with peanut butter, carrots, something easy, something that is not horrible, but something availible to snack on to keep the metabolism going.

I know from experience, that one of the biggest problems from helping a overweight person, is when you make the relationship soley about them losing weight. The words gym, diet, working out, and eating plan scare the crap out of us. Invite her to the gym, yeah. Offer to get her on a meal plan, yes. But do not press the issue. And do not do it the first couple of times you see her. Like I said, be patient, and be supportive. And make sure your parents are on the same page. Being too persistant will only drive her further away.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
Coming from someone who is obese, what ever you do, don't make it obvious it is about the weight. Everyone is dead on, if someone is not ready to make the changes, they won't. I know everything I need to lose weight, but lack the personal motivation. It is weird, I know it is unhealthy, and I know I am probably slowly killing myself, but I am also stubborn. The stubborness in part, is what is keeping me from changing things.

I know it sounds silly, but everytime someone mentions my weight to me, it makes me even less apt to change things. Though I know it is just them caring for me, it pisses me off. I am sure the day will come that I am ready to change, and I know I have the people in my life that will support me when I do. As for now, I am being a knucklehead with no reason.

My suggestions would be simple. Ease into things. Invite her to do fun things with you that also include physical activity. Invite her over for dinner, and have healthy choices for food. Ask your parents to remove all potential food stumbling blocks from their house. It will help a ton. Be supportive of her, and just be there. I know she is your niece, but befriend her as much as you possibly can. And most of all, just be an example for her. Be subtle and be patient. Ask her to help you with gardening, if you do that. Ask her to help with just little things that will get her up and moving.

The other killer for obesity is eating habits. Not necessarily what we eat (though it is horrible,) but the frequency of eating. My biggest issue, as well as my mothers (she is big as well), is we get into groves of only eating twice a day, and end up eating large quantities of crap. If you are around her, have simple things handy. Granola bars, celery with peanut butter, carrots, something easy, something that is not horrible, but something availible to snack on to keep the metabolism going.

I know from experience, that one of the biggest problems from helping a overweight person, is when you make the relationship soley about them losing weight. The words gym, diet, working out, and eating plan scare the crap out of us. Invite her to the gym, yeah. Offer to get her on a meal plan, yes. But do not press the issue. And do not do it the first couple of times you see her. Like I said, be patient, and be supportive. And make sure your parents are on the same page. Being too persistant will only drive her further away.
I totally agree with you and appreciate you sharing your own struggle with this issue.
I think I will start by taking her to walk the mall and window shop. It is hot here now so I think a nice cool mall would be good.
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siouxcountry View Post
It is so hard to help someone, who hasn't asked for help. I feel your pain, as I have a sibling who has gone up to 220 pounds at 5' 5". And this was all after my Mother died from obesity.

My recommendation, is you two get together, do something fun. Build up a special friendship. Maybe she will ask you for help eventually. She'll become curious about how her fun aunt, stays in such great shape.

It takes a great deal of will power to go from obese to fit. She'll need to want it bad, in order to keep the motivation alive.
I'm so sorry to hear about your mother and your sis that sucks.
Thanks for the advice sioux!
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:22 PM
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I know this is a very sensitive issue......

Realizing healthy nutrition is so crucial.... here's a suggestion you might want to try....

Maybe tell her you are taking cooking classes and need help.... a partner....... she can help you by making the meals with you....

sets specifications as to what the homework is.... basically making a delicious dish that contains certain nutritients.. this way you can both get creative, adhering to "homework" guidelines and testing it trying to make good tasting food,

I did this with my teenage daughter and she came up with some amazing combinations... we made it fun and she kept on cooking some of "our conconctions" after the fact.....

If it tastes good, is healthy and fits a healthy guideline....

Something like Jamie Oliver's cooking class ideas.....
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
Coming from someone who is obese, what ever you do, don't make it obvious it is about the weight. Everyone is dead on, if someone is not ready to make the changes, they won't. I know everything I need to lose weight, but lack the personal motivation. It is weird, I know it is unhealthy, and I know I am probably slowly killing myself, but I am also stubborn. The stubborness in part, is what is keeping me from changing things.

I know it sounds silly, but everytime someone mentions my weight to me, it makes me even less apt to change things. Though I know it is just them caring for me, it pisses me off. I am sure the day will come that I am ready to change, and I know I have the people in my life that will support me when I do. As for now, I am being a knucklehead with no reason.

My suggestions would be simple. Ease into things. Invite her to do fun things with you that also include physical activity. Invite her over for dinner, and have healthy choices for food. Ask your parents to remove all potential food stumbling blocks from their house. It will help a ton. Be supportive of her, and just be there. I know she is your niece, but befriend her as much as you possibly can. And most of all, just be an example for her. Be subtle and be patient. Ask her to help you with gardening, if you do that. Ask her to help with just little things that will get her up and moving.

The other killer for obesity is eating habits. Not necessarily what we eat (though it is horrible,) but the frequency of eating. My biggest issue, as well as my mothers (she is big as well), is we get into groves of only eating twice a day, and end up eating large quantities of crap. If you are around her, have simple things handy. Granola bars, celery with peanut butter, carrots, something easy, something that is not horrible, but something availible to snack on to keep the metabolism going.

I know from experience, that one of the biggest problems from helping a overweight person, is when you make the relationship soley about them losing weight. The words gym, diet, working out, and eating plan scare the crap out of us. Invite her to the gym, yeah. Offer to get her on a meal plan, yes. But do not press the issue. And do not do it the first couple of times you see her. Like I said, be patient, and be supportive. And make sure your parents are on the same page. Being too persistant will only drive her further away.
Great advice, Bernie!! I think you hit on several issues we obese people have to deal with dead center...and that's coming from one obese "knucklehead with no reason" to another.

