How to trick the one you love into staying alive

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    Have you imagined what life would be like if your spouse died? It’s only recently that I have pondered that occurrence. I’ve been lucky enough to be married to the same man for 49 years (I still don’t believe that could be possible) but recently I have been worried about his health and what it would be like if he were not here. Does that resonate with you?

    How to trick the one you love into staying alive

    My husband is obese, has Diabetes and is non-compliant when it comes to checking his blood sugars and following a Diabetic Diet. And his A1C is over 8, and that really scares me. He's already been thru open heart surgery to fix four blockages, a stent put in two years later, and now is experiencing shortness of breath. So back for more tests and another possible surgery. Things are happening that have me worried and I am starting to feel afraid that I could lose him.

    The most frustrating part is that I know what he needs to do to improve his chances of living longer and healthier but I can't get him to do it. I'm sure it hasn't been easy for him living with "Nurse Wellness" since he's addicted to junk food and doesn't want to change from pizza and hamburgers to whatever I have concocted that is super healthy and not loaded with sugar and grease. A definite dilemma, but it doesn't mean that I give up trying to change him, despite knowing you can't change anyone but yourself.

    I will admit I have had to get sneaky over the years trying to trick him into adopting healthier eating habits. For example, when I started my own wellness business with a focus on nutrition, I really learned the facts about using "food as medicine" so I was very motivated toward helping him lose weight, bring down those blood sugars and maybe get off of the many drugs he was on.

    One of the programs I had at my disposal was called a Sugar Cleanse and it was part of a weight loss program, so I thought this would be perfect for him. It consisted of replacing meals with shakes for 5 days, taking vitamins twice a day, eating nutrition bars in between meals and after 5 days he could lose 5 pounds. But how to get him to do it?

    Step one. I knew that he had loved having milk shakes as a treat, so I suggested he might like to try one of my nutrition shakes. And guess what - he liked it! Step one was accomplished and he was willing to drink a shake every morning for breakfast.

    Step 2. Getting him to take the vitamins. He was already taking medications for his Diabetes, so what's a few more pills? I told him they had been giving me more energy, I felt better and was sleeping better so he decided to give them a try. So I added them to his pill box and he took them all together without flinching. Just a few more pills – no big deal.

    Step 3. Getting him to do the 5-day Sugar Cleanse. Since I hadn't tried it myself, I wanted to know what it was like so I could better support my customers about what to expect. I also knew that it helps with weight loss and blood sugar control so I asked him to do it with me and he said YES! And he agreed to check his blood sugars during the 5 days to see if it was working. NOTE: I believe that even tho he originally seemed to be resistant to changing his lifestyle toward more healthy living, he really did want to get healthier but didn't know how to proceed. Sometimes when something comes along that sounds like it could work and is non-threatening, people jump on board. Timing is everything!

    And so the experiment began. Day one his blood sugar was 180, and by day 5, it was 90. He was thrilled! And guess what - he lost 11 pounds over 5 days to my 5. Yes, men seem to lose weight faster than women – not fair! Now he was on a roll and stayed on a modified version of the program for the next 6 months, lost over 40 pounds, got off of his blood pressure and cholesterol med and one of his Diabetes meds. And felt a whole lot better and became a believer in eating "low glycemic" foods for weight and blood sugar control.

    So being sneaky and trying to trick him into making some healthy lifestyle changes may not seem fair, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. And in this case it worked.

    But now for the rest of the story. I wish I could say that there is a happy ending and he stayed super healthy for the rest of his days. But truth be told, this plan worked for several years but gradually his food addiction sneaked back in with his old habits and he gained all his weight back and finally ended up taking insulin for his Diabetes.

    So here we are again, back at the beginning. However, this time we're older and now I'm worried that his life could be in jeopardy. But my nature is not to give up. Especially when I know the results he had before were spectacular and life saving. I am also armed with success stories from other clients who use this program and are healthier and extremely grateful to have found something that works, when all the meds in the world have not helped. Even one man was able to drop his A1C from 8 to 5 and resolved his Diabetic Neuropathy! And again I am amazed at the power of "food as medicine".

