Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mama Drama

Most of you know how I feel about health & fitness.
I love it.
I love to talk about it. I love to read about it. I love to write about it.
I love to live it.
I love to read your blogs about it.

It's all about sharing advice, recipes, suggestions, encouragement, disappointments, etc.

This is what I do to stay motivated and HOPEFULLY, along the way, motivate some of you too.

But there is someone in my life who I cannot motivate.
It's my mother.
She has gone through various stages of health and fitness herself. I have not been alive to witness any of it (I have to take her word on that one), but she says she was even a runner at one time. She has been thin (not from a healthy way) and she has been heavy. Right now, she is at her heaviest. She has even been hospitalized for DIET related problems.

I don't know what came first for her - the depression or the weight gain. But they definitely go hand-in-hand. I have tried to motivate her by giving her healthy, easy recipes. I send her info about yoga and even try to show her some basics. I don't live close enough (thank God) to actually work out/walk with her, so that's not an option. Plus, she is the kind of person who looks for a PILL to solve everything. She wants an easy way out, an easy solution. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as I see it) sometimes the only way is by good, old-fashioned hard work.

I know there is nothing I can really do, because she has to WANT a healthier lifestyle for herself. I can't force my views on her, but I hate to see her getting more depressed and gaining even more weight. And even worse, eventually ending up back in the hospital.

A few of us in my family (Grams, Aunt, Sis) have tried to intervene, but like I said before, she has to want to change for herself. I really wish I could send her to one of the shows - like "Starting Over." That would be awesome.

30 comments:

AnthonyP said...

Sometimes there is nothing you can do to motivate people, and they have to, hopefully, motivate themselves. Maybe you can try (even though you don't live close) coming up with a goal for the both of you to achieve, with a reward for the two of you at the end - like a mother/daughter trip or something.

Jess said...

I am just catching up here, so first of all, congrats on the race! You did a great job and I love the pics!

As far as mom is concerned, I agree with Anthony. People have to find their own motivation, and as much as you may want it for her, there's ultimatley nothing you can do to change her ways for her.

J~Mom said...

It's so hard to get people to understand how good they will feel if they work out. And when it's our own family members it becomes more important to us to convince them. I wish I had an answer but I do like Anthony's idea!

K said...

Seeing all the great things you've done in your own life may be a motivation for her in and of itself. This is so tough, though, and something I deal with with my parents, too.

-Kaeti

Petraruns said...

I think motivation is a hard one. However, I think that - as a fit and healthy person - you can motivate by making it clear that are not fundamentally different from someone who is not fit and healthy - it is just that you exercise and eat healthily. When I was much fatter and quite unhealthy I used to tell myself that fit people were somehow completely different from me - that I would never be able to be like them anyway. When it finally dawned on me (slowly) that this was not the case I was able to do something about it. My husband has been very overweight for years and has watched this transformation of me without, I think, believe he could do it. Telling him he could made no difference. But over time, I could see things changing and now he's out biking or running every day and he has lost a lot of weight and is just transformed himself. I really do believe anyone can do it and that is the message I try to share.

I feel so sad for you both - it must be very very hard.

Viv said...

It is a vicious cycle the depression and weight gain. My sister is going through somthing similar. We tried doing like a family WL fit club kind of thing and that morivated her. We are doing it again and she said she does not want in. I am trying with her and it is working somewhat. I am sure you know you have to want it for yourself. That is the harderst part in my opinion. Although, If she with keeps staying depressed I might send her towards a pill or two.

Best wishes with influencing her the right direction. I know it must be hard for you.

audgepodge said...

Without going into details, I can definitely relate... who knows, maybe you inspired your mom at your half! I've invited my family to two of my marathons and both my dad and my bro seem interested in the 5K as a result of that. I recently walked a Disney 5K with my sis and now she seems to be hooked. We're looking into getting her some proper shoes now! Sometimes it takes a medical scare to get people into action - my bro actually got into working out and eating better when he was diagnosed with diabetes. Also, does your mom watch TV? I think shows like The Biggest Loser and Celebrity Fit Club are both motivating as well as educational on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Marcy said...

