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Weight loss and family issues


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Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum. My surgery is scheduled for October 1st, and I would love to hear from anyone else who is going to be there then also. Thanks to everyone else who has posted here, ALL the posts have ben very helpful.

I am a 45 year old woman living in the Pacific Northwest. I have struggled with weight all of my life, and have managed to be normal weight only during periods where I was willing to "extreme diet." Things got REALLy bad after I had my 2 children. My kids have never known me as anything but overweight (right now I am 5' 9" nd 242, BMI 35 or so). My daughter, who is 14 has also had weight struggles her whole life, ever since she was born as a 9 1/2 lb baby! I have done exercise programs and jenny Craig with her before, but always felt as if she was not motivated and so I have been leaving her alone about it,trying to find the balance between unconditional love and helping her- just having healthy foods in the house etc., but her problem is just love of eating, like me.

I was so surprised when she sobbed as if she was broken-hearted when I told her I was going to have the surgery, saying it was "cheating" and "not fair" and that I should just "maybe try harder". I am really worried about what message I am sending her, and also don't want her to feel "left behind". ( She is not interested in the surgery for herself, and I wouldn't want to encourage it unless it was what SHE really wanted.) On the other hand, I am a typical mom who always puts everyone else first, and this surgery is the only thing I can remember planning just for myself since I became a mom. (OK, maybe a pedicure or two).

I was wondering if anyone else had experiences with family/kids that are similar and can have good advice about how to do the best thing for everyone.

Thanks everyone.

VickyR

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Hi, Vicky. I am a couple of years older than you, and have a daughter who has struggled with her weight for years. I can see how your daughter's reaction can cause you pain and uncertainty. I think you might try discussing with her the health issues related to obesity and let her know that you want to be around longer to see your grandchildren and watch her become a beautiful young woman. You might read over with her some recent articles about the failure of dieting on a long term basis, and the successes being seen with lap band surgery for longer, healthier lives.

I just don't see lap band surgery as failure or cheating. It's the hardest decision I have ever made, and sometimes I feel like someone close to me has a terminal illness when I contemplate the changes coming in my life. I also wonder why I can't just diet and lose weight, and then I realize that I can. I've done it numerous times, with quite a bit of success. Unfortunately, I'm still nearly 100 pounds overweight, since I gain it back a few years later.

My last trip to the doctor was enough to make me realize that lap band isn't a choice anymore; it is a necessity if I want to live a long, productive, healthy life. I have reached my 50's and see overweight friends whose health is steadily going downhill. I visit my mother in her retirement home and realize there aren't any obese people there, because they have already died. I've always claimed that I have good genes and don't have any health worries. However, the last blood tests proved to me that my unhealthy eating habits are catching up with me at last, with elevated blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

What really is "failure" is failing to realize I have to take unpleasant steps to change what I do and what I put in my body. "Cheating" is when I lie to myself and say I'm not that fat, I'm able to diet, or I'm not really that unhealthy. I have been obese since childhood, and remember the doctor telling my mother to keep my weight down during my preschool checkup at age 5. It wasn't my mother's fault she couldn't do it, and it's not my fault either; can you really talk about "will power" when you are talking about a five-year-old's eating habits? But it's my responsibility to do something about it, and that is why I'm scheduled for surgery with Dr. Ortiz next month.

The best thing you can do for your daughter is to be a good example by succeeding in your weight loss. You sound like you have been on as many diets as I have, with similar results, so I'm guessing that's not the way either of us will be successful. If it takes the lap band surgery to succeed, that's fine by me. You daughter may feel abandoned by the thought of your leaving the ranks of the obese, and may see it as a judgment that she is not acceptable because she is overweight. Try to let her see that your decision for surgery is a positive step to embrace responsibility for finding a way out of obesity.

Wish we were scheduled for the same week, but you'll be in Tijuana a week earlier than me. Best wishes for a long and healthy life!

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I'm always fascinated by the ideas surrounding our body issues. On the one hand we are told we are beautiful whatever size we are and that we should accept our bodies no matter what, but on other hand there is no denying that being 100 + pounds overweight is bad for your health in the long run and bad for your quality of life in the short run. And let's face it, society is less than kind to those who struggle with their weight. As I think back to what it was like being an obese 14-year-old myself, your daughter may be struggling with that dichotomy as well. Little girl's sense of themselves are modeled heavily on their parents and suddenly you have decided to make a major change which can be a little scary.

