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Monday, 1 November 2010

Important Relationships and Your Weight

Last Friday was my birthday. I had some lovely surprise calls, visits, and even presents, thus, I felt cared for and special, despite the fact that it was a tough one this year as it was the first one without my Mom.
I'd have to say, my relationship with my mother was as double-edged as it can get when it comes to my weight struggle. For the first 12 years of my life, she made food the emphasis of my being -- cooking, feeding, and often, overfeeding, to show me how cared for and special I was. She made me feel that I could eat freely and almost, endlessly, because somehow when I 'turned into a teenager', I would miraculously shed my 'baby fat' and become svelte and 'normal'. When that didn't happen, she then criticized and often even scolded me for the rest of my teens into early adulthood for not being 'svelte' and a 'normal' weight. At one point, in my early teens, she put me on diet pills. This made me lose weight, but it also made me break out into a terrible body rash and made me sick. A soon as I stopped the pills, the weight piled on again. The dynamic of my weight struggle really dominated my whole relationship with my mother for so many years. It was crazy. But, it led me to find a way to break that domination and to find my own way in life, really. Once I took control of my own 'weight struggle',it wasn't really so much about all the degrees and titles I've obtained that came with the uber-knowledge of foods, nutrition, metabolism, and (patho)physiology that helped me, as it was the realization that my Mom UNWITTINGLY led me down a path that would set me up for struggling with my weight my entire life. She wasn't negligent or abusive or purposefully inappropriate -- which is what some 'experts' today are trying to proffer as reasons for childhood obesity. Although, perhaps, in some cases, this may be true, I believe in MOST cases, parental mal-influence on childhood obesity is totally unintended and only happens out of ignorance and frustration, but,nevertheless, out of love, as it did in my case. Mom truly believed that feeding me, as she did, was GOOD for me and it was the BEST she felt she had to offer. She TRULY believed that I would slim down and 'even out' once I started menstruating and physiologically and hormonally change. And, actually, she wasn't so wrong! It IS normal for pre-pubescent children to experience a surge in body weight right before the pubescent growth spurt and many children, especially females, look, and may actually BE,'chubby' right before the hormones kick in to restore the body's homeostasis to a better fat:muscle ratio. But, of course, her 'oversimplified', uneducated misunderstanding of the reality of the situation, was the crucial difference between 'getting it right' and 'getting it wrong'. But, she did everything she did out of love.
Once I realized this, it helped to re-establish my relationship with my Mom. We had a very strong, close, and loving relationship and I miss her very much. Oh, I still struggle with my weight -- but it's MY struggle, not hers. And it's EXACTLY why I do what I do -- that is -- work hard to help others become AWARE and knowledgeable and correct about how to PREVENT childhood obesity and obesity, in general. If ONE health-care practitioner would have been forthcoming in not only providing my Mom with the facts, but in guiding her to LIVE through the correct way to feed and nourish me and to get me more active and in tune with my growing body -- then, perhaps I wouldn't be struggling today.
So, look at your relationships and PLEASE -- don't hold onto anything that's holding you back any more than you need to! You have MORE information and awareness today of all that you DO need to 'get it right' and really work at it. It may be hard and it may be a 'struggle', but, if you keep at it -- you will overcome. Nobody, even my beloved Mom -- ever said it would be easy! And, anything, anything in life -- when it's a struggle -- taste that much sweeter when you reach a point when you find yourself overcoming it!

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