Not everyone can say this, but I know that everything my mother has done for me has been out of love.
When I was younger and I started to have a weight problem, all I saw was her denying me things. Especially having sisters that were underweight at the same time and getting the to eat while I had to be restricted. I hated her and everyone who could eat what they wanted and didn’t have to worry about such things.
I rebelled and just snuck food behind her back.
I blamed my mother for limiting me.
I hated it.
I would use my allowance to buy candy. I would make a full box of mac and cheese and clean everything up so she wouldn’t know when she got home what I ate. The second that car would pull away, I would be in the refrigerator.
I showed her, didn’t I??? 😉
Every time she put me on a new diet or plan or talked to me about it, I gained more weight and rebelled more. No matter how many goals and incentives she offered, I rebelled and gained more weight.
I blamed her and when she wasn’t around, I ate.
When I went to college, the freedom of eating just made me gain more.
In going to therapy, I learned that restriction is not a good thing for me (obviously), but I also learned that she did everything she did out of love.
When I finally talked to her about what I was learning in therapy about how a lot of doctors in the 70’s/80’s would freak parents out the second that their child was a small amount overweight (for me it was 10 lbs at age 10), and how that often caused some eating disorders, she blamed herself.
In talking with her, I found out about the conversations with my pediatrician and how he was freaking out that at 10 years old I was 10 WHOLE POUNDS overweight. How he pushed her and yelled at her and told her how unhealthy I was.
Now a days, most pediatricians know that a lot of girls often have that moment of a little weight gain before puberty or a growth spurt and not to make a big deal out of it.
My pediatrician freaked my mother out and she just wanted her daughter to be healthy and happy. She just didn’t know how to get around it. She thought she was doing the right thing and ask a child and a teenager, I couldn’t see it.
I’ve had to teach her over the years how to support me properly. What statements are going to hurt. Teaching her that saying in front of the rest of the family, “Let’s order from somewhere that Nancy can eat from” is NOT supportive, it’s hurtful. The intention might not have been to hurt me, but it did.
She basically has had to let me be an adult that can make my own decisions. She also needed to stop blaming herself. That she wasn’t doing enough to stop my weight gain.
Now when my family orders out together, I just get handed a menu and I make my own decisions. Nobody says anything. Nobody asks me if I’m sure if I want to have a slice of cake or another serving of something. They now understand that letting me make my own decisions is the best way to support me.
I often have to repeat to my mother that she can’t blame herself and it’s not her “fault” that she pushed me. I remind her that I KNOW she did it out of love and concern for my health and that is a wonderful thing. She was doing what she thought was best for her doctor and LISTENING to her daughter’s doctor!
If I never talked to her though, I don’t think I could have continued on in my weight loss journey. It was an important step to not only see her side of things, but to come to an understanding about what would actually be helpful.
I LOVE YOU MOM!!!!