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To be fed up of my MIL commenting on my eating habits?

(87 Posts)
butlerbabies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:03:42

Let me start off by saying she's not a big woman! I've always been a small portion eater, and if I don't like something, I won't eat it. If I am full, I will not force myself to eat it.

Once again tonight, for the 1000th time, I was questioned as to why I didn't finish what was on my plate. I handed my plate to MIL as she went around collecting plates. I said "that was absolutely lovely, thank you" which immediately followed by her asking "not nice enough for you to finish it though, is it? hmm"

I really felt quite embarrassed because DP, BIL and BIL's partner were all looking my way. I'm really quite fed up of her comments like this.

I've never been one to be pampered to. As a Spanish family growing up, I ate from normal menus and I was never a fussy eater, I just don't like large portions. I don't think kids menus were heard of, actually...

For example, I've always made it clear that I wouldn't want anything to go to waste, and have always said 'just a small bit for me please' because MIL hates waste.

Recently, we had a girls night in whilst FIL and DP/BIL went for drinks. We arranged to all chip in and buy a big bonus bucket of KFC chicken etc (my favourite), which came to £5 each. After handing my fiver over when we'd all eaten, she exclaimed "Oh no love, you keep it. You hardly touched a thing lol" (I did, I'm not sure she realised that time envy).

I'm just getting a bit fed up with people getting pissy with me for not being a big eater. I'm not pin thin either. And besides that, I don't think the quantity of my dinner plate consumption has much to do with anyone really!

AIBU? Should I expected to get glares if I don't force feed? It's quite disrespectful in my books. I know it's a cultural thing with some, but she's British through and through and Brits are wasteful people (I'm not saying that's an excuse to be wasteful etc). I'm just pointing out that are family don't have certain 'customs'.

Whoknewitcouldbeso Thu 19-Nov-15 17:10:28

My Mother eats like a bird and always has. It can be a little annoying, particularly when you've cooked and most of the food remains on the plate at the end. But that is how she is, she cannot be any different and the problem is mine and anyone else who tries to feed her and not hers to force food down to please us.

I'm not sure you will change people's opinions on how you eat sadly so you may just have to grow a thicker skin to ignore any comments.

quirkychick Thu 19-Nov-15 17:10:56

YANBU it's very rude! My MIL used to try and guilt trip me/others about food - not sure it's British rather than a sign of insecurity. Not sure what the answer is, perhaps to politely but firmly say you have had enough or try to ignore.

butlerbabies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:11:56

Who, don't get me wrong, I don't pick at food. I take big mouthfuls. It's just when I'm full, I stop. And MIL never seems to listen when I ask for a small portion...

GabiSolis Thu 19-Nov-15 17:12:34

There is never an excuse for someone to be rude to you, but she likely doesn't see it as rude I imagine.

I know it's a cultural thing with some, but she's British through and through and Brits are wasteful people (I'm not saying that's an excuse to be wasteful etc). I'm just pointing out that are family don't have certain 'customs'.

While I'm not entirely sure what point you were trying to make with this bit, if you've ever made comments like this to her then it's likely she is seeing you as rude.

MsJamieFraser Thu 19-Nov-15 17:13:44

YABU to state that Brits are wasteful people, some are! not all, as with any country!

You will just need to grow a thicker skin.

butlerbabies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:14:39

Gabi, no I've never said anything like that to her.

As for the point of that point, I raised it in case anyone assumed it was a cultural thing. I cannot remember which, but for some cultures it's a big no no to waste.

Sparkletastic Thu 19-Nov-15 17:14:30

Does she place undue importance on her culinary skills? We have to force down more food than we'd like at ILs as MIL is an extremely tense person who, since retiring early, devotes lots of time to cookery. She measures self-worth by clean plates. Could yours be cut from similar cloth?

quirkychick Thu 19-Nov-15 17:17:37

I used to get "I thought you liked..." on one occasion I was offered 10 roast potatoes! I'm not a small eater but I'm not going to overeat loads just because someone has cooked far too much. We don't eat round there now as she is quite elderly and she doesn't really cook.

quirkychick Thu 19-Nov-15 17:21:06

Yy mil definitely saw it as a criticism if you didn't eat loads or said "no thank you". I can't be doing with emotional blackmail around food. You could always try the broken record technique of calmly repeating, "no thank you I'm full".

girlywhirly Thu 19-Nov-15 17:23:09

Some people see not eating much of their food as an insult, some think they are not looking after you properly if you aren't eating big portions. I used to eat small portions, I still don't eat massive ones now. I find most restaurant main meals more than I can manage, and a massive plateful actually puts me off eating, as do comments about what I'm eating or not.

I gather MIL dishes food up on the plates rather than letting folk serve themselves from dishes, because that is your problem, if you could help yourself to what you want you would be able to finish it. I still think she is insensitive to draw attention to you in this way. In that she is BU.

I'm so sensitive to the issue that when we have guests I will say once that there is more if anyone wants, and let them help themselves rather than constantly going on about would they like more, are they sure if they don't, etc. They know when they are full.

