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"Intervention" for overweight friend. - Page 6

post #101 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
I don't think simply offering support is enough in a lot of cases. IME people with other isolating conditions (substance abuse, hoarding) don't get better without a "come to jesus" moment. And some people don't get them on their own until it is almost too late.
Ah but this may not be one of those types of issues. Would you have this sort of "intervention" with someone with depression? Absolutely not! And for good reason.
post #102 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
Ah but this may not be one of those types of issues. Would you have this sort of "intervention" with someone with depression? Absolutely not! And for good reason.
I would for undiagnosed depression. And probably for diagnosed depression with poor med compliance. An intervention doesn't have to be a confrontational scream fest.
post #103 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
I would for undiagnosed depression. And probably for diagnosed depression with poor med compliance. An intervention doesn't have to be a confrontational scream fest.
Yikes, I don't think that would go over well. I know quite a few with undiagnosed depression, and one person with undiagnosed SEVERE mental illness..and in both cases; they would think I was the one with the problem. Heck, they would fire doctors if they pushed the issue. That's just my experience though.
post #104 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
I would for undiagnosed depression. And probably for diagnosed depression with poor med compliance. An intervention doesn't have to be a confrontational scream fest.
It doesn't have to be in order to be perceived as an attack. An intervention- if of the most gentle sort- is by definition cornering someone in an attempt to make them comply.

Please please do not ever try to have an "intervention" with someone who is depressed. Please. That could end so so badly.
post #105 of 122
I really, truly see having an Intervention for this obese woman as a one way ticket to suicide That is 100% how I feel. I strongly urge anyone to NOT do it. It is hard enough being heavy feeling like no one likes you, then to have people point out your flaws in front of people, OMG, I can not even imagine
post #106 of 122
Also the TV shows has professionals working there, and options- pre paid treatment, etc. This group of people has none of that. This can not end on a positive note, it just can't.
post #107 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
I don't think simply offering support is enough in a lot of cases. IME people with other isolating conditions (substance abuse, hoarding) don't get better without a "come to jesus" moment. And some people don't get them on their own until it is almost too late.
I think "come to Jesus" moments can very, very rarely be forced by outsiders. Hitting rock bottom on anything isn't determined by other people. Telling a drug addict "you're at rock bottom" doesn't mean that that's what they'll feel. Rock bottom is a place you reach inside yourself. For a smoker, a scare with lung cancer might get them there, but their spouse saying "You might get lung cancer" probably won't. In your hoarding example, telling a friend "you have a problem with hoarding and I care about you and you need to work on fixing this" is not going to have the impact of, say, losing their kids to CPS, you know?
And, as others have said, there's a big difference with no professionals with no real soultions "intervening" and people working with professionals and providing resources for some one.
post #108 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
I don't think simply offering support is enough in a lot of cases. IME people with other isolating conditions (substance abuse, hoarding) don't get better without a "come to jesus" moment. And some people don't get them on their own until it is almost too late.
Ok but again, she may already be taking steps to fix it. Not everyone is going to go around announcing to their friends that they're seeking help for obesity. I sure wouldn't - it's no one's business, what if I don't succeed right away, and hey, it'd be nice if people noticed when I started losing without my announcing I was trying. How do you know that she hasn't already hit that point? If she has, then it's no one's business but her own. If she hasn't, a group of people ganging up on her isn't going to improve things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunnyflakes View Post
I really, truly see having an Intervention for this obese woman as a one way ticket to suicide That is 100% how I feel. I strongly urge anyone to NOT do it. It is hard enough being heavy feeling like no one likes you, then to have people point out your flaws in front of people, OMG, I can not even imagine
That's pretty much what DH said earlier but I wasn't going to be the one to put it out there. I have to admit it crossed my mind as well.
post #109 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
And BTW I am so thankful for all the reason on this thread! I was recently not very smart and commented on a similar issue posted on the HuffPo and woooooo did that not go over well! There is so much fat phobia... it just really breaks my heart.
ITA!!! I'm so often surprised and touched by the compassion shown by MDCers. This a very unique online environment in that way. I agree that this sort of discussion would have a completely different tone on most mainstream websites.

