Will You E-mail My Son About His Morbid Obesity?
A father is protective of his son even in adulthood
I get a lot of e-mails as you can imagine from people who have been reading the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog for years all the way down to those who have only just stumbled upon it for the first time this week. It's so exciting to see all the people who are interested in learning more about livin' la vida low-carb which is why I am here. If we can educate, encourage, and inspire millions more in their own personal journey with this way of eating, then the tremendous positive impact will be difficult to ignore for much longer.
Most people who write to me have questions they want answered for themselves or an immediate family member or friend about low-carb living. I'm always happy to acknowledged and respond to someone when they write to me because it is the least I can do for your taking time out of your schedule to contact me. Yes, I really do read and answer all of my e-mails and happily so. If it weren't for you, then I wouldn't have a reason to blog. I appreciate you guys!
However, I got a request this month from a well-meaning person who asks me to contact someone close to them about their weight problem. This seemed like an odd thing to me because here I am a complete stranger and these people want me to contact someone in their life to tell 'em they need to lose weight. As Dr. Phil would say, "how's that working for you?" It would pretty much defeat the purpose of trying to help someone who isn't ready to help themselves.
I do advocate that people should confront the obese (read the blog post so you don't misunderstand what I'm saying) about their weight, but in a caring, loving manner rather than the judgmental way that too often happens. Christine did this "nagging" about my obesity for years before she finally realized it doesn't work. Not until I was ready to make the decision on my own to shed the pounds was I EVER gonna make it happen in my life.
Thankfully that happened in 2004 when I lost 180 pounds on the Atkins diet, but it was ultimately MY decision and mine alone. Yes, the outside forces trying to get me to change my eating habits played a role in nudging me in that direction, but Jimmy Moore had to be the one to say enough is enough and DO IT! Unfortunately many fat people remain in deep denial about their obesity and simply refuse to change on their own or otherwise. This is precisely the situation my brother Kevin has put himself in over the past few years (although he's at least making an effort to lose weight again...for now).
Let me get back to that person who e-mailed me about his son for a moment. Sure, if someone is contacting me directly to help them with their low-carb weight loss efforts, then they are the ones who have reached out and I'm overjoyed to offer any kind of assistance I can to get them going in the right direction. It's why I spend upwards of 15 hours a day sometimes working on everything I am doing. And I wouldn't trade this job for anything else in the whole world!
But this desperate father asked me to write to his son who is morbidly obese despite doing everything he could think of with his diet. The son is now contemplating having gastric bypass surgery and this dear and loving father asked me one question: "Will you e-mail my son about his morbid obesity?" Man oh man oh man. I feel where the guy's coming from, but it just seems so bizarre to write to someone out of the blue.
Here's the impassioned plea from the father:
I'm so impressed with your blog. I sent it to my son. My son is 35 and weighs around 450 pounds and has been unable to lose any weight after a few years of trying every diet known to man I think. He is now considering surgery which I think of as an absolute LAST OPTION.
Anyhow, I'm here asking for a favor. Would you e-mail him? I think some contact with you might spur him forward. He is already having cholesterol issues.
His name is XXXXX and he lives in XXXXXX. His email address is: XXXXX@XXXXX.com. It would be marvelous and so very helpful if you made contact with him.
Thanks so much!
Now, my initial gut reaction to this was OF COURSE I'll write to him. I'm sure he'd love to hear from Jimmy Moore telling him about how he used to be morbidly obese and was able to beat it with the use of a low-carb nutritional approach. That'll be just what he needs to get his weight loss going again. But then...
Another part of me was screaming, "What are you doing? Are you CRAZY?! You can't write to this grown man about his weight when he hasn't solicited your advice!" Plus he doesn't know who Jimmy Moore is from Adam, so what good could possibly result from any communication I send to him? It was a brief internal struggle, but I made the decision to NOT contact the son.
Here's what I wrote back to that father:
THANKS so much for writing! I can certainly sense the pain you feel for your son going through this extremely traumatic time with his weight right now. The love you possess is one of care and concern for this boy turned man who still struggles with obesity which will in turn lead to more and more health problems for him in the future.