    So rather than giving into the fear of the "inevitable" with my husband, I prefer to take the high road and become the "trickster" again and try to work my magic once more. After all, he is worth it and the path of healthcare with all those drugs and procedures should be the "path less traveled". Wellness is the way to true health and longevity.

    Do you have a spouse or partner who has health issues you wish you could change and how are you handling it? Please share your stories so we can learn from your experiences.
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    11 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    My husband was obese but healthy as a horse---he didn't smoke or drink, his lab work was perfect, blood pressure was that of a teenager, no diabetes---but then pancreatic cancer got him. We had no idea he was sick until he had what we thought was a gallbladder attack; it turned out to be Stage IV cancer with liver mets. He lived three years after the diagnosis, which was a miracle in itself as the doctors had given him only six months to a year.

    Obesity is, of course, one of the risk factors for cancer. I hope your husband can change, thank God he's still around to make healthier decisions with your help. Thank you for this article.
  4. by   perfectbluebuildings
    I have similar situation with my partner/boyfriend of five years. He has gained almost 50 lbs in those five years and is now obese; he has been diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc; not to mention drinking too much which I know is bad for all of these conditions. He tries to eat healthy for a while but finds it too difficult after a while and just goes back to what he wants. He tries to cut down on drinking for a little while but then slides back- I have talked to him about getting help for it, but he is embarrassed and ashamed about it and absolutely refuses. He works 8-hr night shifts and is always tired so it's really hard for him to get exercise in. He is not old chronologically, but his health is that of someone much older, and I worry about him all the time. I love him so much and I want him around for a long time, and he is in denial about his health and about the seriousness of his diabetes and his weight. I don't have any idea how to help or do anything and it scares me. I've talked with him about it here and there but it's hard because he is so ashamed about it and I think feels helpless about it all, and cuts these conversations short as quickly as he can. I know he is a grown man and it's his responsibility, but I can't help but want him to improve his health, for his sake too- he would feel so much better. I just don't know what to do. So I sympathize with you. I don't have any good solutions. But I hear you and I empathize very much.
  5. by   not.done.yet
    The truth is that none of us live forever and even the most assiduous of lifestyles ends up in death. Is it worthwhile to do what one can to extend life? I suppose so. Quality of life is more important to me personally than quantity. The definition of quality varies though from person to person. If my spouse tried to put me on a protein shake and protein bar diet so that I could lose 5 lbs in 5 days, I would not be feeling the love in the slightest.

    The only person you can control is yourself. With that in mind, model good behavior, provide healthy options and just love him. That is all you really can do...just love him. The human race has a 100% death rate no matter what we do, so just savor today. There will definitely, for sure, 100% absolutely come a day when one of you will have to go on without the other. Start addressing what about that is so frightening, cultivate gratitude for today, live more in the moment, recognize that this late in the game isn't really going to change much, particularly given the health issues he has already had.... and just...love one another. Am I saying you should not try to be healthier together? No. But I am saying it will come at a price and after 49 years of marriage, that price may or may not be worth it or even very effective. Learn to live in the moment. A good place to start is by addressing what makes you fearful about being without him and do what you can to deal with those things beforehand...and realize that the sorrow of loss will come to every life in time. It is inevitable, even if he suddenly did everything perfect diet-wise starting today. so savor the now more than you fret for tomorrow.

    Wishing you blessings.
  6. by   CharleeFoxtrot
    Tricks are not the answer. Nagging is not the answer nor is pleading. None of these will effect real sustainable change-as the previous posters noted. I work as an RN care manager and my job is to help those with chronic illness to learn self management skills and achieve better health through change. I'll try and condense a lot of training into a few sentences as the job is a lot more complicated than it sounds and takes lots of training to do well. I am still learning each and every day. Of note, what follows doesn't necessarily ring true for substance abuse issues and rooting out those "whys" takes a different touch and a higher level of counseling.

    We are nurses, and are used to "helping people with their health". This is what we were taught to do, we tell folks how to better their health or worse try and scare them into change. We say "Do this and all will be well." "Don't do this and something horrible will happen." Patients may benefit from this approach in the short tern but inevitably they return to the habits of the past. Why? There can be a lot of reasons but research shows the primary one is that the goal is not set by the patient/loved one. It's set and arbitrated by the nurse/loved one. Because the patient didn't set the goal, they are not really engaged and ready to effect the change needed.

