What do you do when someone you love is in the grips of an overeating addiction and refuses to do anything to improve his lifestyle?
Is there anything you can do?
I recently spent time with a friend I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic. Over that period, he had ballooned from being morbidly obese to even more frighteningly so, now weighing twice as much as he should.
Simply put, my friend overeats horribly and doesn’t exercise, and he’s lived this way for decades.
Now in his mid-50s, he doesn’t try to change or seem interested in the idea. He’s educated and well aware of the danger he’s in.
Still, at lunch, he greeted me by joking, “Hey, so we’re old now. Do we complain about how much pain we’re in every morning?”
I told him I felt fine each day, and then I had to stop myself from adding, “Because I eat well and exercise.”
My friend hasn’t asked for help or shared that he’s tried to change on his own. In that way and others, he reminds me of any addict in the throes of addiction: unwilling even to try to stop. Defiant.
I brought up the idea of Overeaters Anonymous and said I’d attend the first meeting with him.
I told him how I have seen fitness and dieting help countless people reclaim their health.
I told him there was always time, and it “is” to improve his lifestyle and turn things around.
And all that is true.
People can change.
There is help.
But they have to want it.
So, where does that leave the rest of us who can only watch? I don’t have any answers, and my friend’s challenges are too complex for me to pretend to solve.
I am writing this because you may have the insight I lack. As fitness and health professionals, we see things like this daily. What’s your strategy when loved ones refuse to help themselves live a better life?
I’d genuinely like to know your thoughts. Reply to this email or blog post if you want.
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