3

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Diabetes and tempting my grandma into becoming a cavewoman!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 10, 2012 at 6:45 AM

So my grandma has been to the doctors and told she has to lose 20kg or she's got a huge serving of early death on her way. She suffers type 2 diabetes and I want to help her by turning her primal. I need advice from people with Diabetes or those who know others as to what I should tell her to do, and any ideas about supplements to help with the insulin resistance? Thank you!

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 11, 2012
at 08:24 PM

yeah it's hard with those folk ... they grew up in the era before mass-produced food and know how good it is for you but won't let go of their bread and pasta!

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 11, 2012
at 08:23 PM

hahaha soon we'll be calling her Velma!

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on April 10, 2012
at 11:56 PM

Good luck, at her age she may be very stubborn to change her diet. I do think the idea of a cave grandma is hilarious though.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:54 AM

Yeah I definitely agree it has to be a step-by-step kind of thing because she isn't going to change her ways now after 72 years of living...I just want her to see that she could get back the zest in life she used to have and that eating paleo could fix so many of her ailments plus increase her longevity

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:53 AM

She is avergaing 110kg and loves food. She loves making huge big feasts of all kinds of food (thanks to an Italian boyfriend she had for many years). She used to be quite fit and a big traveller but lately lives a lot more sedentary, which I think is because of her weight gain and that her body doesn't cope so well. I don't want to tell her to go Primal. She'd rip my head off as she thinks diets are all a big fad. She said she understands the doctor said to cut back on food and to exercise more but she thinks that in her age there isn't a point restricting all the yummy things in life!

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on April 10, 2012
at 08:12 AM

The trouble with that approach is that primal and paleo arelikely to completely opposite to what she has been told by her doctor. Some explanation is necessary. Perhaps on the lines of, "This is what I do and I have lost some weight and I'm very healthy". Then answer questions if she seems interested.

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5 Answers

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3
78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

on April 10, 2012
at 07:19 AM

My mom tried to encourage me to lose weight by telling me what to eat, shoving me out the door to run in high school..and then in college, started asking me to let her know in detail what I ate at the dining halls, forcing me to get on the scale and taking to the tape measure and asking if I was pregnant because I she couldn't believe how fat I looked. It was humiliating and I spent a lot time resenting her for it. I already KNEW that I had gained weight in college...I already KNEW how to eat healthy. And then later on, it was the opposite problem and she kept telling me how to eat, what and how to eat and telling me that I was going to die and that I looked gross. I didn't need someone policing me. In the end, I just got angry. What I've found helpful is support and non-judgement...no food police. I just ended up feeling too embarrassed to ever eat in front of people.

I know you are worried about her, and you have every right to be. Her health is at risk. She is overweight. She has diabetes. I would suggest focusing on health, first and foremost. The weight loss will come later and shouldn't be the main topic talked about.

I don't think everyone will agree with me, but I think the best way is to encourage her, rather than try to "turn her primal". I don't know enough about her and her history, so some background would help, too. Where is she on the scale of how much she wants to change? Where is she in acknowledging there is a problem? I think tailoring your approach to meet her at her start point is important. Is her problem unwillingness to change? Denial? Misguided knowledge on healthy living? All these variables should be taken into play.

The following suggestion is based on someone very resistant to change...I'm not sure if your grandma falls in this category.

I'm not sure what her lifestyle is like, but often, people who are overweight already know that they are unhealthy. Sometimes, they might have an unhealthy relationship with food. It's often embarrassing, and it isn't helpful when people tell you something you already know. It feels shameful and if you come on too strongly, she might not accept your help.

If she talked to you recently about going to the doctor, maybe you can let her know that you know that she has a lot on her plate to deal with. Maybe you can say something like, "I know you were just at the doctor's...and got some bad news. You're probably stressed. What if you come over to my place and I'll cook dinner? I've been working on healthy eating and it's not easy, but we can do this together. I promise it will taste good." Or one day call her up and ask her if she would like anything from the farmer's market that you'll be going to. I'm not sure what others would suggest, but I'd keep the whole paleo culture out of it at first and then introduce it later. Just focus on health and natural foods rather than, "so there's this new way of eating and it has to do with our ancestors and so and so says this about leptin and there is this debate about sweet potatoes, wheat is poison because you see, back in the day...and and and..." You get the point.

