Unsupportive Comments from Mother-in-law

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SarahLeanne

Joined: Jan 11
Posts: 21

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Posted: 13 Feb 2013, 23:40
I've been having issues with my MIL making unsupportive comments about my eating habits lately, and I would love some advice on how to deal with this. My mother in law is overweight, and loves to show her affection through food. When she offers me a cookie, or a second serving at Sunday dinner, I generally say "No, thank you". Perfectly polite response, right? She will then say something along the lines of "Oh, but you barely ate anything!" or "I bought these cookies because I knew you liked them!". I will usually again say "No thanks, I'm full/I'm not hungry". Although I think my answers are very polite,she will usually get very silent and look offended. Lately, I am losing my patience with these types of comments. The last time she urged me to have a cookie, I said "No, thank you", and her reply was "What, are you on a diet?!?". I informed her that I was simply trying to eat less processed junk, and more whole foods. She responded "But isn't that way more expensive?". At that point I kind of lost it, and told her that as far as I'm concerned, I'm investing in my future health and saving myself the thousands of dollars in medical bills I would have to spend if I had a heart attack later in life because of an unhealthy lifestyle. I think I may have hurt her feelings, but I felt like she was pushing me to a breaking point.

So, do you think it's better to keep my thoughts to myself and just say "No, thank you" a million times, or should I continue to stand my ground and express reasons for wanting to change myself for the better?
In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
-Bill Cosby
Spacey47

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 916

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 02:02
I think you may have made your point so hopefully she has got the message and will refrain from pushing her unhealthy food at you in the future

How is your relationship outside of the whole Cookie pushing scenario, are you generally comfortable around each other?, does she feel you like her? Is she just trying to make friends?

A lot of older women who have lived a tradtional domestic life feel their sense of purpose in life is to feed and look after others.


huffmann

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 99

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 03:11
I had the same problem before Smile
Stay calm and don't try to explain anything, there is no sense.
Just smile and eat what you decide to eat, trying to escape the explanations and trying to avoid others to pay attention on your eating.
Some cookie from time to time is not problem though.
As the time pass, she will become accustomed to the fact that you have "strange" eating habits and if you don't argue and "feed" her comments, she will eventually stop.
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,995

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 03:17
Generally, it has worked for me to simply tell people that I am on a weight loss mission, and that I am reaching my goals BECAUSE I say no thanks to the second helping and the bad stuff most of the time. If they get offended, then that has to be THEIR problem, not mine.
We have our missions in life, they have theirs. They're not always compatible, and when that happens there will be a "winner" and a "loser". Why should YOU have to be the loser? Smile

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fredmugs

Joined: Jan 11
Posts: 382

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 06:09
Where is your husband in all of this? I think your MIL will continue to nag you because that is what they do. Maybe if your husband showed some support and said something to her it would be better. Of course I have zero knowledge of any of your personalities so you eventually have to decide what's best.
Pain is a by-product of a good time.
marmom67

Joined: Jan 13
Posts: 4

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 07:31
If you have a good relationship, I suggest you take her aside not at a meal and ask to talk to her. Tell her how you feel about being questioned, you are really trying to watch what you eat, and that you would really appreciate her support. That may get her on your side? Otherwise, if this would cause friction or something, then just ignore her as it is your right to decide what goes into your body! Rather than talking about it, change the subject.
msawyer13

Joined: May 10
Posts: 126

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 10:09
I think many people who are overweight get very emotional about their close friends/family being successful with a healthy eating lifestyle that ends up in weight loss. It makes them feel guilty, embarrasses, ashamed, all sorts of feelings that get expressed as negative comments towards you. Try to understand that perhaps you eating healthy is making putting her in a bad place, and perhaps her comments wont hurt so badly. You'll know where they are coming from...

Then, just be proud of what you're doing and keep doing it! I think you've explained all you need to explain. Just keep being polite and remember that her comments are because she's probably upset with herself, not you. Eventually she'll stop. Heck, she might even ask for some pointers one day...
mrspackrat

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 557

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 13:43
I read your post and thought, wow, that's my MIL! For me, there was nothing I could say. Even when I said I was trying to eat healthier then she kept pressing the DIET word all the time (which annoys me because I don't believe in dieting, its a way of life). And when we go out to eat, now she has to point out all the "low calorie" options and salads. I don't know why it's her business what I eat and when but it's just her. She's a "pusher" as far as sweets go and I've learned to say no and annoy her but it's my body and if I don't want it, I shouldn't have to eat it to please her. Sometimes I do say yes but it's truly if I want it. But it's her personality to push food and I've just learned to accept it. It does appear that she's lightened up now, maybe because she knows she can't push me into eating something.
Sweetalot

Joined: Sep 07
Posts: 238

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 14:27
Kudos to you for making healthy changes for a better health. I'm sure your MIL loves you and you love her. You're doing the right thing for yourself and hopefully, you will become an example for those around you, including her. What's important is that you don't allow the behaviour of others to detract you from your plan.
Gaëts
chefmichelle...

Joined: Feb 13
Posts: 5

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 14:38
I have bee in your position many times as my Polish MIL's life revolved around food and her hospitality was measured by how much she could stuff into you. I found that if she offered me foods that I wasn't interested in I would thank her effusively and then ask if she would mind to pack it up so that I could take it home and enjoy it later. It helped quite a lot and her feelings were less hurt and if the stuff she was sending me was junk then I could put it in the trash before I even got home. Hope this helps.
cerobit

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 80

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 15:45
chef, we enjoyed some dudek pierogi and kielbasa last night. know what u mean about the polish mil. my extended polish fam just sent this plus lotsa other polish goodies as a care package. luckily most fit my current diet (in small amts)
dx w/inoperable brain tumor 9/12, so nutrition is vital. Dedicated to slaying this beast.