Just to clarify a point... I have no idea if Anne's doctor is working with her on weight loss. I do know that she sees a doctor with some regularity (perhaps three times a year or so?) The only time she's ever told me a reason for the visit was a blood pressure check. I can only imagine her doctor gives her the typical doctor-talk on weight. I've never asked her much of anything about these occasional appointments, though, because I've never thought it was any of my business.

I will say I am pretty confident Anne is not on a diet. She seems to eat whatever she wants, and however much she wants. She never really talks about food, or what is healthy vs. not healthy. I don't think she eats any more than an average person, though... but, of course, I only know what I see and I don't exactly keep watch.

I do think quality of life is a much bigger issue here than any number on the scale. I agree that even if she could go up the stairs comfortably, that would make a huge difference in her life. Fitting into chairs, into her car, these would also make for a better quality of life. Not getting so easily winded is another big thing, and having the energy to keep up with her children. If she could have all of these things but not lose a pound, that would be a huge success.

But still... I completely understand the POV of Jane and some here that she may need the help of a friend to get healthier... but I just don't see how I could be that friend.

Up until this came about, I never gave Anne's weight much thought. Of course, I noted her diminished mobility and felt concern -- but it didn't make me think "I've got to get Anne to lose weight!"

While weight undoubtedly has a tremendous impact on Anne's life, I never gave much thought to it having anything to do with our friendship. I love her because she is hiLARIOUS. She's so quick witted. I love watching bad movies with her - she's like a one-woman MST3K soundtrack. I admire how much patience and love she has for her family. She's so creative, she has just a brilliant mind. She's a fantastic writer and a pretty impressive artist too. I knew as soon as I met her that I wanted to be her friend. And I've never give much thought to her weight... but now, I am wondering if this is my own lack of empathy at play. Her weight is effecting her life in big ways. I'd be foolish to not think it was also effecting her emotionally. Perhaps I should be stepping outside my comfort zone and asking her questions and offering explicit support.

But still... I just don't feel comfortable bringing it up. God knows I have a laundry list of "imperfections" that I'd rather not be called out on...

Anyway... this has turned into a very interesting discussion. I'm glad everyone is keeping it grounded, thoughtful, and compassionate - it's so easy to allow an emotional issue (and personal!) escalate into non-productive bickering.
post #110 of 122
Catubodia, has your friend been in any car accidents or have other trauma to her head? I say this because we didn't realize my husband had brain damage until almost a year after a car accident where he was rear-ended and he had serious damage to his memory that will probably never go away. Half of his brain now works more slowly than the other half, etc.

Does your friend have a husband or parents you can talk to, to ask about her memory issues, someone who could perhaps speak to her doctor to get her some tests?

I also wonder about mental illness, something fairly serious to make her lose so much of her reality.
post #111 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
iCatuboda, has your friend been in any car accidents or have other trauma to her head? I say this because we didn't realize my husband had brain damage until almost a year after a car accident where he was rear-ended and he had serious damage to his memory that will probably never go away. Half of his brain now works more slowly than the other half, etc.

Does your friend have a husband or parents you can talk to, to ask about her memory issues, someone who could perhaps speak to her doctor to get her some tests?

I also wonder about mental illness, something fairly serious to make her lose so much of her reality.
I agree with this. I also think there needs to be more TBI awareness!!!! Sorry to hear your husband (and family) are going through this. Catuboda; Maybe encourage a neurology consult
post #112 of 122
I am actually glad to hear it does not seem like Anne is on a diet because diets don't work and usually leave us less healthy than where we started. I regret all the damage I've done to my body by dieting.

Like others have said on here I'd LOVE for a friend to offer to come walk with me a few times a week. I do walk often with my kids but it would rock to have a friend to go with and to talk with! So OP if that's something you could do with her and something you want to do yourself (and not just to get your fat friend exercising, I find that a tad condescending) then I'd offer it to her.
post #113 of 122
Can't read all the responses but just in case this hasn't been said... has anyone pointed out that for many people, including people with depression, with weight issues, and then the "regular intervention issues" (like drugs, alcohol), that one of the positive things about a WELL DONE intervention (emphasis on well done) is that it may be the 1st time ever, or the first time in a long time, that the person is aware that that many people care about them and want them to do well and are rooting for them and willing to help them?