I truly do believe that the real cheating is choosing to stay the same and do the same things over and over again because we don't want to step outside our comfort zones. Getting banded is no more cheating at loosing weight than an alcoholic going to AA or a sick person getting anti-biotics. There is something about ourselves we would like to change and as my mom said above, surgery really is the only effective long term weight loss tool for people who have a lot of weight to loose.

The best advice I can give for working with your daughter is to be open, be honest, listen to her fears, and address them. And of course, you can always come to us when you need some advice!

Good luck

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I know how ya'll feel. Fortunately, my children (19 &11) have been really supportive in my weightloss. My oldest daughter was really excited for me when I decided to have the lapband procedure and has been my rock since the surgery(June 6,2007). She tells me how good I look and how I need to buy new clothes. My youngest daughter is very sympathetic when I get sick if I eat something I shouldn't and she helps me pick out new foods to try. I have tried diet after diet and will have succes for a while, but then I go back to my old habits and gain the weight back plus more. About 6 months ago, I decided I was tired of feeling back and looking bad, I was miserable! I still have a long way to go, but I know that I will make it. I have about 2 years before my oldest daughter gets married and I want to look good for her wedding and I want her to be proud of me. My husband is also supportive, but not as much as my daughters. I went to see my mother in the nursing home the other day and she told me I hadn't lost any weight and it made me feel horrible, but i just took it in stride and continue to work toward my goal weight. Hope your journeys go as well as mine has so far.

Beginning weight:230

Current weight:195

Goal weight:130

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Thanks to all of you for the thoughtful insight and support. For now, I am sticking with my plan and will try some of the suggestions for talking about this with my daughter. I think focusing on the health issues in my discussions with her will be most helpful....although I would be a big liar if I said I didn't want to look better, too!

Starting to think about the pre-op diet...oh boy, should be interesting. Looking forward to meeting whomever is there on Oct 1st!

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My two cents worth:

I maybe a little old school, even at 45, but I think parents should be just that parents and not elevlate 14 yr olds to equals... ( I have two 14 yr olds, a 12 and 18 yr old as well). At 14, children do not know best, whether they are intersted in the surgery or not, the proper focus should be on what is right for you AND your daughter. I wont go as ar as to suggest that you force your daughter into the surgery herself, even though I would tell her that down the rode it might be a real possibility. But I would tell her that her opinion was not solicited, it is uneducated and if she wishes to discuss it further, she needs to educate herself on the matter. At what age to we validate uninformed opinions? 14, 12, 10 maybe the kindergarten class....

I am not writing this to make lite of your situation, but to give you another valid approach to the situation. At 14, my mom and dad never consulted me before they bought a house or moved to a new town, nor did I expect them to. At 14, if dad said I was going into surgery, I would be going.....no debate.. why have things changed so much in such a few years? I trust you know whats best for you and I trust you could survive without the imput and support of your daughter, but I doubt she could do the same. Your decisions are what count!

Tom

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Tom,

You're right in saying it's the parent's decision in something like this, not the child's. However, 14 is a difficult age especially for girls, and I can see a mom trying to encourage her child to deal with the idea of surgery as a logical adult rather than as an emotional child. It doesn't and shouldn't mean that the parent has to defer to the child's opposition to the surgery. Parents who let their kids make the important decisions for the family kind of drive me crazy, but I didn't think that is what was happening in this case.

I've read several accounts from women on this forum who were getting grief from spouses and boyfriends about the surgery, so they were keeping it secret from the men. It doesn't hurt to try to get the family member on board with the lap band idea, but I wouldn't let someone else's opposition or lack of understanding come between me and what is best for my health and happiness, whether it be a child, a spouse, or any other person I care about.

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It probably sounded like I was on a soapbox and I was... for that I apologize.. I guess having teenagers always trying to make themselves equals set me off.. Sorry fo the diatribe.

Tom

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Tom,

No problem. It didn't seem like a diatribe to me. It is helps relieve the guilt to hear your side.

I don't think the issue for me is whether my daughter would give her blessing, so to speak, to the surgery, but rather would I be sending the wrong message for her as far as body image, acceptance of HER as an overweight kid, what is important or not in life, etc. etc.

