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MHM: Weight, Obesity, and how we can be supportive!

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Content Moderator Saturnia 🏳️‍🌈💕 Graphics Open, Coding Open
June 21st, 2022 2:42:44pm
2,813 Posts

Guess who has solid wifi and moved into her house?! Me!! Ahh, it is so nice to have a temperature controlled living space and wifi that doesn’t change depending on how many “neighbors” we have. 


Now - time for your regularly scheduled mental health monday! This one is EXTRA special! It’s sponsored by Neke! Neke posted a really great response to an anonymous forum post concerning an overweight family member and I thought that this was a great topic to focus on today! Neke also had a LOT of great things to say as well as Trig, Shadow, and Prynne. So, definitely go read that post as well!


 


Just a reminder the Anonymous Google Form that I have where you can go and vent to your heart’s content without having to say who you are is still open. That’s right, completely anonymous. I only know if you choose to leave your name.
https://forms.gle/DwvmQgdNoqKxVSER6


Living in the world that we live in - noticing someone's outer appearance is one of the first things we typically take in when meeting someone new or seeing people out in public. We are human, we have eyeballs, we are gonna look. But - it is when we are looking that is what needs to be reformed! Many of us, myself included, have looked at someone different than ourselves and judged on their outward appearance. That’s right, I’ve been a rude little teen, college student, and ashamedly.. Adult. I’ve looked at someone and judge their character based on a number of things.. Outfit, hair, their partner with them, what they were eating.. I’m sure we’ve all done this at some point. But, it’s the point of actively changing that mindset. Anytime I catch myself slipping like that, I immediately put myself in check by looking at myself and then correcting my mindset and finding something positive to think towards them instead.
Now, I won’t lie. As someone who struggled with an eating disorder in highschool/college due to pursuing modeling.. Looking at people who are bigger, I was trained to view that as not okay. That they were unhealthy, that they were lazy.
BUT THAT’S THE POINT! Some of them - aren’t! Now, there are gonna be the handful that truly just do not care. But most of them? They do care. They see it. They know. They want to change. But that change feels like pushing a boulder up a mountain, covered in ice, and they are wearing flipflops. It feels impossible. Truly. So, they need help. They need support. They need advocates. 


 


And this is where I really want to pull in a LOT of what Neke said. So, without further ado - some perfect quotes pulled from Neke’s forum reply (with consent!). And by some.. I mean basically the whole post because it is PERFECTLY written and well worth the read! So I really encourage each of you to read it!

Some of the language that was used in the way you described this situation is very problematic, so I picked two to specifically address and explain why they are problematic (because I assume/hope it was unintentional).


 


“his health is an issue. you can see it when you look at him”


Oof.  While yes, the more obese a person is, the more obvious the fact that they may suffer health issues that are comorbid with the obesity becomes, the assumption that health is something you can see and perceive is dangerous.  Yes, obesity is linked to a myriad of health issues.  Buuuuuuut, many obese people are actually quite healthy, and many thin people have health issues due to diet, lack of exercise, etc.  It’s quite simply, not that simple.  Does that mean you can’t see a morbidly obese person wheeze and huff when they walk?  Nope, you can 100% see it.  Does that mean that saying it in such a way is helpful?  It really, really isn’t.  It actually causes a lot of negativity.


 


“he isn't making an effort to change


 So this one you reiterated a few ways, and I will only address it in one go, as they are similar.  A huge portion of obesity falls within the category of mental health.  From eating disorders, to depression, to ADHD and other issues, there are so, so many things that impact how people eat, and perceive food.  Unfortunately, the only person who can tell what sort of effort this person has, or has not, made, is himself.  You cannot see into his mind to read it, and know the mental struggle, or the personal beating up he has done to himself over his size and diet.  You simply can’t.  Assuming he is making no effort is placing all effort of weight loss into a physical category when a lot of it has to do with mental health.  You need to recognize that, in order to talk to this person.  You also need to recognize that if this has been a long-term struggle, a stroke or grandchildren will not “cure” the underlying cause.  In fact, the sheer guilt of getting worse often causes negative spiralling to worsen!


