Monday, April 18, 2011
Monday Q & A
Q: How do you get your parents to learn the importance of good diet and exercise habits when they have been living the way the do (unhealthy) for so long? I have to hear about my parents illnesses, aches, pains & all the medications they are on, and yet I can't seem to get them to change their ways. Thanks in advance.
A: So many of us deal with this issue every single day. We have changed our habits and lifestyle for the better and have left our family and friends in the dust. Yet when we try to tell them that life is better over here in healthy land, they want nothing to do with this way of life.
First we need to realize, they were most likely raised with a lot of the habits they have carried with them into adulthood. Not to mention western culture is all about the faster the better, misleading people with food labels & advertising, and even our doctors have very little nutrition training if any. With this in mind, the best way to approach someone is from a place of love and as gently as possible with much compassion and understanding, all the while letting them know you really do care about their health. Find out what is it in particular bothering that person. Is it their diabetes medications and all the side effects? Is it their weight and the limitations it puts on their lives? Is it the fact that they miss playing sports or running around with their kids? Use that to figure out how you can help them. For example if a loved one is tired of being on blood pressure medications and they so desperately want to get off of them, tell them you can help them. You will be there for them, you will walk with them, help them figure out meals and you will get to that goal together. Print out literature, information and studies, give them hope, hire help for them. It's a long road and it may be frustrating at times but you may be able to help them. If you feel they just don't want the help then it may be best to back off and let them have space, but you can set boundaries by telling them you don't want to hear them complain about things that can be changed. You don't need the negativity in your life and you will be there for them when they are ready to make healthy changes in their life.
I hope this helps you, I know this can be a touchy subject and I face this in my own life with people close to me. For me I took these steps above: offering help then setting boundaries. I can't help anyone that isn't willing to receive the help and work for the change.