Monday, February 04, 2008

Morbid Obesity, Health Problems Continue For My Brother Kevin

My brother Kevin shaved his head, but hasn't cut any weight lately

It's been a long time since I've updated you about my brother Kevin. I apologize for that since so many of you have been asking about how he is doing since his weight and health have been major issues that I have blogged about often at "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." The reason is not that I don't want to update you, but that there's not much new to share.

Now that it has been a little over two years since I first blogged about Kevin's morbid obesity, I am pleased to share that he is at least keeping his weight and health relatively stable (not GREAT news to share, but a step in the right direction). This issue has been a source of grave concern for me over the past few years since I have been able to overcome my weight and health issues and now I feel helpless to help my brother do the same thing for himself.

When I saw Kevin at Thanksgiving in 2006, I seriously thought it might be the last time I see him before the obesity took him away from us. It's a daily concern that I'm gonna get a call from my mom informing me that Kevin has died. This is so out of the ordinary for me because I am not one to dwell on such morbid thoughts. And yet it's hard not to with a brother unwilling to make the necessary changes to get healthy.

I did see Kevin again last year twice: once at our Memaw Luerene's funeral in April (where the four men of Moore were all together again for the first time in nearly two decades) and then again in December when we surprised our dad for Christmas.

And there was hope in 2007 that Kevin was losing weight and getting healthy when he reported starting to eat a low-carb diet and walking to help shed the pounds. He started feeling better and came off of some blood pressure medications which was both good and bad. It was good that he no longer needed the drugs, but bad that he felt better because he always STOPS whatever he was doing to feel better thinking he's okay. He's FAR from being okay despite the fact he did reach his 40th birthday last August.

Thankfully, Kevin calls me every weekend to stay in touch and I ALWAYS ask him about his weight and how he's doing. For the longest time, he'd report that he's down to 345, then 340, then 335. But suddenly he'd stop telling me his weight and when I'd inquire about it he'd say that it's not doing so well (which is code for he's gaining again). Recently he's been telling me that he wants to get back to walking again which is the only kind of exercise his doctor will allow him to do considering his very weakened heart (at about 15% capacity still following his heart attacks in 1999).

Flanked by my brother Nathan on the left and me on the right, Kevin certainly has plenty of motivation to eat right and get the weight off. If you've read my book Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: My Journey From Flabby Fat To Sensationally Skinny In One Year, then you know that it was Nathan who inspired me to start on the Atkins diet in the first place after his incredible weight loss success on it. Although he had slipped back into some old habits again, Nathan was recommitted to this lifestyle change when I saw him at Christmas so it was awesome to hear his enthusiasm.

I was hoping some of that would rub off on Kevin, but there he was stuffing his mouth with high-sugar, carb-loaded foods again like a drug addict who can't help himself with the crack cocaine. Yes, I know it's hard to give it up and stay on the right path, but for Kevin it MUST be done if he expects to survive much longer. It's interesting to hear him talking about the future as if he's gonna be here for decades to come. The sad reality is he is not if he remains on the current path he has chosen.

Kevin is one of the most lovable, kind human beings you will ever meet in your entire life. He's that way to a fault and it sorta defines who he is. And I'm sincerely happy that he has found himself a wonderful woman now who loves him just the way he is and takes care of him as he deserves (unlike the horrendous ex-wife that made his life a living Hell for years after his heart attacks). At least he's happy and that will help keep his stress level reduced to ward off further health complications.

But it is imperative Kevin gets SERIOUS about his health and it just baffles me that he hasn't to this point. Only when he hits rock bottom after being admitted to the hospital for chest pains does he even bother trying. Yet he starts on a plan, begins feeling better, and forgets that he's not out of the woods. It's a ruthless cycle he puts himself through and I'm frustrated that I cannot force him to understand why he needs to be livin' la vida low-carb.

Therein is the central issue of this entire discussion about my brother Kevin: it's HIS life and I have no control over him whatsoever. Until HE makes the decision to do this for himself, it's not gonna happen. Even if I could be near him in Florida, forcibly feeding him what to eat, and being next to him 24/7, none of it would matter if Kevin didn't want to do it. That's a lesson we all must learn as we talk to our friends and family who need to lose weight for the sake of their health.

