Helping a Heavy Friend

  • Latenight30

    Posts: 1525

    Jan 22, 2009 11:39 AM GMT
    Hey All,
    My best friend is trying to loose weight. He says he is tired of being heavy.
    He has recently started weight watchers and I hound him about.. did you go work out?
    Once he does get the motivation or I drag him to excersise where should he start. I'm not saying he is bed ridden he just isn't as inshape as he wants to be. When you are bigger, should he consult with a Dr, about what his body can and can't do?
    I just want him to be the best he wants to be. He's my best friend.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jan 22, 2009 12:30 PM GMT
    Depending on how heavy he is, he may want to talk to his doctor first.

    The thing I'd communicate to him is that he needs to be patient. He didn't get heavy overnight and it's not going to go away overnight. I suggest working with him and help him set up short term and long term goals so he can have a benchmark and feel like he's making progress. I'd start with doing cardio 5X a week, even if it's just walking on the treadmill. Once that becomes routine to him, I'd have him start doing with Nautilus style equipment and work some weight training in. Once that becomes routine, you can start moving him onto different things.

    In my experience, too much too soon can be overwhelming and make you feel defeated.
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Jan 22, 2009 12:45 PM GMT
    Rather than hound him, I would suggest you encourage whatever small progress he makes.
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    Jan 22, 2009 1:27 PM GMT
    I'd suggest getting him standing appointments with a trainer - after he is checked out by his M.D. - as Tim suggested above. With the doctor's approval, get the trainer going and if he needs dietary counseling, I'd get that for him as well. My concern is that without these steps your friend could falter and his weight and lack of exercise problem could go on and on. To me, overeating is something like alcohol abuse. Strong action needed here.
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    Jan 22, 2009 1:49 PM GMT
    Having been the "heavy friend" in my group for a long time, and I can tell you that teasing, taunting and occasional encouragement didn't really sway me until I'd found my own mental mindset to just do it. For me, it's been a lot like quitting smoking - I was smart enough to know it was a disgusting habit, but I had to get completely sick of it to be ready for change.

    By starting WW, it sounds like your buddy might be there, which is awesome. I agree that he see a doctor for a good checkup, and as someone who's working with a trainer right now, I can tell you that makes a huge difference for me. It's holding me to a higher degree of accountability, and I'm learning the right way use the machines and work my body. And I'm finding these forums to be a great source of motivation and inspiration, too.

    He's lucky to have a friend like you!
  • MattyC0709

    Posts: 1199

    Jan 22, 2009 2:20 PM GMT
    Usually, if you have a 'sickness' (let's put it that way), it is recommended that you check up with the doctor before starting any heavy exercise. It is in your friend's interest to check up and see what he can and cannot do to lose the weight.

    How about the RJ Weight loss programme... it is intended for weight loss isn't it? Check with the doctor if it is suitable.
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    Jan 22, 2009 3:11 PM GMT
    Latenight30 saidHey All,
    My best friend is trying to loose weight. He says he is tired of being heavy.
    He has recently started weight watchers and I hound him about.. did you go work out?
    Once he does get the motivation or I drag him to excersise where should he start. I'm not saying he is bed ridden he just isn't as inshape as he wants to be. When you are bigger, should he consult with a Dr, about what his body can and can't do?
    I just want him to be the best he wants to be. He's my best friend.


    Well, bless your heart for helping your friend out with this. Good on you.

    One of the things I suggest (and I always make this suggestion for people who are overweight and just starting to work out, since I was in that situation...still sort of am but not like I was) is to work with him on figuring how what a normal day is like for him. After you've got a schedule of what he normally does (when he gets up, when he goes to work, how he buys his groceries, etc.), start figuring how ways that he can incorporate a bit of exercise into his daily routine.

    For instance, how far away is work for him? If it's not far, have him start walking to work instead of driving. If it is far, have him park perhaps a half mile away from work, and walk the rest. If he goes to a grocery store nearby, have him walk there instead of driving. If he has to drive there, tell him to park in the farthest parking space from the store as possible. Does he take the elevator in his office or anywhere else? Tell him to start taking the stairs. If it's a tall building, tell him to stop five floors below his and walk the rest of them.

