My Mom Losing Her Mobility Because of Her Weight

#1
My mom has gained so much weight over the last few years that she's having a really hard time getting around. She's a really great mom, so I don't want to make it sound like she's not as good of a mom just because of the weight. But Because of her weight right now my sister has to do more and more things for her.

My mom is 44 years old, 5'4" and more than 550 pounds at this point. She started to gain weight about 10 years ago (she used to be 165lbs) when my dad died in a really terrible car accident. She was already getting pretty big (375-400lbs?) when I left for college 3 years ago, but I feel like her weight has gotten so out of control since then. Left alone with my little sister, my gorgeous mom is heavier and heavier and heavier every time I come home.

When I'm home I see all this crap that she is busy eating, and she claims that its just because I'm back. Before I left she used to eat a lot, but now its just crazy. This last time I was home my sister hinted that she actually "tones it down" for when I'm around "because I give her such a hard time about her weight." I can't imagine the crap she's ingesting while I'm away!!!

The thing is that she's so big right now that she can't fit behind the wheel of the car, so my sister has to drive her everywhere. I tell my sister not to go pick up food for her all the time, and she mostly denies it, but I know that she's probably too embarrassed to tell the truth. My sister has to help her with countless "other things" around the house too, since my mom is having such a hard time standing, getting up, etc.

I've tried everything with her, but she has somehow found away to diffuse every suggestion I make. Ugh.

She can barely make it from one room to the other without getting super out of breath and needing to rest for a while before making it to the next one. She hasn't been up the stairs in who knows how long. She's not disabled, just that between being out of shape and her weight being so high right now, she can't do most things. My sister is talking about trying to get her one of those mobility scooters so that she can get around despite the state she's in.

I know this is probably selfish of me, but I have such mixed feelings now about my college graduation at the end of the year. I know that part of the reason she hasn't come out to visit me yet is because it's getting harder to get her on a plane. She says she'll come out for my graduation--apparently planning on buying a row seats and renting a scooter to make it around campus--but I'm not entirely sure she will brave the embarrassment. And quite frankly, there is part of me (shallow, I know) that is scared of showing off my 600lb mother in a scooter to all my friends on my big day. On the other hand, I'd be heartbroken if my mom never made it to my college graduation because she got too fat to come.

What can a girl in my position do? What should I do? What the heck is going on? Or am I being selfish here?

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#2
The struggle is real! Your mom's weight sounds about like mine while I'm taller my size is getting to where I can't fit in most cars. When I went car shopping I had to find one that would fit me and not what I truly wanted. You are thinking that your mom hasn't come to see you because of her size but also consider she probably don't like people seeing how big she is now. I do not want anyone who new me to see me like I am currently so I try to avoid everyone. You are in a tuff spot because your mom is probably depressed about it. She needs to really decide to loose weight on her own. You can sit down and talk with her about it but if she is not ready I'm afraid it may not work.

I gained most of my weight when I decided to take online college courses and stopped working. I gained about 200lbs in just a few years.
 
#3
I know for you it is probably hard to understand how someone could get to her size but it sneaks up on you really fast and you keep saying "tomorrow I'll start loosing weight". The next thing you know your body can't do the exercises that you need to do or use to do. Even walking gets hard.
 
#4
Oh hon, you aren't being selfish at all. I watched my dad, from a young age, slather butter and other high-calorie crap on his food constantly. Chocolate bars and pop were sneaky indulgences for him as well as sugary fake cappuccinos etc...in turn, it led me to very disordered eating and not eating most of the time to never be like that. I wasn't going to gain weight and follow his eating habits. I wasn't going to have high cholesterol or be on a plethora of medication.

10 years later - 10 LONG years later - he got his act together on HIS terms. He started eating better, realizing that a lot of the foods that he ate were unhealthy and the foods he 'didn't like' he actually did like. I was embarrassed of my father too - I know that's horrible to say but it was hard to handle as a dumb kid.

It turns out Dad had severe depression that almost took his life, he also had sleep apnea and colitis - he was in constant pain and the food part of things numbed the pain and made it worse at the same time.

I've watched my dad killing himself slowly with food. You can tell her your fears, offer to take her to the doctor or a nutritionist or offer to commit to eating healthy with her but until SHE decides to take the first step, until she realizes she has a problem and WANTS to do something about it, there is nothing you can do.

My guess is she knows she's not healthy right now - she knows she's losing her movement and she's probably embarrassed. She probably feels very defeated and tired - but until she decides to take control of the situation, you can only be there for her and love her. You can keep letting her know (within reason) when she's ready for a change, you'll be there. You'll be her biggest supporter - but she is an adult with her own choices to make.

What you can do is look inwardly - address that you feel embarrassed and make a commitment to show unwavering love. Your mother may feel very alone but she will not feel unloved because will be there. Make a commitment to understand more about how additional weight feels and the hormonal imbalances it can create as well as joint problems or just pain - if you can borrow a weighted vest and work out at the gym, it can help but so can nutritionists or speaking with a doctor/therapist if you can. Even going to an overeaters anonymous group can help understand the mindsets even more.

Things like speaking up when someone says a fat joke or body shames can be huge. Society will speak out against racism, sexism, making fun of people with disabilities - but fat shaming? Fair game. No, being morbidly obese isn't healthy - but no one deserves to have jokes made about them because of their size, right?

She will either heal herself or she won't - but you can decide how you're going to treat her. She's your mom and as a great mom, she deserves your love and respect - I'm not saying it will be easy. It's really not and I will be the first to admit, I wasn't very supportive towards my father. There were a lot of underlying issues with our relationship that took even longer to heal but we got there. It's not easy - but keep trying to be supportive without enabling her.

Good luck and if you ever need to talk, I'm here. Take care.
 
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