    Engagement is the key, you need to find out why the patient is not making good choices. To find out the patient's "why" is difficult, but oftentimes just simply asking "What is important to you about your health?" will lead to discussion points and uncover knowledge deficits. Uncovering underlying reasons will open doors to the patient recognizing and deciding for themselves what change if any they want to make. Only that person can truly effect that change, and all the manipulation, teaching, scaring, badgering and bludgeoning can't change that fact.

    tl/dr..the health care goal (positive change to improve heath status) was not set by the patient, he was told what his goals were so it will fail due to his not being engaged.
    Google SMART goals, readiness tools and motivational interviewing if you are interested in learning more.
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from not.done.yet
    The truth is that none of us live forever and even the most assiduous of lifestyles ends up in death. Is it worthwhile to do what one can to extend life? I suppose so. Quality of life is more important to me personally than quantity. The definition of quality varies though from person to person. If my spouse tried to put me on a protein shake and protein bar diet so that I could lose 5 lbs in 5 days, I would not be feeling the love in the slightest.

    The only person you can control is yourself. With that in mind, model good behavior, provide healthy options and just love him. That is all you really can do...just love him. The human race has a 100% death rate no matter what we do, so just savor today. There will definitely, for sure, 100% absolutely come a day when one of you will have to go on without the other. Start addressing what about that is so frightening, cultivate gratitude for today, live more in the moment, recognize that this late in the game isn't really going to change much, particularly given the health issues he has already had.... and just...love one another. Am I saying you should not try to be healthier together? No. But I am saying it will come at a price and after 49 years of marriage, that price may or may not be worth it or even very effective. Learn to live in the moment. A good place to start is by addressing what makes you fearful about being without him and do what you can to deal with those things beforehand...and realize that the sorrow of loss will come to every life in time. It is inevitable, even if he suddenly did everything perfect diet-wise starting today. so savor the now more than you fret for tomorrow.

    Wishing you blessings.
    Nailed it.
  8. by   Medic/Nurse
    '
    Quote from not.done.yet
    The truth is that none of us live forever and even the most assiduous of lifestyles ends up in death. Is it worthwhile to do what one can to extend life? I suppose so. Quality of life is more important to me personally than quantity. The definition of quality varies though from person to person. If my spouse tried to put me on a protein shake and protein bar diet so that I could lose 5 lbs in 5 days, I would not be feeling the love in the slightest.

    The only person you can control is yourself. With that in mind, model good behavior, provide healthy options and just love him. That is all you really can do...just love him. The human race has a 100% death rate no matter what we do, so just savor today. There will definitely, for sure, 100% absolutely come a day when one of you will have to go on without the other. Start addressing what about that is so frightening, cultivate gratitude for today, live more in the moment, recognize that this late in the game isn't really going to change much, particularly given the health issues he has already had.... and just...love one another. Am I saying you should not try to be healthier together? No. But I am saying it will come at a price and after 49 years of marriage, that price may or may not be worth it or even very effective. Learn to live in the moment. A good place to start is by addressing what makes you fearful about being without him and do what you can to deal with those things beforehand...and realize that the sorrow of loss will come to every life in time. It is inevitable, even if he suddenly did everything perfect diet-wise starting today. so savor the now more than you fret for tomorrow.

    Wishing you blessings.
    There should be a LOVE button (with glittery hearts) in addition to the LIKE button for posts.

    So, no hearts are here. But, 5 Angels for you!





  9. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from not.done.yet
    The truth is that none of us live forever and even the most assiduous of lifestyles ends up in death. Is it worthwhile to do what one can to extend life? I suppose so. Quality of life is more important to me personally than quantity. The definition of quality varies though from person to person. If my spouse tried to put me on a protein shake and protein bar diet so that I could lose 5 lbs in 5 days, I would not be feeling the love in the slightest.

