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Casual Contributor

Food addiction in son

Hi, I am looking for answers on this forum because I don't know where else to go for help. I feel I have exhausted every avenue of help that is available to me. My son has been overweight since he was 10 and is now in his mid thirties. He is morbidly obese, has had lapband surgery that has not worked (because he's still adopting bad habits).  He suffers from depression and has been on medication for a long time. I know that he is hiding junk food. He is not interested in cooking or learning about healthy food options. He just wants a quick fix.


He does no exercise at all and leads a very sedentary life. I feel his addiction is compounded by his lack of self-esteem and depression, but he is handsome and very confident in himself. He is highly intelligent but can't see what is happening to him, or he just  doesn't care what happens to him. I cook healthy meals for him at home (he still lives at home) and I try my best to encourage him to make better choices when eating out etc. I honestly don't think he cares what he looks like or what health issues may lie ahead for him. I am heartbroken that he does not value his life enough to save himself but I just think the addiction has become so out of control that he can't face dealing with the alternative (giving it up). I would do anything to help him but my pleas and offers of support have fallen on deaf ears and I feel he is now in denial. Raising the subject just leads to him withdrawing to his room, depression and arguments. He is a dedicated and hard-working employee (a workaholic) but puts no effort at all into looking after himself. He sleeps a lot and is very inactive. He is not interested in forming relationships, getting married, having a family of his own - he is a loner and relies on the company of his parents. What do I do - stand by and watch it get worse and, perhaps, become unemployable? But, mostly, I want someone to help me understand why this is happening. Why is he doing this to himself? I am not overweight and am health conscious, cook healthy meals, exercise daily etc. I cook for him because if I don't, I know he will buy junk food through a drive-through and he will gain more weight. I have always tried to set a good example with healthy eating habits but it's just not working for him. He's had heaps of counselling, seen dieticians, doctors etc but he won't commit to a healthier lifestyle. I can't see that he is doing anything to help himself but he always says "I am trying to be good" but he's lying, he's hiding rubbish in his room. I am nearing retirement age and I just can't keep going on this way. I love him to death, but I fear he will die before I do. Someone please tell me what is going on with him.


Re: Food addiction in son

Hi @Trinity1,


Welcome to the forums and sorry to hear about the worry you are feeling. You are doing the best you can to support your son in living a fulfilling life but it is clear you are concerned for him. You mentioned that your son has had counselling as well as seen dietitians and doctors – does he currently have someone he speaks to regularly, even a GP? There is a good list of the various reasons for negative health habits in the healthy living guide here. Remember it may take a combination of supports to understand what is going on for him but it is just as important to keep looking after yourself.

Re: Food addiction in son

@Trinity1  Hi Trinity1 and welcome to the forums. My daughter is clinically obese she went from a healthy size 14 (she is tall) to size 26 with 18 months or so when she was living with her father (we were in the process of divorcing at that time). It was a time of great upheaval in our household. She has since been diagnosed with chronic depression. It upsets me too to see my beautiful daughter not healthy and not looking her best.  But I concentrate on the good things like her beautiful hair, skin, eyes and personality which far out weighs her weight issues. Interestingly enough since her diagnosis with depression and subsequent medication and counselling her weight has come down. Albeit slowly.


Has your son seen a psychiatrist regarding depression? If not I would thoroughly recommend seeing your trusted gp to get a referral. Medication has really helped my daughter. There are also free psychologist packages (BOMH) which are available through your gp which could also help your son. So what I suppose I am saying is go to your gp as your first point of call. I am not exagerating that it is a long slow process (we are still going through it with daughter but can see light at the end of the tunnel). 


If you want to talk some more just put a @ in front of my name and that will tag me and let me know that you have sent a message. Remember to take good care of yourself. Love peax

Re: Food addiction in son

Hi Peax,


Thank you for replying and sharing your story with me. It is comforting to know other parents can relate to my experience which has spanned over 20 years now. Yes, we have sought the help of counselling and Psychiatrists many times and will endeavour to try once again. It is really hard for me to explain mine and his situation entirely but, after so many years, I now realise you cannot help someone who does not want to be helped. It is very sad but I must turn responsibility over to him, but I will continue to support him 100 per cent. And, yes, I too can see all the positive and beautiful features in him. He is loyal, loving, handsome, intelligent, giving and the best son anyone could wish for. Life can be cruel at times with a mental illness. I won't give up on him. XXX Thank you and I wish you all the best with your beautiful daughter, Trinity 1

Re: Food addiction in son

Re: Food addiction in son

How are you going @Trinity1 

My nephew also is a big man, struggles with depression, PTSD plus other diagnoses. He has awful trouble with back and knee pain. I was thinking of you as I rang a retailer to see about getting him some trousers for his birthday, the phone operator is ringing me back to ensure that I can get what is needed in his size, he was shocked when I gave the measurement.

Re: Food addiction in son

Hi Darcy,


Thank you for your interest in me and my son. Things are gradually improving with him seeking counselling now and participating in a healthy eating program and regular exercise. Weight loss is slow but we are making some progress and he is co-operating. It is likely that his weight problem will be a lifelong issue as there are other contributing factors to his obesity. Clothing that fits properly and is flattering is indeed difficult and problematic.

Re: Food addiction in son

How are you going yourself @Trinity1 ?


Gentle encouragement, saying and doing things which empower our loved ones when they start taking responsibility for managing their health is so much easier.


Losing weight = hard work.

As you say a long road ahead, no doubt a few ups and downs along the weigh (pun intended). 


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