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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 08:20 PM
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A program like Weight Watchers is a good way to learn about how to balance the food groups and portions correctly. WW can be done online (no meetings to attend).
Weight watchers worked for me meetings are good to keep you accountable, if you choose to go to those. But it also lets you eat what you want, so you don't feel deprived.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 09:39 PM
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If he is a meat and cheese guy then going vegan will be a *terrible* shock and I can't see it working long. I myself went vegetarian for financial reasons but after a few months was dreaming at night of steak and fried chicken, it was just hopeless.

My brother told me that the trouble with weight gain was weak arms. I was so perplexed, until he explained: You have to push yourself away from the table. If you didn't do that, you could have weight troubles. I had to laugh.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 09:46 PM
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My brother told me that the trouble with weight gain was weak arms. I was so perplexed, until he explained: You have to push yourself away from the table. If you didn't do that, you could have weight troubles. I had to laugh.
That is cute.

However, not quite accurate. Obesity, especially morbid obesity is about so much more than just 'willpower'. Simplifying it in that way is a disservice and compounds the very very low self esteem that so many morbidly obese feel.

If they were just good enough, strong enough, had enough will power then they'd be 'normal.' Productive help is way more effective than quips and jokes.


ETA: I do use MFP to track my foods. Not REALLY to count calories, but for the sodium so I knew be certain I was staying under the 1500 mg each day. It DOES help me see trends though since it also tracks my calories automatically. If my weight creeps up, I can go back and look at it and see what I was eating and find the issue. It also came in handy a few months back when my BP spiked high enough for me to head to the ER. They automatically ASSUMED I had been eating tons of salt, but I had my MFP log showing every bite. I did go over my sodium for 2 days straight but not enough to cause the spike I had. It had them doing more indepth search to find the issue instead of blaming my diet.

Last edited by MowMow; 09-28-2015 at 09:49 PM.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-28-2015, 11:41 PM
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The best way to shop for foods in the grocery store is to always stick to the perimeter of the store, the middle is where all the "junk foods"/aka processed foods are. I've used that trick for a number of years, it's always helped me to eat better. The less you wander around, the less temptations you have.

I only shop in the middle of the store to look for plain oatmeal (instant or steel cut), canned tuna/salmon, soups (boxed or canned), jarred tomatoes, and some condiments/sauces. Oh, and occasionally yogurts or ice cream. Not often though.

While I do like Asian food a lot, I also think they can be high in sodium and fatty (especially Chinese food). I also pack a lunch with snacks to work on a daily basis, used to do the bento thing (Japanese boxed lunch) but it's kind of challenging to prepare now that I've got a nosy, food sniffing, counter surfing cat and have another right under my feet ready to trip me with huge and innocent eyes staring up at me.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-29-2015, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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These are good responses for me to read. I needed to hear feedback like this and also to hear some tremendous success stories like MowMow's for example. Even at 110 and 5'2" my BMI was a little high last I checked. So the only one who has the final say about how we feel about our bodies is ourselves and I'm glad to hear that people are taking control and making conscious choices or developing sustainable practices for their health. It's wonderful.

Being with my husband has always felt like an alien encounter - different country cultural type- not the little green men kind. Because we grew up in houses with totally different philosophies of food. My parents were poor so we had rice, potatoes, beans, a small amount of pasta (rationed as it was pricey to us at the time) as starches then a plethora of vegetables and meat was...much much more rationed. Typically a 2 lb. chicken fryer would feed us for a week. My father took two boiled eggs to work every day for years. Occasionally we'd have meat loaf and once or twice a year we had a pizza. I didn't step foot into a fast food restaurant until I was 8 or 9. And my sister and I never saw a bag of chips unless it was our birthday - because the other kids would expect junk food, or at our friends' houses. We snacked on fruit and even garden fresh beans and tomatoes and we kinda loved it!