    Whatever other things you can think of to incorporate exercise into his daily life, do them. To me, that's absolutely key, because instead of having to schedule something new in his life right away, he can simply make his routine healthier. After a while (or right away if he wants, but I agree with the poster that said to take things slowly) he can begin incorporating a supplemental exercise routine into his life. By that time, he'll likely have lost some weight from healthier eating and incorporating exercise into his normal routine.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jan 22, 2009 3:28 PM GMT
    Alot of good advice. I sent you an e-mail.

    mike3
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    Jan 22, 2009 3:37 PM GMT
    Well at least he SEEMS to be something about it! I have a friend who complains all of the time about his weight and states repeatedly how this time he's going to "work on it". However, it's just a sympathy ploy and I can no longer be on his side to motivate and/or support him being that HE does nothing about it but verbalize it and discuss it with ANYONE that will listen to him. So kuddos to your friend actually doing something.....
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    Jan 22, 2009 3:38 PM GMT
    This sort of thing takes time but ultimately the decision and determination is really up to your friend.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. It's awesome that your friend has decided to take an interest in his own health is aware of his status as far weight goes but merely complaing about and suggestion to do something about doesn't really help. You seem to have a pretty decent looking bod (kudos by the way) so maybe working out with him would be a good start. The only problem with that is motivating him. Show him the benefits of working out and show him that it's fun and not just some chore.

    After you've gotten him past that hump then you can be more tactful with it. Suggest getting him to go to those after work gym programs or to get a personal trainer. Also get him to be active in a few activites like softball, swimming and other fun things that require you to use your body and excercise. Within no time he'll notice a few changes and that is the best.

    From experience I know the feeling. I was orginally skinny and then got a little depressed from several factors and gained quite a bit of weight. Who knew depression could cause weight gain? I felt tired all the time and very insecure about myself. I was tired of looking in the mirror at a person who use to be 172 lbs but was now well of over 230 lbs (none of it solid). I had breasts and massive belly flab and purposely wore big shirts to hide them. No offense to any one who is big but I eventually I got tired of feeling unfit and not feeling like my old self especially since I was once skinny and ended up being the biggest person in my family. I didn't like what I had lost. My friends and family helped motivate me to wanna change and just have fun and live life. They helped me see what I was missing and what I had lost. I gained my confidence back mentally but I wanted more physically (obvisously) and so began working out and I'm very glad I did. I've now set goals for myself to achieve and plan on completing them. I don't have the best body in the world and I certainly don't rank myself high among alot of the hotties on this site but I'm working on that. Alot you guys are motivators in your own right when I view your profiles. Congrats to you all.

    Your friend will be able to do the same thing too but motivation and determination is the key. Don't let him be his own worst enemy because then defeat becomes very apparent and can permament is allowed. Remind him that Rome wasn't built in a day but the end result was grand.

    Best of luck to you and your friend.
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    Jan 22, 2009 4:42 PM GMT
    As others have said, the motivation has to come from within himself, so I think you can best help him by supporting that motivation. I'd ask him what he would like you to do to support him in this? What particular task could you do that would be helpful? Might be something different than you think.
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    Jan 22, 2009 6:33 PM GMT
    This post is not meant to contradict any of the above advice, because it's all very good. Yes, your friend should talk to his doctor if he's severely overweight. Yes, he should get a trainer if he can afford it. Yes, you should work out with him.

    But I just want to restate my advice, because I really do think that your friend needs to start with fundamentals that many fit people take for granted. All of us in this thread realize that being healthy is not just a combination of changing your diet and adding a fitness routine; it's an entire change of the way you live, including your habits.

    Having been heavy myself for a while, I tried dedicating myself to a new workout routine more times than I can count, but it didn't stick until this last time because I wasn't making fundamental changes. What really did it was when I started to incorporate being healthy into the schedule I already had, and that meant things like riding my bike to work, driving as little as possible, not keeping unhealthy foods in my house, etc. Because this was a part of the routine that I already had, it was much harder to give up on it, like so many fitness routines that I had added in the past as something outside my normal life. A healthy lifestyle needs to become normal, and the easiest way to make it normal is to tweak the lifestyle you're used to so that unhealthy things become healthy, even though they don't seem like big changes.

    Yes, motivation is key and all that jazz, but there are seemingly small changes that your friend needs to make so that a healthy lifestyle becomes routine, and the easiest way to do that is to utilize the routine he already has.
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    Jan 22, 2009 6:59 PM GMT
    Never hurts to see a doctor beforehand, even if you think you're in GREAT shape.
    Alot of my Clients come to me because they're out of shape and want to lose weight and be fit.....they're not looking to become muscle GAWDS and frankly, I won't even work with anyone that does....just not my forte.
    I start off with making them commit to me a certain amount of time each week they will devote to the process.
    Consider his skills....where to start? Beginner? Intermediate, etc.....it's just like skiing....you don't take a beginner on a black diamond slope.
    So, you don't want to get him to do "your workout" if he's never stepped foot in a gym.
    His athletic background and fitness level will determine his start point for endurance training.
    To me, endurance training is the key to everything.
    Have him focus on building his endurance through walking, light jogging, bike riding, hiking, etc.....if you have to be in a gym, have him focus on the treadmill...add elevations, get him on the stair master, elyptical, etc...
    Once he's got his endurance up and he's seeing results, I'd then start adding some basic gym/weight routines, etc....
    Taking someone and putting them into a gym setting with little to no training or experience is a recipe for disaster.
    Diet is even more important than exercise. But don't put him on a "diet"...he needs to change his eating habits. Stress that.





