How can I help?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
How can I help?
14
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 1:52pm

Hi, friends.  I guess I just need to get this off my chest, and maybe you have some ideas.  My husband went to the doctor today for a regular physical.  He hasn't had a physical since college (about 15 years).  His dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer this spring after some red flags were noticed at an annual check-up, so DH thought that we (as a family) should make our health a bigger priority and get in the habit of getting annual exams.  My father-in-law's cancer was caught really, really early thanks to the fact that he gets an exam every year.

DH was avoiding this because he is over weight.  Well, not surprising, at today's exam his doctor noticed high blood pressure, and she also recommended a sleep study since I've noticed sleep apnea symptoms.  All in all, DH really needs to lose weight...NOW.  I already serve healthy meals and provide only healthy snacks (expect for special occasions like a birthday or a big football game :smileyhappy:).  We don't eat a lot of fast food, but we do go out for ice cream occasionally...maybe twice a month.  I just really don't know what else to do.  He doesn't drink or smoke.  We don't even buy pop (soda, for those not in western PA).  If we go out to dinner, about two or three times per month, DH does order pop.  I wish there was some big thing that he could just QUIT and automatically lose weight.  One of my close friends from PA recently lost a lot of weight just by switching to diet soda.  I wish it was that easy for DH.  He can't stop beer or doughnuts or McDonald's breakfasts because he doesn't do any of those things.  Sigh...I just feel helpless.

I love this guy SO much!!!!!  I want him to be healthy.  Any tips???

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 2:00pm
Erica, I do have some advice, because we went through this with my dad a few years ago. to sum up:
-Having the help of a nutritionist
-Doing exercise.
I will explain this in detail in a couple of hours. I just need some time to write a coherent post (sleep deprived!!!)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2007
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 3:10pm

Hey Erica,

It sounds like you are doing great things to help him be healthy so far.  Since it sounds like he is eating healthfully, it comes down to two things: (1) portion control, and (2) exercise.  I would recommend using a smaller plate-- I know that sounds unusual, but the plates that we use today are many inches bigger than plates used to be.  It mentally encourages us to fill a plate and then most of us have been taught to clear our plates.  Just using a smaller plate (and only having one plateful) can really help to cut down calories.  I would also encourage him to up the amount of water he drinks.  A lot of times we eat more because we are thirsty.  Exercise is the number one thing, though.  Even just starting with walking can help.  Walk 30 min a day at a moderate pace.  You can even do it as a family if you don't want to sacrifice any of the time you have together.  Two years ago I lost 30 lbs, and this is how I did it (of course after having a child I now have to do it all over again!).  I never was an unhealthy eater, either, I just ate when I was bored, ate too much, and didn't exercise enough.  It is not easy but the change in health and the way he will feel will absolutely make a difference!  I think it is good to keep little written reminders of why you are doing it also-- like, 'so I can run around with my kids more', or 'so I can live long enough to meet my great-grandchildren'.  Good luck with it!  Oh and if it gets to a point where he is doing all he can and still is having trouble, I highly recommend MediFast if you go the 'diet plan' route.

<*KATJA*> My Ovulation Chart
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-21-2008
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 3:45pm

Erica,

I totally agree with Katja... y'all are already doing so many things "right" that smaller portions and more exercise are really the only things left it seems. I will say that I am living proof that only 30 minutes walking a day will *really* help. I started Weight Watchers on July 1 and while my eating hasn't been as ideal as it really should be, I started taking a near-daily 30 minute walk with Jonah in the mornings. I have lost 11 pounds in 8 weeks and we all know men lose weight faster than women!

The only other thing I can think of with high BP is his salt intake. If you're not already, you might try switching to sea salt and cutting back if you can in your cooking.

Hope he can lose a little and lower that BP without meds! Your being so encouraging and supportive will make a huge difference, too!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 3:46pm
Thank you, Mari and Katja. Keep 'em coming! I'm feeling a little better. Exercise is definitely an issue. And I think you're right, Katja. I think the issue is more about portion size than the actual food we eat. We eat pretty well mostly because I want the kids to eat well.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2006
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 4:25pm
To get a good idea of what portions he should be having, it might be a good exercise for him (and the whole family!) to track food intake, even for just a week. I do this from time to time just to "check in" with the reality of how many calories are really in the foods I eat. There are all kinds of online programs or apps you can get that can do this.

I second needing to add exercise to the mix. For women to lose weight, it really needs to be a combo of reducing calories and exercising (and mostly on the food side of things), but men can lose weight faster by just exercising more. So, maybe finding things to do as a family (so he doesn't feel alone in it) might be fun.

Good luck!




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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 7:19pm

I agree with the girls about the amount of food and the need to exercise. As I told you, we struggled for years with my dad on this issue.

He was never a slim guy, but he wasn't fat either until he reached 40yo. By then, he also developed high blood pressure. My mom was clue less, since she already cooked really healthy meals with loads of vegetables, lean meats and very low on fats in general. But she couldn't control the amount of food he ate. A classic joke at dinner was my mom asking "how many -insert random food- did you have?" and he answered innocently "only two" while we giggled because we knew he had about 5...

Anyways, by the time he was 50, he was under permanent BP medication. Infact he was taking about 6 pills every day! Climbing the stairs left him breathless, and he used to sweat soooo much!!

And then my sister went into medical school... I think the shock and pride of having a daughter becoming a Dr. finally opened his mind. And when she said she believed he had  metabolic syndrome, he finally listened!

He went to an excellent nutritionist who made some key changes in his diet. She said that he was eating very healthy food, but there were a few tricks he could try. First, and obviously the size of portions. Second was to add fiber at every single meal (raw vegetables). Third, to balance the protein and starch foods every day (for example, if he had a steak at lunch he had pasta at dinner).

And he joined the gym... with my mom! To this day I think the only reason he keeps going is because she goes with him, they go only twice a week, but it's been enough to make a change.

 

As a result he lost more than 20 pounds in a year. He is down to two pills, sweats less, is never out of breath, looks a lot younger now at 59 than he did at 50... and mom confessed to me that he doesn't need the "blue pill" so often... (she sometimes talks too much!)

 

Anyways, if a 50yo did it, you DH can definitely do it, and maybe with even better results!!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 8:28pm
Thank you, Alison! Great job with your own weight loss. We don't use much salt at all. I even skip it in many recipes, but we will have to keep a closer eye on things like condiments and other hidden salt sources. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. :smileyhappy:

(I think we must have posted at the same time early today because I didn't see your post.)
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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 8:31pm
Thanks, Mari. How funny about the "blue pill." Your mom sounds hilarious! I love that your mom and dad go to the gym together.

After dinner tonight, all five of us went for a walk. Yay!
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 8:36pm
((((hugs)))) right there with you.... my DH is falling apart, he blames it on me making him go for a physical last year. He started taking fish oil to help w/ his cholesterol and Wednesday this week we're meeting with a dietitian to see what other improvements we can make. How is your DH w/ exercise? Mine was told to walk at elast 3 miles a day.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Fri, 08-17-2012 - 8:37pm
Oh that an excellent point smaller plates... as DH is keeping his food log for going to see the dietitian we're noticing just how BIG all of our portions are.
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