My wife Christine was concerned about all those exact same things for me too. In fact, she reminded me often that I was gonna make her a widow if I kept eating the way I did, getting bigger and bigger each year, with no end in sight. The more she nagged and talked about it, the more I refused the message she was so desperately trying to convey to me.
You wanna know why I decided to take back control of my weight and health in 2004? I wanted to do it for ME. Christine had already given up on trying to coerce me into doing it, so she just started supporting me no matter what. That reinforcement gave me the confidence to feel like I could do this on my own. After a series of events happened that shook me into reality, I started on this journey and have never looked back again!
Why do I share all of this with you? Because if I contact your son as a complete stranger out of the blue and he's not ready to hear the message yet, then it'll do absolutely no good. In fact, I have a brother named Kevin who is four years older than me and in the same predicament as your son--only worse. He is 40, but is already suffering from so many health issues...Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, he has a defibrilator in his heart, and so much more. And he's SEEN his own brother change his life, but he hasn't made the decision to do it himself.
This is ESSENTIAL for anyone who wants to be a success at weight loss. They have to come to the point where THEY want to do it or else they'll be doing it for someone else as a temporary thing. Once he takes ownership of this problem, then it's his to go after and it will be more meaningful and lasting when all is said and done. Nothing dad or Jimmy Moore can do could possibly replace that in his life and I wouldn't want to take that away from him.
So what do you do for your son right now? Obviously, keep on loving him as you already do, support and encourage him with what he does in his life, and do everything you can to create an environment in your relationship that fosters on open communication. Because when the time comes (and it will!), he will be begging for a way out of his 450-pound body and this is the time to confront him about his obesity in a way that tells him you want nothing but the best for him.
If he likes to read, I wrote a book about my weight loss of 180 pounds in one year after starting out at 410 pounds that may be uplifting to your son. I've been through all the pain of being that large, so maybe he'll see himself in my story. Feel free to forward on my contact information to him to have him initiate communication with me and I'm always happy to respond quickly to any questions he may have for me.
THANK YOU again for writing! You're a great dad and I only wish others had the kind of support you are so willingly giving to your son. He and I are the same age, so it hits home for me reading about your son. He has to want this like nothing else he's ever wanted before and it WILL happen. Keep me informed about what's happening with him and I'm here for you and him when he's ready. Take care!
I was a little concerned that might not be what the father wanted to hear, but I believe in my heart of hearts it was the right thing to do. In hindsight, I am so glad I responded that way and I am still waiting to hear from the son when he is good and ready to contact me. I'll be here for him when he does.
His dad understood it's his son decision in a follow-up e-mail:
I e-mailed my son and gave him your blog. I encouraged him to e-mail you and I hope he will, but now it's up to him.
I'm sure that was very difficult for him to type, but the reality of the situation is you can't force the issue with somebody who's not ready to lose weight and get back their health. Circumstances in life can hurry up the process like they did for me back in 2003 in the months leading up to my decision to start the Atkins diet on January 1, 2004. When I started that day after reading Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution with a plan in hand and a willingness to do whatever it took to make this a permanent lifestyle change, I was already well on my way to success.
The same CAN and WILL happen to this man's son and anyone else who decides the time is right to do this. It may happen today, it may happen tomorrow, or it may happen next year. But the encouraging thought I want to leave with anyone who has a close loved one who is not doing anything about their weight and health problems is to NEVER lose hope. There is an answer for everyone--they just have to figure out what works best for them.
If you're an overweight or obese person wanting to know how to overcome your weight problem once and for all, I've said it many times before but I'll say it again--find a proven plan of action that will work for you and that you'll enjoy, follow that plan exactly as prescribed by the author (aka READ THE BOOK!), and then keep doing that plan or some semblance thereof for the rest of your long and healthy life. No matter what others might say to you about the path you choose to take, this is YOUR life and YOU are in control of what happens next. Will you make good choices to radically improve your life or will you slide back into the old habits that led you down the path of destruction?
Ultimately, it is up to YOU! I'm here for you as a means of support and information about the healthy low-carb lifestyle, so don't hesitate to e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is my distinct privilege and honor to offer up assistance and guidance to anyone who asks.