My husband's mother was Sephardic Jewish from Syria and the whole Syrian part of her family lived in the same little area of Brooklyn. Food had a bigger cultural meaning to them. In addition to celebration food was also used as a reward. Instead of a pat on the back you got a casserole. My husband's dad took him out every weekend to a fast food place so they could have one on one bonding time (his dad worked in transportation so he wasn't around for long stretches of the week). His mother would also let him decide what to eat and she'd give him money for it. He'd come back with Pizza or chinese food -the twice fried type dishes that are exceptionally bad for you.

For a brief period in his life from his late teens to his early 20's he stated changing his habits when was away from his parents and traveling, hiking and dabbling in mountain climbing. For these trips he had to take along food that kept so he rarely ate meat while hiking. He carried rice and bags of dried beans and would go into to town for vegetables. He was eating so well and getting a lot of exercise. Then he met me and decided he liked me enough to give up the travelling lifestyle. We got an apartment and the weight came back. There was no way he was going to get nearly the same level of exercise as an overnight desk clerk at a hotel. No amount of weekend hikes could equal hiking as a lifestyle. And his old taste buds wanted meat and fat and cheese and he was and is still much more emotional about food than I am. He eats when he's sad, tired, bored, happy, celebratory etc. I just eat when I'm hungry. He tells me a lot of the time that he eats so much because he feels like he deserves it. Which hurts me to hear because at his BMI he is still clinging onto that old food as a reward schema his parents passed down to him and now it could reward him with diabetes, cancer, or a night where he just doesn't wake up again.

In short my family taught me to look at food as a resource so I payed attention to nutritional quality and cost of food. I have a practical relationship to food. My husband learned that food was something he deserved, a consolation for a bad commute to work or a reward for a good day at work. All those are his feelings: deserving, consolation, reward. He was getting emotional needs met through food in a way that was alien to me.

It is very hard for him to see food and not eat and once he starts he eats with speed and mindlessness. He is a fast moving zombie. Frequently at dinner I will take my first portion and before I know it he's eaten the rest of the meal. When I remind him that I don't take all the food I could possibly eat I take a little and wait to see if I would like more of something. He just takes what he plans to eat- which is whatever I haven't put on my plate!

Since I've had to fight him on that I have tried rationing him. I'll prepare a meal so we can get two dinners out and a lunch or two out of it but later I'll see him eating the lunch as a snack or sometimes worse happens and he eats the other dinner I portioned out to feed the both of us for the next day.

It's been frustrating for a long time because at the heart of my issue is that I feel like a failure as a wife. It's my duty to keep my husband healthy. I've been failing him for years but I've had a lot of misinformation and bad habits that are pushing back at me from him.

Last year I was casually mentioning how obesity increases chances of getting a certain type of cancer and he was shocked and alarmed! He had NO idea that obesity and cancer could be related and that scared him!

It occurred to me that he did not have the same information I had about health and nutrition and how diet can either make or break your senior years for even people with average weight. He did not know for instance that after a certain weight you are put into a "high risk" category for surgery and will have trouble even finding a surgeon and anesthesiologist willing to work with you. He also was shocked to know that E.D. is the body's way of warning you that you have too much plaque in your arteries. It's an early warning system of heart disease caused most likely by being obese.

All these things I've been gradually trying teach him are finally paying off when he announced he wanted to do a whole foods diet low on animal protein- this he tells me today. Last night as he was heading up the stairs for bed he announced lets do it! Let's go vegan! I followed him up and asked if he was sure and he told me that he was and that today we'd go to the farm stand and start right away.

That is what panicked me and caused me to post this here. I never would have expected him to make such a declaration. I am now greatly relieved that he just wants to simplify meals by focusing on whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits. He want's to cut meat out of some meals and have a few vegan days in the week. I feel that most of you agree that that is some degree smarter than flipping a switch and never having meat or milk products again.

