The Well-Meaning but Possibly ‘Lethal’ Love from Moms

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I recently returned from a wonderful visit with my mom in Atlanta, to celebrate her 95th birthday. Now if this is not a case of someone benefiting from living right and healthily, I don’t know one! But then, it might just be her German-heritage stubbornness that keeps her motivating forward resolutely. Whatever it is, I’ll take it and hope for many more years to share good times and memories with her as we both age.

However, I did come up with a burning question that I would like to put to Dr. Oz, the doctor of Oprah Show fame now with his own tv show. He recently echoed a question I raised in my waist training book, and that is, how to deal with moms who force food on us in a most unhealthy way, and possibly re-educate them to express love in another way.

When I asked my mom for a reason that she and many moms offer us cookies, cakes, potato chips and other fatty and sugary foods, and seem to force seconds and thirds on us at the dinner table, rather than laying out celery and carrot sticks, and serving small portions once, her only answer was that “that is what moms do.”

I followed up with a question about why moms who love children, would choose to show love by putting this kind of temptation in front of their children– children who might already be overweight and on the way to obesity and ill health. My  mom had no answer.

Then I tried a possible answer on her to see if it held water. Did moms do this intentionally trying to increase temptation because they wanted to strengthen the resolve and test the logic of their children, to see if their children would resist and refuse, and then ask mom for a healthier option? No, that was not it either.

Of course I referenced the national, even international obesity epidemic. Mom agreed that there was one. But she refused to see that her approach at showing love added to the problem rather than help resolve it. She opined that it was our responsibility to resist and not get fat in the first place!

Needless to say this frustrating conversation terminated with neither of us fully understanding the position of the other and with no satisfactory answer or response from her to my question and concern.

Thus, I am left to conclude that as adults we must act responsibly and employ ultimate logic to resist our mom’s unhealthy temptations and unwise expressions of parental “love”, understanding those expressions for what they are. We need not stuff our faces with mom’s version of love. It takes will power, and politely declining seconds or an unhealthy snack might be misinterpreted by our mom, but we can gently assure her that it is not rejection of her love at all.

In the end, it is our ‘end’ that we must take care of to protect and nurture, even when mom doesn’t go about it the right way.

Do you have any ways to address this temptation at your home? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts! (



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2 responses to “The Well-Meaning but Possibly ‘Lethal’ Love from Moms

  1. michelle

    I too have a mother who since childhood has always tried to feed me more than any one person could possibly eat. Restaurants will try and feed you the same way. Of course one is motivated by love and the other by money. In both cases though, I hardly think it’s done on purpose. Food, whether it’s nutritious or just full of suger, fats and salt becomes more than just a meal when it is being served. It is meant to be a pleasurable event and thus with all events of pleasure there tends to be the need to over indulge by the giver and the receiver. In the case of food and in most cases of pleasure, the less is more rule should apply. Pleasure is always more satisfying when you leave wanting more. Food should be no exception. It’s up to the receiver to learn how to say no with grace and confidence. This is a teachable moment to apply to all parts of our lives. In the case of Mothers, it brings them pleasure to see the beatiful smiles on their childrens faces when they give them food to eat. Unfortunatly, the smiles are always bigger when it’s chocolate ice cream rather than a bowl of carrot sticks.

  2. Along similar lines suggested above by Michelle, during waist training I always suggest that my student corsetjust short of actual pain and release the laces or take off the corset leaving him or her wanting more. I also agree as does my mom, that the ultimate responsibility is personal and lies with me, not mom. We must learn to value the pleasure of that first bite of food that always delivers the largest whammie (a concept I first read about in a book by Dr. Dean Ornish), value the pleasure of how we will look and feel with a sleeker and more healthy body compared to the instant gratification of the taste of rich foods, and treasure the interaction and the company we keep when we eat.

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