Is your mother overweight? Do you blame your parents at all?
I was just curious as to what kind of... well... healthy eating/nutritional support you had as a child/teen? I grew up in a somewhat dysfunctional family. I was not overweight as a child or teen (though I definitely could have eaten healther and gotten exercise.) But I became overweight as an adult, and while i do NOT blame my parents for my adult behavior by any means, I'm sure if I had been a healthier eater as a child the outcome would have been different.
I am currently not overweight, though I am pretty close and would like to get back down to my weight 2 years ago. I was very overweight several years ago, with a starting weight between 180 and 190 and I'm only 5'2 so that is considered obese.
Anyway, when I FINALLY made the decision to take control and lose weight and I HONESTLY thought that even if I followed the diet completely I might still not lose any weight. This is because my mother, who is very overweight, was always on a "diet" but she never lost weight really. So I thought that for some people it was impossible to lose weight no matter what.
Anyway, I guess I do blame my parents a little. I have a sibling who is very, very obese, and was an obese child, and yes, I blame my parents for not seeking medical care.
My mother and father were both on the small side of average - - both heavy smokers, and wonderful cooks. We had two or three fresh vegetables with every dinner - - always covered with butter, salt and fresh pepper. Our salads dripped with dressing.
My parents both died of obesity-related diseases in their 60s. One of my major motivators is to live longer than my parents. I blame them, sometimes, when it helps because I figure they don't mind now. Most of the time, though, I get better traction from the thought that whatever my parents did or didn't do to make me an overeater, I'm in charge now.
Location: from Houston, TX ; now in Washington DC area
I don't think it's wrong to blame your parentsnot to assign some of the blame to them.
In my case it's partly genetic, partly environmental. The genetic part is that I had two fat parents and four fat grandparents. So I knew, even as a child, that the propensity for getting fat was in my nature.
But the environmental part was much worse. My mother was very petite5' 2" with tiny bones and very small feet. She had a terrific figure as a young woman: 92 pounds when she got married, and with curves to die for. But after her first pregnancy, with me, she gained weight rapidly. When I was a skinny kid, she used to point at her wedding picture and tell me over & over again how much she weighed then, explicitly blaming me for her being fat. She struggled over her weight all her life, yo-yo dieting and getting fatter & fatter. I can remember clearly one day when I was about 8: she saw me eating a PB & J sandwich I'd made as a snack, and she got all over my case, telling me that if I ate like that, I was going to be fat, fat, fat, like she was, when I got older. I was so angry over being attacked like that, the next morning I had my first binge, eating a whole jumbo box of Cheerios with lots of milk & sugar.
Things really escalated, then, when I got into my teens. After puberty had put some nice curves on my bod, while I still had a 22" (!) waist, my mother started attacking me nearly daily about how FAT I supposedly was. I was wearing larger clothes sizes than she had worn at that age, but I'd inherited my father's large, heavy frame, so of course I wasn't petite the way she had been. She ranted & raved at me, even in public settings like clothing stores, about how horribly wide & ugly I was. Eventually it became a self-fulfilling prophecy: Around age 15 I started having candy binges in secret, because it was the only way I knew how to deal with how angry she made me. So I gained weight steadily through high school and college, and did eventually become fat. In retrospect, it seems as though she had cursed me to become fat, to atone for how much I'd damaged her body, simply by being born. And of course neither she nor my father modeled healthy eating.
I'm 58 years old now, and I'm still struggling to escape from my mother's curse. But being more aware of it has really helped. I know now that I'm an adult who can make my own choices about food & exercise.
The important thing, I think, is the step you take next, after blaming your parents. I think you have to get past that, and let the past be the past, and focus instead on your future. Now that you are an adult, no longer controlled by your parents' negative messages, what you do choose to do with your life?
Current mini-goal: Get down to 240
Pounds to go: 19
Mini-goal 1: 30 days binge-free > done 12/21/13 & binge-free now
Mini-goal 2: Get down to 280 > done 5/22/14
Mini-goal 3: Get down to 260 > done 1/1/16
My mother is overweight and her family is obsessed with weight. Everyone is either overweight, losing weight, gaining weight back, etc at all times. Not a single healthy relationship with food in the whole bunch. My grandmother died a 78 year old bulimic. I don't BLAME my parents, but I know where I come from and where my habits and attitudes about food and body started, and it came THROUGH my mom but not from her. Her own well-intentioned mother loaded her up with some pretty heavy mixed messages (food is love, reject my food and you're rejecting me, the best thing you can be is thin, etc).