I get that done badly it could backfire big time, maybe to a very sad end. But I actually have personally never heard of an intervention truly driven by people who care going badly. I've heard of it having an amazingly positive impact, and heard of it not really having any impact at all. But suicide or driving someone further into their problem? I see on this thread t hose mentioned as concerns, but has anyone actually got examples of that happening where the intervention was done well (i.e. not by people with passive-aggressive agendas or manipulative or mean) and then the person getting suddenly worse because of the intervention? I've never heard of that happening.

I think it sounds like the intervention you describe in the first post sounds to me driven by love and concern. And in my field (child welfare) where there is so much pain and ugliness, I see how powerful love and concern - when matched with health and common sense - can be in turning a dire situation into a powerfully good one. It's hard for me to imagine a gathering of caring, loving, "We're rooting for you and we're on your side so what do you want for yourself? What are your dreams? How can we help you get there?" -type people not having a positive impact.
post #114 of 122
I think it is better left unsaid...I think Anne would be very hurt. If Jane has to say anything though maybe she could say something one on one with Anne. If everyone could pool their money together and offer Anne a year gym membership or buy her a piece of home equipment or something like that I think that would be better than just saying hey we care about you and think you need to do something about your weight. I am sure she knows she needs to lose weight and feels bad enough about herself. The one on one tactic if done correctly and tactfully (with an offer of something beneficial) might help though.
post #115 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
Catubodia, has your friend been in any car accidents or have other trauma to her head? I say this because we didn't realize my husband had brain damage until almost a year after a car accident where he was rear-ended and he had serious damage to his memory that will probably never go away. Half of his brain now works more slowly than the other half, etc.

Does your friend have a husband or parents you can talk to, to ask about her memory issues, someone who could perhaps speak to her doctor to get her some tests?

I also wonder about mental illness, something fairly serious to make her lose so much of her reality.
thank you and others for your concern. this isn't new behavior - we've been friends since freshmen in high school and she's always been like this. i really believe that it's more of a i don't know how to word it, like personality issue.

as in, she decides what reality is, and no amount of facts or other things will deter her from seeing it that way. she's done this with horrible guys she's dated (they are always mr wonderful), things that happen at work (it's never her fault that she's been repeatedly fired from various jobs, the supervisors are always out to get her), etc, etc.

it's just something i've noticed lately that she's now doing the same stuff with her food consumption and lack of exercise (both of these are sort of new for her to do, it's mostly centered on other people/money in the past). which, is making her very unhealthy and overweight in a relatively short time frame.
post #116 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catubodua View Post
thank you and others for your concern. this isn't new behavior - we've been friends since freshmen in high school and she's always been like this. i really believe that it's more of a i don't know how to word it, like personality issue.

as in, she decides what reality is, and no amount of facts or other things will deter her from seeing it that way. she's done this with horrible guys she's dated (they are always mr wonderful), things that happen at work (it's never her fault that she's been repeatedly fired from various jobs, the supervisors are always out to get her), etc, etc.

it's just something i've noticed lately that she's now doing the same stuff with her food consumption and lack of exercise (both of these are sort of new for her to do, it's mostly centered on other people/money in the past). which, is making her very unhealthy and overweight in a relatively short time frame.
huh.. It reminds me of body dysmorphic disorder, but it's not that.. it's kind of like it, but opposite.
post #117 of 122
You sound like a very, very caring friend, and Anne is lucky to count you among one of hers. But I have to point out, even in the gentle and caring way you word your posts; even though you DO seem to be someone who is able to understand that the most important thing is health, it still seems that the way you are approaching this situation is primarily by linking health to weight; at least, that's how it's presenting on the computer screen.

For instance...But isn't it a different ball game when you are talking about someone who weighs 400 lbs, as opposed to someone who just weights, say, 200 lbs?...not necessarily. The true answer to that is...it depends. How long have they been at this weight? Did they just balloon up to 400 lbs overnight? Are they stable, or are they repeatedly losing/gaining a significant amount of weight? Do they have a happy, relatively active and/or mobile lifestyle (and yes, a 400 lb person can be active and mobile)? Are they eating relatively healthy, or are they shoveling down fast-food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, avoiding veggies and fruits and whole grains like the plague? Do they allow their weight to slow them down? Statistically, it's healthier for your body and easier on your circulatory system to stick to one weight than to balloon up and down on the diet rollercoaster.