Maybe you can introduce her to a few blog entries with recipes that she can try at home. Maybe send her some new recipes and rave about how delicious it is and how it also happens to make you feel good and healthy. On a nice day, if you guys eat together, ask her if she wants to visit the local park for a walk because you hear X flowers are starting to bloom. Make these eating and physical activities feel more like it's NATURAL rather than forced and prescribed. Help her discover how nurturing natural foods and physical activity can be with guidance, rather than force/lecturing. I think that's how you get long-term adherence to a new lifestyle.

Less "telling her what to do" and more "showing/support".

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:53 AM

She is avergaing 110kg and loves food. She loves making huge big feasts of all kinds of food (thanks to an Italian boyfriend she had for many years). She used to be quite fit and a big traveller but lately lives a lot more sedentary, which I think is because of her weight gain and that her body doesn't cope so well. I don't want to tell her to go Primal. She'd rip my head off as she thinks diets are all a big fad. She said she understands the doctor said to cut back on food and to exercise more but she thinks that in her age there isn't a point restricting all the yummy things in life!

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on April 10, 2012
at 08:12 AM

The trouble with that approach is that primal and paleo arelikely to completely opposite to what she has been told by her doctor. Some explanation is necessary. Perhaps on the lines of, "This is what I do and I have lost some weight and I'm very healthy". Then answer questions if she seems interested.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:56 AM

The big stumbling block for some folks going paleo is framing it as overly restrictive. No grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, gotta be grass-fed beef, coconut oil around the clock! Even a step in the right direction would be positive. i.e. Cutting back on wheat, switching out bad fats for good fats, increasing vegetable matter, cutting out processed foods.

A bit carrot for going paleo has to be that diabetes is likely completely reversible (assuming her pancreas isn't shot.)

0
08f96a1b5d913a7a22803e4ccca129b4

on January 23, 2013
at 11:31 PM

My Grandma was in her early 80's when she found out she had diabetes and heart disease. She was obese for as long as I could remember. She went on a low carb (not the Atkins or Paleo kind), low fat diet and walked one mile every day...even Sunday. She ate normal foods, nothing fancy, nothing grass fed. Just regular food. She kicked diabetes in the but and lived to be 94. She was amazing. She lost all the weight (I think 60 pounds) and looked amazing. It can be done. She joined a group here in the States called "TOPS" (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and that gave her motivation to keep going. It's a free group with weekly weigh ins. There is so much to live for. She was able to welcome so many great grandchildren and almost her first great-great grandchild, but she passed before the birth. Good luck. Encourage your grandmother. Give her positive reasons to do this, not negative ones. Do it with her! Introduce her to other women her age trying to do the same. God bless, and best of luck to you. Jen

0
4ccf5d9bba64e54fc95802fe8ae33c47

(900)

on April 10, 2012
at 05:30 PM

Maybe introduce her to something moderate like the wheatbellyblog and book first? It doesn't talk about grains, dairy, legumes being unfit for human consumption but only addresses the modern wheat (and then wheat in general and other grains) and negative health effects and on the blog/forum there's more older folks (like me...) with more severe issues like diabetes and the like talking about how eliminating wheat helped them heal. And Dr. Davis is a doctor, that always helps with credibility. It would help your grandmother limit her carb intake and rethink her own doctor's advice.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 11, 2012
at 08:24 PM

yeah it's hard with those folk ... they grew up in the era before mass-produced food and know how good it is for you but won't let go of their bread and pasta!

0
78d089bc8d5feaed2710005e4456edbe

on April 10, 2012
at 08:24 AM

I would not try to turn her primal and enthusiastically try to convince her that grain and dairy is bad, that could seem too radical.

Rather, if she doesn't know about the idea of carbs being fattening, I might talk to her about how the dietary guidelines might not be so sound, and try to make a bell ring by asking if, when she was younger, she had been told that starches and sugar are the fattening types of food. Maybe she has heard something about Italians being fat because of their pasta consumption.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on April 10, 2012
at 11:54 AM

Yeah I definitely agree it has to be a step-by-step kind of thing because she isn't going to change her ways now after 72 years of living...I just want her to see that she could get back the zest in life she used to have and that eating paleo could fix so many of her ailments plus increase her longevity

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