My mom frequently makes comments about the things I choose to eat, adding that when my metabolism slows down, I won't be able to stay my current size if I keep eating this way. It bothers me and I want her to stop--what do I say?
Signed, Fed Up Daughter
Dear Fed Up,
I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. It is frustrating on so many levels. Let’s break it down and help you formulate the best response for you.
Your mom’s input implies (at least) three things:
You’re not free to eat the food that you want to eat. (Which is FALSE.)
You need to be a certain size. (Which is FALSE.)
She has the right to judge your dietary choices and comment on them. (Which is FALSE.)
You have the freedom to eat what you want. Food is more than fuel—it is for enjoyment and delight as well as nutrition and energy. Your body has unique needs, and those needs extend far beyond what will make you stay at a certain size.
There is no right size for your body! I’ve noticed that some people point out in others what they despise in themselves. Perhaps your mom feels shame over a perceived lack of discipline before her metabolism ‘slowed down.’ Perhaps she feels responsible to educate you on something that she perceives would have been helpful to her at your age. Perhaps she wants you to be a certain size for the sake of her reputation as a mother. It’s likely a combination of some or all of those things.
Regardless of her motivation for speaking to you rudely about your food choices, you do not have to let her speak to you that way again. Here are some suggestions for having a conversation with her about the incident.
Could you explain to me why you said that to me? <— you can question her assumptions and ask her to look at the false beliefs underneath her comments. It could turn into a fruitful conversation. You can poke at someone’s motivations in a way that maintains their dignity and does not insult their intelligence; take care to question the framework behind their ideas and not accuse them of malicious intent.
This is how it made me feel. <—More than likely, your mom doesn’t see how her comment hurts you. If she continues to stand her ground and ignore your feelings, it’s time to set up some boundaries for your own self-protection.
Decide when you want to have this conversation:
Before it happens again vs. When it happens again <—you choose.
It’s hard, but you are not being too sensitive. Your body is good, as all bodies are.
For more Good Body help, check out my book!