Monday, October 12, 2009

You Don't Eat Anymore, Anyway

What a weekend.


I decided before the weekend that, while I was going to keep control of my eating and obviously not binge, I was going to partake fully in the weekend. Not only was I not willing to announce "I'm on a diet," but I also didn't really want to spoil the mood. Food is important to my family. If I sat there, abstemiously picking at a salad, my parents would be some combination of offended and annoyed. So, I decided that family peace was worth a few extra calories, and hey, I'd get to eat some delicious food in the bargain.

Thursday night, I only saw my parents briefly. As reported, my Dad complimented me on how good I was looking, and my mom said nothing. On Friday, I came home for lunch, and we ate Greek food that my parents had bought at this great place called Greek Deli that I had told them about. We were eating family style, and I had a little bit of a whole bunch of things, and then some. I ate, really, a good plate of food. More than I'd normally eat these days, but certainly still less than I would have in June. It was a lot. If I had to guess, it was maybe 800 or 900 calories, but if you told me it was 1200 I would've believed you. Friday night, we took out dinner from a Southern soul food place called Oohhs and Aahhs. We again ate family style, splitting two entrees and supplementing it with a bit of leftovers from our Greek food earlier. I had about a cup (okay, maybe 1 1/2 cups) of very rich macaroni and cheese, a small bit of meat from the short ribs, and 5 seasoned shrimp. Not exactly starving myself.

As we sat watching the Yankee game (yes, this is why we did takeout), my mom commented that I looked so grown up in the jeans I was wearing. They're just a schlubby pair of size 20 gap jeans, but that wasn't really what she was saying. Essentially, when I started gaining weight for real I stopped wearing real pants. I just started wearing yoga pants and sweat pants and anything XL with a drawstring that let me avoid the fact that I should be shopping in plus size stores. I was a college kid, however, so this worked pretty okay. I picked up a pair of grey size 22 REI hiking pants at one point that I'd ordered online, but really, those were the only pants in my rotation that had the whole zipper/button thing going on. Slightly before I graduated, I did some plus size department store shopping to get an interview suit, and when I got hired for my job I bought several suits since I needed to wear one every day, but before recently I hadn't worn jeans since probably my senior year in high school. So when she said "You look so grown up in those jeans, Hadley," it felt like she meant more than she said.

Saturday we went out to brunch. I got a sandwich that came with fries, and ate half the sandwich and maybe 1/3 of the fries. My parents picked another third. Throughout the day, my mom started making comments. "Well Hadley's the one who would be hungry, she didn't eat much." Things like that. At what my parents called a late lunch but what was, in my opinion, late enough that it was dinner, I had a salami sandwich on some fresh bread we'd just bought. After the movie, my parents wanted dinner, so we went to an afghan restaurant that's an old family favorite for dinner two. (I ate maybe 1/4 cup of rice, a few tablespoons of Dal, 1/3 of a piece of a naan-like afghan bread, and 3 pieces of chicken from a kebab that had maybe 7 pieces.) That night, as my mom and I were standing around after unpacking the bounty from the day and waiting for my dad to park the car, my mom said to me "Your pants are too big." It wasn't a complimentary tone. It felt harsh.

Essentially, here's where the weekend was at this point: I'd woken up and slaved an hour in the gym each morning so I could eat pretty darn close to normally. Granted, I wasn't eating quite as much as I used to, but there was no way I was much under 2000 calories a day. I burned over 3k, so I'm guessing I did all right-ish in terms of calorie deficits, but my god, I was trying.

Sunday morning, I again woke up and went to the gym (my parents were staying at a hotel and thus unaware that I'd been hitting the gym each morning). For brunch, we went to Brasserie Beck, which is a French/Belgian place and possibly my favorite restaurant in DC. The bread basket came out, and I had a piece because, well, the bread there is oh-so-delicious and I think it's okay to have a small piece of bread when the bread's that damn good. "Have another piece of bread, Hadley," my mom said. I did. She then started going on and on about how she wanted to order the petite croissants in addition to her meal but felt too embarrassed. I said some sort of "order them if you want them." She did order them, but she seriously kept talking about how she felt embarrassed to be eating them, and insisted my father and I each have one. (Four came on the platter.) When Brunch came, I ate about 1/3 of my croque monsieur and 1/3 of my fries. About another 1/3 of the sandwich went to my parents tastings, and 1/3 of the fries to my mother. I had enough food that I had to get it wrapped up--my Dad will never let you not wrap up extra food at restaurants, it's one of his things--but my parents had both cleaned their plates.