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    Jan 22, 2009 9:13 PM GMT
    Is "heavy" the same as "fat?" LOL. Gosh, we sure are politically correct. Is heavy less offensive than "fat", which is more honest and direct?

    Your fat friend likely needs a bit of positive reinforcement tempered with the fact that he no longer should be the socially irresponsible lard ass he once was, or still is, and it's time he take some personal responsibility for his health and get his full-figured ass into motion, not be a burden to society with diseases of obesity, be more productive, and quit being a baby and doing something for HIMSELF for a change. He needs to become a real boy who steps up and does what needs doing to quit being a fat ass. He needs to understand that being sick is NOT normal in any case. He needs to understand he CAN feel better.

    If he's truly tired of being "heavy", "lard ass", "fatso", "full-figured", "family guy", then he, and ONLY he, needs to get himself together, get a plan, and "get -er done" and not be a pussy-ass fat man.

    He needs to understand he got to be a mess because he didn't take charge to begin with and that those days are behind him. Time to become a real boy, man-up, and get in gear.
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    Jan 23, 2009 9:41 AM GMT
    Chucky,

    I always warm to your gentle and sympathetic way of getting your point across

    icon_eek.gif


    To OP: often it's easier to start with 3 times a week exercise, then gradually grow, and the key issue is how, why, where, what and when he eats. I suspect that that change is the biggie as it taps into the emotional role that food must have played in his life.

    Hope it goes well

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    Jan 23, 2009 11:25 AM GMT
    chuckystud saidIs "heavy" the same as "fat?" LOL. Gosh, we sure are politically correct. Is heavy less offensive than "fat", which is more honest and direct?

    Your fat friend likely needs a bit of positive reinforcement tempered with the fact that he no longer should be the socially irresponsible lard ass he once was, or still is, and it's time he take some personal responsibility for his health and get his full-figured ass into motion, not be a burden to society with diseases of obesity, be more productive, and quit being a baby and doing something for HIMSELF for a change. He needs to become a real boy who steps up and does what needs doing to quit being a fat ass. He needs to understand that being sick is NOT normal in any case. He needs to understand he CAN feel better.

    If he's truly tired of being "heavy", "lard ass", "fatso", "full-figured", "family guy", then he, and ONLY he, needs to get himself together, get a plan, and "get -er done" and not be a pussy-ass fat man.

    He needs to understand he got to be a mess because he didn't take charge to begin with and that those days are behind him. Time to become a real boy, man-up, and get in gear.


    Chucky, I've got a lot of respect for you, but do you really think everyone is the "self-made man?" I mean, do you really subscribe to this absolutist, individualist philosophy? Because it seems as if you do. People need help. We are, in no uncertain terms, social creatures and in many instances we rise and fall based on the support we have in society, and that includes you. This guy has clearly started taking at least initial steps to make himself a better person, and is reaching out for help in doing that. That's not a weakness, that's a strength. He knows where to go to get help, and that's a good thing.
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    Jan 23, 2009 7:23 PM GMT
    Latenight30 saidHey All,
    My best friend is trying to loose weight. He says he is tired of being heavy.
    He has recently started weight watchers and I hound him about.. did you go work out?
    Once he does get the motivation or I drag him to excersise where should he start. I'm not saying he is bed ridden he just isn't as inshape as he wants to be. When you are bigger, should he consult with a Dr, about what his body can and can't do?
    I just want him to be the best he wants to be. He's my best friend.


    That being said, here's my take.
    1. Doctors are often nuts. Pick your flavor.
    2. He, and only he (Mr. Fatty) can help himself. Coddling him will only make him weaker. He needs to step up and realize that he can do it himself, any Real Jock, or any military veteran, can tell you that you are way more capable than you might imagine of doing almost anything. If we have a weak part, we make it stronger; we work it.
    3. He needs NEGATIVE as well as POSITIVE reinforcement. Animated positivity is a sure-fire way to failure. Bad behavior should be noted, as well as good behavior.