Continue praying that Kevin will realize he is killing himself with his actions and that he won't give up hope that he can beat this. I believe it's not too late if he can just get down to 250 pounds or less and stay there. I KNOW he could do it just like I did, but he needs to have the WANT TO within him to make it happen. It's gonna take a miracle for him to overcome all those years of bad habits, but I still believe in the miracle-working power of God to make that happen.

THANK YOU to everyone who has shared thoughts, concerns, and prayers for Kevin over the past few years. I still hold out hope that one of these days it's all gonna finally "click" for him like it did for me. That's my prayer for him.

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Blogger Oh.2.B.Fit said...

He's in my prayers sweetie <3
All of you are. I'll light a candle tonight to help brighten the path for all of you. I hope it helps :)

Peace, Niki
aka Oh.2.B.Fit

2/04/2008 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sure feel your pain as I have someone very close to me that is in a very similar situation. It is so frustrating not to be able to "do" anything. It's hard to not worry, but to have faith in those prayers! I'm glad things are happier and not so terrible stressful for Kevin. Maybe that encouragement will begin to make a difference (which is the same situation with my family member!) They both have so much to live for! Keep up the're a good brother, and example to all of us!

2/04/2008 9:08 PM  
Blogger swatkins said...

(((((HUGS)))) Jimmy, I know you've read my story about losing my brother a year ago, while it wasn't obesity that ultimately took him, he was obese and that made his life difficult. I certainly feel your pain, and will pray for Kevin. Kevin if you ever read these comments, I want you to know there is a whole community of people who would love to be your cheerleaders and help support you through this journey we are all taking. Jimmy is so right that until the mind is ready the body will only rebel and not get on board. The mind is a powerful when it comes to achieving goals. Yes we all may not be perfect as we go along, but as long as we get back up and continue to try we can't fail. Success is the willingness to try again. I miss my brother so much.

2/04/2008 10:35 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Hi Jimmy, I feel for your brother and hope he is able to turn things around for himself. As a fat guy myself and now finally seeing some significant improvement, I have to say, all the kind people in my life, especially my family who would check in on me with "how's your weight?" had more of a negative than positive impact. I didn't feel great about myself and these kind of thoughtful check-in's only emphasized how badly I was doing. This really damaged the relationship I had with my grandfather. Any time I'd call to say hi, that was the first thing out of his mouth, it go to where I didn't want to bother calling anymore unless I had good weight news. For me, the turn-around was something that happened internally. It may be completely different for you brother but I wanted to pass that on.

2/05/2008 8:32 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing, Robert! And I hear what you're saying. But I think the difference with what I am doing is I don't even bring it up at all during our entire conversation so I can give him an opportunity to bring it up. If he doesn't, then I know he's struggling. So I gently ask him about it to help keep him accountable. He wants to do this, but sometimes he needs a little brotherly encouragement. :) I too have been obese and realize how hurtful constant reminders can be. That's why I don't inundate him with it.

2/05/2008 8:52 AM  
Blogger swatkins said...

Robert - you are so right. All the words of "concern" that came from my family or close friends many times, especially when I was younger felt like a ton of bricks of pressure and made me, just want to eat more, because I would use food as a way of comfort.

I think Jimmy has kept us informed because he loves his brother very much and is concerned about his well being. I doubt that Jimmy would ever be anything more than encouraging. This updated post was for so many of us who care about Jimmy and therefore care about the well being of his family as well. Jimmy inspires so many of us who are Livinlavida lowcarb, and he's so down to earth, and that why he shares so much.

Sorry for the long post, just had to tell you that I know you are right about the concern of a loved one feeling like proding to make us change.

2/05/2008 1:38 PM  
Blogger =^..^= Kitty =^..^= said...