That afternoon, we did a grocery shopping trip. One of the traditions whenever my parents visit me, is that we go on a big grocery shopping trip and they pick up the bill at the end. We'd discussed the possibility of me making dinner for the family that night, since everyone wanted to stay in again to watch the Yankee game. Normally, I love getting to go grocery shopping with my parents, and stock up on all the $12 cheeses that I rarely buy on my own, as well as staples so I just don't have to buy them down the line. This, however, was different. If I bought too little, my mother would implore me to buy more, but I also didn't want to buy food I wouldn't eat, since that would just be wasteful.

Anyway, as we were wandering around the grocery store, I asked my mom if she wanted to pick out the desert for the night. She turned to me, with this tone, this horrible, horrible tone she uses sometimes and said "what's the point?"

"Well if I'm going to be making dinner at home--"

She cut my off: "You don't eat anymore, anyway, we don't need desert."

Ouch. Ouch. Just ouch ouch ouch. The way she said it, the look in her eyes. It was horrible. I wanted to cry. We split up so she could sit down in the grocery store's cafe while I shopped, and I just wanted to break down in one of the aisles and start crying my eyes out.

I don't get it. I don't get why she's doing this. I don't get why she's being so unsupportive, why it feels like she's trying to hurt me. I was honestly eating a perfectly reasonable amount of food for a non dieting person, and I probably hit close to (or possibly even broke) the 2000 calorie mark every single day. And I'm not even asking for support. I didn't bring it up once. I didn't make any comments. I didn't ask to go to healthy restaurants. I didn't even order particularly healthy dishes. All I'd like is for my mother to not be so incredibly hostile and seemingly angry at me for losing a bit of weight.

I feel defeated. I feel emotionally drained. Not visiting my parents while I was getting my feet on this diet was absolutely the right call. I'd been planning on going home for the whole week of Thanksgiving so I could be home for my birthday as well, but now I'm less certain. I love my parents. I genuinely do. But I just can't deal with my mom being randomly mean to me because I've made the choice to take more responsibility for my health and body.

In other news, Sue (aka Mommy2Joe, who runs the excellent and extremely funny blog Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?) gave me the following:

Thank you Sue! Since I think not *too* many people have it just yet, I do want to make up a list of recipients, but I need to finish up this post before that can happen. So, thanks Sue, and I'll try to hand this one out tomorrow.


  1. oh hadley...

    i know what you mean about "Food is important to my family."

    obviously, I dont know your parents but do you think your mom has her own body issues?

    usually it seems like it's the moms who are excited when their slightly chubby daughter loses weight!

    hope you can recover emotionally from this past weekend!

  2. Boy, that's a tough place to be with your mom. I've never understood the hostility that comes with losing weight from those who aren't dieting. I can only assume that they feel threatened in some way to your weight loss. Regardless of how your mother feels, the thing to take away from this visit, is that you stayed true to yourself, you kept your mind on your weight loss, and you were making your healthy lifestyle your priority. I think in time, your mom will come around and be happy for you. The changes in you may scare her a bit, because she may be afraid that you aren't the same old Hadley you once were, and she may feel as though she is losing you...or that she can't connect with you the way she once did, with food.
    I wish you well, and you should be so very proud of yourself for staying true to your diet! That was a hard thing to do, and yet you did it!! Hope you have a good week!!

  3. Hadley, that is so awful. My heart completely breaks for you. I am sure its your mom's jealousy and guilt of her over her own health. There is nothing that makes people more aware of their own issues than when someone else is doing well with them. You are doing FANTASTIC. And I love reading your blog. I am guessing once your mom gets home and realizes the significance of what you are doing and how you are actually succeeding, and has time to process it, she will be happy for you. It might just take her a while to adjust to the new you! :)

  4. Wow. It's shocking how unsupportive family and friends can be sometimes. I think you took the right approach, btw. Just remember that you're doing this for yourself. I'm sorry your support group isn't making this easier for you, but it's still worth the effort.

