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wibu to tell my mother I don't care about her weekly weight fluctuations

(20 Posts)
iloveeverykindofcat Sun 03-Jul-16 10:55:21

Okay, backstory - weight has always been a HUGE issue with my mother, who is perfectly healthy and average sized. I am naturally thinnish, and resolved at an early age that I wouldn't be obsessed with looks/weight/clothes as she is.(She told me to start shaving my legs at 15 or so). I don't diet or have any emotional problems with food so I'm aware I may lack insight/empathy here, but oh my God, why must she give me a weekly report on whether she has lost/gained two pounds, what she has eaten/not eaten, whether she feels fat or slim...honestly, she's an intelligent professional woman, and it rather upsets me that in her late sixties this is still such an overwhelming issue in her life .But also...I don't want to hear it. It makes me uncomfortable, and its boring. Should I just let her get it out? She seems to get some kind of benefit from telling me? Or is there a way to politely tell her that I don't want to hear it anymore?

scarednoob Sun 03-Jul-16 11:02:09

She's not going to change at her age. And it sounds as if she likes telling you. If it were me, I would roll my eyes to myself but let her get on with it.

DocMcFanjo Sun 03-Jul-16 11:06:59

I have this, exactly, with my mother AND my maternal grandmother.

I opted out like you and find the constant commentary on how healthy her breakfast was, and how much exercise she did today, and that last pound from holidays she's trying to work off, to be not only irritating, but utterly depressing when they are both two beautiful, vibrant women with so much going for them beyond their appearance.

I don't know what the answer is.

I've said it frankly to my mum and I affectionately slag off my gran all the time (in a "please please don't mention your bowel motions now" way) but it never changes.

I've now started openly switching off when it starts. Taking out my phone and just throwing in the odd "mmm hmm" until the subject changes. It's rude yes, but it does cut the talk down a little!

It's absolutely a learned behaviour. Mum does it because gran always did it and always commented critically on mum's appearance. It's sad but I'm determined not to pass it on to my DDs.

snowy508601 Sun 03-Jul-16 11:10:05

Wow! Fanjo are you always so rude when people talk about things that are very big in their life but doesn't involve you?

iloveeverykindofcat Sun 03-Jul-16 11:12:55

> not only irritating, but utterly depressing when they are both two beautiful, vibrant women with so much going for them beyond their appearance.

Precisely, it's upsetting isn't it? I guess partly it's the generation, thinking that a woman's looks is an important 'currency', so to speak. I think it's great that you're breaking the cycle - I would try hard for that if I ever had DDs.

HeyMacWey Sun 03-Jul-16 11:18:08

I think it's partly a generation thing. My mum does the same though, despite being a high earner and respected professional in her field.

When the dc were younger I did pick her up on it and ask her not to mention weight quite so often as I wanted to try and avoid weight being an issue for my own dc.

fascicle Sun 03-Jul-16 11:26:59

I think you have every right to ask her not to talk about it. It's not benefitting either of you.

It's good to hear that you sound very grounded in your attitude to eating. Your mother is lucky that her behaviour has not had a harmful impact on you.

PaintedDrivesAndPolishedGrass Sun 03-Jul-16 11:32:13

It's not important to you, fair enough but it is to her. You are naturally slim so have no experience of not being happy with your weight. It doesn't matter if you think she looks fine, it's what your Mum thinks that matters. I understand completely not being obsessed with clothes/looks/weight, I'm the same apart from weight ( I want to be a healthy weight for obvious reasons) I am me regardless of how I look and am confident enough to not need anyone else's approval. I think you could maybe humour her. Just because she's your mum.

iloveeverykindofcat Sun 03-Jul-16 11:46:18

fascile I guess I sort of 'rebelled' in a weird way - refusing to be fashionable etc - I was a very bookish kid with very nerdy interests (still am!). But Painted you are quite right to say I don't know what it's like and I could probably humour her better. It seems to me that it's a sad waste of time/effort/concern considering she's never even been fat, but maybe that's a false judgement on my part.

DavidPuddy Sun 03-Jul-16 11:47:00

I am always grateful when my nearest and dearest let me rabbit on about mundane things every now and again. I realise it is boring, so I only do it enough that I feel I have processed it. Fortunately my husband is a very kind soul and never minds (he gets the bulk of it). Sometimes it is just a kindness to let people chat. Not letting it happen isn't going to change your Mum's behaviour, anyway.

That being said, I would never let anyone witter on about weightloss in front of my daughter. I know firsthand how destructive that can be.

BursarsFrogs Sun 03-Jul-16 11:55:21

I've now started openly switching off when it starts. Taking out my phone and just throwing in the odd "mmm hmm" until the subject changes. It's rude yes, but it does cut the talk down a little!

i do this, or plainly just change the subject. And I don't feel bad about it either. Then again I do have an eating disorder and spent at least a decade trying to get my mum to understand and not actively make things worse. She hasn't, and doesn't see the problem. So I ignore or change the subject.

