How to help others get motivated to losing weight?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2008 8:26 PM GMT
    Hey guys, been reading the forums for a few weeks now and usually you guys have some great advice so I'm gonna try my luck on this one icon_biggrin.gif.

    So here's the situation. My mother is overweight, and I'm trying to help motivate her to lose it. I lost 50 pounds from Oct 07 - Jan 08 and she was really proud of me, but she wasn't inspired at all to lose any weight. I've talked to her about her weight on a few different occasions. I tell her that we're worried about her health, and that we want her to loss it because we love her, and she agrees that she needs to do something about it. I've also shared with her how everything has changed since I started working out and its benefits (ie. more energy, good mood, great stress relief etc).

    I have offered to add her to my gym membership and give her some of my pre-paid personal training sessions but she says "I don't want to go to a gym because I would be too embarrassed". I told her that I would go with her, and that everyone is there for the exact same reasons: To lose weight and stay active and healthy. She just says that she will go to a gym after she loses the weight, then she quickly changes the subject.

    She's going to Hawaii with my Dad in November, so she has some motivation to lose weight before then, and she told me she plans on dieting to lose the weight. I keep telling her that the only way she can lose weight and keep it off is by making a life change by eating healthier all the time; Not eating nothing but shakes and pills for a few months.

    She is usually so busy working that she never has time to prepare meals for herself during the day, so she snacks on junk food. I know that if she was really motivated to lose weight, she could definitely do it. I'm starting to run out of ideas.

    So have any of you guys helped family members or friends lose weight? How did you do it? I don't want to push the subject too hard, so are there maybe some more subtle ways of doing this? Thanks guys!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2008 11:15 PM GMT
    All I can say is this, If your mother doesn't REALLY want to lose it, she won't do it no matter how many reasons you give her, however. Some of these guys will be better help than I
  • Puppy80

    Posts: 451

    Sep 04, 2008 11:28 PM GMT
    Well first off, congrats to you man for dropping your 50 pounds! It's hard to convince someone who thinks they want to change that doesn't really want to. It took me finally getting to the gym and signing up with a trainer to make some positive changes.

    I don't know how well this would work with your schedules and how far away you are and how often you see her, but maybe ask her to take some walks with you on the weekends. Allow you both some bonding times as well as out enjoying some last nice days before the weather turns cold.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 04, 2008 11:51 PM GMT
    I went on a trip to Europe with someone really close to me in the last few years. They knew that we'd be walking a lot, so that gave them plenty of motivation to walk more (at least) so that they could keep up. It made a really big difference. Sounds like your mom has some of the same motivation.

    Unfortunately, as others have said, you can't really make someone do something they don't want to. This is a tough one. It's the same question as, for instance, how do you make someone give up drugs? You can't really. You can just tell them how their behavior impacts you, and if you need to, cut them out of your life. The other option is to accept them where they're at.

    Good luck.
  • Kagato

    Posts: 3

    Sep 05, 2008 12:07 AM GMT
    As someone who has been dealing with similar issues personally, I agree with what everyone has said here - you can't truly motivate someone. Mainly, you don't know what their primary motivating factor will be... they have to discover it for themselves.

    About going to the gym though - I know where your mother is coming from. I used to (and still do sometimes) have a gut reaction of fear and embarrassment when I go to the gym. I've always wanted to lift weights, but felt like "I didn't belong". I'm a very rational person, and know this to be completely irrational... which is very frustrating. I think its important you ease her into exercising through other activities. Offer to go for walks with her. Buy her easy to use at-home equipment, such as bands. Just look for activities that don't require being around a lot of people, or doing things she's not used to.

    Also, I think its really important to have someone that she trusts know whats going on. Not necessarily to motivate or critique, but just to talk about what she's doing, how she's feeling, etc. It may have to be someone outside the family. My mother is also overweight, but has a hard time talking about it with my father who's always been pretty average. We talk about it sometimes, but I live in a different part of the country so I can't always be there. For her, she needed to seek strangers out at a local weight loss clinic to talk about things in order to progress.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 05, 2008 12:41 AM GMT
    I have to agree with everyone so far- if she doesn't want to do it, she won't. But she said she wants to right? Well start her off with little things and try to get her to do a little more and more till she starts to feel it. Even if it's probably too early for it to be more than in her head, run with it. And one thing you might want to watch out for- do NOT lay in the guilt trip. If she fails at something or cheats, just say "Alright. It happens. Just move on and keep doing what you know is good for you." You can offer it all you want, and try nudging, but in the end it's her journey to take, if she wants to.

