Mom has been at our house and I have gained 38 pounds in 5 months. She has dementia and screams at night (this has shot my sleep). I care for her 24/7. I could use some coping method suggestions that don't involve opening the fridge.

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I've been thinking about this, because it really strikes a nerve. The 24/7 caregiver's health is affected negatively in many ways in abusive situations as you describe. Interrupted sleep is abusive (not to mention the other abusive behaviors you are probably being subjected to). I know, I has dementia and her mind is broken, but regardless of the cause, the effect on YOU is tantamount to abuse.

Coping skills? How about us helping to figure out an alternative to this situation?

Where was your mother before she moved in with you? Do you have siblings? If so, where are they in this picture? It sounds like your mother needs a higher level of care than you can provide.

I had to stay with my mother for just over a week once a few years ago when she became nearly helpless with muscle pains in her back and shoulder. It was horrible. While she did sleep all night, the rest of the time she was whining and obsessively ordering me around, micromanaging and controlling every little thing. When my husband watched her while I went to Mass, I stopped and got a box of cookies and started furtively eating them from the stress.

Gaining 38 pounds in 5 months is almost 2 lbs/week, which is 7000 extra calories/week, which is 1000 extra calories/day. That's a lot of stress eating, because that's a lot (TOO MUCH) stress for you.

I say find a facility for your mother, and get your health back.
Helpful Answer (24)

I am sorry you have to deal with the lack of sleep, that does not help. My dad moved in 4 years ago, I added more weight on cooking for all with carbs, starch and all the not so good foods. So recently I went low carb low sugar. Dropped 13 so far in a month. It is not easy but I feel better. Cooking proteins and more veggies. He is not a fan but "hey, if you want to eat different there is the stove". Wife and I had spinach and grilled shrimp last night they way we ate prior to everyone moving in. I am trying to reduce the alcohol during the week I have used as a not good coping method. That should help remove some of the weight. Stress is a killer as we all use food or other things to help sooth they stress issues. Dad likes full fat full sugar etc. If we have a dessert left over from a party he finds it in a heart beat. He complains to family "they dont do dessert here". Yes you are right, you used to eat ice cream and pie and cake every night. I can't do that. He even fed his dog ice cream and chips at night. That is why the dog is still alive when he moved in with me and even he lost weight (the dog was even a diabetic). Dad now has foot pain and is very overweight has to use a cane all the time. He says he is not diabetic. They why does he have diabetic medication? Hmmmmm living in denial.
My own doc told me I was pre diabetic, if I lost weight and got my sugars under control he would remove the class from my chart. So I am doing that! I feel much better now, no headaches. 2 weeks to my next check up.
There are a lot of good channels on you tube for low carb low sugar cooking and eating. If everyone else in the house does not like the way I cook I have a solution.... move out!
If you can fnd a way to eat better, make it fun and a challenge to try new ways of cooking low carb low sugar you will feel much better.
Helpful Answer (19)

If you don't buy it you can't eat it
Stock up on lower calorie substitutes (like popcorn instead of chips)
Get some exercise,even if it is just a walk around the block, it lowers stress hormones and ups metabolism
Get some time for yourself as often as you can, schedule it in and make it a priority
Helpful Answer (14)

Oh Debby- I totally understand. Since my Dad passed, and now it's just my Mom, I have gained almost 30 pounds. UGH!!! I never had any weight issues before now. It has been tough, because I had turned to chocolate for my stress reliever. I have recently started paying more attention and cutting down on my chocolate. But it is tough. I have an exercise bike, that I try and turn to instead of chocolate. Lost 6 pounds. Some days I put about 20 miles on it. But, I wish we can start a caregivers accountability group. To encourage each other and help each other try and eat healthy and get some exercise. Maybe having to report to another would encourage us, so that we have good things to report.
I don't know, I haven't quite figured it out. I started working out and did it for almost 2 months straight and gained more weight was quite discouraging, so I haven't been working out. (sigh). I know also the lack of sleep stresses us out and that doesn't help us overcome this.
I hope someone will have some good suggestions for you, that might also help me. I just wanted you to know you are not alone in this.
Will keep you in my prayers.
Helpful Answer (13)

Raising hand here.... I also added 30 pounds. Oh my gosh, I couldn't believe how quickly that weight climbed on. And i am not a big eater and was never one for snacks or deserts. It's more like stress weight because I could no longer go to the gym like I had been doing prior to start helping my parents. I had zero exercise.

Even after my parent's passed, i still don't exercise. I know walking is THE best thing, but I hate to walk alone.... [sigh].
Helpful Answer (13)

Oh, I hear you. I had the same problem with my mom and my sleep deprivation. My go-to stress reliever was Ding Dongs. I'd eat 2-4 a day. I was fortunate that my local grocery store had a fabulous salad bar and I tried to eat a small veggie salad at least once a day for a meal.

One day, I bought a hot air popcorn popper. I'd eat at least one huge bowl a day, no butter, just plain, to help me with my enormous nervous energy. That took care of my craving for the Ding Dongs. Great fiber too. My dogs loved it too and we trained with the popcorn as a treat.

Since Mom passed last month and I'm back home, I'm doing much better. I still go to popcorn if I have the urge to chow down and want to avoid junk food. Since I switched to popcorn some months ago, I've probably lost 10-15 pounds. In fact, since I've been back a lot of people commented I look like I've returned from vacation--a real shock considering how bad off I was/still am from the terrible stress.
Helpful Answer (10)

meshque - my thought exactly. I was thinking about starting a tread where people can come and pledge to do xyz for certain amount of days or times, short term goals, then report each day to encourage self and others to stick to their pledges.

I'm surprised that you are not as skiny as a stick. From the way you describe your various meals, I thought you would be.
Helpful Answer (8)

mally1: " a couple weekends to spell her caregiver and I thought I'd go crazy with the micromanaging and neediness..... told her the other day to quit micromanaging me; I have 6 cats, I can figure out how to clean the cat box.... quiet for awhile."

There are "rules" for everything. Why does this woman have to tell me how to put things in her grocery cart? (Of course I am the one who takes them out!) She even lectures the cashier to put the cold items in her insulated reusable bag with the blue ice (these cashiers at this store know what to do already). And the insulated bag is unnecessary, as I bring her right home afterwards.

Lately she's been commenting on my driving, and that really gets me annoyed. She can't see well, can't hear, has no depth perception, and feels free to direct ME?

The good thing about the 8 days/nights caregiving stint I did for her a few years ago is that it showed me that I will NEVER do that again. If she injures herself like that again or if for any other reason needs someone with her, my three brothers can take turns or else she can hire caregivers.
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CTT, you must have been taking care of MY mom; a couple weekends to spell her caregiver and I thought I'd go crazy with the micromanaging and neediness..... told her the other day to quit micromanaging me; I have 6 cats, I can figure out how to clean the cat box.... quiet for awhile.
Helpful Answer (5)

Hey guys, that low (practically "no") carb/sugar thing worked for me 2 years ago; lost 20 lbs in 2 1/2 months - now to get it up to do it again.... congrats MM and Tge!
FF, twice got walking partners advertising in the apt building, at church, etc. Worth trying.
Helpful Answer (5)

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