"Keep on swimming" Nemo
erika2633

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 804

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 16:07
msawyer13 wrote:
I think many people who are overweight get very emotional about their close friends/family being successful with a healthy eating lifestyle that ends up in weight loss. It makes them feel guilty, embarrasses, ashamed, all sorts of feelings that get expressed as negative comments towards you.


I agree with this (and pretty much everything that has been said here). There seems to be this tendency, especially with women, to feel better about eating "bad" things when everyone else eats "bad" things too. Think about going out to eat with a group of 6 other women. If those other 6 women all order salads with low-cal dressing, how likely are you to order a double cheeseburger and onion rings?

Chances are your MIL wants to be able to feel "justified" in eating that stuff herself, so she wants you to do it too. I think Spacey is definitely also right in saying that some women just feel like it's their 'purpose in life' to feed people - that's how they try to show love. Maybe try to bond with her some other way that doesn't involve food??

I feel for you, good luck with this!



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Sk1nnyfuture

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 530

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 16:49
I would say it is definately a case of, that's how shows love and justifies her existence. Because she is 'overweight', she wants company, when she eats stuff, that makes her even more overweight.... It makes her feel less of a failure. Keep on saying 'no thank you' politely... I think fredmugs has a good point, about getting your husband on side. Maybe by saying "mum, don't keep pushing food on Sarah, she doesn't want it". She may take it better from him. Well done.... It's a difficult situation.... But you are choosing to stay healthy Smile

" Success is what you make it, there's no better time to make a change than the present."

"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. "
cerobit

Joined: Jul 12
Posts: 80

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Posted: 14 Feb 2013, 17:24
Here is a story of one woman's way of handling similar issues with her MIL:Rolling Eyes

Link
dx w/inoperable brain tumor 9/12, so nutrition is vital. Dedicated to slaying this beast.

"Keep on swimming" Nemo
SarahLeanne

Joined: Jan 11
Posts: 21

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Posted: 16 Feb 2013, 10:50
Wow, so many replies! Thank you all for your your advice, I take something away from every one of your responses. To answer Spacey47, my mil and I are very close, my husband and I lived with her for three years and in many ways she is closer to me than my own mother. And I completely agree with the idea that she feels it is her mission to feed and nurture those around her. To fredmugs, the incidents I mentioned have happened when I was alone with my mother-in-law, and to my husband's defense, he does stand up for me and tell his mom to cool it when he sees that I'm uncomfortable. msawyer13, you raise a great point, one I hadn't thought of. I think that seeing me make good choices for my health may make her feel guilty about the unhealthy choices she's made, and by putting down my choices she can feel better about herself. I think my strategy from now on will be to hold my tongue as much as possible and continue to say "No, thank you" (most of the times...of course, I do want the cookie once in a while!), and if it gets to a breaking point again, explain to her that the criticism makes me feel unsupported and that I need her to stop. Thanks everyone for the great advice! Very Happy
In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
-Bill Cosby
Cthulhu

Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 167

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Posted: 16 Feb 2013, 13:02
I'd chalk a lot of it up to American lack of culture. In societies where women are most often thin and healthy, they are actually encourage each to be healthy, reinforce modesty in eating, etc.

What you describe is not unlike many other situations we constantly face. As a guy I've always been encouraged at family functions to take more and finish off dishes. You just don't think anything of it growing up, but looking back at it now is pretty horrifying that our whole culture has no conscientious aesthetic for food or moderation. It's not a coincidence that America invented microwave TV dinners.

“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” ~Victor E. Frankl
Kimberley76

Joined: Feb 13
Posts: 34

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Posted: 16 Feb 2013, 15:49
It's her problem not yours IMHO and just stay true to yourself and your lifestyle of eating...if anyone can't be tolerant (if not HAPPY for) you) it's not your deal!!! keep up the good work!
eKatherine

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 1,286

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Posted: 16 Feb 2013, 16:48
Cthulhu wrote:
I'd chalk a lot of it up to American lack of culture. In societies where women are most often thin and healthy, they are actually encourage each to be healthy, reinforce modesty in eating, etc.

What you describe is not unlike many other situations we constantly face. As a guy I've always been encouraged at family functions to take more and finish off dishes. You just don't think anything of it growing up, but looking back at it now is pretty horrifying that our whole culture has no conscientious aesthetic for food or moderation. It's not a coincidence that America invented microwave TV dinners.


We have all been raised from the time we started eating solid food to ignore our own hunger cues and eat instead from external cues that have nothing to do with hunger. It's amazing any of us is naturally thin. Or maybe those who are naturally thin are that way because they had "bad mothers" who didn't properly train their kids to eat when ordered to and clean their plates.
Stetter

Joined: Nov 12
Posts: 21

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Posted: 17 Feb 2013, 07:57
Can you just take the cookie or second helping and not eat it?
NCNOLE

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,218

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Posted: 17 Feb 2013, 08:09
It will get easier. If you just try to let it slide and don't react to her comments, then hopefully she will stop. Some people just like to get reactions. I always get the comments when we decide to eat out. "Oh well, we have to go someplace you can eat... Are you sure there is something you can eat here?... All that gets old - I am NOT on a diet. I can eat whatever I want. I also get the, "wow, you eat real healthy. Do you always eat like this? What do you eat for dinner? I think it makes people uncomfortable to see you eat consistently healthy when they do not. Just take a deep breath and say "I know" and "I'm sorry" and leave it at that - she will eventually stop. And she will probably start saying stuff like "I know you won't eat this, but..." The tone changes a little Smile People can be so annoying.



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