Dear Annie: I am increasingly disgusted by my dad. He is obese and getting bigger, and he won’t (can’t?) stop eating.
He and my mother recently stayed in our home for a long weekend. When we went out for breakfast, Dad ordered enough food to feed three people — steak, eggs, hash browns, toast, and biscuits and gravy. He ate all of that and half of my son’s pancakes.
His main topic of conversation during breakfast was what we would eat the following day.
It is like he is addicted to a drug. Even when he orders a salad, he drenches it in so much creamy dressing that it negates the health benefits.
At night, he raids the kitchen. He ate so many of my kids’ lunch snacks that I started storing them in the bottom cabinets, since he can’t bend over to reach them. He also cannot cut his own toenails and gets winded playing with his grandchildren.
I already have suggested that he start taking little walks, but he insists he has genetically bad knees — as opposed to having bad knees from the extra 200 pounds he carries around.
He recently had open-heart surgery to replace a bad valve and claimed the same genetic excuse. He has damaged my couch, and I had to replace two patio chairs. He was offended when I asked him not to sit on the more delicate furniture since it has a 250-pound weight limit.
I know my mom is disgusted, too, but Dad is incredibly stubborn. I think he also has been depressed since my brother died in Afghanistan. But Dad is eating himself to death.
Just being in his presence now irritates the daylights out of me. What are we to do? — Disgusted by the Glutton
Dear Disgusted: Dad already feels worthless, so instead of anger and disgust, try compassion. You are right about this being a form of addiction, which means it is extremely hard for Dad to control his food cravings.
We think you will have better luck working on his depression, which can interfere with his willingness to become healthier. Enlist your mother’s help to encourage Dad to see his doctor.
Dear Annie: I have a solution for “Noisy Dog Next Door,” whose neighbors’ guard dog is kept outside and barks all night long. If the dog barks at 2 a.m., I suggest they phone the neighbors at 4 a.m. to let them know their dog woke them up two hours earlier. A few calls like that should take care of the problem. — Sevierville, Tenn.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.