A few thoughts on the posts I'm grateful to have received:

Weight watchers- we tried it. But at the time we were doing our own cooking and rarely eating at burger king, subway, pizza hut etc. If we went out it was for Afghani food- which W.W. doesn't even include as a cuisine. Even the stuff we cooked at home like Moroccan tagines of lamb shanks and swiss chard was difficult to enter into their system. My husband did do well at first but he lapsed into consistently going over his points for the day telling himself he'd make up for it on the weekend but he never followed through.

i will look into My Fitness Pal, tomorrow as I'm getting off to bed soon

Thanks to everyone who is reading our story, I really do appreciate the responses. I feel I need support to give him the proper support so he can have the live he deserves, one where his body size won't hold back the athlete in him.
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-29-2015, 02:59 AM
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i
It's been frustrating for a long time because at the heart of my issue is that I feel like a failure as a wife. It's my duty to keep my husband healthy. I've been failing him for years ......
No... just....NO! His lifestyle is not your responsibility. He's a grown man and needs to take responsibility for his health. All you can do is educate him and lead by example, then pray he makes the healthy choices.

He learned to view foods in a specific way as a child, his parents used food as a reward and as comfort. That sucks but at some point he did become old enough to say no and change his lifestyle, good for him! Sorry but, working night shift sitting down is just an excuse. He's not at that desk 24 hours. Do they have a pool the employees can use? Can he ask to use it for an hour at the end of his shift? Do they have a fitness room? Most hotels do nowadays.

There is no reason he can't be more active during the week. Why not find some activity you both enjoy and make a weekly date... then add another day... then another. Even just a 30 minute walk would be a start. No special equipment, no hardcore working out, just low impact stroll to start the habit.

As for the auto pilot eating, that's nothing you can stop. If you've pointed it out (and if he's eating YOUR food for the next day and leaving you in the lurch, it should be pointed out. How inconsiderate!) then the ball is in his court and there is nothing you can do short of making just enough for ONE meal at a time.

I really do think this drastic change is going to blow up in his face and lead to some serious binge eating and feelings of failure, but maybe that's just me projecting my own crap onto him.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-29-2015, 04:53 PM
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Ok, having *some* vegetarian or vegan meals is quite different from "going vegan" in one day's time. Good luck with this journey, it'll be interesting. There is so much information and so many ideas and recipies online now, you can have a fine time trying new things.
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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I know you are right MowMow. Everything you said is exactly right! It's just sucks that leading by example hasn't worked for the most part. The only success I had was when he joined me in a yoga class for a few months. I am sure he'd be much heavier without me and perhaps not even living. He knows this too but he's dealing with an issue that I can't fully understand. I am sympathetic to it because when I'm stressed I play games or binge watch shows- he eats. The difference is that for me, watching reruns isn't fulfilling anything emotional it's just diversion. For him eating is emotional. It keeps his mind of off a stressor but it's also doing something else that I can't comprehend.

I guess I'll have to keep trying to drag him into gardening and walking locally with me. He still likes hiking but we only have one free day a week and he's usually doing side-work on that day so we only go a few times a season and it's nothing strenuous because he's not as fit as he used to be.

