Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Can I Help My Adult Daughter Lose Weight?

Dear Laurie,
I am writing because I'm concerned about my daughter.  She's 35 years old and a single mother.  She doesn't take the time to cook healthy but is always taking her 11 year-old daughter out for fast food or ordering pizza, and keeping junk food in the house.  They are both overweight and now she has been diagnosed with diabetes.  I'm worried the same is in store with my granddaughter.  What is a relatively simple diet they can go on that isn't too restrictive so they can stay on it long enough to have results?    Jane W.

Dear Jane,

Unfortunately, all the love and concern you have for your daughter is not going to help her lose weight.  The person with the problem is the one who has to decide when they are ready to make a change.  Just like any other condition, each individual decides when their priority is to get healthy.  Your daughter has another incentive--having a healthy daughter herself.

I know how frustrating it is to sit by and watch someone contribute to their own health risks--we all know people who smoke, drink too much, eat too much or exercise too little and we wish we could help... but all we can offer is our support, and to let them know we are here for them in whatever capacity they need when they are ready to change.

You might ask your daughter if there is one change she is willing to make that is simple and easy (such as substituting water in place of soda this week and see how she and her daughter feel about that).  Let her know you are concerned and that when she is ready, you will help her find a plan that is easy and tasty! 

Perhaps they can plan a visit to a registered dietitian where your daughter and granddaughter can go  together.  What they really need is not a diet, but a lifestyle change, and that is scary to think about all at once.  A dietitian is trained to help people make these changes in a way that is safe, reliable, and most likely to last a lifetime, as opposed to the diet-of-the-week which is more likely to result in gaining the weight back in a short period of time.

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