    The only person you can control is yourself. With that in mind, model good behavior, provide healthy options and just love him. That is all you really can do...just love him. The human race has a 100% death rate no matter what we do, so just savor today. There will definitely, for sure, 100% absolutely come a day when one of you will have to go on without the other. Start addressing what about that is so frightening, cultivate gratitude for today, live more in the moment, recognize that this late in the game isn't really going to change much, particularly given the health issues he has already had.... and just...love one another. Am I saying you should not try to be healthier together? No. But I am saying it will come at a price and after 49 years of marriage, that price may or may not be worth it or even very effective. Learn to live in the moment. A good place to start is by addressing what makes you fearful about being without him and do what you can to deal with those things beforehand...and realize that the sorrow of loss will come to every life in time. It is inevitable, even if he suddenly did everything perfect diet-wise starting today. so savor the now more than you fret for tomorrow.

    Wishing you blessings.
    I AM the spouse with the hypertension, hypothyroidism, cancer and obesity. My husband has been trying to "fix" me for years -- he's developed various plans for me to work out, eat more healthfully (when HE's in the mood to eat healthfully; when he's not in the mood he sabotages any attempts I might make to eat healthy foods). After awhile, it gets tiresome when someone is trying to fix you -- the clearly delivered message is that I am not good enough the way I am. I've gotten tired of the controlling behavior. I've also gotten tired of him blaming me for "bringing this upon yourself."

    My husband has mental health issues that he's not facing and is not following up with his treatment. I know I can't "fix" him. He has to follow his treatment plan and take his medication. I can help him keep track of when he's prescriptions need to be refilled, but I cannot make him take the medication or go to therapy. I know this, and I am respectful of it. But it gets really, really old -- he's trying to control ME when he cannot control himself. He's trying to fix MY health problems while ignoring his own.

    I left him two months ago. There's hope for a reconciliation if he can get his issues under control, but I cannot live with someone "fixing" me while his own mental health issues are causing him to treat me poorly. His problems aren't my fault. I didn't cause them and I cannot fix them. *HE* has to be responsible for his own health. And he has to let me be responsible for mine.
  10. by   RNperdiem
    Your post got me thinking. It is probably a good idea to start having ideas in place of what you would do if your spouse died suddenly or had became so ill that they would require caretaking.
    I recently lost my father after a long illness and before that my father-in-law to a sudden trauma(head injury from a fall).
    My father's long illness gave my mom time to get all the passwords for the financial information, get skilled in gathering documents and dealing with taxes and learning all the things my father used to handle.
  11. by   Here.I.Stand
    My husband has sleep apnea, hypertension, high cholesterol..... and a BMI of 23. He refuses meds because he has a general distrust of Western medicine and "doesn't want his body to become dependent on chemicals." He prefers to manage it with diet and excercise...except he doesn't. He did go low glycemic with me once for about two weeks. After that if he wasn't satisfied with what I cooked, he'd make himself a package of Korean ramen noodles.

    However he loooooooooves to lecture me about my health. If I get sick too often (hello, we have five kids in large public schools!!) it's because I eat late at night and don't do the early-to-bed-early-to-rise thing. I have a monster sweet tooth, and he will lecture me about the keto sweets I eat -- nevermind they contain little to no sugar... I am "addicted like a drug" and it's a "proven fact" that there is no viable substitute -- I just need to detox from sweetness (even if said sweetness has a 0 glycemic factor.)

    Personally I feel like a life without sweets is not worth living. And like Ruby Vee said, it's exhausting getting lectured -- even though in the case of my guy, I do think he is acting out of concern. But still...I dread telling him I feel sick anymore, because along with a "feel better!" invariably comes a lecture.
  12. by   JBMmom
    My husband and I have each had small health issues over the years, and it's a challenge to balance being a loving and supportive spouse with encouraging change. I think that in most cases like this, the spouse with health issues knows what needs to be done, but there's something blocking that from happening, and it's unlikely that outside influence (especially from a partner) will fix that. I think it's more likely to come across as nagging or coaching, and then the partner dynamic changes, and sometimes that backfires into someone digging their heels in and just not changing. Just like with patients, we can provide education, but they have to take the initiative and responsibility for their own health. Otherwise the balance of a marriage is in danger of being tipped into something more like parenting. I hope that your husband finds a motivation to make the best health decisions he can, but don't put it all on yourself, you've done your best and you have to let it go and enjoy your years together. Here's hoping there are many left with wonderful memories!
  13. by   Ruas61
    Trick. Really?

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