Tonight we had a nice healthy meal- a cornish hen and some curried ginger couscous with lentils, spinach and carrots. He of course liked the hen but he thought the couscous lacked flavor. One thing I noticed when I went vegetarian years ago is that taste buds change after giving up all the junk, especially once refined sugar and added sodium are cut! I started picking up on flavors in grains and vegetables that I'd never appreciated before. So hopefully if he can reduce the processed junk he gets in the city he will start to see that natural foods can taste even better.
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 08:47 AM
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Oh what a difficult situation. I relate to the cultural food issue. My husband is also from the Levant (Lebanon) and food is a huge part of the culture. When we were first together and I put down one plate of food for our evening meal he was shocked. At home his mom or sisters would have a variety of six or seven different dishes which you took some of each from but which always resulted in everyone eating more than needed. My mom in law has a very serious obesity problem. Its took a long time for him to get into the routine of set meals and then not snack afterwards. He did have a weight issue for some time as well. We chose to do several things. First we had no snacks in the house during the week and only one or two things, like either ice cream or chips or chocolate at the weekend. Instead of buying blocks of cheese we got packs of slices so there was a limit to what was available. We had lots of fruit to choose from. When he first went on a serious diet to lose about 45lbs we also used one of the food companys who produce your food for you. I will say this was not a cheap option but it was to help break the old habits. The good was he had to meet a dietician who could explain how to use food. He got to pick his food for each day form his menu so it felt his choice. Nothing was off limits just portioned. He got snacks as well as main meals and they were packed so they could be taken on the move to work etc. Quite often he would find it was more food than he needed in a day because it was all balanced. The results for the 3 months we used this were excellent and he was then able to mirror this on his own. Excercise wise we tried lots of things until he found he liked cycling so we did this and then when he was fitter and slimmer he moved onto a tread mill and began power walking, then running.
Today he is not just slimmer but toned and very healthy and he feels happier. I am very proud of him and glad we chose that route.
I would also suggest that your husband would benefit from meeting a counsellor or professional as that emotional attachment to food is so strong and he needs help to overcome that as it is a difficult bond to break. This is as likely to pull him back to the old ways as a smoker to cigarettes or a drinker to alcohol.
I so wish you both well in getting him healthy
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 10:44 PM
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He eats when he's sad, tired, bored, happy, celebratory etc. I just eat when I'm hungry. He tells me a lot of the time that he eats so much because he feels like he deserves it. Which hurts me to hear because at his BMI he is still clinging onto that old food as a reward schema his parents passed down to him and now it could reward him with diabetes, cancer, or a night where he just doesn't wake up again.
There are still ways to twist this from the super unhealthy habits he has, to less problematic ones, without cutting him off cold turkey. Habits are HARD to change, having a middle step is heading in the right direction.

As an example. I'm working on my own diet and health - I've tried this multiple times and THIS time I'm succeeding. because I applied the way I would work with animals to myself, oddly enough.

I KNEW that if I went cold turkey on all the things I loved it would never happen. I also know that, despite being aware of it, my brain refuses to stay on a 'diet' simply because diets are restrictive and then I'd always be 'deserving' a break.

So, step 1 was to call what I was doing something else. I know this sounds silly, but words and connotations have such powerful meaning and it has honestly helped me a LOT. Since the word 'diet' makes me roll my eyes and think of yo-yoing, I decided I was just improving my overall health. Which is true. It took about a week of me correcting myself every time I thought "I can't have that, I'm dieting." to switch it to "I can have a little bit of that later, if I'm still hungry, so I can improve my health."

Step 2 was to allow myself regular treats at a reasonable size. Again, this sounds counter productive, but I made myself lunch every day and included a little dessert. A big salad, a little 'main', and a little treat. I always eat them in that order to, and I eat the treat while I'm relaxing at the end of my break. It turns out, I only actually eat the treat three times a week. Previously, I'd been 'having a treat' 2-3 times per day, simply because it wasn't planned. HUGE change, and then I always had something to look forward to at the end of my break.

Step 3 was a little bit more exercise. I HATE exercise. Like, a lot. So, from past experience, I knew that if I bought a gym membership, or committed to going to aqua size, or whatever...it just wouldn't happen. So I decided I'd do a little bit of exercise every day right before bed. (*disclaimer* some people find exercise energizes them...this is not the case for me. If you feel alert and awake after exercise go ahead and do it first thing. I need to sleep after doing anything active because my body is dumb. lol)

I also took on more dog walking clients. I'm definitely going to do it if I'm getting paid to exercise, and I like dogs. So, bonus.

The biggest change for me was changing my idea of 'reward' from a whole chocolate bar, or a big dinner, or w/e into a small square of dark chocolate to savor, or a piece of very sweet fruit. That way I still get my reward, but it's not detrimental.

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Originally Posted by Marmoset View Post
Since I've had to fight him on that I have tried rationing him.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmoset View Post
It's been frustrating for a long time because at the heart of my issue is that I feel like a failure as a wife. It's my duty to keep my husband healthy. I've been failing him for years but I've had a lot of misinformation and bad habits that are pushing back at me from him.
Krissy definitely addressed this, but I'm agreeing and adding.