Cat2014 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:24:54

Yanbu - that's why I like 'help yourself' meals! Stick a load of pots on the table, cook plenty but reassure people it can be saved for another if it looks like they're not going to get through it, and let people fill their own boots.. Or doll sized slippers!
If I'm at someone's house and I know I won't eat much I always ask for a small portion, if I don't get it that's the host's problem - I would never stuff myself if I couldn't manage it comfortably!

ihatethecold Thu 19-Nov-15 17:26:43

YANBU op.
I really dislike the notion that you have to eat everything on your plate.
I tell my dd12 not to ask if she can finish her meal. I've told her she can stop eating when she feels she has had enough. She doesn't need permission to stop.
I don't like the guilt around it all. I think it leads to over eating.
Or people being impressed when someone eats a massive meal. It's weird.

butlerbabies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:26:55

Thank you for the perspectives.

No, she is not one to cook loads (just cooks because her DH doesn't really, although she loves baking). I don't think self worth is placed on cooking either. She works full time and is only mid 40's so a spring chicken in my books!

LucilleBluth Thu 19-Nov-15 17:28:39

British people are wasteful......what now. Have you any experience of living in North America op.

KurriKurri Thu 19-Nov-15 17:29:20

In my family growing up - all food was put onto the table in big bowls or plates and you helped yourself to however much you wanted. I was quite surprised when I ate with my H's family for the first time that his mum put what your food onto your plate for you and presented you with a plate of food.

I think it's no one's business what someone else eats. My mother eats very small quantities - she is elderly and not very mobile, but I;m sure if someone started embarrassing her about what she was eating she'd give up all together.

If you take a small portion, you can always take more if you are still hungry, if someone dictates that you start with a large portion there will regularly be waste.

KurriKurri Thu 19-Nov-15 17:29:45

put 'out' your food onto your plate ...

butlerbabies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:30:08

ihate I'm not sure who but a famous dietician said just that! My own Mum made sure I wasn't part of the 'clean plate club' because she believes it led to later problems for her and her two siblings in later life.

I myself will not be encouraging DC to eat all that is on his plate if they're full. If you're full, you're full. You just can't have any sweeties grin but then again, there's nothing wrong with leaving room for desert either.

Cat2014 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:31:24

Same here I don't make ds clear his plate. He knows his own body. I just don't provide other food for a while and make sure he knows that's the case if he's hardly touched a meal!

butlerbabies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:32:43

Cat I'm so glad to hear that. You're setting your DS up for a life of knowing food is yummy and good, but that you know your own body and if you're feeling full, stop!

Cat2014 Thu 19-Nov-15 17:35:03

Thank you smile I hope so!

EllieJayJay Thu 19-Nov-15 17:36:59

Not convinced it's a British thing to be wasteful I think generally quite the opposite- you will not move until you eat that last Brussel sprout... Won't get any desert if you don't eat your vegetables wink this is where her attitude of clearing a plate comes from I should imagine - my family have always served food in bowls to take what you want (British with Italian roots somewhere just always how we have had meals) and go back for seconds if you need the leftovers were all put in the fridge for bubble and squeak the next morning or sandwiches if meat. Love this although can be a killer of the food is wonderful as the temptation is to go back for more smile

an ExBF mother would pile plates so high and insist we ate everything (was much younger then and used to beg her not to serve more, feel embarrassed to not eat it and my pleas just made her worse - you can have extra for that) but at the same time she would put the smallest of portions on her plate- it is very annoying, and used to make me feel super uncomfortable the way she would constantly badger me about food - not how you should have meals with family in my opinion. I would also get his father moaning at how much it cost to bring the food into the home and how long she had taken to cook it - and BF never stood up for me, the others could leave food and not a word was said - thank god there gone. New MIL is a terrible cook so I always cook or we go to a restaurant this works perfectly :D

I'm not sure what you can do, in the end I stopped asking and let it wash over me - and eventually once it didn't seem to phase me it stopped - they really were horrible people

butlerbabies Thu 19-Nov-15 17:40:16

Ellie what a bloody, rotten cheek that family were grin

That's terribly offensive.. I'd pause before saying that to my own children, let alone my son's girlfriend/fiancé...

Topseyt Thu 19-Nov-15 17:45:57

This is why I usually like to just put the food on the table and ask people to help themselves. That way they can have as much or as little as they wish.

The only thing I sometimes have to say to my DDs is that I want them to eat what they have taken. They are responsible for taking the right amounts, so I don't want them just throwing it away after taking it. The younger two are still at home and are ages 17 (well, almost) and 13, so well able to judge for themselves, I think.

It is rude of your MIL to comment like this. You eat according to your hunger. Simple.

However, I find your comment "British are wasteful people" to be rather rude and ill-judged. As someone else said, you clearly haven't seen portion sizes in the United States. I found it impossible to get just a simple sandwich there. All came with masses of chips and other stuff, with dozens of huge sandwiches on the plate. An omelette I ordered for my breakfast once, which was supposed to be a single portion, could easily have fed a family of four with some left over.

IlonaRN Thu 19-Nov-15 17:45:57

The problem is that she's dishing up the food. That is a peculiarly British phenomenon.

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