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Eating himself to death!

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  • Eating himself to death!

    My husband is a 64 yo T4 para incomplete. He is 4 1/2 yrs post injury. I am concerned that he is going to eat himself to death. He gets on a kick with things and lately it is almost a bag of caramels a day. There will come a time when his arms aren't long enough to get his butt on to the transfer board, etc. I have given him all the info about weight gain, diabetes risk, and how difficult this will be on me as his caretaker. He just shrugs it off. He comes into the store with me and puts junk in the cart. I've argued about it and lately feel like just giving up. I've offered fruit or healthy snacks to no avail. He drives himself to town and buys junk food.

    I get so angry that he won't care about himself and then wonder why should I. I'm not sure there is an answer but needed to vent!

  • #2
    Some people over-eat when they are depressed or have body image issues, which only makes the latter worse. Does he recognize that he needs to loose weight at all? Is he exercising? Has his physician counseled him about his weight and diabetes and heart disease risks? Is he getting counseling or other treatment for depression?

    Only he can decide if he wants to make an effort to control his weight and bad eating habits. You cannot and should not control that, but you also should not enable him by purchasing this stuff. Go grocery shopping without him, and if he wants to have junk food he should have to shop for it on his own. Tell him you are not going to help him passively kill himself, nor do manual transfers or care activities that he has become too heavy to do himself.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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    • #3
      You came to the right place. Your husband had an injury late in life in compairson to most folks, it sounds to me like depression. Do you have access for any kind of therapy. Healthy eating is very important to anyone with a SPI. Best of luck!

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      • #4
        Weight

        I too was injured at age 64. For me food is a comfort thing. I limit sweets and concentrate on fruits to satisfy sweet urges.

        However, I must say I am tempted to get a bag of fries and milkshake from time to time. Generally I do not succumb to that temptation.

        Eight years post and I have gained about 12 pounds. I can feel the extra weight in transfers and other tasks.

        It's a fight to eat correctly for me, and I suppose the same for your husband. He has to be the one that makes the weight loss, healthy eating decisions.

        As others have said, do not buy him junk food. By doing that he believes you're gving him permission to eat the crap.
        You C.A.N.
        Conquer Adversity Now

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        • #5
          Only he can decide if he wants to make an effort to control his weight and bad eating habits. You cannot and should not control that, but you also should not enable him by purchasing this stuff. Go grocery shopping without him, and if he wants to have junk food he should have to shop for it on his own. Tell him you are not going to help him passively kill himself, nor do manual transfers or care activities that he has become too heavy to do himself.
          Agree with KLD on these things you should do. Be sure also to provide positive feedback when he does choose something healthy instead.

          What you should not do is repeat yourself about this over and over. Tell him once that you cannot and will not be a party to this detrimental behavior and that you will not buy treats, help him with things his weight makes difficult, etc., and then stick to it. Bringing it up repeatedly makes many people tune out the message altogether, and it causes some to increase the bad behavior to prove that they're in charge of their own life. Repeatedly pointing out how poor his food choices are may even add to any depression going on -- it can make someone feel like even more of a failure because they lack the self-discipline needed to resist the cravings.
          It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.

          ~Julius Caesar

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          • #6
            This is a serious problem, Im glad you have raised the issue here and with your husband.

            If he overeats, it must be among other things because he has no other source of pleasure or comfort, and is probably depressed. Getting an assessment of whether he is depressed, and maybe some medication for it can be a good thing. After a SCI, self esteem tends to take a nose dive. Maybe he feels there is no point in taking care of himself anymore. Boredom may also play a role. If he is busy working, volunteering or exercising there is less time to eat sweets!

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            • #7
              Bill was 50 years young when he got hurt and its been almost 11 years now ........ the food itself is almost never the issue .. even when you "don't " have an appetite which is our case I'm afraid .... in Bill's case he needs to gain some weight ... life's crazy isn't it CW .....but I chalk it up to depression as well . Of course the meds may be partially to blame ..... that's why he needs to talk to a doc he trusts. I believe your hubby is probably depressed too ..... talk and drugs are the only real answer .... it's hard not to be an enabler but resist if you can ..... just come here and lay it all on us instead ......

              Obieone
              ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi


              " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
              Jane Siberry

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              • #8
                comfort food

                he needs to replace one crutch with another.
                since CURE is not out there , there's little else to look forward to.

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                • #9
                  He's heading to diabetes attack for sure, if not already. Sugar is addictive and it kills. Only he can make the change, i'm 59 surgery mistake put me chair 2 yrs ago, did gain wt. but have taken some off. By quiting the sugar and portion control. It's not nearly as fun, but with weight loss comes more mobility, and that initself is by far the "weigh" to go. Good luck, it'll hurt you in the long run/.

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                  • #10
                    I want to thank all of you for your observations and suggestions. I feel more empowered and supported in trying to make changes on my part. I asked my husband to read this thread and he started to and then said" you wrote this?". I said "yes, I was pretty upset. Please read all of it." He did and got quiet. We were going to have a discussion and then he got a call from the nursing home his mother is in, and she is probably a few days from death. Not unexpected but still not want you want to hear and on Christmas. Now our discussion is on final arrangements for her and helping him process all this.

                    We will revisit this in time, but not for a while.

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                    • #11
                      I think I don't eat enough for I have a high metabolism.

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