The scenario you mentioned about consulting kids about family issues made me laugh, because my parents would always have these "family meetings" to try to make it seem as if we were being consulted and then just go ahead and move us/choose the vacation/ etc, themselves anyway. I think this is a management style where I work, too!!

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My daughter is almost 14 (october) she is overweight and gaining - I would love to have her have the surgery but in all reality she needs to understand her battle that she has- I have sat down with her and she wants to do better but sneaking food and having that one extra cause she thinks nobody is watching the band will not work for her ------at this time ----it was a big decision for me - I still haven't even tried flat soda- mine is a big time MENTAL issue -my daughter weighs more than me by about 30 lbs. I advise her on what she looks cute in and no comment when she asks if it looks nice and and I think otherwise ---it's a sign for her and she changes her outfit -----I don't want kids to tease her- she has friends she has fun at school she has ADHD she will figure it out when she is ready too and I will be there for her to help in what ever way she decides

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Hi, maybe you could include your daughter in your journey and work together to create healthier habits. You could work on healthy menus and start an exercise or walking routine together. It would be easier for her to turn her habits around now at her age than it is when we get older and would give you guys some time doing things together. I had my surgery in 12/06, and lost 38 lbs., then my father died and I was traveling back and forth to another state for most of the summer taking care of him and his affairs, and I put back on 13 lbs., mostly because I was eating the wrong things (hospital food and vending machines) and didn't have time to get a fill. I've since done so and am starting to lose again, but slowly. Unfortunately, during this summer, I learned how to "cheat", so I'm having to break those habits. My 22 yr. old son has put on 50 lbs. since beginning a job where there is always food around, and he and I have just started an exercise routine and set goals to lose a certain amount by Christmas. I want to help him as much as I do myself, so that is keeping me focused and accountable. Good Luck!

Kim

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It sounds like the daughter is jealous and feeling alone. It may feel to her that you're going to be "normal" and she won't. When you've been her fat-buddy for so long. Maybe you can walk together, exercise together, diet together, etc. Make sure she knows she's not alone, and that you'll still be struggling with your weight. It's not a magic solution and there is still work to be done. If you do it together, then it'll be easier for her to transition into a long term weight loss lifestyle. She's still young enough to learn how to do it right, and do it right now.

My daughter is only 10 years old, but already large. She's always been in the 90th percentile of height and weight, ever since she was born. She's not fat yet, but she can get there quickly. When I decided to have the surgery, we started walking in the morning, and I bought weights at home. She's been working out harder since I had the surgery, and is vowing to be healthy. She'll never be skinny, like many of her friends are. She's thick and always will be. But, what I'm trying to focus on right now is health. As long as I focus on that, she seems happier. She's proud when she makes good choices at school, and at Grandma's house (where it's REALLY hard to make good choices!)

I know one post said to not treat children as equals or to consult them. I didn't ask my daughter about the surgery, but I did talk to her about my fears and frustrations. I don't want her to go through the same denial that I did growing up. Fat mom, fat grandmother...etc. No one ever addressed a problem. So, I suppose it's how you go about it. You can confide in a child, but to a degree, and not lean on them for emotional support. I think that's the difference. I just think if my daughter sees my struggles, sees the heartbreak over my health problems now, she'll be able to make a better choice for her life during those moments when she is in charge. I'm not there all the time to tell her apples instead of cookies...so the more we communicate, the more strength she'll have to make that decision when I'm not around.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello,

I am going to put my two cents in here because I was that daughter whose mother had a gastric bypass when I was 15 (I am now 32). I felt the same at the time that it wasn't fair that my mom was cheating with her weightloss, etc. Seventeen years later I came to realize when I looked at a picture of myself after having my first child that I looked exactly like my mother had right before her surgery. In those 16 years after her weightloss she would approach me about the surgery because she was worried for my health. I told her each time that I will do it on my own and I wasn't ready to make the surgical step. I did lose a large amount of weight 2 separate occasions and then put it back on.