 


So, here’s a few things to recognize, as you have him in your life more and more.


 


HE KNOWS HE IS MORBIDLY OBESE.


Trust me on that.  Doctors have told him over and over.  So has everyone else.


 


HE KNOWS HE IS UNHEALTHY.


Every single fat person is aware of how fat they are.  They know that they have health issues.  Their knees hurt and ache.  Their feet hurt.  They wheeze when doing things.  They feel the weight of their body while sitting, even.  They feel their heart pound hard doing simple things.  They don’t fit in spaces from clothing, to airplanes.  They know.


 


HE KNOWS HE NEEDS TO CHANGE.


And yeah, they know they need to lose weight.  They are 100% aware that a lot of their suffering would be reduced if they did.  They even know they are hurting themselves.


 


HE WANTS TO CHANGE.


Nobody likes wheezing, or hurting, or having a stroke.  So, he does want to.  Maybe not in a way you recognize, but he does.


 


HE IS AWARE OF HOW TO DO IT.


If he has had even one fat-related health issue, physicians have told him he needs to lose weight, and likely given exact suggestions and plans.  Absolutely nothing anyone says to him regarding this will be a surprise.  Even if they hadn’t, society blasts it all over the internet and television.  And it’s not a hard concept, mathematically.  Eat less shit, exercise more = weight loss.


 


HE KNOWS HIS SPOUSE ISN’T HELPING.


Yeah, he is aware.  But… he is also capable of NOT eating the shit food/drink, too.


 


HE KNOWS YOU, AND OTHERS LIKE YOU, ARE WORRIED.


Yeah.  He’s unhealthy, and obese, and had a stroke.  He knows everyone is worried.  Fat people know.  Trust me, they are 100% aware and they feel horrible about it.


 


So, here’s something huge:


 


YOU ARE NOT HELPING HIM WITH THE WAY YOU ARE THINKING, ACTING, OR TALKING ABOUT IT.


 


If somebody is obese, there is usually a cause.


It is not as simple as choosing the wrong diet, or overeating.


It is usually linked to mental health struggles and misinformation.


It takes years to become obese.


It takes years to become that fat person.


 


What I mean by this is a lot of people are not actually taught healthy diets as children.  Sometimes, this means obese children.  But some kids are busy, or have fast metabolisms – those ones it takes longer to show.  But there’s a ton of information on healthy diets now, so that’s an excuse, right?  With this is not untrue, it’s also an explanation as to what happens from point a to point morbidly obese.


 


So, you have a teen or young adult that’s chubby.  They gain weight, and they notice.  Usually, the first reaction is to try to correct it.  Okay, so they eat less and exercise more.  But there are tons of unsustainable diets - most of which help you lose weight, but don’t help long term.  Googling a healthy diet alone is not enough.  And some diets that are healthy for others, are unhealthy for some people.  And you can ask your doctor to see a nutritionist, sure, but that takes time and as time goes on, things worsen.  And diets can be restrictive, and hard, and awful.  So, they yo-yo.  They lose, they gain, it gets worse.


 


At this point they’ve started to gain – and maybe at this point they’d be 20-30 lbs overweight and “chubby”.  So how do you go from that to 300lbs?  400 lbs?  How does that happen? 


 


It happens a pound at a time.


 It happens, when the scale says something that you hate, so you stop using it. 


It happens when they go to buy new pants and go up a size here or there, but not all at once.


It happens, when the doctor mentions it the first time.


It happens when someone in the family mentions it, and the shame sets it.


And by the time they need to change, it’s not easy to do.


And it keeps spiralling worse, and worse.


 


Why is that?


- Sugar is more addictive than cocaine.


- Food gives you dopamine.


- Advertisements for fast food are everywhere.


- Medications cause weight-gain.


- Health issues cause weight-gain.


- Regular overeating cause the stomach to stretch so restricting cause hungry pains and gut issues.


- Big people hurt when they do exercise.


- Binge eating is an eating disorder.


- Most diets that are pushed aren’t actually sustainable.