One thing I would expound upon that Bernie mentioned is the training/gym aspect. It's just my perspective, but I think that those reading this thread who have never been significantly overweight or obese in their lives don't fully realize or understand just how TERRIFYING a gym atmosphere is to many of us big folks.....particularly if we happen to walk into a hardcore gym. Gyms are VERY intimidating and INCREDIBLY uncomfortable places to significantly overweight people, because we feel that we are being judged and looked down upon at every moment by all the gym rats that frequent such places. We feel TOTALLY out of place, and that is VERY tough to deal with especially if you are going to a gym all alone. I think that's why you don't see many of us there. I probably won't set foot into a gym by myself again, not until I lose SUBSTANTIALLY more weight or I find a training partner who's been in my shoes and can relate to what I'm going through. If your relationship ultimately comes to the point where she agrees to let you take her to the gym BE THERE FOR HER when she needs you, because more than likely she will be freaking OUT from the moment she walks through that gym door to the moment she leaves. Realize that this might mean you having to make sacrifices or adjustments when it comes to YOUR training so that you can help her. Over time, as she loses the weight and becomes more acclimated to the environment she may gain more confidence and need you less, but when she is just starting out BE THERE FOR HER because she will more than likely be scared to death. I personally would feel SO much more comfortable knowing there was someone there at the gym with me I knew who cared about me and who I could go to when I needed encouragement or guidance. Otherwise I would feel totally alone.
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Last edited by Femphysiquefan : 07-06-2010 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:09 AM
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I really believe you can not change anyone until they want the change themselves. So my advice is to become her friend and just be you, by being nice to her and setting a positive example of health and fitness. Hopefully you will inspire her to want to change her life to a healthy one and she will feel comfortable enough to come to you for help and advice. I know that this is a hard and sensitive subject, but change is hard for a lot of people and some people would rather remain the same because it is comfortable than make a change. I hope it all works out and you can help inspire her to live a healthier life.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:15 AM
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Your right Jeremy. The last thing I would do is drag her to the gym right now. Whenever I see someone like that at the gym I think it's awesome that they are there! However, many don't and talk smack. I was very intimidated when I first started going and I have never been overweight.
After starting this thread, I came up with an idea to pay her to walk my dog when I am working. I know she could use extra $$.
You guys are awesome!!!
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Chawk1 View Post
I totally agree with you and appreciate you sharing your own struggle with this issue.
I think I will start by taking her to walk the mall and window shop. It is hot here now so I think a nice cool mall would be good.
You are welcome. I am a pretty open book on most things. And I know how tough things can be going to the gym, getting in shape, and staying there. And just the roadblocks that show up along the way. If you ever need to bounce ideas off me feel free to pm me as well.

The mall is a great idea. Actually a fantastic idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chawk1 View Post
Your right Jeremy. The last thing I would do is drag her to the gym right now. Whenever I see someone like that at the gym I think it's awesome that they are there! However, many don't and talk smack. I was very intimidated when I first started going and I have never been overweight.
After starting this thread, I came up with an idea to pay her to walk my dog when I am working. I know she could use extra $$.
You guys are awesome!!!
Jeremy is dead on, on the gym being intimidating. Shoot, I know my way around the gym, but am scared of it at times. Always thinking about what others are thinking. It is a matter of getting over that.

The other big thing, if you take her into a gym, when the time comes. There will probably be a number of people coming up and encouraging her....just me thinking becuase you are you, and people probably know you. If your niece is as big of an introvert as it sounds, that could actually be negative. I would suggest, if you know when you may take her, tell the people you would regularly see at the gym, and ask them to not be too overbearing around her as well. The last thing an obese introvert would want is attention in a gym. Just a thought.

Walking the dog is another great idea.

Just be open, creative and patient. I have no doubt you will make a very positive impact on your niece.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:09 AM
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I had no friends all through school was teased every day due to my vision (didn't have weight issues in school) Was told i could not do things when i applied for jobs or talked to professors about careers in the field i was studying (even though i was highest grade in the class) Felt like a complete social outcast as an adult and had no self esteem. Still don't have much and still feel like an outsider

I joined the gym basically alone (joined with aunt but worked out alone) with no reason to think i would succeed. I got a couple books on weight lifting one by bill pearl with all the different things you can do for each body part. I put together my own workouts based on a 3 day split(back/bis, chest/tris, legs /delts) and lifted 6 days on 1 off did 30 min of cardio. I just started to remove bad shit from my diet. I SLOWLY started seeing results. After about 4-5 years i read Body for Life and that is when i began to eat 6 meals etc

I never felt intimidated at the gym I never used the stupid female only area. I felt less awkward there trying to better myself then i would feel at a fast food place.

I trained alone from 1995 - really last year even though chase and i trained together on the weekends I still trained alone midday during the week til Sept 2009. When i first started i was with Christine's father so i had zero support and was told I would not achieve the weight loss. I did not use a trainer until 2002 when i did my first show

Because I am unable to drive i walked alot and that did nothing to keep me form getting fat or help get any fat off. 30 min of walking doesn't hardly burn anything
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:11 AM
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I really believe you can not change anyone until they want the change themselves.
x2!

I can be done but the person has to want it for themselves sicne it takes 100% commitment and deidication
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