I think a large part of your daughters opinion is due in part to her level of maturity and the fact that she has to make that decision for herself if she wants the surgery. Do the surgery for yourself and don't look back your daughter will be happy for you in the end because it will make you a happy and healthier mother!! I am so happy that my mother had her surgery when she did because she is still around she got to see her grandson being born and I still have my mother. When your daughter is ready to face her weight issues she will face them and make whatever choice that is right for her at the time. Good luck in your journey to being that happy and healthier mother!!

Kiedas26

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Kiedas, thanks for that post. It made me cry! Thanks for the perspective from your kid self and your now self. That was really interesting and helpful. I am having the surgery in 3 days, and really looking forward to it My daughter is still not on board, but things are better. Thanks for the good wishes.

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I had the surgery a year ago when my daughter was 13. She was scared for the fact that I was having surgery in mexico. She is overweight as well but her self esteem is so high that it does not bother her. This surgery will effect your whole family. Doing things that involve her friends if they do not know that you had the surgery. Perhaps the two of you could read things on this forum together and discuss it. My daughter now teases me when we go out to eat. She bets me on how much I will eat. Involve her and ask for her opinions helps both of you.Teenagers are allowed to give you opinions and suggestions to make them feel that you do listen to them.Good luck and give her positive reinforcement and it will work out. Please above all do what you feel is best for you. C

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum. My surgery is scheduled for October 1st, and I would love to hear from anyone else who is going to be there then also. Thanks to everyone else who has posted here, ALL the posts have ben very helpful.

I am a 45 year old woman living in the Pacific Northwest. I have struggled with weight all of my life, and have managed to be normal weight only during periods where I was willing to "extreme diet." Things got REALLy bad after I had my 2 children. My kids have never known me as anything but overweight (right now I am 5' 9" nd 242, BMI 35 or so). My daughter, who is 14 has also had weight struggles her whole life, ever since she was born as a 9 1/2 lb baby! I have done exercise programs and jenny Craig with her before, but always felt as if she was not motivated and so I have been leaving her alone about it,trying to find the balance between unconditional love and helping her- just having healthy foods in the house etc., but her problem is just love of eating, like me.

I was so surprised when she sobbed as if she was broken-hearted when I told her I was going to have the surgery, saying it was "cheating" and "not fair" and that I should just "maybe try harder". I am really worried about what message I am sending her, and also don't want her to feel "left behind". ( She is not interested in the surgery for herself, and I wouldn't want to encourage it unless it was what SHE really wanted.) On the other hand, I am a typical mom who always puts everyone else first, and this surgery is the only thing I can remember planning just for myself since I became a mom. (OK, maybe a pedicure or two).

I was wondering if anyone else had experiences with family/kids that are similar and can have good advice about how to do the best thing for everyone.

Thanks everyone.

VickyR

Vicky,

I experiened a similar reaction with my 17 year old daughter. I also worried that she would have that feeling that all of us are familiar with when our friends are losing weight and we're not in the right frame of mind. I hate that!

Any way, I ended up taking my daughter with me to the surgery and she now helps me make diet decisions. I think she feels a part of the process. She came home from the trip and has been motivated with her own eating habits. I think it helped to make her part of my process.

I am in a better frame of mind to cook healthier, I am into quality not quanity and I think this is going to change some habbits in our household.

By the way, I live in the Pacific NW also, Kitsap County. U?

How did your surgery go on October 1st?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Vicky R

I am on the other end....I am the child. Not a young one, but a child of a mother who has always struggled with her weight issues. Now I am not going to put the blame on her, but I can say that I have more issues than she does. I weight 100 lbs more than she does. Anyway, I am also a teacher of Jr. High kids. I can relate to an certain extent and my only advise is to allow dialog between the two of you. Keep talking and involving her in the topic but only when she brings it up. She needs to feel okay about it, but at the same time she is not the only one struggling. YOU are important and as many people have said, she is afraid of being left behind. There is something about mothers and daughters and wanting to relate to each other. I for one still do not understand even at 43. I hope you make the choice based on your own needs, not your child. She is apart of your life, not your life. Someday very soon, she too will fly the coop and hopefully she can make her own decisions about her body. It is just like parents (I would want) to expect their child to wait on sex, but it is their body. We cannot control that either. When they do, they do. Yikes, not the easiest thing, but maybe it might be a way she could understand it. Its a touchy subject, but I think she is just scared. I wish you luck and your daughter as well.

Shanny B)

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