...At 400#, you know they have a high % of body fat. No, you don't. It's an assumption, one that I've been guilty of making myself. Over the last couple of years, I've met many people who are close to 400 lbs and upwards (based on what THEY told me, not based on what I'm guestimating). Some of them are not so healthy based on the diseases they had and the resulting lack of mobility, but some of them are built like a solid-as-a-rock tank. Seriously. If you poke at their leg, or their arms, or their tummy, you are poking at what feels like a wall of iron. We would go swimming and they sink to the bottom of the pool like rocks, while I, the smaller *fat* person, bobbed like a buoy on the top. These are people who are active in life and can do things that a lot smaller people just can't--like stand for hours on end teaching dance classes. My point is, their % of body fat would probably have rivaled the % of body fat for a person who was well under 200 pounds. Completely freaked me out when I found that out, but I had to accept it because it was right there in front of me.

... our bodies weren't designed to hold and carry that much weight...but who decides exactly how much weight each individual body is designed to hold and safely carry? Depending upon the historical point in time you look at, a healthy body size fluctuates based on what people (mostly men) like to look at. There have been times and places where a 300 lb body is much more desirable than a 100 lb body. But that doesn't mean that the person who weighed 100 lbs should have been forced to gain weight just to fit in with the rest of society. Maybe their body was meant to be smaller...just as some people have bodies right now in our day and age that are meant to be larger. Genetics really decides what our overall body size is supposed to be. We can fight it or not, but the harder we fight it, the less healthy we are likely to end up being.

I'm not actually suggesting that there are not many, many cases where people with extreme amounts of extra body fat are unhealthy. But their level of health does not come from the amount of fat they carry. It comes from their lifestyle and their overall health in general--their diet, their level of activity, their exercise habits, and what sort of diseases they may or may not have. In cases of disease or imbalance in the body (including stress!), extra fat is more likely a symptom, not a cause. In cases where there is no disease, then that person is probably perfectly healthy if they lead a healthy lifestyle. The problem is that nobody, not a doctor, or a scientist, or any layperson, can simply look at another human being and determine how much they weigh, what their % of body fat is, how heavy/dense their muscular and skeletal systems are, examine their DNA and conclude what size they are supposed to be, figure out how healthy the are, figure out what sort of lifestyle they lead, and then proceed to tell them what's wrong with them and how they can fix it. It's simply not possible, not just by looking. And we all judge large people (including those of us who are already large!)--rather harshly--simply by looking at them. Which does not help.

I think she does feel desperate to help Anne Now in the case of your friend, you have a little more knowledge than you would have if she were just a passing stranger. You have witnessed her weight shoot up, and you have seen her mobility slow down. But you really don't know how much she weighs--you're just guessing based on what she looks like from the outside, and based on what you feel is too much extra weight. Her weight gain is probably a symptom of something else that's going on in her life, either psychologically or physiologically, and any sort of intervention has to take that into consideration. That can't be done though, without a thorough medical exam.

...Her weight is effecting her life in big ways. Again, you don't know that, not for sure. It's a really good, good guess, but something else entirely could be going on that is effecting her WEIGHT...thus, effecting her life, and that's what needs to be addressed, not her weight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveSweetpea View Post
...I do think quality of life is a much bigger issue here than any number on the scale. I agree that even if she could go up the stairs comfortably, that would make a huge difference in her life. Fitting into chairs, into her car, these would also make for a better quality of life. Not getting so easily winded is another big thing, and having the energy to keep up with her children. If she could have all of these things but not lose a pound, that would be a huge success...
... I just don't feel comfortable bringing it up...
Then don't bring it up. If this last paragraph is truly how you feel...if you really want to help, then you'll say nothing about her weight and just keep on being the loving, supportive friend that you are. Like a lot of others have said, it's always nice to include your friends in your own exercise sessions. Maybe that would be something she would appreciate---but you can't offer it only because you're trying to help her. You've got to genuinely want her company while you exercise, which it sounds like you might welcome. Since she has trouble with mobility, then maybe you can take up a sport or type of exercise that your own body isn't used to so that you'll both be at a beginner level. A friend of mine once got me to join a kickboxing class with her because she wanted a new kind of exercise experience, and I loved it!

