Weight Loss Support - Are there other families like this?

02-17-2006, 01:37 PM
I saw this on another thread and I was really taken with it. I thought we were the only family that dealt with this...

I blame a lot of my poor eating habits and obliviousness on my mother. She'd always go on about eating healthy and the 4 food groups and such, but she'd give adult-sized portions to us and insisted we didn't leave anything on our plate.

She'd hoarde the cookies to herself, and we'd have to "compete" with her to get any by eating as many as quickly as possible (just like she did) as soon as they were home from the store.
Now, I can't say it's entirely her fault - not even close, as I was plenty guilty of stashing cookies, going to MacDonalds with my friends on the sly, and trading my good sandwich for cupcakes at lunch-time. (And I discovered that instead of using the money given to me for the hot school lunch, I could save some money if I bought soda and a hostess pie).

Oh my goodness. Honey, this is how it was in my house as a kid. I went through chunky phases and skinny phases all through school. When I reached my twenties I was 110 pounds until I had my children, then I gave up.

But my sister was really affected by this eat bad and horde behavior on the part of my Mother. My sister cannot let go of McDonald's now and I really believe it is because we were raised on it. My mother cooked maybe 3 times a year- the rest was Mc. D or some other such thing. We never had food in the house, and if we did it was cookies and junk food- and you had to grab and hide if you wanted it. We rarely ate lunch at school by the time we were in high school- we weren't given the money to do so.

You'd think we'd be skinny, right? No. I refused to eat it anymore and never got too overweight as a kid, but my sister always did. And even if she only ate once a day, she still became morbidly obese. Because of the kind of food we were made accustomed to. And the behavior towards food we were taught to have. You know, the race to the cubboard to get your cookies before they all dissappeared.

Also to this day... my Mom will get up in the middle of the night and get into the ice cream. Then she acts like she never eats and can't understand why she gained weight. I guess you might call it a closet eater. She also hides food in her room. Boxes of muffins, zingers, whatever...

Honestly- I considered the way my mother did things to be a form of child abuse. We were hungry all day, then fed crap food. There were no healthy options as far as the eye could see.

Kim R
02-17-2006, 02:25 PM
My childhood was very different, but I'm still overweight. ;) My mother cooked healthy food and served appropriately sized portions. We were also "outdoorsy" kids, so we burned off any extra. If there weren't enough treats to go around, kids got them first and Mom was last.

However, I have a vivid memory of a relative buying a bunch of junk food for herself and giving her three kids a Mr. Freeze (you know, the sugar water frozen in plastic tubes) each. I remember my mother muttering (I don't think I was supposed to hear) that it just wasn't right. It made a big impression on me.

I guess food always means more to us than simple fuel. For me, a homemade meal is more valuable than fast food or even a meal at a fancy restaurant. For me, preparing a meal means love and comfort and family and tradition. I also remember studying a Dickens' novel and discussing how different "mother" characters were protrayed as "good" or "bad" based on whether they provided food readily or horded it to maintain power.

02-17-2006, 02:36 PM
I also remember studying a Dickens' novel and discussing how different "mother" characters were protrayed as "good" or "bad" based on whether they provided food readily or horded it to maintain power.

Well that certainly is interesting. My mother tries all kinds of things to be in control. I guess the food thing was another tactic. My husband has said over and over not to even tell my mother how hard I am trying to lose weight because his theory is her first reaction will be to ask me to go to a buffet and try to sabotage it for me. Of course, my childhood was totally messed up, so maybe that novel certainly was onto a symptom.

For me, preparing a meal means love and comfort and family and tradition.

That is so cool. :) I like this for my family too. Somewhere down the line I started a sugar addiction, but since I haven't touched it in nearly two weeks and have gone vegetarian and excersise religiously the weight is absolutely melting off. I have been going through withdrawl though. Especially at night.

02-17-2006, 02:37 PM
Sounds like some major denial going on!

I should know...I am the queen of denial (just call me Cleopatra! LOL)

I still have issues with denial...I think for me it is now a habit--a BAD one!