    Chewey_Delt, note that the unmentioned person that is fat, didn't even pose the question. You said, "This guy has clearly started taking at least initial steps to make himself a better person, and is reaching out for help in doing that. That's not a weakness, that's a strength. He knows where to go to get help, and that's a good thing." and we do NOT know that's true. We only know what Latenight30 said above. The way I read it is that he is only doing the bare minimum possible, and only when he's is pushed. That's a sure fire plan for failure. It won't be until the fatty takes control and gets his butt vertical that he'll come close to success.

    Negative reinforcement like "I thought you were tired of being a fat ass?" serves a role in his recovery as well, every bit as much as "You look like you're feeling better."

    Being artificially positive / politically correct is one reason folks fail. E.g., look at all the fat kids in our public schools because no one will take a leadership role.

    It's essential to have both positive and negative feedback to the sick person.
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    Jan 23, 2009 8:12 PM GMT
    just don't let him read this thread. icon_confused.gif
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    Jan 23, 2009 8:14 PM GMT
    Lostboy saidjust don't let him read this thread. icon_confused.gif


    Chuck's a softie compared to a lot of the high-end personal trainers here LOL!

    They train winners for a reason icon_wink.gif
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jan 23, 2009 8:15 PM GMT
    Lostboy saidjust don't let him read this thread. icon_confused.gif


    agreed
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    Jan 23, 2009 8:21 PM GMT
    Chuck's a softie compared to a lot of the high-end personal trainers here LOL!

    They train winners for a reason icon_wink.gif[/quote]

    Hmm. No comment. Just don't let him read it, right? Both my parents struggled with weight issues as I was growing up. The issue's too complex to be helped by name calling.
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    Jan 23, 2009 8:32 PM GMT
    Yep. If someone is a fatty, it's usually symptomatic of much deeper underlying issues.

    My dad's mom died from obesity. My mom's best friend died from obesity. Being a lard ass is an illness that is nearly 100% preventable.

    Almost all of us know someone who died needlessly, without intervention, because no one stepped up and said "STOP THIS." Had someone said quit doing this to yourself, or the person had taken person responsibility, they'd be alive today.

    Ironically, we still coddle folks way to much, and it's even become socially acceptable in some circles for children to be fat, when we should be taking an opposite approach. Where are the parents? Oh, they're fatties, too. My folks would NEVER let me get fat. It would simply be unacceptable.

    We have six MILLION folks, dieing, annually, needlessly, because we won't deal with it in a more direct manner. It's such a shame.

    We only lose 3000 folks, annually, to all illicit drug use, combined.

    We have to INTERVENE on fat people and get them to become more personally responsible for their own health, and to quit being so negligent and self-abusive.

    The best help we can provide is by REFUSING to be enablers either by encouraging bad behavior, or by being supportive of it. Only when we change our views will that 6 million number go down.

    If someone wants to commit suicide via food, and I've intervened, fine, let them have at it, but, if I've done nothing, that's not right.

    Being a fat ass will cause you to die before your time.
    Being a fat ass will lead to catastrophic disease.
    Being a fat ass will cost society.
    Being a fat ass will lower your quality of life.

    Folks who want a higher quality of life; who want to see their grandchildren; who don't want to burden insurance with expensive disease will do the right thing and take care of themselves.

    You don't wake up one morning 100# overweight. It takes years.

    It also takes time to fix those bad behaviors.

    It's so very important that we are critical and let folks know that what they are doing (suicide via food) is wrong for them, their loved ones, and society as a whole. I.e. STOP IT.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jan 24, 2009 12:15 AM GMT
    The operative word is "Hounding" Your friend isn't going to do this with you hounding him to do it
    He knows he has to lose weight
    And you telling him what he already knows is just going to make him dig his heels in even more
    Why not just say ... Hey Buddy, it's Saturday morning why don't we head down to the gym today
    or
    Let's go for a bike ride later
    It isn't what you say
    but how you're presenting it
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    Jan 24, 2009 12:34 AM GMT
    I'm in the same boat as your friend.
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    Jan 24, 2009 12:39 AM GMT
    My best friend too is overweight. It sounds like he came to you, more then likely because he looks up to you. Just be a friend and encourage him, take him with you make his exercises not over the top but enough for him to get his endorphins going to where he enjoys it. The nice thing is that if he doesn't work out, and he is now, he will drop weight quick within the first couple months. Once he starts to enjoy the gym and sees it as a positive and not negative then you start to bump up the work outs so that he feels comfortable going. I know that with my friend I didn't need to talk to him about eating after we started to go to the gym. He asked questions and lead himself into a better diet, because of the results he saw. He shops better now and he likes the gym and I don't have to go with him now he does it himself. Just lead by example if he wants it he will do it and follow just don't push icon_smile.gif