I don't think blaming parents is helpful, but understanding yourself and being aware of the root of your issues is valuable.
My parents did a lot of things right. They refused to buy soda or candy for me. I drank water, milk, OJ. If I wanted something sweet, they said, "Have a piece of fruit." My Dad was heavy, my mom was normal body weight (until much later). I was a normal weight all through high school and actually until I was 27. I didn't start gaining weight until I was 28. At first, it was my thyroid going out of whack, because I was still eating healthy foods in healthy portions and getting a lot of exercise. Despite that, I started putting on 10 lbs a year. By the time I was 90 lbs overweight, I could no longer exercise like I used to, and I practically gave up on eating healthy food. Then I found a doctor who understood thyroid disease and began treating me. I lost 50 lbs, but I've regained 15. Grrr. My fault, utterly- crappy diet, and alcohol. I have been doing great on exercise, though. I'm trying to lose again now. My mom is overweight now, as well, but with her it's mostly lack of exercise and alcohol.
"A mistake is not failure but feedback. -Rod Gilbert"
The women on my Mom's side of the family are larger than average. So part of my issue is genetics. Add on top of that my Mom hates vegetables and cannot cook. So part of my issue growing up was a very poor diet. She considers pickles to be a vegetable. Both of my parents worked while I was growing up. So I was a latch key kid. Outdoor activities were not part of my day.
I moved out after finishing college. That was 21 years ago. So my weight gain and lack of activity since then has been my own damn fault.
My mother has always been TINY. She is 4'10" and she was always very thin, although she has filled out a little more now that she is in her 60's.
My father was normal sized. However, he was a heavy smoker and an alcoholic. There is some evidence that daughters of male alcoholics are prone to eating disorders.
Also, I have noticed with my mother that she rewards liberally with food. I don't have kids but when I bring my dogs over and they run to her, the first thing she does - even before petting them - is to run to the cubboard and start stuffing treats down their throats. So I imagine that's how it was with me as a kid.
Now don't get me wrong - I am an adult and make my own choices, and I CHOSE to sit on my a$$ and eat my way up to 344 pounds. But there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the path that led to me being more PRONE to obesity then some other lucky people.
I imagine if I had kids, this would be even more important, because I wouldn't want to repeat the pattern.
"I'm through accepting limits, cause someone says they're so. Some things I cannot change but 'til I try I'll never know!" ~ Wicked ~
"Have you ever looked fear in the face and said 'I just don't care!'" ~ Pink ~
No, no I do not think it is okay to blame my mother for obesity. My mother is overweight and her obesity isn't her fault anymore than mine is - we're genetically prone to obesity, with screwy energy partitioning. If we don't manage it we gain weight rapidly, even doing everything 'right' but the current (and ridiculous) guidelines.
If you're up for some education on this, a great documentary would be "Fat Head" by Tom Naughton. It's free on YouTube and very helpful on this subject. In a way, I'm obese because my mother is obese - we both carry an unfortunate genetic propensity for fattening. But that doesn't mean it is insurmountable or unmanageable, just that I can't expect my body or my mother's body to respond to the same food environment like a never-obese person. That's life
There are plenty more resources on the genetics and biochemical issues that cause obesity (hint: it's a symptom, not an actual diagnosis), but this is probably the easiest consumed primer on the subject short of doing some reading and then self experimentation.
I was born in the 60s, which was a completely different eating world, compared to today's. Eating out was for special occasions. Besides an after school snack, kids didn't eat extra food besides meals. I do not remember eating dessert very often at all, although my mom certainly did bake cookies or a cake on occasion. There weren't near the number of fast food restaurants, and going through a drive-thru for food was not a common occurrence. Everyone I knew ate dinner, a meal most often cooked by mom, at home with their family every night. I can remember at the tail end of my time in high school, it was kind of a big deal to get food from McDonalds (portions sizes were much smaller then as well.) Single serving, on the go, snack foods didn't exist yet didn't sell well or weren't popular. We didn't have a microwave oven until I was in high school, and we might have been among the first of our neighbors to get one. If you wanted a tv dinner you had to cook it in the oven for 45 minutes, lol.
The vast majority of people were of normal weight. An overweight person really stood out, and a morbidly obese person was quite rare to see. I can not remember a single obese child in any of my elementary school classes for sure. As a child when we ate dinner, we only halfway sat on our seat because as soon as we were done, we would dash back outside to play and ride our bikes! We had one tv in our house (well, except for the tiny black and white tv that lots of moms kept in the kitchen.) There were only a few hours of tv a week that kids would even care to watch, max. Video games were pretty much Pong (lawd, lol,) but I do remember Atari gaming systems appearing at boys houses by the time I was in high school.