- Doctors are dismissive of overweight people and often rude.


- Mental health declines the less healthy you get.


 


YOU CAN TRY TO HELP HIM IF YOU CHANGE YOUR APPROACH.


 


Him being obese is likely a result of poor nutrition knowledge, combined with time, and an improper diet that has evolved into a food addiction, with an addiction enabler in the house, and a healthy dose of guilt, and mental related issues.


 


STEP ONE


Educate yourself a bit on how obesity affects mental health.  It will help you talk to him.


STEP TWO


Talk to the spouse.  Do not attack or blame.  Voice your concerns.  One on one.  And do it more than once, if need be.  Mention the mental health aspect.  Mention the worry.  Repeat that you want to help.


STEP THREE


Talk to him.  Do not guilt him or attack him.  Ask him how you can help.  Ask him what his doctor suggested.  Ask him what his plans are.  Ask him if he is okay.  Listen to him.  Try to see if he needs therapy to help.    Ask if his doctor has tested for a variety of weight causing illnesses.


STEP FOUR


Check in to see how the plans are progressing.  If they aren’t, repeat 2 & 3.


STEP FIVE


Be there for him.


 


Now, if you are close, you can also:


- find a nutritionist in the area that specializes in weight loss


- ask to go along to a doctor visit


- suggest a therapist who has food disorder experience


 


BUT IN THE END THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO THIS IS HIM.


 


Try to keep this in mind.  You can talk to his spouse, and him.  You can even go with to doctor visits.  But he has to be honest with the doctors, and he has to do the work.  Whether it’s medications, of bypass surgery, or anything?  He has to do it.  Support him.  Use language that is positive.  Listen.  Encourage.  Try.  But remember, he has to do it.




The main focus of this is - they have got to want it for themselves. In our society, it is impossible not to know exactly what to do. There are diet books, recipes, work out routines.. Everywhere. Every where you turn there are “tips”. But unless that person is ready to speak to their doctor and get these tips that are helpful and SAFE for them to use and apply - then it’s not your job to force that on them. You have to listen, encourage, and support them.

To save myself from being triggered and potentially anyone else.. I am not going to link any websites or videos in this post because a lot of them will start pushing their “diets” and “tips” and I’m not in the headset to look through that today. But! I will open the floor so that anyone that wants to share SAFE resources.

Thank you again, Neke for allowing me to steal your words ;P
Stay safe everyone!




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Content Moderator Saturnia 🏳️‍🌈💕 Graphics Open, Coding Open
June 21st, 2022 2:46:38pm
2,813 Posts

Just sharing the original post to this as well because I really liked Prynne and Shadow's responses as well and feel that they are important to highlight! 

https://horsephenomena.com/viewpost.php?id=243429




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ioGIZ5S Fly High, Angel Moosetress !

 

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amberellie 🐄
June 22nd, 2022 8:56:18pm
563 Posts

Great post Sat! 😊
  I'm someone who struggles with my weight.  I constantly get told by my parents, doctors, etc that I'm overweight and need to lose some.  Right before Covid I woke up one day and threw all my food out of the house, and started the KETO diet, I managed to get 50lbs off, felt fantastic, and even my doctor said I was perfect weight.  It was an extremely hard thing for me to do, and I'm proud that I did it.  But, it was so easy to gain it all back, food is definetly an addiction in itself.    Now, I'm trying to push myself again, to just eating healthier in general.  




 

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Content Moderator Saturnia 🏳️‍🌈💕 Graphics Open, Coding Open
June 23rd, 2022 10:52:59am
2,813 Posts

I completely understand that! Losing weight is SO difficult and I don't think that a lot of people understand that. Additionally, once you've lost the weight - your body makes it so easy to gain it right back in a snap. The Keto diet is intense! Either way, I'm proud of you! I know it's tough, but as long as you are doing what is healthy for you - that is all that matters! 




❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🏳️‍🌈💕 My page is a SAFE space 💕🏳️‍🌈
ioGIZ5S Fly High, Angel Moosetress !

 

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