[a weight loss story]
*kathrynoh at nemesis dot com dot au*
Sometimes, when I get into one of those horrid, murky self-pitying mood, I feel upset that I never did anything about my weight until now. I feel like I wasted the best years of my life - those years when I could have been young and hot and thin (well maybe not thin but definitely not obese). I can even get into the mindset of 'why bother now? I'm too old'. I am the queen of self pity, I tells ya. I imagine that for the last twenty or so years of my life, my fat has created a barrier between me and the rest of the world, that it has stopped me living the life I want. That, because of my fat, I have missed out.
But you know, that isn't true. It is a stupid thing to think. Sure it has held me back in some areas (eg. romance) but even then it hasn't just been the weight but a whole swag of emotional issues. In other ways, it has meant nothing. I had a very active social life for many years - well I still have a social life now, I mean, but when I was younger I was the party girl, going out all night to clubs and things.
For quite a number of years, I worked full time while studying for my degree part time and raising a child on my own (and fitting in lots of partying in there somewhere ). That isn't exactly "missing out" now is it. That is really fitting some shit in there. At one point, I was running a part time business while I was doing all that.
But there is one thing I really do regret. One reason why I wish I'd started making all these changes in my life sooner, much sooner. And that reason is my son. When my son was young, like toddler-young, I was very fussy about what he ate. No sugary treats, no junk. I used to shop at the local wholefoods shop and would guard over his eating like a hawk.
So far, so good. But then the dark and evil shadow lurks into the picture. And this shadow takes the shape of my mother (not that I think my mum is dark and evil, except when it comes to nutrition, oh and her opinions/behaviour towards my ability to raise my own child, oh yeah and a whole swag of other shit, but anyways).
This is what a typical visit to my mother would be like:
Me: I don't want my son eating crap.
Ma (to my son): Poor little thing. Does your mother want to starve you?
Me: I just don't want him developing a sweet tooth. If he doesn't have those things, he doesn't crave them.
Ma : Oh he can't miss out on all the goodies.
Me: Don't give him lollies. Aren't you listening to me?
Ma (to my son): Here you go. Have a lollie. At least your nan cares about you.
Okay, lets play pick the issues in that scene * eye roll *
So anyway, instead of sticking to my guns about these things, I caved and slowly my son's diet got worse. As he got older and I got busier, especially after I started uni and everything else, I'd get home from work exhaused and the easiest thing was to dial a pizza. I wish I had all that money I've spent on pizza and other takeaways now. Man.
There would the chocolate treats after dinner and the extras thrown into the shopping (oh that was another thing my mum taught him - to throw things into the shopping trolley when I wasn't looking - because I did that to her as a kid).
So it went on over time - bad habits that got worse. The thing was, I was the mother, I should have been in control but I'd cave in every time my son nagged me for pizza or fish & chips. He knew it wouldn't take much to wear down the egg-shell thin resolve I had.
Now my son has a weight problem and I blame myself. I set him no example but taught him all wrong. I tried to curb it. We'd have takeaway night once a week and cook the rest, but even our home cooked meals were bad - heavy on carbs and fat, although heavy on fresh vegies too because I love my vegies (my son hates them, which always made cooking difficult hard).
The stupid thing is that I'd think I couldn't stop these habits in myself because I'd have to deal with his tantrums and shit. But you know something, when I started changing my eating habits before he left home, he would do the usual "how about I go down the shops and get us a chocolately treat" and I just said "No, I don't want to eat chocolate any more". This went on for a couple of nights and then he just stopped asking. It was that simple. No fights, no tantrums. He just realised that things had changed.
So yeah, that is my biggest regret. I don't know how to change this, how to redeem it, now. I try to talk to my son about eating well and take him to the market to stock up on fresh food but I spend years teaching him wrong and giving him the worst example. I did the wrong thing and I have to live with that.
Hi Kathryn, Wonderful post. One word of caution: taking responsibility for the effect you've had on your son's dietary habits (and the way he might be using food for other than nutrition) does not mean that you need to assume the blame for his physical condition. At 18, he is already at an age where he needs to assume full responsibility for himself (again, not blame). If you continue to set a good example and talk to him openly and frankly about your thoughts and feelings about your own weight (and his), you open a door which only he can walk through, painful as it might be if he chooses not to.
My kids are 3.75 and 1. I am just starting to think about what habits I am teaching them. I make them finish their dinner before they are allowed to have a treat. Should I even be giving them a treat? It is so hard to worry about all the time.
I agree with Debra - if your son is 18 and has a weight issue the only thing you can do is talk to him and show him by example. He is now old enough to make his own decisions and if he chooses to ignore your advice - you can't blame yourself.
boobs: 100 cm
waist: 81 cm
hips: 109 cm
thighs: 50 cm
Weekly Goal Lifestyle Changing Challenge-A-Rama
Week 1 - Drink more water
Week 2 - Cut out sugary treats