Wedding Woes

Center your concerns about activity, not weight.

Dear Prudence,

My mother and I have always been very close, but lately I’ve been worried about her. She is overweight and has various health issues. She is very sedentary and tends to spend her days watching TV. She will do sewing or crocheting as well, but again, there’s not a lot of movement there. She used to be slightly more active pre-pandemic, but not by much.

Over the past few months I have noticed her quality of life decrease. It has become particularly evident over the holidays that she can barely walk. I know she’s having trouble with her knee and ankle (she had knee surgery on one knee several years ago but keeps putting off getting the other one done). She can barely walk a few steps without holding on to something, and she lives alone. The thing is that she gets super defensive if I try to talk to her about this. I get it—I’m overweight, too, and I would hate if someone talked to me about my weight. But at the same time, I’m so worried about her. My sister has tried to talk to her before, although her approach leaves a bit to be desired. My brother just buries his head in the sand. I want to help her, but I don’t know how.

—Mom’s Health

Re: Center your concerns about activity, not weight.

  • So don’t talked about weight- talk about her cardiovascular health, her muscle tone, her ability to move around. Offer to go with her to a doctor, or suggestion small walks together. The way to not make it about weight is to not make it about weight. 
  • "Mom, I am concerned about how you were moving.  Have you talked to a doctor about this? "  

    The issue is what the weight is doing to the mobility and while the weight is a problem, it's the end result and lack of activity and stability that are problematic.   If LW isn't already having power of attorney it may be time to look into it and talk about her ability to talk to the mom's physicians. 
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited January 7
    i agree about nixing the weight.  I don’t want people to talk about my diet & excerise either. Take the “mobility” spin and maybe offer to get her one of those devices she can use while sitting? I forgot what it is, but its like a bike, but only pedals, she can take it slow with a bad knee I think? I’m no expert but It’s something?

    charlotte989875STARMOON44
  • Weight is always a rough subject. Definitely agree to talk about the issues weight could cause without talking about the weight.

    Too heavy or too thin, it's a rough spot to talk about
  • I agree wholeheartedly with you all that weight shouldn't even be discussed at this point.  It should be about mom's quality of life diminishing because of her mobility issues.  Especially since the LW has seen a difference in a relatively short period of time.

    Another advantage for focusing on mobility is those are positive results the mother will see fairly quickly.  Whereas "lose weight" feels so much more daunting because it is major changes and a lot of work to "hopefully"...but maybe not...see improvement on the scale over a very long and slow period of time.

    For my example on the benefits of movement.  My H and I have a good friend and neighbor who is in her 80s.  She uses a cane to walk.  She was talking to us about a year ago that she was having more trouble moving and was in more pain.  We were so sympathetic!  It's hard to move MORE, when you are already in pain.  But that was what she needed to do to help alleviate both of those issues (her doctor had recommended that to).  We encouraged her also and gave her suggestions on small ways she could add more movement.

    I was so proud of her that she took the advice!  She started getting up more often to walk around her living room a few times a day.  She has a handicapped plate but, if she was having a good day, she'd park further from the entrance.  Stuff like that.  Within just a few weeks, she told us she was already feeling so much better and stronger.  And she's kept it up! 
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