    Good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 05, 2008 1:06 AM GMT
    How to help others get motivated to losing weight?

    Staple their mouth shut
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 05, 2008 10:39 PM GMT
    Thanks for the ideas and support guys! Some good suggestions. I'll definitely look into getting some easy to use stuff at home, and try to get her out of the house a bit more.

    Thanks P80! It's good to hear you are making some positive changes, definitely keep at it! (You too, Kagato) Thanks for the reminder of the guilt trip Lyte. When I told my trainer one time that I had been out partying the night before our workout, he gave me the ol' guilt trip, being supportive instead of criticizing is definitely the better route.

    JockMyka saidHow to help others get motivated to losing weight?

    Staple their mouth shut

    If only it was that easy Myka icon_lol.gif

    Thanks guys!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 05, 2008 10:57 PM GMT
    My experience is it's all in the head. Point your head and the rest will follow, she needs to feel comfortable about being her, boost her confidence now and she will naturally want to change so she feels as good physically as she does mentally.

    I understand the gym thing, I used to play football, then started at the gym after a back injury and sometimes still feel a bit timid that I only lift a fraction what I used to, though now I am working on toning, not bulk.

    I've dropped a lot of weight over the last few years, and a lot of it is just mental. What's tricky is the confidence you really need in the beginning you get once you are going at it.

    The most important part is to make sure she feels great about herself now, if she's confident being bigger, that will only grow when she decides to lose weight.

    I started a blog, and if it's anything it would be extremely amateur but if she wants to read it here is the addy, it's really just my opinion on my experience.

    I've just started getting back to writing on it, but it was in response to a lot of people asking me how I did it. There are probably a lot better resources but anything may help, and she can feel free to ask any questions about what I've went through, I'm pretty open and rarely take offense or am bothered by what people have asked.

    Just make sure she knows how great she is now, it really will help more than trying to poke and prod her into it.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 05, 2008 10:59 PM GMT
    You can't really motivate her to change her habits. You can, if you choose, address some of the reasons she gives for her habits. One easy one that pops up is that you say she's too busy to prepare meals for herself, so she just snacks on junk food. If that's the case, find something healthier that she will actually eat if it's available--microwaveable soup, home made burritos, one of the healthier frozen meals, whatever. Just make sure it's relatively convenient for her--you could always make up a whole batch of burritos yourself and drop them off at her place to stick in the freezer.

    If her being too busy to exercise is an issue, when you get together, suggest you do something physical like taking a walk rather than just sitting down and eating; most parents of adult children love having a chance to get together with their kids, and will gladly make time for it, so you'll be both showing her that she matters to you and getting her up and moving. Or, if you want to go out to eat with her, take her to a place with some appetizing but still healthier things on the menu and talk about how great some dish or the another that you think she would honestly enjoy is at that place.

    But, unless she herself wants to lose the weight, there's really nothing you can do. You've already expressed your concern for her health, and how much better your life is from your own changes. Those are really the only angles that have a chance of working on a family member, and they didn't cause her to change. Since she's your mother, not your daughter, you have to restrict yourself to being a cheerleader, not a drill sergeant.
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    Sep 05, 2008 11:25 PM GMT
    Looks pretty grim, good luck to you.
  • adventurejock

    Posts: 68

    Sep 06, 2008 12:23 AM GMT
    Offer to cover some visits to a nutritionist and discuss what her weight loss goals are and have them set up a program. A nutritionist can set her up on a program like It will make her track her eating and exercise and help her develop new patterns and behaviors that will lead to weight loss.

    Check with your local or provincial health authorities as they may also provide free counseling or affordable counseling for weight loss. This is an example of what might be available to her

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 07, 2008 2:28 PM GMT
    The blog looks good SS, and the nutritionist sounds like a good idea adventurejock.

    MSUBioNerd saidSince she's your mother, not your daughter, you have to restrict yourself to being a cheerleader, not a drill sergeant.

    Yeah, that's why I was looking for some more subtle ways of giving her a push, great way to put it.

    Some more great advice, thanks guys!
  • Tiran

    Posts: 227

    Sep 07, 2008 10:17 PM GMT
    Consider taking her or suggesting Curves or one of the women only gyms, she may be more comfortable there, since there are no men and many of the women will be in the same shape as she is. If she is doing diets suggest weight watchers or TOPS, my mother and sister have have sucess with both of those. Yoga videos or a gift certificate for a yoga class might be a good way to go to, and the right studio might be less intimitdating than the gym.