Before I make it sound like a healthy paradise, I want to point out that a huge number (relatively speaking) of adults smoked like chimneys including my parents. There was zero emphasis on cooking healthy meals or paying undue attention to ensuring there were healthy ingredients in dishes. People just generally... ate less, frankly, and were more physically active. My mom was a short and quite petite woman. My Dad was normal sized everywhere else, but had that southern man's belly. He would stay at the dinner table long after we left, and have himself seconds and sometimes thirds (!) I grew up thinking this was something that dads did. We had some pretty big sized family members on my dad's side of the family, though! My aunt (pronounced like ain't) Bashie (short for Bathsheba) was really my great aunt. She was a morbidly obese legend of a lady, the family matriarch. I can still see her standing on her wrap-around porch in a muu muu type dress yelling at her brothers to help set up card tables at Thanksgiving. My broad shoulders, bigger ribcage and sturdier appearance definitely is from his side of the family. My mom's side is full of petite woman with great legs.
However, I would say I started to really eat a lot when I started to swim competitively in junior high. This was year round, twice a day, weight lifting every day, meets all weekend every weekend type of competitive swimming (called AAU swimming back then.) Anyone else who swam will know what I am talking about! To say my appetite was voracious was an understatement. This was tremendous amounts of physical exertion plus I was maturing. I could have quite literally eaten whatever I wanted to and not be anything but extremely low body fat and very slim. I would wager swimming as a sport has to be one of the top sports for making athletes seriously, seriously hungry. I was eating very large portions of normal food. When I got into college, I quit swimming after the first year. I also did a fair bit of body maturing which had been somewhat delayed and suppressed by athletics. However, my eating habits did not change! This was likely the genesis of my issues with portion control and ignorance of calories.
Looking back, I can't say I place any blame on my parents for my weight issues. Certainly I couldn't have eaten any less and still been able to competitively swim at that level. I developed all of my bad habits after I had left home! The world seemed to suddenly change into one of constant snack foods, convenience foods, eating out, drive thrus everywhere, lol, and I availed myself of all of them.
I use to blame my mom a bit. But I realize now that she didn't have the time or nutritional knowledge to cook right. And obesity doesn't just run in my immediate family, but in my external family in another state, as well. I really didn't have much of a chance in being naturally thin with all environmental factors and family genetics considered.
I've been overweight since I was 4. Of course, I wish my mom would have been able to stop my weight before it became a problem. I didn't grow up on fried food or tons of fast food, but my mom's idea of dinner was something like macaroni with hot dogs, no vegetables or fruit in sight. Anything easy and out of a box. I do wish she would have taken health seriously and turned things around then, but I can't be angry because I know how hard lifetime habits are to break, and being fat was all she knew too.
My European mother was very nutrition conscious, way ahead of her time. She bought only fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads, and lean cuts of meat, and she fresh-squeezed our OJ every morning. She never ever bought canned or processed anything. We had no chips, cookies or soda pop in the house. She loved good food (not junk food) but had an iron will so stayed slim all her life, and would criticize me if I gained a few pounds. Had I followed her example I never would have gained any weight.
My Mom was always thin as well as her entire side of the family. My Dad and his side I would say were overweight but not morbidly obese. I don't blame anyone but we're Italian and our lives revolve around food no matter what the occasion...even a funeral. I was raised to finish the plate and it was practically a sin if you didn't. I became an over eater...not binge but always one helping too many.
I blame my mom a whole lot but she is also a key reason I have now lost weight.
My mom is super-slim. My brother is super-slim. But I was brought up: a) poor, so taught that food was not to be wasted...eat as much as you can; and b) told I was "big-boned" (i.e. obese) like my dad. This upbringing, essentially, justified more or less 30 years of obesity to me and that it was OK to be big and out of my control.
But one day I woke up and saw my kids. They are slim. I saw my mom. She's slim. I saw my brother, he's slim. And thought what the heck.
The journey began. The diet began slowly. And from 281lbs, the scale fell quick! Even with small changes.
So, yeah, mom was a problem. But, in the end, thanks mom. I guess I got your genes after all!
Bottom line...if you think it's genetic, just don't roll over and accept it. Test it. You may be very pleasantly surprised.
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