If you're really concerned about her lack of mobility--then address that and that only. Ask her what you can do to help her. You're good friends, so be a little bit nosy in a gentle way and ask her what her doctors have suggested about improving her mobility--and then you might find out something you didn't know beforehand. Maybe she is under treatment for something that is severely impacting her weight, and she has just decided not to trumpet this information to her friends--which is perfectly understandable.

It's not about weight. The weight is not going to kill her, not right now, anyway. Whatever is causing her weight gain, however, might, and that's what needs to be addressed. But it should be addressed by a professional that Anne has sought out to help her, and she may have done that already.

You're a good friend for wanting to help. I wish you luck!
post #118 of 122
Oh my, this will not be pretty at all.
It sounds at a basic level like a b*t_h fest, although the intentions I really do believe are well meaning, there will be no follow up with professionals right afterwards will there, no food re-hab, nothing of any qualified and direct substance? All there is a letter writing from friends about how irresponsible she is, right?
I would not go to see the drama unfold at your friend's expense. I would consider telling your friend, depending on what you personally feel about the situation, you know more than I do as an outsider looking in.
Yes, the "friends" may feel better expressing their concerns together as a group and getting that off their chest with the total support of others, but Anne is all alone, and on the spot. This type of confrontation can destroy relationships and self esteem. This makes me shudder.
post #119 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
But are these issues really because of her weight? What if fat phobia is getting in the way of seeing the real problem?
Good question. What if a woman were thin and otherwise behaving exactly the same way?
post #120 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catubodua View Post
while the idea of an intervention as originally proposed is clearly a harsh way to go, i'm not quite understanding the advice to not say anything to someone you cared about. if you see someone go from 200 to 400 pounds, i would think a good friend would bring it up - privately - and in a gentle way to see if there was anything they could do to help.

and, for those who are saying the fat person knows they are fat - this is not always true. i have a good friend who has a very distorted imagine of herself, her size and what she thinks she's eating vs what she really is eating.

for example, at a picnic last summer she ate 3 hotdogs, 2 burgers, tons of sides (potato salad, etc), an uncounted number of brownies and at least 3 pieces of cheesecake and multiple beers over about 4 hours (i am probably forgetting some stuff too). i know this because we sat next to each other that whole time and i was floored when we were packing things up that she said she didn't know why she felt so full off of "a hotdog and a little potato salad."

she really meant it. it was like she was completely erasing all the other food she had eaten from her memory. i said "well, the beer and cheesecake probably helped that too" and she replied that a few beers (she had had at least 8) and half a piece of cheesecake weren't anything to worry over.

i dropped it at that point because i've seen this before. when we go to dinner at a restaurant she will eat the entire basket of bread and then tease me about not leaving her any even though i didn't eat any.

for someone like that, how do you not say anything? i've tried to talk to her kindly about it and she looks at me like i really have 3 heads and has no idea what i'm talking about. i worry about how much she's eating and how fast her weight is climbing and how unhealthy she is. i really worry she is eating her way into a heartattack at 40.
Yup. It's worrying. So, go ahead and say something, but I don't know what you think you'll accomplish. I've been dealing with someone like this for over 2 decades. She's now got serious health issues, and I strongly suspect she's not going to live more than another decade. But, talking to her doesn't help. She's in denial, just as it sounds like your friend is. Talking to her puts me in the position of the enemy, and that's all it does.

I haven't finished reading the thread. I'll just stay that I'm overweight - actually, I'm obese. I know it. I know many o fthe reasons why. I'm not stupid. The reasons are emotional/psychological. If my friends and family ganged up on me the way "Jane" was proposing to do to "Anne", I'd go into a suicidal depression. I don't know if I'd actually kill myself - have managed to jerk myself out of these before by reminding myself that my kids don't know how worthless I am, and they'd miss me (and, no - I'm not saying that - that's how I feel when I'm in the midst of a depressive episode), and they might find my body, which would be devastating for them - but I'd want to. It would also be a long, long time before I could bring myself to trust any of those friends and/or family members again. I'd be extremely unlikely to respond by getting any kind of "help".
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