I agree with Anthony. There is really only so much you can do and it's even harder when that person is depressed. Maybe she needs to see a counselor first? If you're not feeling well mentally, you just don't have it in you to do physical things, KWIM?

shelley said...

They should have counselor's that take you for a walk...that way you have someone to talk to, and get some good exercise endorphins going too.

When someone is in that cycle it is so hard to break it, but all you can do is try to be supportive and it sounds like you are definately giving positive support. Hopefully, it will click at some point.

Laurie said...

Do you know any of her close friends? Could you ask one of them to invite your mom to do something active? It could be even something simple like a weekly walk along the beach. It might be easier if it were coming from someone outside of the family and included being social.

chia said...

I love that you said "she has to want to change for herself." It's so true. There is a definite difference between being there and inspiring and completely alienating loved ones just for cutting life against the grain.

Keep your positivity flowing, eventually it becomes infectious.

TNTcoach Ken said...

My entire family is like that, there’s not a lot you can do. You would hope that they would see the results of your hard work but it doesn’t always work like that. Like the old saying, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but it will eat the hay’.

D10 said...

I know how you feel. I have a family member in the same type of situation. I have tried to motivate her in various ways, but bottom line, if the person doesn't want to do it (for whatever reason, fear, no confidence, etc.) they won't. Sometimes, figuring out why a person doesn't want to or why they are afraid to try is the key.

All I can tell you is to stay supportive and positive. I am not sure how often you visit your mom or she visits you, but when you do see each other maybe you can incorporate exercising.

Auntie J said...

Well My darling Niece.. and I do mean DARLING. Miss Mom has been in this spiral for a decade if not more, a liitle bit of confidence goes miles, so maybe instead of chatting health and fitness, try to boost her another way, and hopefully the rest she will want to do. Building even more confidence... I used to be that way. fat and unhappy... but look what you have done for me..

Love you baby

Robin said...

Sorry about your mom. I was in a similar postition with mine. Then she was diagnosed with diabetes, and that got her butt in gear. She has now lost about 65 pounds and looks and feels great. But before she was diagnosed, she just wasn't motivated to do it.

It amazes me how many people think there is some magic pill. My mom and I get asked all the time, "what are you doing?" in reference to our weight loss. They always seem so disappointed when we tell them, "eating healthy and exercising."

Charmaine said...

We could show her a picture of my mother, "Skeletor" and...wait. That would have the reverse effect, i.e. making having a few extra pounds look GOOD.

Tigerlilly said...

First off I have to agree with you that blogging is a definite motivator. If I didn't spend the time to write down everything that motivates me, it would fly over my head un-noticed.

As for motivating your mom, thats a tricky one. It sounds like she has tried all the 'quick fixes' only to lose herself even more. I think you have already found the answer you are looking for. She has to want it... bad enough that she will work hard for it.

You are showing her what the good life has to offer... keep positive with her and maybe she will come around.

I think weight can be like any other addiction... you have to hit bottom before you see the error of your ways. A reality check we all had to deal with before starting this journey.

Keep doing what your doing, and leave yourself open to her so that when she does need help you will be waiting for her.

RazZDoodle said...

I agree with most . Motivation has to come from within. Hang in there and try to stay positive!

jen said...

I know what you mean, it is hard to see people struggle with weight and the related issues (physical and mental) when you know the benefits of exercise. It is a feeling of helplessness and frusteration. But beyond being a positive example, and maybe occasionally reminding them that you will help if they want, there is really nothing you can do. In my opinion, you should start focusing on loving them the way they are and finding things to enjoy together. I think sometimes they can feel the judgement and it really doesn't help their self-esteem. Of course, I don't know your situation, I'm just speaking in general and from experience. :)

My Life & Running said...

