Too fat to move

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Alva Carpenter | [email protected]

Published — Friday 7 August 2009

Last Update 7 August 2009 3:00 am

I received a letter recently from a daughter who was really worried about her mother who can hardly move around due to extreme weight gain. The mother spends most of her time in bed or in a chair and never leaves the house and can only get to the bathroom by using crutches.

This is a very difficult situation for both the mother and the family and they do need specialized help as the situation is clearly out of control. The problem with extreme weight gain is that the more weight you pile on, the more the odds are stacked against you. It is so hard to move around that you burn very few calories just sitting around all day. Being stuck at home and not being able to move very much can cause depression and lethargy, which may cause the person to eat more for comfort. In such cases there is always an enabler who is feeding the obese person — it may be a member of the family or household staff. The sad fact is although they may think they are being kind they are in fact feeding this person to death. The best course of action in such cases is for the person to agree to going into hospital under the supervision of a doctor who can monitor the diet and arrange for physiotherapy.

If you have a family member or close friend whose weight is affecting their mobility try to get them to seek medical help as they will find it very difficult to get back to a sensible weight without a lot of support and family love. Some people feel that gastric surgery is the only answer but this will only work long term if the person is prepared to change their eating routines.

Some tips for family and individuals:

• Begin some form of exercise to keep limbs mobile.

• Send for my bed exercises by e-mailing to [email protected]. These are exercises that can be done whilst in bed and are the first step toward becoming fitter.

• Decide with your doctor or dietician upon a sensible meal plan cutting down gradually with healthy snacks.

• Plan a hobby that the person can do to keep their mind off food, for example painting or sewing.

• Help them to go out of the house even if it is only for car trips.

• Encourage them to talk about their feelings and really listen to them.

• Try to avoid being blackmailed into supporting the overeating habit.

Once you can work out why they are overeating then you can help them change their habits. No one can eat his or her problems away — overeating only gives you more problems to deal with.

Ask Alva

I’m always reading your column and find it very interesting and helpful. Is it healthy to go outside in the afternoon 5 p.m. for jogging in a very warm and humid temperature? Can you please give me some advice since I still want to jog in the afternoon for this is the convenient time available for me? P.S. I’m trying to lose weight, feeling heavy everyday.— MM

Jogging is a very good way to get fit quickly and it has many benefits as it helps you lose weight and is a great way to tone up thighs and reduce cellulite. It is difficult to exercise outside in the Gulf during the summer months, as it can be very hot and humid. You could always use a running machine at a gym or invest in an exercise bike for your home. It is very important for everyone during the hot summer months to get some exercise otherwise you may start to feel tired. If you are doing an office job you need to get at least half an hour of exercise every day. If you e-mail me at [email protected] I will send you a copy of my mini morning work out that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Try to do exercise every morning so that you start your day with a spring in your step. You will still need to exercise for 20 minutes in the evening and if you cannot go to the gym you could swim or buy a skipping rope that you could use in your own home.— Alva

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