Dear Dr. Barb: My father died from diabetes, and my brother has had it for 15 years. He has been overweight since his 20s and continues to gain. He has always eaten like a child (junk food, soda, ice cream), and he smokes and drinks. My brother thinks insulin shots will make all this OK. Two years ago, he learned he also has high blood pressure, but he has kept up his unhealthy lifestyle. When I suggest healthier foods or that he change his habits, he just shuts me out. I am afraid I will lose him. What can I do?
Sadly, it is not unusual that suggestions to change unhealthy habits, even those that may be life threatening, are met with resistance. Giving up cigarettes, avoiding junk food and starting physical exercise may seem pretty straightforward and not that difficult. However, some individuals become so used to their bad habits that trying to change them becomes an ongoing losing battle, even when they know they are putting themselves at risk.