You should all plan a really healthy "spa" weekend (aka mini-intervention- full of healthy food & exercise?? Maybe a few days of that might be a good kick-start??

AddictedToEndorphins said...

POM
I feel like I know exactly where you're coming from. My mom was hospitalized at the beginning of the year for suicidal behaviour (I've never said that outloud before), is very heavy and has just recentely discovered there are problems with her heart. She has been on several weight loss pills and had her stomach stapled, all of which have backfired and caused her to become sicker.
She, however has never been an active person and up until about 2 years ago I wasn't really athletic either, it was just a way of life
Unfortunatley, I live with her, and even asking her to walk the dog with me or go for a walk around the block a couple of times she denies it saying she's too tired or sore or whatever other excuse she can come up with, and it's sooo frustrating!
I know where your coming from. You can try and intervene and unless she really wants to change, you can't help her, and it sucks cause you don't want her to go into that downward spiral again. It sucks cause you wish you could help.

Hang in there! Try and stay positive *(Much easier said than done) and be there to help her if she needs it . Hopefully she'll realize it that she'll feel better with the exercise.

((Hugs))

Kelly O said...

I can totally relate...it is so frustrating to want success for others but if they don't want it, you really have to just be that example and hope someday they will. My mom is now pre-diabetic and I'm trying to get her to be serious about her diet, yet I'm still catching her eating a chocolate here and there...you just can't buy that motivation for someone unfortunately, it has to come from within....

ashley said...

I'm so sorry. I can't offer much advice, but I can (kind of) relate. My mom is healthy, but she barely eats.. which I know can be really hard on her body. Especially when we are so health-conscious, it is so hard to see our parents not doing the best for themselves.

Cara said...

That is definitely a tough situation. My mom has trouble with losing weight now, even though at my age she was about 20lbs less and 3 inches taller. She complains about gaining weight but then never does anything about it. She thinks one day of working out will solve it. Oh well, I guess we can just lead by example right? When they finally want it they know exactly who to go to to help them.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

POM - Would you believe I teach motivational interviewing to physicians and others who are trying to get people to do exactly what they do not want to do? I've often thought I should do a post on motivation from a scientific perspective.

She does have to want to do it for herself, but there may be some things that you can help her with, mainly to find out what is important to her. It can actually help sometimes if there are actual known health risks as this can scare the person into thinking more about what does their 5 year or 10 year time frame look like. You need to figure out what her hook is, what is important to her. She may not even think about life this way -- many people do not-- so getting her to start thinking about what is important is a step. Pls feel free to email me if you'd like to talk about this more.

Best of luck, Honey. I know how much this eats at you. After all you even told me that PF Chang was evil. :D

Danielle said...

I can SOOO relate. I have the same discussions with my mom. She lives in denial and it drives me C.R.A.Z.Y.

rinus said...

Concrad whith jour half marathon time!!!!!!
And goodluck whit your Mother and i have no advice and i hope she be happy whit her live!.
Groet Rinus.
http://rinusrunning.punt.nl/?home=1

Judi said...

It's hard when you can't control a situation you know you could fix with just a few changes. I don't know what to tell you except that she has to want to change, but you already know that. Maybe one day she will change her mind.

Sagan Morrow said...

I'm sorry to hear that. But you're right- it has to be her choice and she has to want it.

eurydice said...

people will only take advice and listen to certain people. this is a weird comparison, but last night i was watching gossip girl, and it said that 15 year old girls only care about the 4 G's - girlfriends, guys, and gossip girl.

i know my mom doesn't take my diet or fitness advice, but that's probably because she feels she knows better than i do. and diets were different in our mom's day. my mom thinks a muffin a day is a good way to lose weight... it's unfortunate but there really isn't much you can do. if your mom has a weight problem - i'm sure she is painfully aware of it already.