I have always been the biggest one in my family, aside from my dad, who is big both in muscle and in excess weight. Also, my partner has always weighed less than me. I've just always been the biggest...its how it was.
This weekend was really difficult for me. First, my partner freaked out because after 6 years of me being heavier than her, my scale weight finally hit hers on Saturday, so we were the same weight. She suddenly was having a lot of self-esteem issues related to being "fatter" than me. We sort of talked it out and discussed how we are both approaching this, and I think everyone felt a lot better. Basically, we talked about how we're both doing our best to reach our goal weights, and whether or not one of us loses faster than the other one is irrelevant...I'm sure its going to come up again, but it is resolved for now.
Then we had my dad. All weekend, he was making comments about my weight loss. Not necessarily in the best of tones. My dad has "moods", as close as I can describe them. Once something upsets him or makes him angry, he is pretty much miserable for the rest of the evening and makes everyone around him miserable. I love him, but he has some major self-esteem issues and he tends to make everyone else miserable when he is. Example of one of the comments: When we do our family tree-trimming, we always have cocktails and appetizers, followed by dinner. I opted to have a diet cherry soda and vodka, rather than the more traditional kahlua milkshake we normally have, which didn't sound good in addition to being more calories than I needed. Plus, I was really cold, and a milkshake sounded so freezing that it wasn't appealing at all. But I did want to try it, so I asked my dad if I could have a sip of his, to which he replied "I don't know if you get to have any, its not DIET". Then he proceeded to shut off the Christmas music we listen to while decorating and put on his headphones of some other music.
Now, my reaction to this was not exactly constructive. I am very much a people-pleaser, and I just wanted everyone to be happy (especially since the tree-trimming day is normally so special to me - I drive home for it every year and really look forward to it). So I started eating, very obviously, in front of my dad. Way more than I needed to. It didn't work, so then I felt like an idiot for eating more than I wanted to, as well as sad that everyone was in such a bad mood. I stopped myself, thankfully, after just a short time, so I didn't do as much damage as I could have, and I'm not particularly concerned about it anymore, but it was so destructive and dumb.
It is very hard for me to motivate myself to continue losing weight when my losing weight seems to be causing so many people that i love so much to be upset. Intellectually, I know that this is not my fault - they have their own self esteem issues that aren't my responsibility. But there is that little voice that says "well, if you stopped losing weight, YOU would be miserable, but maybe everyone else would be happy".
So it was a rough weekend. Any support or words of advice?
You really don't need to worry about other people, just yourself. I've had similar experiences where I've always the biggest one, now I'm not. In some, it may bring out jealously and in others it will be encouragement. Sometimes people will feel bad about themselves if they see others succeed where they haven't. Sometimes it will motivate others to see others succeed in the hopes that they can succeed.
Others may have their own issues but it has nothing to do with you personally. They have to learn to cope with themselves and their feelings.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
My quick advice is simply to not let other people's self esteem issues get in the way of YOUR self esteem issues. If you let them win (by stopping your weight loss plan) then your self esteem will hit rock bottom, and YOUR self esteem is what's most important.
You're right, they're self-esteem issues are NOT your responsibility. When they get upset and throw little fits like your dad, it is not your responsibility to please him or put him in a good mood. He is ruining his evening and trying to ruin the evening of everyone elses, and that is deffinately not fair. You need to stay positive, and keep on your plan. You're doing such a good job at losing weight, and you don't need to have other people bring you down because they're jealous. If you just stay positive, and stay in a good mood, hopefully the ones around who aren't jealous won't get their moods brought down by others.
I think you just need to learn to focus on yourself. Don't let others bring you down, and be proud of yourself and show them that you can still have fun and be happy around them even if they get in a snotty mood, and then hopefully your happy mood will influence them to be in a better mood, too.
While I empathize with your situation, especially with your partner, the only advice I can give you is to live for yourself and stop trying to please others. Will it please them to see you diabetic? Out of breath? With heart disease? Harsh, but that's the reality. When I lost weight, my relationship with my verging on obese brother and obese sister-in-law became very frosty. 5 years later, they still make the same kind of comments or comment when I do eat a treat. It's not pleasant, but it's THEIR problem. What may be my problem is their currently 5 year old son. I know that I'm doing everything I can to live to see my children have children.
I always bring good healthy food to gatherings. It may not be "traditional" for your family, but maybe they will decide it tastes good anyway. A bowl of clementines really is traditional at Christmas. A sliver of smoked salmon on a crisp English cucumber with a sprig of dill looks elegant.
Good luck and hang in there!
Falling down is not failure....Failure is staying down. Save the Earth, it's the only planet with chocolate and wine.
It isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
9 years at or under goal weight! Working Maintenance Everyday
I am so sorry that you are going through this. It must be very difficult. But you are doing this for you and you alone. You absolutely deserve to be fit, trim and healthy. We can't fix everyone's problems, and the problems that need fixing are theirs, not yours. This is all new to them and it will probably take some time to adjust, but adjust they will. They're just gonna have to get over it. You keep on plugging away and do what's best for you.