SecretlycrushingonTomHanks Sun 03-Jul-16 11:55:54

My DM is an amazing lady and I love her to bits but I grew up with her being obsessed with her weight and always on some diet or another. I never thought about weight until I went to high school. I was a plump child as were most of the other girls in my small primary school. There was so many slim girls at high school I started obsessing over my weight as well. I don't think I ate a lunch the whole time I was there after my first year, I weighed just under 8 stone was a size 8 and still thought I was fat. I have suffered from disordered eating my whole life since then. I suffer from body dysmorphia, have been borderline anorexic, exercise obsessed, abused laxatives and made myself sick on occasions after meals. DD1 is 5 and I decided when she was about 2 that she wouldn't grow up hearing about weight or seeing me unhappy about the way I look as I never want her to feel about herself the way I've sometimes felt about myself. I have no scales in my house now, I exercise most days but don't beat myself up if I miss a class and we all eat well. No foods are bad or banned in our house and everything is eaten in moderation. I still have days that I really struggle with how I look especially after 2 DD's leaving me with loose skin and damaged stomach muscles but I would never let my DD's know. Like I said before I love my mum to bits but I wish that she had had the common sense to keep her thoughts about herself to herself and not influence a child from an early age. It might've saved me some of my problems and I may not think the way I do now. DM is unwell at the mo and unable to exercise so there's lots of moans about her weight gain but I've learned now to listen to her vent and offer her suggestions if I can in how to eat or things she can do whilst unwell to keep her weight in check. It isnt responsible to talk to your children about it but it's not going to change now. I should say also she is a healthy size and weight even with her weight gain. I would think k k am to as j wear a size 8 and I am 5ft 2 but could weight anything between 7 and 10 stone for all I know and care these days! So anyway in answer to your questio given your mums age and how long this has been going on you probably shouldn't say you don't care but you ANBU to. Instead I think I'd maybe just offer reassurance and when you can't do that just be an ear for her to vent to. You sound like you're very balanced so it won't affect you in any way to continue to do that for her. It is sad but i don't think she'll change now. It really is very selfish and irresponsible in my opinion to vent about these problems in front of children though as it can affect them so badly I'm living proof.

fascicle Sun 03-Jul-16 11:56:05

Painted I disagree entirely. ilove's mother might be oblivious to her own behaviour, but it's a miracle ilove has a good relationship with food. Her mother's obsession could easily have been passed on/screwed up her own eating.

OP's mother's behaviour won't be doing the mother any good either. She's essentially reinforcing skewed views to food and weightloss by incessantly thinking/talking about it.

CrotchetQuaverMinim Sun 03-Jul-16 11:57:38

sometimes it's helpful to have someone close that you can say all the boring but worrying stuff to, and who will just listen and know that you don't/can't/won't say it to anyone else. It can help to process things, and quite often there is a hidden subtext, of feeling insecure or unsure or needing validation about something - and while it's a shame to need that, some people do. It's about so much more than the food, diet, weight, but that's just a convenient way of talking about it. Ignoring it doesn't mean the issue will go away. They will learn that they can't say it to you, true, which may be what you want, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they issue has gone away for them. They might need support from someone else instead, if you don't want to provide this kind of thing, but it could be that you just need to chat in a way that shows you love and care for them, and not mind so much the actual content of what they're saying - just accept that it's part of them needing something from the conversation, and that hopefully they are getting it by telling you this stuff.

Nanny0gg Sun 03-Jul-16 12:04:48

I think it's partly a generation thing. My mum does the same though, despite being a high earner and respected professional in her field.

I think perhaps 'grooming' is a more older-generational thing.

I think weight- and looks-obsession is far more a younger-generational thing.

PaintedDrivesAndPolishedGrass Sun 03-Jul-16 12:16:05

fascicle that's the beauty of MN, we can all give our opinion😉.

iloveeverykindofcat Sun 03-Jul-16 12:31:13

flowers Secretly I'm sorry to hear that. Yes, I suppose I am lucky in a way and perhaps if I had the genes/disposition to comfort eat/whatever I would have been badly affected (Between the thick glasses and the penchant for Star Trek I was never gonna be one of the cool girls anyway ;) )

fascicle Sun 03-Jul-16 14:35:23

Painted I might agree with you about OP humouring her mother if the subject of discussion was a harmless hobby that OP found dull. But it's indisputable that parental views/behaviours relating to eating can have an impact on offspring.

The mother's behaviour is also of no benefit to the mother. She's over-focusing on food and weight, which seems to have no positive impact and doesn't result in change. She'd be better off thinking and talking less about the subject.

Alconleigh Sun 03-Jul-16 14:51:54

There is nothing more tedious than people boring on about their weight. No one cares. Well except maybe other weight bores.

And its damage is insidious. I don't mind people wittering about the non consequential. I do it myself. But weight loss obsession is damaging in a way that being focused on gardening isn't.

fascicle Sun 03-Jul-16 16:15:53

Exactly, Alconleigh. (And something like gardening is full of positives - good for exercise; vitamin D; wellbeing...)

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