Healthy Habits & Family: One Girl’s Take on Dieting Sabotage

     It’s been a while since I’ve posted! I might be 19 days late (I did make a resolution and all), but here I am! Really, I would have to thank Cassey Ho, over at Blogilates.com for spurring my post today. While surfing Facebook, I saw a link to her post How to Start Healthy Habits When Your Family is Not Supportive. Ever the weight-loss warrior, of course I clicked the link. Boy could I relate!

     Now, don’t get me wrong, I have some super supportive family members. Of course, it helps a lot when your twin sister is also on the Healthy Habit Bandwagon. It helps even more when your husband is, too. The problems arise when you have to return home. My grandmother, bless her heart, is one of the sweetest people I know. But, she doesn’t know what being supportive means when it comes to life choices…especially if they involve food.

     For those of you that don’t know it, my roots are Southern Baptist. We grew up showing people, and one another, how we felt with food. Somebody in the church have a baby? Send them some fried chicken. Someone’s grandfather pass away? Hurry up, make up a casserole! And God forbid having to attend the dreaded Covered Dish dinner. (Don’t even get me started!) I swear, every time I hear that someone is out of work with the flu, or might have any other ailment or celebration of any kind going on, I have this knee-jerk reaction to cook or bake something, anything,  to take to them. It’s so bad, it’s even a running joke between me and my husband.

     It’s difficult enough to make any changes to your routine, but when my husband and I return home and have to eat, it isn’t any easier. We both have to really struggle to lose, then keep off the weight. (We Endomorphs got the short end of the stick on that one.) Returning for a visit home is a mine field of lifestyle pitfalls and arguments waiting to happen. And it starts when you walk in the door. There’s always a cake or some sort of dessert waiting. (Of course, we love it, who wouldn’t?) We try the good ol’ “Oh, we just ate before getting here, maybe later!” stand by first. That might help until actual meal time…then it’s no holds barred.

     And it starts with breakfast. I don’t know if she just wants to make him happy, or if she thinks he’s heading out to hand-plow rows all day in a field somewhere, but she starts the morning plying my husband with unholy amounts of slab bacon or fatty sausage for breakfast. Not to mention eggs, and toast, and grits and, and,and…

     She’s even gone so far as to wake up super early and cook it all before we get up so she can then say, “Don’t let this go to waste now,” when we won’t eat her outrageous portions. If, by chance, it isn’t already cooked, she stands close by hovering and saying “You’re going to eat more than that, aren’t you?” or “Remember, you can have as much as you want!” Even worse? I’ve had more food magically appear on my plate as I sit there!

     It doesn’t stop at portions either. I don’t think she even hears things like “I can’t have gluten,” or “Nanny, I can’t eat corn anymore, for reasons I can’t discuss at the table.” Really, telling her No Wheat No Corn translated immediately to I Choose to No Longer Eat Fiber in her brain. I spent the rest of the day explaining the amount of varied vegetables I love and deflecting taking home large bottles of those nasty chewable fiber tablets she swore I needed. I thought I was home free until I caught her stuffing the bottle in my over night bag.

     Like Cassey mentions in her article, sometimes saying no equals getting served bigger portions. Telling my grandmother no over food isn’t easy. She takes it very personally, and of course that gets to me. I’d never want to purposely hurt her feelings, but sometimes, you just can’t help it. Suddenly, a simple No Thank-you turns into a question and answer session, and usually I end up wondering out loud why in the world it’s so damn hard to respect my personal decisions. I think anyone with a Diet Saboteur in their midst has put up with any or all of the following…

“How can you eat that? I couldn’t live like that!”
“Stop being such a fanatic.”
“You’re restricting yourself too much.”
“Well, eat it just this once, for me.”
“It’s {insert occasion here}, live a little.”
“Don’t let this go to waste, there are hungry people that’d be happy to have it.”
Yeah…not fun, is it? I admit, it was comforting to know someone else has a family like that. I’m glad Cassey decided to share her story, because it’s actually a really important topic. Most people I know are concerned, in some way, about their health or weight and, in my opinion, there are three types of players in the game: the Habit Changers, the Supporters, and the Saboteurs. And that extends to any situation, not just dietary changes. I have learned again and again how important it is to surround yourself with supportive, encouraging people, especially when it comes to things like this. Negativity just doesn’t help anyone. Reading Cassey’s story made me even more grateful for the Supporters in my life. How about you?
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