02-17-2006, 02:39 PM
I should know...I am the queen of denial (just call me Cleopatra! LOL)

lol...:) Yeah... there are definately some issues with food in my family.

02-17-2006, 02:50 PM
That's funny. I just read the same thread right before I came here.
Parts of it I can relate too. Growing up my mom always limited what we could have and I was still fat. We weren't allowed to have pop during the week, no sugary cerals, only sugarless gum. Now that I'm grown I find that often I crave all of things that I wasn't allowed to have as a kid.
For many years and think still to this day, my mom is a midnight snacker. We would find that she would wait until the kids went to bed and then enduldge on junk food.
Ironically my mom and I are now in the same boat. For many years she was always 2+ sizes smaller than me, now we are the same size only she is 7" shorter.
My mother and I are fierce competitors so I tend not to share my successes with her. It's like jealousy sets in when one or the other of us does well.
That's probally why I here and not sharing with her. Not that I don't wish her well, its just not the same.

Kim R
02-17-2006, 03:10 PM
Sounds like some major denial going on!

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. :)

I'm overweight because I consume more calories than I burn. Usually I eat otherwise healthy food, just too much. Mostly, I eat too much because I love the taste of food and I'm not as active as I was as a kid. Sometimes I eat too much because it's comforting when I feel stressed. My challenge is to still enjoy food without overindulging and to find ways to be more active.

For others, there are learned patterns to overcome. I know someone who had to worry about when he would get his next meal. He loves buffets and quantity is more important than quality in food. Even if he is completely full, he still can't turn down "just a little more."

02-17-2006, 03:16 PM
I think the emotional relationship I have developed with food came from issues my mother had with her father. He made some poor choices in his so-called efforts to keep her from being chunky in those impressionable teen years, one of which was to take away all but one outfit she was expected to wear all week! Eek gad! No wonder she obsessed about it!

So on one end, I had my mom getting us on SlimFast, Jenny Craig and I vaguely recall Nutrisystem powder food. But then when the latest fad petered out it would be back to the normal dinners, treats and not thinking about it. Plus my family was very sedentary - neither of my parents instilled the value of exercise in us.

I think it was a catch-22 for my mom... she wanted us to be 'thin', but never having resolved her own emotional battles with food, her best intentions were tinged with her own inability to feel good about herself. If I managed to lose the weight, because I do include the exercise, I sometimes would get the impression she wanted to sabotage my efforts because she couldn't do the same.

Anyway, now that I have my own daughter with, ironically, an overweight ex-husband who obsesses about her gaining weight, I try to downplay food and work on the importance of exercise... I try to set an example, rollerblading, skiing and setting aside time to exercise. I'm hoping to counteract a lot factors so she doesn't think about food like I do. She's already terrified of being "fat" at 8 years of age.

02-17-2006, 04:10 PM
I had the opposite problem growing up. Growing up in the South, every meal pretty much had something fried. And it always had to include meat, cheese, and bread. Mac & cheese and rice were both considered "veggies." Our afternoon snacks after school would be a hot dog or (and you might find this disgusting) a fried bologna sandwich (white bread and mayo, of course). Needless to say, my whole family is pretty big.

Whenever I go home now, I'm always asked why I'm not eating more - why I'm only eating one of grandma's biscuits instead of three like everyone else. Or someone makes a smart comment when I go to the high school's track to walk around in the afternoon. These, of course, are the same people who complain about wanting to lose weight. They honestly don't believe that I'm not hoarding away some sort of magic diet pill or something!

02-17-2006, 04:17 PM
I can totally relate. I kinda got a double wammy growing up. My dad is from the south and my mom is full blooded mexican. Often our dinners would be a combination of both. In my household mexican rice and beans and tortillas were served with almost every meal. Sunday's were ridiculus. Big breakfast, big lunch and huge dinner.

02-17-2006, 04:28 PM
I can trace back a lot of my food issues to being a latchkey kid starting in 5th grade. My mom went back to work (which was a good thing for her) and my brother and I were expected to come home from school and stay in the house until she got home. During the summer, we were expected to stay in the house all day while my mom and dad went to work.