Who would want to lose a sibling, parent or friend to fat? I can understand the frustration you must be feeling, Jimmy. I, too, hope that something "clicks" for Kevin so he can enjoy his newfound romance and keep from hurting your parents with an "avoidable" and early demise.

All the best going out to you and yours.

2/05/2008 4:08 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Jimmy, I can tell that you love your brother dearly, and are worried about him. And I know that when you finally achieve something, and you feel good, you want everyone to do the same thing as you so that they can share in the good feelings.

However, the only thing I could think of as I read your update about Kevin was "That poor guy". To have your brother sharing your failure with the world must be an awful feeling. To have to check in with him weekly and report that you haven't lost weight to one of the internet's most popular weight loss gurus must be incredibly stressful, and make him feel terrible about himself.

I am not debating the fact that being overweight is unhealthy and life-threatening, especially to someone who has already suffered a heart attack. However, to read over and over again in one article about how you expect your brother to keel over and die any second now seems so heartless. It is almost like you don't take into account his feelings at all.

I know that you can empathize with him as you were once overweight as well. But put yourself in his shoes right now, in the present. He has 2 brothers who are healthy and look good and have succeeded where he has not. That must be incredibly upsetting for him. I can imagine feelings of inadequacy, anger, frustration, hopelessness, failure, and on and on. I really feel bad for him.

Usually I love reading your blog, and find it so interesting and full of good information. But today I was saddened. I hope that your brother does not read this because I think it will break his heart.

2/05/2008 4:34 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Don't feel sad, Lori. Kevin doesn't read my blog and doesn't even have Internet access. I'm just his "lil bro" and nothing more. He knows everything I stated in this post in his heart of hearts and has just failed to do anything about it. THANK YOU for sharing your concerns, but Kevin is totally unaffected by what I've written here.

2/05/2008 4:55 PM  
Blogger di-spotz said...

Don't you see, it doesn't matter if he reads here or not. You've already got it in your head that he's "like a drug addict" and "isn't doing anything about it". Asking his weight EVERY conversation says pretty loudly "I only care if you're doing it the right way. My way." It is HIS life, and love with conditions is pretty sad. Quit pushing your "crack" on him and ask him how he's feeling sometime.

2/07/2008 3:17 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

While I respect the right to your opinion, that's a whole lotta assuming you are making there, di-spotz. You're acting as if asking about his weight is a mortal sin when in fact I realize how he feels having been 410 pounds at one point in my life. Seriously, I wish somebody cared enough about me to start asking about what can be done to help me lose the weight sooner...but it was better late than never. If Kevin were here to respond, he'd tell you that I've been nothing but loving and caring in all of our conversations about his weight because I understand the pain he is going through. When he's ready, he'll know who to turn to for help.

2/07/2008 3:25 PM  
Blogger di-spotz said...

I hope you're right. Reading what you write, though, it doesn't come off that way. Not such a bad thing, is it, to examine your approach to the whole thing? Being 410lbs, you know how YOU felt. You won't know how HE feels unless you ask.
Some people won't, ultimately, do it your way. Are you okay with that?

2/07/2008 5:12 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Regular readers of my blog know that it's not about doing it Jimmy Moore's way. I've NEVER advocated that. My philosophy is simple: find the plan that will work for you, follow that plan exactly as prescribed, and then keep doing it for the rest of your life. Kevin needs to make that decision and then do it. He's not just obese, he's got major heart health issues that will see him die an early death as a result. So if I seem a little more eager to save my dying brother, then I guess you're right!

2/07/2008 6:10 PM  
Blogger Lora said...

Hi, Mr. Moore,

I came upon this blog post from another blog and at first glance I can understand your concerns about your brother and you wish him all the best in health and in life. Yet, your brother has a food addiction. As you stated in your posing.

"I was hoping some of that would rub off on Kevin, but there he was stuffing his mouth with high-sugar, carb-loaded foods again like a drug addict who can't help himself with the crack cocaine."

I included a couple of links for you to look at. I hope and pray Kevin's new love of his life encourages him to get the help he needs.

2/08/2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing your comments, Lora. I appreciate it!

2/08/2008 2:09 PM  

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