Health & Wellness

How to get stubborn, proud, old man to change his eating habits

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 17th, 2019 7:51 pm
Newbie
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Aug 28, 2018
18 posts
3 upvotes
Newmarket
We don't like to change our habits. For old people, it's even harder.
But, I understand your situation because I went through the same. I think you should start by making some subtle changes in his diet. Like some simple changes in recipes.

If it's not working, then I would recommend trying some kind of therapy.
For my mom, we consulted a nearby psychologist and did CBT.
I think cognitive behaviour therapy is really good in such cases. And from what I know there are many other treatments that work.
But if you can change him with love and care that would be great.
Deal Guru
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Aug 20, 2012
11430 posts
1481 upvotes
Pacific Ocean
190/100 bp??? He better be on hbp meds.
If the glove don't fit you must acquit! #WINNING
Deal Expert
Dec 4, 2010
16716 posts
1527 upvotes
Space for rent
This isn't what you want to hear burn I feel it needs to be said anyway. Have you considered the quality of life vs quantity of life at this stage is very negligible?

For instance my dad is 87 and has a lot of joint pains. He takes about 4-6 Tylenol for his pain but too much could cause liver problems. He is in a lot of pain when he doesn't take it so at this late hour of his life I figured it's better to have him enjoy what time he has left instead of having him suffer in agony. I let him eat what he wants and get my best to keep it sensible but again I'm not going to keep him on a nice diet just to try and eek out a few more years while he's miserable.

Same philosophy should be applied to our lives as well. You never know if you'll drop dead tomorrow.
Sr. Member
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Jun 14, 2017
507 posts
389 upvotes
Honestly, He's 83 and there's nothing much that you can do. I mean, if I was 83, I would want to enjoy the last few years of my life enjoying what I want to enjoy and if it's food then so be it. Imma die full and satisfied. It is actually rare to hear that an 80+ year old senior have such appetite as it's generally the other way around. Seriously, if digestion is not an issue then I'd let him eat. As you said before he's already controlling the sodium and carbs intake so I would let him be.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 24, 2011
55 posts
11 upvotes
Burlington
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. It's been about 3 months since my original post and I'd like to report good news.

My mom and I have implemented new processes in our family to manage my dad's eating habits and he has responded well to them. We use a blend of positive encouragement and harsh argumentative discussion with him to change him. In hte first month, I used a brute force method to control his eating, like limiting the amount of food in the fridge and asking my mom to prepare smaller portion sizes. My dad kept complaining about how he didn't have enough food, and criticized us for being oppressive.

We responded by distracting him with other activities. For example, I showed him how to use the iPad and I installed facebook so that he can speak with other family members in other countries, chess becaues that was his favourite game as a child, and google earth so that he can explore all the places he visited in his life time. We have more friends over to keep him company. These distractions made him forget about his food cravings.

We also posed him some exercise challenges like, "Hey Dad, I bet you can't do 20 reps with these dumb bells. If you can achieve this goal by week 5, you're going to be better than 90% of the people i know who are my age." When my dad thinks he can achieve something, he'll be too proud to back down from a challenge. We also show him youtube video clips of 80 year old grandmas doing gymnastics to show him what's possible.

As of today, his weight hasn't changed much. But at least he's eating a lot less because of all the distractions we've given him. When we ask him to compare his food portion sizes today compared to 2 months ago, he doesn't argue back. In other words, he accepts that my mom and I were right, but he's too proud to admit it outloud to us. And sometimes when we give him too much food on purpose, he'll even turn it down saying he doesn't need that much.

So all I need him to do now is stop smoking cigarettes. He still smokes 1 cigarette a day....If we can get him down to half a cigarrett a day, that will be amazing. Time to develop an action plan for that...
Deal Addict
Jul 23, 2007
3591 posts
1412 upvotes
Personally, I don't see why your dad has to go hungry just to lose weight. You mentioned in an earlier post that you've put him on a low carb diet. Well if it were carbs that was the problem, then people on high carb, low fat diets, should be gaining weight, but they don't. If they stick with a high fibre diet, they start to lose weight. Not only that, but they can eat as much as they want as long as they stick to foods low in calorie density.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 24, 2011
55 posts
11 upvotes
Burlington
Stryker wrote:
Jan 12th, 2019 7:12 pm
Personally, I don't see why your dad has to go hungry just to lose weight. You mentioned in an earlier post that you've put him on a low carb diet. Well if it were carbs that was the problem, then people on high carb, low fat diets, should be gaining weight, but they don't. If they stick with a high fibre diet, they start to lose weight. Not only that, but they can eat as much as they want as long as they stick to foods low in calorie density.
He doesn't seem hungry or say he's hungry

He now eats smaller portions of oatmeal, brown rice, steam fish, steam chicken, steam pork, steam vegetables and water. So he's eating the same stuff but he has reduced the portion sizes by about 30% compared to a few months ago and haven't complained about hunger because he has more interesting things to do now instead of just eating.
Deal Addict
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Aug 15, 2015
1260 posts
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Markham, ON
Your dad sounds very healthy. He must be enjoying all the attention you and his wife is providing over his eating habits. Good for him.
Member
Nov 16, 2013
344 posts
37 upvotes
Mississauga
Catnippy wrote:
Oct 22nd, 2018 6:20 pm
It's a fine balance between love and control. When one gets to a certain age, and there's nothing else to enjoy except a good meal, then you either replace all food items with healthy low-calorie items to help them live longer, or you let them eat what they want and be happy. I used to control my Dad's food (low salt and low cholesterol) but then he got sick from other things and passed away, but spent his last 5 years being unhappy about his meals - so I regret not letting him indulge his tastes.
Please do not be hard on yourself.

You did what was the right thing to do. Their is nothing more important than having our loved one next to us and talk to us, smile. I am sure he was not unhappy all 5 years. Their must be great days and laughter with him.

Imagine a scenario where he would have passed away much earlier due to lack of control on diet. That would be much bigger regret.

So you did right.

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