TV + boredom + constant snacks + 0 activity = bad habits that lasted a lifetime

There was nothing to do BUT eat. I remember sprinkling white sugar on pieces of bread and eating it, just to have something to do.

Cooking, junk food, fast food-wise, my mom did a good job. No pop in the house, no sugary breakfast cereals allowed, healthy lunches and home made dinner every night (meat + starch + veggie).

02-17-2006, 04:40 PM
AquaChick - some of those patterns sound so similar to my own family's!

My mother was by no means abusive in the quite the same ways, but if we had a candy bar or something we always had to hide it for fear she'd nibble or just eat the whole thing. My parents both also forced us to clean our plates (which I think is a terrible habit, especially if your children aren't *that* active and you are giving them adult sized portions). We were a little low on money always, so I never had money for school lunches and was often too lazy to make my own. If I did scrounge up money I'd have cookies or a candy bar for lunch. My father didn't know how to spoil us with anything but goodies, so he was always bringing home candy bars and ice cream (only when it was on sale of course) as his way of loving us.

My parents "dieted" the whole time I was growing up, but they never exercised, sold exercise machines (even when I, as a semi-active kid would still be using them) and never reduced dinner portions. Because money was tight, eating out became a treat. We couldn't afford nice, so it had to be Taco Bell or Burger King and now I'm mentally over-attached to fast food. I definitely would not blame my parents for "making" me overweight. They didn't know any better and indeed I am still wondering if what they did or did not do had a strong affect. Very interesting posts. I am happy to see some of the ladies here really thinking past their own health and working on getting their kids to eat healthy *and* be active without making them self-conscious in the process.

02-17-2006, 05:57 PM

It's kind of comforting to meet some other people who have similar situations. I think our situation was some type of extreme, but I can see everyone has a story behind where the weight battle began.

Thank you all for sharing with me.


da fat n da furious
02-17-2006, 11:48 PM
I couldn't even begin to discribe my family. Being that my youngest brother and I are 16 yrs different I was able to see how my mom mothered my brother. Everytime he squaked she would shove some junk food into his mouth,,,never a healthy food just to shut him up. Hes now 5'11 and over 300 lbs.
There was just too much abuse, never enough money for basics and alot of guilt which has left me unable to control my battle with food.
I worry, Im over weight,,,obesely so. My sons are over weight,,,I have never teased them, or hopefully made them feel they were bad. What I have said was,,,we need to eat healthier, I need for you all to agree. I tell them that heart disease is on both sides of the families. Diabetis on both,,,that if they can stop the junk food being brought in,,,and the night eating it would help.

02-17-2006, 11:55 PM
yeah we always had slimfast etc around the house and no junk. i used to have dreams that i finally found a little bowl of candy in the study and realized my family was normal. haha. wierd. my mom actually put me (both of us) actually on herbalife while i was in college telling me it was a vitimin that helped with wieght loss (think the commercials for 1 a day) later i find out its a bonnafide diet pill. sigh. needless to say it didnt help. i dont eat because im hungry so a pill to make me not hungry was ineffective.

i could go on.... she once stood me infront of a mirror and pointed out all the places i should lose wieght (two lbs from this thigh, two lbs from this one, half a pound from under your chin etc and then added it all up and told me how much i should lose.)

well....it sucks... i hope im NEVER like that with my kids. i dont think i will be- i am more aware that i actually have issues- while my mom is in Complete (yes with a capital c) denial. hopefully i can use that to my advantage.

hugs to everyone- thats some tough stuff!!

i try to remember that im an adult (most of the time) and i control what i do, what i eat and who i am!!

02-18-2006, 12:01 AM
My mother cooks for us.. but like boxed dinners and canned foods. She didn't cook as much when I was younger and we ate A LOT of take out food. I was always a little bigger than my sister but now it is a bigger difference. If food was cooked differently in our house and if we didn't have chocolate and stuff a lot, I don't think I would have gained so much weight. *shrugs*

I'm not going to look on the past too much.. I just want to look ahead to my future:).

02-18-2006, 12:36 PM
i could go on.... she once stood me infront of a mirror and pointed out all the places i should lose wieght (two lbs from this thigh, two lbs from this one, half a pound from under your chin etc and then added it all up and told me how much i should lose.)