Your husband is a grown man. He is choosing to act in a way that is causing him long term harm. You are not shoving food at him, or buying only unhealthy garbage, you are not telling him to eat out all his lunches.

I struggle with this too, my SO is T1 diabetic. I have to constantly reassure myself that he is an adult and makes his own choices. I remind myself how I'd feel if he tried to 'mother' me (not good... lots of anger. lol), and I remind myself that we have an open and honest relationship.

That has sometimes meant me noticing a trend in his behavior, sitting him down and saying "I love you. I want to keep you around forever. That means I need to you care for yourself in a healthy way. I am not your mother, and I refuse to act that way. I would love to support you in improving your health, let me know how I can help." I've also driven him to Dr appointments and blood tests, to make it easier and more convenient for him to do those things. (He doesn't drive, and diabetic blood tests have to be done while fasting...bike riding and fasting do NOT go together for T1 people.)

Sometimes, it has also meant me changing MY habits. We do one big grocery shop per month, then I visit the store about once a week to get things we've run out of (mostly pet food...silly guinea pigs and their salad needs). I had been buying extra treats and junk food, chips, pop, etc. I stopped doing that and, not only did our food budget go down, we both started eating less of them. If I only bring home one 'treat' for us to share - like a single dark chocolate bar for us to share for a week - then that's all we've got.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmoset View Post
It occurred to me that he did not have the same information I had about health and nutrition and how diet can either make or break your senior years for even people with average weight. He did not know for instance that after a certain weight you are put into a "high risk" category for surgery and will have trouble even finding a surgeon and anesthesiologist willing to work with you. He also was shocked to know that E.D. is the body's way of warning you that you have too much plaque in your arteries. It's an early warning system of heart disease caused most likely by being obese.
I'd highly suggest getting him to see a dietician - by himself. If you're there then there may be a certain amount of "Well my wife knows, she can handle it" going on...make it clear that he's responsible for his own health. He is the one who will ultimately be held accountable, but he's an adult and needs to be aware that he's making poor choices - he won't know that unless a professional really lays out the facts for him.

I've also experienced that there can be a real difference between hearing something from a professional vs from a loved one. Loved ones can be brushed off as 'exaggerating' or having another motive. professionals do that work for a living and, for some reason, people tend to take bad news or lessons a bit better from that direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmoset View Post
Thanks to everyone who is reading our story, I really do appreciate the responses. I feel I need support to give him the proper support so he can have the live he deserves, one where his body size won't hold back the athlete in him.
You do need to support him, but you also need to step back. Taking all the stress onto yourself isn't healthy (Been there...trust me), and it won't encourage him to make the changes that he needs to make. Be supportive, but you can do that without doing ALL the work.

Ex:
-have him help out with cooking (!!!)
-have him come shopping with you and pick out 'lunch' foods he'll eat
-get him to dish out his portion size, then measure out what 'suggested' servings look like and compare them

Quote:
Originally Posted by MowMow View Post
As for the auto pilot eating, that's nothing you can stop. If you've pointed it out (and if he's eating YOUR food for the next day and leaving you in the lurch, it should be pointed out. How inconsiderate!) then the ball is in his court and there is nothing you can do short of making just enough for ONE meal at a time.
THIS. When I cook I always make enough for us to both eat, and a little bit for my lunch the next day. If my SO had been eating my lunches I'd be very, very angry. Because I wouldn't know until it was time for me to leave, and that would mean buying lunch - which is too expensive for me to be doing regularly.

When you're filling the containers (better yet, have HIM help with that) TELL him what the food is for. If you fill the container and say "This is dinner tomorrow." Then if he eats it he better have a plan for dinner tomorrow that is tasty, healthy, and NOT take out. (IMO.)

Quote:
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I really do think this drastic change is going to blow up in his face and lead to some serious binge eating and feelings of failure, but maybe that's just me projecting my own crap onto him.
Agree. Small steps are the way. Sure, some people can/need to do drastic changes, but the vast majority of people will go back to their usual habits if the change is too much at once.
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