Intellectually, I understand all of this. My partner and I had a big talk, most of which revolved around the fact that both of us are doing our best, and that is all we can give - She works in an industry where she is on her feet all day, so sometimes at the end of the day, she is not up for the gym - and recently she has had bronchitis, so it isn't feasible for her - she is doing her very best and that is all she can ask of herself.
I don't want to say my dad is or was verbally abusive, but I guess thats what most people would call it. Its very hard for me to know that I'm making him mad or upset, because that would be very bad news for me as a kid, so I'm trying to work past it.
I'm glad I stopped myself very quickly after my little "make everything better" overeating...I also did do my best to make the options available healthier (my mom served a dip with chips, I cut up some bell peppers, cucumber, and celery and had that with the dip, it was very tasty...).
I think its really hard for my dad because about 3 years ago, he lost a lot of weight, and then gained it all back, so he has major self esteem issues around that.
I'm trying not to let it get me down, but its hard. Especially because I do look forward to that family tree-trimming so much. Its so darned frustrating!
*hugs* I'm sorry, Mandalinn. I really am. This seems to be such a recurring theme around here...why is it that so many of us have family/friends/lovers who cannot want what is best for us? That's pretty darn selfish.
I'm lucky, I guess, although it wasn't always so. When I was in high school and lived with my parents (before they divorced) my dad would always poke my stomach or pinch my fat and say "Do you really need that?" in a very condescending tone of voice if I dared to eat anything more than he thought was good for me. Not exactly helpful, that. Especially coming from him, who has had a beer gut for as long as I can remember.
Perhaps that's the opposite problem...but it caused the same feelings of anxiety and desire to please that you're describing.
Perhaps you can confront him about it? Not in a big or melodramatic way or anything, that'd probably be bad. But simply sit him down and tell him, "Dad, I've noticed you seem to be upset that I'm losing weight, and I'm wondering why that is. I'm trying to get healthy so that I will not get (insert health condition here, particularly if there's one that is prevalent in your family), live longer, and have a better quality of life. This is what's best for me, and I don't understand why you're upset about that."
Yes, it's a form of emotional manipulation, but it may be the kick in the pants that makes him think that maybe you're doing a good thing and if he wants what's best for you - the purported mission of most parents - he should support you.
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I can hear the hurt in your post and I am sorry that your father chose to behave that way. Even when we can intellectualize about it, it can still hurt. I have watched your weight loss journey with awe and just wanted to send a cyber-hug your way.
I think sometimes...and your dad's story really seems to fit this...that when THEY have difficulty with their own weight and in a situation like the party if you refuse to eat unhealthy foods they think you are judging THEM for eating. So it isnt so much that they will feel better if you eat - and as you found out eating did NOT make your dad feel better. Its that they get reminded that they are not making good choices in their own lives and they are feeling defensive about it.
To prevent "pleasing" If it helps at all to remember - going ahead and eating when they make comments about your diet, especially in an obvious manner, probably makes them feel WORSE instead of better. Because now, not only do they have the self-loathing of not treating themselves well, they have the realization that they pushed you to do the same. So guilt on top of self-loathing....eeeeks
Before you "people please eat" say to yourself 50 times "They're not upset with ME they're upset with THEMSELVES" (at the very least that should take long enough to cut the time you have to do damage )
A whole lot of setbacks. Starting over.
And I kind of have the ...opposite problem? My best couple friends are morbidly obese and dont seem to care. I have extreme difficulty doing healthy things in front of them, like turning down desert or even cooking healthy for them. Especially when I am closer to a healthy weight than I am now. Like I dont DARE mention that I am on a diet in front of them because I feel that it might make them feel bad? So I sabotage my own diet so that they dont feel bad about their own weight?
Probably because sometimes when I see super skinny girls complain about how fat they are I just want to smack them. So I dont want to have my friends feel that about me. make any convoluted sense at all?
A whole lot of setbacks. Starting over.
I feel the same way when I hear skinny people complain about non exsistant weight . lol
So sorry your father had to be that way, I do think you should tell him straight out , how he makes you feel and that you don't want to be spoken to like that. Sometimes being asertive will help.
And then just get on with enjoying christmas .
How he behaves is up to him.
"When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal."
When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
I have to agree with you that confrontation with Dad sounds like a bad idea. For some reason I'm thinking that your Dad may have a problem with drinking. I have no idea why, and if I'm wrong I do apologize--but it just sounds that way to me. In which case, once he has started drinking there is no point in talking reasonably about anything. But for heavens sake DON'T start eating to try and make him feel better! You might as well be killing yourself to make him happy. It would be better for you to leave the house than to do that.
His pain, anger, and upset does not have to be yours. Have a plan for when you visit, and stay with it. Frankly he sounds like a big baby, but you can't change him, so just make the best you can of your visits.