:( Oh my gosh... my Mom still treats my younger sister (who is 22) like this. Makes me so mad. She can see herself just fine, she knows what she needs to do, she is struggling, you know? And when you think of how she got there to that obesity in the first place... :mad:

My Mom also calls her a fat a**. :( It is so messed up. At the same time my mother is overweight- but my sister is bigger- and I really believe that is where she wants her so she can make herself feel like she isn't so bad...

Total head trip. It's really sad.

02-18-2006, 02:21 PM
My sister was large as a child and my mom was always embarrassed by that. Always trying a new diet to help her lose weight. She fed the family healthy meals and I was never fat as a child, but it seemed my sister's weight was always an issue in our family. As a result we didn't have desert or junk food in the house often, my mom cooked every night, usually nutritious healthy meals.

But I grew up resenting that I couldn't have the things I wanted because we never had much "junk" food in the house due to my sister's weight.

I grew up feeling like the lucky one because weight for me wasn't an issue then, I stayed active as a teenager and that helped. My sister was more sedentary and just naturally a bigger person. Also she used to bribe me to go buy her two candy bars and a coke. I got a candy bar out of the deal. She was embarrassed to go buy them herself so I was the one to go.

I didn't like the foods my mom cooked, so often wouldn't eat much at meal times. She did teach us to not waste food, clean our plates etc, but didn't insist that we take more than we wanted or needed. She did want us to eat something from everything she made.

I think my biggest issues with food and weight was her constant obsessing with my sister. I watched the two of them go to weight watchers countless times, weigh and measure food, try any and every diet known to man, including 1000 calories a day for my sister and diet pills prescribed by the doctor when she was probably a very young teen.

I feel in some ways like my sister might have grown up a little more normal if there hadn't been so much obsessing about what she couldn't have. Instead she grew up with very low self esteem, endured an abusive marriage and in other ways has been hurt most of her life. Things are better for her now, but even now I don't think she always feels she is entitled to things most people would feel was their right.

For me? I grew up feeling sorry for her, feeling guilty myself about having it so easy by comparison, and maybe, just wanting to even the score a little for her. Sometimes I think a lot of my weight gain had to do with my compassion for her, and my wanting to be on a more equal footing with her. Part of it isn't so complicated either. When I started cooking for myself I cooked foods I liked, so naturally I ate more.

Chocolate has always been my main weakness though. So I guess from an early age chocolate was a danger to me. As a child with little money I couldn't eat much, but that changed when I became an adult.

I can't blame my mom, but I do wish she had not made my sister feel so undervalued, or 'defective' in some way.

02-18-2006, 03:45 PM
I only just found this thread. :) I guess while I can't actively think up new topics, my ramblings and self-reflection bring up some points. Seeing as I was the one quoted, I feel I should say more...

I would not say my mom was "abusive" - like I said, 4 food groups and all. She was a (former) home-ec teacher, and would make meals for us every night, pack our lunches (until we got to high school and then we were provided with enough money to get the school lunch), made sure we ate breakfast, etc. But, there was always the competition thing with the junk-food. While I wouldn't say she was literally a "midnight" snacker, and didn't get up in the middle of the night, yes, she did wait until we all went to bed before she and dad got out the cookies and ice cream.

We rarely went out to eat (like someone else said - too poor) and when we did, it was McDonald's or something. We learned to hate vegetables, because she overboiled everything so all the nutrients, color and flavors had long since left... we learned things like steak and pot-roast were something to be savored, because they were expensive and saved for special occasions (so later, I decided I'd eat steak at every opportunity). So mostly, through deprivation of various foods, I later hoarded them whenever I had control over what I ate.

Today, it's a bit different. The food is out there if you want it, and since I went through my weight-loss 7 years ago and finally made a stand, she finally can take "no" for an answer, when she tries to push food on me. However...

