Skinny Daily Post


This is something I started writing yesterday, Christmas Day, but I had to put it away because I needed to help fix dinner. It’s just as worrisome today as it was yesterday.

We all know that obesity runs in families. The reasons for that are many, and range from habits through genetics in a variety of combinations. My family is evenly split. Some are very heavy and others are quite normal. Two of us have had the surgery, and we’re doing well.

However, I spent time with my brother over the past few days. We haven’t seen each other for about a year, and he now weighs close to 500 pounds. His every movement makes him breathless, and he has trouble climbing stairs. He falls asleep immediately while watching television, and has all the signs of sleep apnea. The edema in his leg is resulting in discoloration.

Blood sugar? I have no idea. We discussed weight loss surgery a couple of years ago, and his comment was that he didn’t want to stop eating. Fair enough.

His daughter took me aside and expressed her concern, and asked me to talk to him about his apnea. I did. His wife asked me as well, and I told her what I’d said. She said that he wouldn’t go to the doctor to have it evaluated.

He’s heading down the same path I was on, and there’s nothing I can do to stop him. It’s about his choices, and the way he wants to live his life.

It’s breaking my heart that he’s doing this. And that he didn’t learn a thing from my experience. Any ideas about what might make him wake up and make some changes? Will being unable to do anything he enjoys wake him up? Or will he have to go through a long hospitalization?

Believe me, I realize that I should have made my decision much earlier than I did, but I’d also like to think that if someone I knew had been down the same path I would have done something sooner. 20-20 hindsight, I know.

Surgery might not be the right choice for him, and that’s a decision that he needs to make [perhaps he’s already made it]. But he’s in trouble NOW.

So what’s running in my family besides obesity? Let’s add stubborness and denial. With a fair amount of fear.

6 thoughts on “Family Dynamics

  1. jonquil says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of this, Jane. I wish I had some magical thing you could say. But I’m not sure there is anything. In my family, there has been plenty of addictive behavior, from cigarettes to compulsive gambling to hard drugs. And not one thing I ever said made any difference. It’s as if some people are on a long, slow path to suicide.

    But if I had to do it over again, I’d stage some sort of shocking, drastic intervention. Even if I had to force the addict into rehab, or get that person thrown into jail. It might not work, in the long run, but at least I would know I did everything I could. Almost anything’s better than death.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Jane: In the absence of anything practical or useful to tell you, I extend only my heartfelt prayers. And while jonquil is right about this being like a death-wish fr your brother, I hope you don’t feel as if its your fault that he can’t see the light. God gave you the same eyes and ears — its up to him to figure out how to grap onto that lifeline. You can only throw it and hope …


  3. Anna says:

    It is totally ok, to let go of any fear that you have and completely trust that what you want will happen.
    It is like having faith in your own will and desires.

  4. Jeanne says:

    Jane, I’ve been using an online food diary ( that is currently featuring a story about a man who decided to change his life and lose weight. He was close to 600 pounds when he started. He’s lost almost 300 so far.

    Maybe your brother needs to hear from this guy, or at least read his story and see his pictures. SO many weight loss promos are aimed at women who are worried about beauty, or are about young men trying to be buff, and so many diets are about deprivation that your brother may be feeling totally alienated from the idea.

    Anyhow, this story is about a middle class middle aged guy, and it’s not a puff piece about the food diary. You can read Charle’s story without joining the service – – and if it seems helpful, print it out or email it to your brother; maybe it will give him a different way to look at his options!


  5. stretchy says:


    All you can do is ask your brother if he wants your advice. If he wants to hear you out. If he wants to listen…It is sad and deeply disturbing … but we cannot really get inside other people’s heads, and understand how they feel. We can only assume or guess or try to figure it out.
    But we are never really there.
    Please don’t feel that this is your journey–it is your brother’s journey…all you can do is offer assistance.
    Take care.

  6. Lucila says:

    Jane, I really understand what your brother is going through. I know it will sound funny to say that but I would recommend for him to talk to one of the dietitians at

    This is a new service that helps you control your food intake, exercise and specially blood sugars and blood pressure.

    But I have to say that what really impressed me besides the tools was talking to one of their dietians online in real-time.

    Tell him to look for Claudia. She helped me a lot. My blood usgars were totally out of control, I was anxious and eating much more than I ever should, and she helped me.

    Try it does not hurt. And they do not charge. And bein gon the internet is anonymous.

    I hope it helps.


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