Last Thursday, MiL and I went to her physical therapy appointment. Driving there, we passed by the doctor’s office of the doctor who performed MiL’s niece’s lap band surgery.
“I know you don’t want to diet, but what about doing something like a lap band? It’s really helped Jessica* out. She’s lost a lot of weight you know.”
I told MiL that I would never consider such a dangerous and invasive surgery as that. And had to listen to all the reasons why it’s NOT dangerous and NOT invasive. Besides all the other problems, just the fact that they are cutting holes in your body makes it dangerous and invasive.
Then I said I would not be put on a starvation diet. MiL said it wasn’t a starvation diet, they just put this tube around your stomach, and inflate it so you can’t eat much.
She was serious. She didn’t see that as a starvation diet. She really didn’t understand when I told her it was a medically accepted means to starve oneself.
We started talking about calories, and she told me that if I’d just eat 1000 calories a day I’d lose weight. At this point, I’d had it. I asked her why she wanted me to starve myself. She said it wasn’t starving myself, and I told her about the Minnesota Experiment, and how the men were put on a “semi-starvation diet” of 1800 calories a day. And then asked her if that was considered semi-starvation, and it only being about 600 calories less than what an active man should eat, then what she thought 1000 calories and half of my ‘recommended’ daily intake of calories would be considered.
She gave up on that tactic, and finally tried the “it’s not how much you eat, but what you eat anyways, when you eat so much butter and cream and…” I cut her off mid-sentence.
What I eat, and how much I eat is nobody’s business but mine. I thought that, by engaging in dialogue, it’d help her to maybe open her mind to other ideas, but it turns out all she wants to do is continue to harass me about my weight. I told her that she has no right putting her nose into what I eat, how much or little I eat, and that we would never talk about weight, nor my weight specifically, again.
Sometimes, in the face of so much criticism, it’s hard to keep things in focus.
I spent most of my life trying to fit in, conform, be skinny. I spent my childhood in constant hunger because my mother believed one could never be too thin. I spent most of my adulthood yoyo-ing up to the size I am now. I have engaged in disordered behaviors towards food because of the criticism of people like my MiL.
She has the right to her beliefs. She has the right to think I’m unhealthy (because, yes, my health did get brought up in that conversation) despite the fact that all my lipids and tryglicerides and blood pressure and everything is normal, JUST because I’m fat. I can’t change her mind about any of it.
But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let her make me feel defensive and have to justify actually living, and enjoying myself while doing it, either.
*Names changed to protect the innocent.