  5. family and friends can be consciously or unconsciously cruel when the status quo is shaken. it can shake up insecurities they've let fester. i lost a lot of friends when i started losing weight seriously a few years ago. for so long, i was the fat friend, the one that they'd compare themselves to and feel better. when i started living and eating healthier, it shone a spotlight on how they were living and eating and that was uncomfortable. they started with making little biting remarks and eventually it got so bad i couldn't stand it and walked away.

    family is different, but you can still stand up to your mother. you don't need to sacrifice your self esteem and well-being to please someone else. and letting people make comments like that and wear you down without defending yourself only gives them permission to do it again and again.

  6. Hadley,
    1st of all, congrats on your successes so far! I'm sure you know this and have heard it from other comments, but your mom is totally projecting her issues on you. It is sad, especially when it comes from a parent. Her insecurities are coming through in the way she is speaking to you. She may not be (and may never be) aware on any level that she is doing this. You can realize that it really has nothing to do with you and maybe one day she will do the work she needs to do for herself. Keep doing what you are doing and fight the good fight. You being healthy and happy is the best thing for you! All the best!

  7. People have such weird issues. I mean, when I went back to MI over the summer, my BFF (MY BFF!) handed me that Time magazine article about how exercise doesn't really have anything to do with weight loss. UGH! And best I can figure, it makes people uncomfortble because it somehow becomes about THEM. The willpower they don't have, the confidence they don't have, the mistakes they made with us, whatever.

    So weird.

  8. Hadley....once I started to lose weight back in 2001 I had to get new friends. My old friends seemed to only want me fat. I think your mom i just USED to you being her good eater girl. I am sure she will come around once she realizes how important this is to you. My mom still has a habit of letting me "taste" her food. Recently, we went out to dinner and I had something lite that i hated and she had fried oysters (Hello im from Louisiana)....she finally just reached out and put one on my salad. I of course ate it and later it bugged me that she did it.

    Finally after we had eaten and went home I called her and said Mom please don't tempt me to eat things I shouldn't. It undermines what I am trying to do. She said okay IM sorry. She is very supportive now. Maybe you should just tell her truthfully how you feel.....

  9. I will tell you that mothers are a strange breed when it comes to daughters. If she wants to justify her eating frenzy by having you partake too, she just lost a feeding partner, so she's upset. If she has a tinge of jealousy that you're young and beautiful and successful with your whole life ahead of you and now you're going to be a healthy weight too, then let her suck on that. Moms truly love their daughters, but my mother had a real competitive thing with my sisters. She wanted them to be skinny so she could dress them up since she was aging, but she also kept feeding them pork/beef/fried foods/desserts and encouraging it. So, just remember that even though your mom loves you and wants what's best for you, when you change, that always scares a parent...whether it's blue hair at 13 or losing weight as a young adult. You know what you need to do, you're doing it, and you're not sacrificing your health at all to lost the weight, so she's just going to have to get used to the idea of a different you and find a new activity to do with you that doesn't involve restaurants and eating. You're very inspirational. You're the whole package. Keep it up!

  10. I'm so sorry to hear that things were strained with your mom.
    I have to second the questions about whether your mom has body issues or if she has battled with her own weight in the past, perhaps gave up & (selfishly, sorry but that is how I see it) sees your victories as her own failure being rubbed in her face??

    As someone losing weight with support from her family, this type of behavior takes me by surprise every time.
    As a mom myself, it flat out shocks me.

    I can only hope this is temporary insanity & that she will come to her senses to realize that you deserve all of her love & support whether you gain or lose.

    You would know the truth, but I'll hope anyway.

    Like Jack said - you are doing this for you. Harsh as it is, especially when it is family, sometimes you just have to pull out the "smile & nod" with those who choose not to understand.


  11. Hadley, I'm older than you are and I still remember how hurtful those "mom" comments can be. I got them growing up, as a college student, and as an adult.

    I'm sorry that she made you feel this way. What it came down to for me was this: I needed to do what was good for me. Not what made my family or anybody else comfortable, but what made me happy.

    So often people have hidden issues/agendas that come out when they are threatened by something they really don't understand. I wonder if that is part of what is happening in your relationship with your mother.

    Take care of yourself and stay strong! You have goals and you are meeting them. That's what's important and impressive.

  12. My mom always wanted me to lose weight but she would be the first person to go and buy me some Wendys. Finally when I confronted her, she said she felt like we got along most when we ate food like that, we talk more and laugh more and there isnt that much conflict. I think thats probably true. Is there any chance the same is for your mom, do you guys bond more when you are eating unhealthy foods?

    Whatever the matter is, Hadley, youve been doing so well and you are such an inspiration to me. You write about things that I would otherwise never know, youre extremely intelligent and you have a realistic perspective on everything, and even though I dont know you personally, I really do respect you. I hope you wont dwell in your moms disappointment and just be proud of how far youve come.

  13. Aw, Hadley, I'm so sorry. It is so tough to be working so hard and then have your efforts chastised. You should be so proud of all of your hard work. Maybe your mother isn't liking that you're losing weight because you're changing and she's feeling like she is separated from you that little bit more? I am sure that in time she will get used to it.

    And by the way, good for you to work out in the gym each morning! That is super!!

    Congratulations on the award! Have a good day.

  14. It seems you have struck a chord here. I can't speak to the mother-daughter relationship as my mother passed when I was quite young and I don't have daughter. But I gather from your post that your parents are over the moon about you and would give you the shirts off their backs. Your mom doesn't seem to be one to embrace change. It's all about her; keep YOUR great progress rolling.

  15. I'm so sorry Hadley. I was seriously hoping that things would go really well.
    DO NOT let her get say-so in how well you do. She obviously has some issues with this, but let them be HER issues, not yours.
    YOU are getting healthier. YOU are feeling better about yourself. YOU are making better habits and choices. It would be awesome if she was on board, but if she's not, that's her loss for missing out on this in your life. This is about you not her.

  16. Oh, Hadley, I am so sorry. It is possible that she has her own stuff going on (maybe she is finding herself less in control of eating lately?) and is doing the typical take-it-out-on-the-one-you-love thing. You don't deserve that! Do not let it deter you though. You are doing this for you and it doesn't matter how other people feel about it. In my opinion, you actually went out of your way to ensure that they were not made uncomfortable by a drastic change in your eating patterns. Use this to move forward with more resolve. If you are strong enough to get through a time where your mother (who I have no doubt loves you dearly, but just has her own hangups) is not being supportive, than you can get through absolutely anything. Hugs!

  17. You've already been given tons of words of encouragement and ideas.. so I'll stick to what I do best.

    *BIG comforting hugs*

  18. I am so sorry that your mother is that way. The only thing I can offer is this. Don't take it personally. It's not about you. It's about her.

    Your so young still. You'll have to learn how to deal with her without it getting to you. I wish I was there to gave a big hug.

    Your doing the right thing. Don't let her get you down. Keep on kepping on.

  19. I also agree with Jack. This is for you, keep on it! Sorry there is tension on the home front. I would be avoiding the week of Thanksgiving too. :(

    Hope your Mom is more receptive after she has had some time to adjust to the idea.

  20. I'm sorry that your mom is so unsupportive! I can't imagine what that would be like, it would be so hard for you. Have you tried talking to your mom and telling her why you are dieting and losing the weight and why it is so important to you? Maybe you can make her understand...

  21. Well I can't really offer anything that hasn't already been said, but I did want to say that I'm sorry this happened. Family stuff can be so crappy.

    Do you think she might feel left out? Like, how dare you make this big change without sharing/conferring with her?

  22. Just know there is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself and health. You have changed, not your mom so don't expect much from her. Continue with your plans and be proud of yourself. You deserve your award!

  23. Oh Hadley. Not much more I can add except a hug. {{{{{HUGS}}}} Hang in there. Parents are funny things sometimes.

  24. We have an award for you!


  25. Hadley,

    I know exactly where you are coming from, I just found your blog today and I'm still new to the blogging world, but I can relate so easily to this post. My mom has always battled her weight as well, is that the same with your Mom?? Maybe she is just jealous, I know when i tell my mom Im having a good day she will suggest ice cream or something and than get mad when I don't want to ruin a great day of eating healthy! Love your blog and Im looking forward to reading it!

  26. wow. I can't believe your mom said that to you. I'm really sorry. It almost sounds like it wasn't fun for her unless you were eating as much as she was. And by you eating less than her, well, she took it personally. I'm not even going to speculate on the myriad of issues that she could have with this whole eating issue. You know, yourself it's comlicated, and it could be anything.

    Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us. I hope she doesn't say something like that again, but obviously you suspected that she was capable. Maybe it is a good thing to limit your time with them til you meet your goals or develop a plan of action for dealing with them.

    I thought you handled the weekend great!