Family and Fat

by Zen Gray

Wow. My parents can really push my buttons.

I just got back from the winter wonderland known as Chicago… and I’m totally exhausted from my vacation.

My parents met my fiance for the first time and I really wanted everything to go perfectly. But as we all know… there’s no such thing as perfect. I just forget to act like a rational human being when I’m around my parents sometimes. I don’t know what it is. Is it because they still think of  me as a kid? Is it because I revert back to some teenage rebellion phase? Is it some sibling rivalry thing that makes me crave more approval? I don’t really know.

I had high hopes for this trip. I pictured my parents embracing David and taking me aside to tell me how happy they were and what a great guy he is. I wanted my mom and my sister to be all giggly about wedding stuff and take me out dress shopping. But somehow, after several fun days of whirlwind Christmas stuff like wrapping presents for my sister’s kids, dessert eating, picture taking and sleep deprivation… there was a relationship meltdown. Not with David (they liked him a lot) but with me and my parents (my mom, in particular.)

I think back to how this fight happened. At the time I wasn’t feeling well. I had a headache, I was hormonal, I was tired and I had just gotten blown off by an old friend which made me really sensitive. But you know what? My diet was also crappy for a few days. (My favorite Chicago foods are Vienna Beef hot dogs and “oh, sure… I’ll have some more Fanny May fudge!”) And the only workout I had was to shovel the snow a couple times (Not that it isn’t hard work… but it’s not exactly ideal cardio.)

My mom and I had a misunderstanding and I let it get totally out of hand. We’re both pretty strong and stubborn. We hurt each other with words we didn’t mean. I love my parents more than anything and right now my mom isn’t even talking to me… which kills me because we’ve always been very close. But all I can do is say I’m sorry and that I love her and keep trying to mend that bridge. Giving up on that relationship is not an option.

What’s so sad is that I kept thinking about how my uncle just died and how his daughters would give anything to be able to talk to him again. I bet given the chance, they wouldn’t waste another moment over a silly argument.

So, even though I started the Love and Fat blog with the idea of intimate relationships affecting body weight… I can also see how family relationships can really affect it, too. And what’s more important… I can see how the lack of a healthy lifestyle (even for a few days) can hurt a relationship, too.

I bet if I had more sleep, better nutrition and a couple healthy workouts over those few days, I would have had the patience and understanding that my parents deserve. Instead I let my temper snap and I feel just awful. I should know better.


5 Comments to “Family and Fat”

  1. Oh, can I relate to this! My mother can really push my buttons (it’s a control thing with her) and drove me to some wine the other night. I was so mad at myself and her because I’ve been so good about avoiding alcohol. Anyway, all you can do is say, Ok, I messed up and get back on track. By the way, don’t feel bad about losing your temper with mom. Sometimes you have to do that to stand up for yourself, otherwise she’ll walk all over you! Believe me, I know! Hang in there. It’ll work itself out.

  2. Thanks, Diane. Messing up happens and “getting back on track” as soon as possible is the key, as you’ve already found. I love how your mom “drove” you to some wine the other night… lol. I’ve definitely blamed someone else before for slipping up in my diet. It’s just too convenient for me to pass up that opportunity, too 😉

    I’m happy to report that we’ve since cleared up our misunderstanding and have some new strategies in place for future communication. I think it’s gonna be good.
    Happy New Year!!!

  3. You have no idea how much this post hit home. My Mom and I are very close but we have had some serious fall outs. She can be very critical and doesn’t always put it in a very nice way. I can tolerate quite a bit but we all have our breaking points and when I finally break the flood gates open. The ironic thing is that my Mom and my Grandmother would do the same thing. My Grandmother was hyper critical of my Mother and it drove my Mom up the wall. I try so hard to remember that is why she does what she does.

    However – I want to break the cycle and not do this to my own children. When I do find myself being hard on my son (daughter is only 2 so hers will come later) I tell him that yes I am hard on him because I love him so much and I want him to be the best he can be. And I try to make it positive criticism and not negative.

    Glad this all worked out! I love your blog by the way!


    • Thanks so much, Cindy 🙂
      I think Mother/Daughter relationships are just some of the most complicated ones. It’s great that you have that awareness and you’re trying to break a cycle!

  4. Sorry to hear that you had a rough patch with your family visit and an argument with your mom. However, don’t beat yourself up too hard, thinking about how your cousins would feel or what they would give to have time back with their parent.

    I lost my mom about 7 years ago, quite suddenly. She was my best friend, and while I would give just about anything to have her back, and whole, and healthy again, it doesn’t mean that everything was always perfect or wonderful. As human beings, we’re imperfect, and so are our relationships.

    If you can’t have the occasional fight or disagreement, and then work on them, your relationship with your mom will stagnate and you won’t be able to be authentic and allow it to grow and change, as you grow and change. Trust me on this one, I live now in Minnesota — land of the basic philosophy that “it’s not nice to tell people that you’re upset”… and as a result we have skyrocketing obesity here, heart disease, and all sorts of hidden anger and passive aggression.

    No doubt, by now, you’ve resolved your disagreement with your mom, but as a now “motherless daughter” I’d say not to let the fact that you’re lucky still have your mom be the reason to sweep everything under the carpet and not address issues when they arise from time to time! Good luck.

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