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theya

Paleo-Rexia? It's my mom...

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I am a newly minted nutritional therapist and have been treating my 66 year old mother for her hemorrhiods and digestive issues with a Paleo-style diet. We did a Whole 30 together and she lost 3 pounds (on her already thin frame) and I lost nothing. She is also experiencing drastic reduction in her symptoms. She is now so obsessive, that she refuses to ever go out to eat or to a dinner party., I took her to a salad bar for lunch and all she got was a bowl of lettuce. I explained to her that it's a salad bar, she can make her salad how ever she wants, but she refused and said "I just don't know what's in anything". She now talks about food and weight constanstly and monitors what everyone else puts in their mouth. She won't even eat at my house anymore because of what I might have "put in the food", for the record I am an amazing paleo-style cook. I am suddenly 12 years old again. I feel fat, judged and a little obsessive myself. I am a grown woman and I am acting like an insecure teenager! I have been obsessively monitoring my carbs and weighing myself daily (of course the scale is not budging). I am a Nutrtional Therapist, I know better than this!! Please help me get out of this nasty rut.

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Theya, your mother's issues and your issues are separate. Yours may be feeding off your mom, but it's definitely a different thing.

First of all, if you're obsessively monitoring carbs or if you're weighing yourself daily, you have missed the point of the Whole30. You're right. You DO know better, so STOP. This isn't about losing weight or inches. It is about feeling better and having a healthy relationship with your food choices. What you're doing is not focused on health. Snap out of it. You almost certainly have not lost anything because you're stressing out about losing.

Your mother, I can understand. She started the W30 hoping to help her digestive issues. It worked. It is VERY hard to tell somebody or convince some people that they should reintroduce the foods that may have caused her symptoms. It's also likely that she lost three lbs because she wasn't thinking about it or trying to. That doesn't make it healthy, I'm just saying that I understand it.

It is bizarre that she won't eat food that you've cooked at your house. I find it odd that she won't trust your preparations...but why don't you talk to her about it? Ask her to come over before dinner and help you cook something, so she knows for sure what's in it, etc.

If she won't eat anything at a salad bar, maybe she just can't eat out any more until she does some more (or any) experimentation. Even for people with health concerns like your mother, the W30 is STILL not the W365. Yes, her problems went away, which is great, but she has no idea what foods, or what quantities of foods caused her the problem in the first place. She's currently living in fear of food, which is not the goal here. It's completely possible that she's so reactive to gluten or casein that the cross contamination at a salad bar is just NOT an acceptable risk for her. It's also possible (like for me), that when a restaurant gets my order wrong, picking croutons off a prepared salad is FINE and I won't have an issue.

While I think she should experiment and test some things out, she is NOT your responsibility. You are. Try to lead by example, and help make some accomodations for her, but at the end of the day: you can't force her to change.

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Good luck Theya. Renee had great advice.

It's super hard with things like this when our parents are involved. My parents smoked for years and never even tried to quit until they decided they were ready after my father had a health scare. After 50+ years of smoking, they stopped cold turkey. Years and years of my comments and conversations about cancer and other health risks and complaining about the smell of the smoke never made a difference to them. But when it was their choice, they just did it. Easily.

Take care of yourself and don't let the stress of your mother's situation have an adverse impact on YOUR health.

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Moms are weird. They know how to push your buttons because they installed them! Just let her do her thing, and you do yours. Also, I'm between Whole 30s and I started looking at the scale again and it just messes with your head. Don't look!

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Sometimes it helps to try to break down what she's doing and why. That way you're not reacting to her behaviour, but to her reasons behind it. (<-- sorry if that sounds condescending or know-it-all-y. I have 99 problems and my mom is every last one of them!)

She's super paranoid and irrational about food now. Why? Because she experienced an amazing transformation and her horrible symptoms were relieved and she can't even imagine going back to her old way of life with all its daily pain. She probably even knows her behaviour is irrational! Eating at home, where she trusts everything, is safe. She is finally in control of her food and her body and her symptoms. Outside, even if it's a dang salad bar or your house or the Garden of Eden, she is NOT in control. And that's scary. She probably knows she's hurting your feelings, making you crazy, and losing out on a bunch of things. But those negatives outweigh the loss of control/return of symptoms/weight gain she is even more afraid of.

Clearly, not a healthy outlook. But also NOT YOUR PROBLEM, unless you make it your problem. Let her figure her stuff out, even if it takes months. Try to feel sympthetic (even if it becomes pity) "Mom is being so crazy and paranoid and judgey today! She must be feeling really scared or threatened." If that leads you to being extra nice to her, gold star for you! If, like me, that leads you to rolling your eyes and ignoring her, just as good!

Imagine your mom was deathly afraid of snakes. You, on the other hand, have a healthy respect for them, and can even enjoy them in some situations.

Imagine you and your mom see a picture of a snake.

You: Oh, cool! That thing looks super dangerous but also, look at the scales, so beautiful.

Mom: OMG EEEEEEKKK!

You: Mom! Relax! It's just a picture!

Now imagine you're at one of those reptile park things where they let you hold the snakes. A snake is carefully placed in your hand.

You: Holy cow! I am kind of scared and keeping my eye on its pointy teeth, but this is pretty cool!

Mom: OMG EEEKKK!! Next thing, my daughter will be diving head first into a pit of boa constrictors!

You: Mom, relax. I know you are afraid of snakes, but it's okay. I got this.

That was long-winded, but my point: irrational fear, and the desire to protect you.

Check out this thread: http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/1801-do-you-find-yourself-judging/

Totally rational, nice people tend toward your mom's behaviour. Try to replace "mom is judging me" with "mom has concern for me even though she knows I'm an adult and a-okay already, she just doesn't know how to express it very well because she's got her own issues in the way" inside your head. Simple, but not easy.

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Hi Theya,

Some mom's have a way of making us feel 12 - always. Mine did. I helped her out of duty. I read somewhere that "What other people think of me is none of my business." As landshark said, it's not your problem. It's a good place to start. Focus on you now and your successes.

As far as the scale issue goes, I don't own one because I am O/C. I find using how your clothes fit brilliant! Who can argue with that? Scales are just evil and mess with us! Good luck. -d

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"Imagine your mom was deathly afraid of snakes. You, on the other hand, have a healthy respect for them, and can even enjoy them in some situations.

Imagine you and your mom see a picture of a snake.

You: Oh, cool! That thing looks super dangerous but also, look at the scales, so beautiful.

Mom: OMG EEEEEEKKK!

You: Mom! Relax! It's just a picture!

Now imagine you're at one of those reptile park things where they let you hold the snakes. A snake is carefully placed in your hand.

You: Holy cow! I am kind of scared and keeping my eye on its pointy teeth, but this is pretty cool!

Mom: OMG EEEKKK!! Next thing, my daughter will be diving head first into a pit of boa constrictors!

You: Mom, relax. I know you are afraid of snakes, but it's okay. I got this."

OMG!!!!!!!! LandShark boy do you know how to bring it home with that analogy. I am soooo deathly afraid of snakes that after just reading the first line or two I had to read the rest by peeking through my fingers as my hand covered my eyes. EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!! Is right. Total fear factor. Thanks!!!!! :-)

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