I decided I'd start actively losing weight again, on the way home from visiting the relatives this past Christmas. It really opened my eyes that I'd lost control again, and my boyfriend and I were kind of appalled at my mom's eating behavior. We'd just eaten a large dinner complete with casseroles made from several sticks of butter and ritz crackers, and she says, "Who wants dessert!?" We all have learned (since my last diet) to put her off by saying, "Later - we need to digest." So a half hour later, "Who wants dessert?" *grumble* "Ok..." So we have a large dessert on top of it. A half hour later, we decide we're going to play some Scrabble. While we're playing, she and I are polishing off a newly opened box of Russell-Stovers, competing to get all the good ones before the other.

Then there's 5 very large tins of sugar cookies on the island that all got polished off before we left... and waffles for breakfast... I had to roll myself out in a wheelbarrow. On my way back to my b/f's parent's house, he (not being skinny himself) made a comment about the glutton-fest, and how my mom and I were nearly clawing at eachother to get at the mountains of sugar before the other. He never understood why I couldn't just take 2 cookies (like he did). I'd have to polish off the entire bag... but after seeing my mom in action, he started understanding.

Then I got to see the opposite extreme, at his parent's house. His very thin mother cooked a very nice dinner for us, too. But all around the house is candy. In every dish in every room, there are lindt chocolate balls, hershey's kisses, you name it. Nobody competes for them, and they only take one at a time, but they're just there... And you still end up eating a good amount over the course of a day. And we know they're not for his father, as he was diagnosed LAST Christmas as being diabetic and having to lose about 100 lbs.

I've learned to pretty much hate holidays, because they're glutton-fests. Even my dog (who is the only one who's a "normal" weight) knows it's the holidays, and comes in saying, "All right! We're here! Let the binging begin!" He'll just start snuffling the floors like Hoover from the day we arrive to the day we leave. (I can't imagine why he's so exhausted by the time we get home!)

My mom was never heavy. She (like my sister) were always just about ideal in weight. So she'd put added pressure on me to lose weight, but not knowing how to make it happen. That just made me feel fatter, along with the comments while clothes shopping in the "pretty plus" department. So I stopped outright eating stuff in front of her and started eating it at friend's houses, school, or anywhere else. (On top of the cookies we'd all rush to eat after she went grocery shopping). My brother was skinny, but that was partially due to the ritalin he was on... and my sister was skinny, because after fighting with me (and more importantly my brother) by the time she was born, they'd given up fighting with her to eat everything on her plate.

Alas, my mom broke her ankle pretty badly about 15 years ago, and now we rival in weight... but until then, yes, I was always 2+ sizes larger than her, outweighed her by 20 lbs since I was about 12, etc. I was always the fat one in the family, and it bugged her. At the same time, I can look back as an adult and see where it came from, too. I was at my grandmother's house visiting, and my mentally-******ed aunt lived with them. She had on a sweater-vest, and when she stood up, it was lifted above her waistband a bit. "Pull down your shirt, fatso!" I don't care whether she understands like a regular person or not, that was still the kind of example my mom grew up with as to how to deal with overweight children and frustration.

At the same time, I feel really guilty venting all this, because they are my family, and I do love them, and I certainly take my share of the blame through my hoarding of food and resistance to authority and such... but the fact that such moments in time stand out clear as a bell tell me these are all the little things that have molded my ideas and behaviors. And these are the same little things that I have to confront if I'm going to understand why I have issues with controlling food. While I'm "in control" of what goes into my mouth now, I'm out of control.

I've had to relearn everything I learned growing up in regards to proper eating, proper portions, when it's acceptable to eat, self-image, and that there's no shame in eating, so I shouldn't have to hoarde or binge. There's nothing wrong with having a few extra pounds, but there is something wrong with not being able to make it up the steps without huffing and puffing and turning red. And clothing does not determine who you are.

Pretty plus or not, I found out when I finally got my weight under control that while I could finally fit into size 12 clothes and they were loose enough and fit properly, they still didn't fit right because I was just too tall.

I can also rationalize and realize that my grandmother is a very imbittered woman who's had nothing but bad luck thrown at her her entire life, and she's just taking it out on those weaker than her (unfortunately, her own children). And my mom learned from this example.

Whatever the past, all I can do is change the now and the future. And right now, I'm sore because I was working out really hard last night and feeling good doing it. :carrot: