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I am caregiver for my 90 yr old mother who now lives with me. I am eating everything not tied down, stuff I never even liked before. She doesn't read or watch TV or movies, so she wants me to sit and chat with her all day long. I will weigh 200 pounds if this keeps up, what can I do about this stress eating?

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My mother expects the world to entertain her. You can die in service to your narcissist or you can live another day yourself.
Sorry to be so blunt but that's pretty much what it boils down to.
In the last 6 years I've gained 60lbs. I know.
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When my Mom had to go to the hospital and I had to take 2 week off to care for Dad and get the move set up I lost 15 lbs in 2 weeks, and it kept coming off for 2 months due to the stress of getting everything set up and organized, Now they have been here for a year today.. and its ALL back and maybe some more. They eat differently than we did.. we joke we never had this many sweets in the house.. or bacon or sandwitches! And I pack my lunch for work.. but now I am out of the habit because I want to leave leftovers for them and Dad's companion (who loves to cook so why do I worry?) And I agree sometimes it is just to hot to walk, and I love to do that! So I do understand.. may we solve this together!!
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I am a big proponent of volunteer work. I volunteer with my therapy dog, and i recently finished an internship working in an ESL classroom with refugees.i loved it so much I now volunteer 2 hours a week helping refugees (same agency) prepare for citizenship test. This i did for summer only because I am in graduate school. I am taking one summer class, my internship is done and I am unemployed. also eating to excess because I am bored out of my skull. when I was in college my father told me to find my passion. It took a while but I decided to major in Spanish, I speak it fluently and it has led me to my current focus, social work with focus on community and social justice. What I have learned is that I am more productive with some structure. I don't like to be so busy that my eyes are crossing but boredom is bad too. I am reminding myself it is ok to take it easy this summer because next year (my last) will be very challenging. anyway, find your passion. what gives you goosebumps? make sure it is FUN for you. it will distract you from eating, it will get you out of the house and may even motivate you to eat better/less. but it doesn't have to do. all it has to be is fun. hope that helps.
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mzmeow, I think many of us understand and have the same difficulty as you. Did you ever grab for gummy bears? Hate them, but if they're there, I'll be sure to finish them off. I wear a pedometer and have done so for a few years now. I got one for my husband and he finds it thrilling to flash his in my face while telling me how many more steps he got. Ha, it's good for both of us. The days I am with Mom my steps are usually around 3,000 less, so I see clearly what's happening to you.

You may like to try this. My daughter is a crossfit junkie. It's a type of exercise group that has the goal of always supporting each other as well as picking things up and putting them down etc. Last Thanksgiving each member of the group set their timers on the hour where ever they were and exercised for 5 minutes. Only 5 doesn't kill you at all. She did her workout moves and I went up and down steps. In no time 5 minutes was up and we were fresh when the next hour rolled around. I was amazed that I didn't gain anything!! I still ate as usual, but what a pleasure the next day. No guilt.

I suggest you try to walk around the whole house as rapidly as you can and do the steps if you have them. When 5 minutes is up you can relax. If you do this as often as you can during the day, you can still have your cake and eat it too. :)

One other thing I do is buy frozen yogurt bars and a bottle of ice cream topping that hardens on contact. I spoon a little coating on the bar and it's fantastic. Very much like my husband's Dove bars but far fewer calories.

I hope this helps you.
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Sorry - the previous post escaped and posted before I was through. Must be those demons in the computer!

Please understand that I write this with compassion, not criticism. But your mother is manipulating and controlling you to be with her, demanding all of your attention. It's hard to see this in the midst of careging; it's like being in a fog.

Whatever you try to do, I suspect she will find some way to make you feel guilty. And as she does, she increases the control. Perhaps this offsets the control she's lost over her own life and in some way allows her to feel less vulnerable.

Take these two situations: She has a little suite of her own but wants to talk and disrupt while you watch tv, ruining any chance you have of that method of relaxation. That's deliberate (unless she's been diagnosed with some form of dementia and talks just to talk).

She falls, so you feel you need to be by her side constantly.


If you're up to it, you'll have to establish boundaries, gradually if necessary, such as that you're going to watch your program and she's not to talk through it, except during the commercials. If or when she defies you, if you have to just shut off the tv and leave the room. Or go in her room and watch tv.

If she doesn't like lunching with other women, gently explain to her that you know you can't provide her with constant companionship and you want her to enjoy herself, so you've arranged for the lunch. She'll insist and pout. Walk away. Don't engage. If she starts with the pouting and complaints that you don't do enough for her, leave her alone, etc., say something like "that's not the truth. I'm going everything I can for you and I'm sorry you feel that way." Then walk out of the room. And don't let her resurrect the issue - close it off with something noncommital like my suggestion.

A friend years ago explained how to "go between the horns of the bull". There are 2 horns to this dilemma: carve out time for yourself and risk the dissatisfaction of your mother, or give in and be miserable.

Look for solutions inbetween... perhaps tell her that you'll spend x hours with her and y hours alone, doing things for yourself. Be firm, and don't back down. If it's 102 degrees, go to someplace cool, like a library.

But also address the falling issue and take precautions so you're not blamed if she falls again. Get a medical alert, install grab bars, remove throw rugs, ask her physician for home PT to increase her strength, go for walks when it's cooler. Get a lock box for emergency personnel, get acquainted with neighbors who can help keep an eye out for her when you're gone (such as if she goes outside alone). If she's a churchgoer, ask the pastor/bishop/relief society president or someone about home visits, or find out if there are functions you can her to and drop her off.

In my situation, it took months before I finally said I'm just not going to do certain things, that I'm entitled a life or I'm going to be miserable and take that misery out on my father, so either we cut back on what I have to do or he can expect to deal with an angry daughter all the time.

After refusing nonessential help more than a few times, he gradually realized that I meant business. I still feel guilty, I still eat too much chocolate, but gradually I'm feeling more in control of my own life.
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All good suggestions---as I sit here eating Ritz crackers and butter :-)
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Completely agree that ground rules need to be set.

I feel uncomfortable writing this because you sound so stressed, but I think that stress is blocking your ability to see that your mother is manipulating you into being with her through petulant behavior. I wouldn't have thought this had I not gone through it myself.

It works this way: you try to do something, implement something, take time for yourself but the cared for person finds ways to block that implementation. So you're back to square 1.
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mzmeow alot of us are feeling trapped feeling guilty for being trapped guilty because we really dont want to be here doing this wed rather be out living a normal life i am going to have to come up with a solution soon as i cant do this for much longer. I want my life back but i want to do right by mum and i know i cant do both? Its very hard and alot of my eating is "comfort" as im not happy i want out and then the guilt of who will take care of her and could i see her ina home? this is a very tough job and i wonder how long i can keep doing this? youre not alone we all get down and frustrated i just dont know who i am anymore!
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All good suggestions. There is only one day care place in town and its for Alzeheimers patients and although she is starting some memory loss, it is very minor and she would not be a good fit. Tried taking her to senior center for lunch, sat w/her few times, got to chat with other ladies, then few times I left her with them and went window shopping myself for that hour, but she got mad that I left and said no one talked to her. I got an aide from an agency to come for 3 hrs one day week, to give mom lunch and shower and then chat, and I went to a movie once, walked mall once and am trying to find something else to do during those once a week, 3 hours. We live where its 102 degrees right now, so taking a walk is out. Can't have lunch with friends as everyone else is still working and I quit to take care of mom. I moved her in with me 3 yrs ago after dad died, first 6 months got around ok, then started falling all the time, broke hip, needed pacemaker, keeps falling, so I need to by by her side every time she gets up from her chair w/walker or she may fall. When she got here I got her room all set up with chair, bed, TV, cable, phone, etc. but she only wants to sit in living room with me while I try to watch TV even though she hates TV and talks the whole show. I guess I am just trying to envision the next year or even months and feeling trapped.
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Do you like knitting or embroidery?

I'm not trying to be funny - things that keep your hands busy and that you have to get to the end of before you can get up and raid the fridge - it's just that interruption between thinking "I'll finish that cheesecake" and having to get to the end of the row, or the end of a colour block - it gives you enough time to remember that you don't want to do it. I smoke less when I'm making a jumper, for example.
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Mzmeow i have put a really good smoothie recipe up on "whats for dinner" its a great energy booster and very healthy try it out!! I am lucky i am going on a sun holiday my first in 4yrs so i have some motivation to lose weight just hope i dont go back to my old ways when i get back!!
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ME TOO! have been on a diet for last week as cousin called 2wks ago took photos and i didnt recognise myself?
Ive lost 7lbs BUT had a cheeseburger tonight and am now as we speak going through a pkt of chocolate cookies?
Its so hard to lose weight when you are caregiving i eat more than mum but feel like crap now so will try again tomorrow?
Yes i am screaming at nurse to get mum into daycare all she does here is talk endlessly and cause chaos with her clutter and mess.
Like me you have to do something i have forced myself to go walking every evening to get fit but more to get away from mum.
I think we have to get to a stage when we have to treat this like a "job" and make a routine. I know mum is fine on her own once she is downstairs. I no longer feel like i need to be here all the time its not good mentally for us.

Mum sleeps until 1pm so im up at 9am(me time) i clean the house then go for a walk then a coffee shop im back when she gets up. Shes happy to sit in front of tv but i know this could change.

What keeps me trying not to eat is getting out of here! walk and walk as long as shes ok and not in any danger at home.

Mum will have to go to daycare as being with her all day long is just too much and shes at me and at me constantly to do things until i snap.

Good luck but i know how you feel with eating i never ate much sweet things now im like a bear if i dont have cookies around!
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Look into day care for your mom, so she's around other people. It sounds like her living with you is a new thing? If so, set ground rules now or you'll live to regret it. Day care would give you some alone time and your mom some activities and socialization time.
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One thing that helps me release stress is vacuuming.... I know, a boring chore, but I really do feel much better afterwards.... it also burns calories, and it is hard to chat will doing it. Then reward yourself with a tall glass of cold ice tea [without sugar].

My cats hate the vacuum thus they will hide under the bed.... too bad that doesn't happen when who ever we are caring for gets a bit annoying ;)
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Don't sit there and chat with her all day long. Get up and get moving. Don't bring junk into the house. Get someone to sit with mom while you go to the gym or the Y or even to the park. You need time away to focus on yourself. This is a real sign of caregiver burnout. You need more respite. This is consuming your life. You are more than a caregiver. Don't loose yourself. You can do this.
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