My mother is fat, will I get fat too?
Let me start by saying there are many things that are a lot worse than being fat.
Do not confuse body weight with a lack of character. Your mother may be intelligent, kind, creative, generous, honest, sincere and brave. Those are all qualities that matter more than how much she weighs.
This is a question I get a lot. It’s a question many more young women ask themselves. Many fear the answer will be “yes.”
Many adult children of one or two obese parents think it’s inevitable that they will become obese too. This belief pretty much guarantees that obesity is, indeed, in their future. If action isn’t taken to reduce the likelihood of obesity and especially if behaviors are such that it’s a forgone conclusion rarely will it be avoided.
Two warnings that are especially important for young women who are afraid of getting fat like their mothers:
1. A rigid, very low calorie diet is dangerous to your health and hard to sustain. It can lead to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Some women will find it impossible to keep to such a restrictive plan and rather than increase calories to a healthy and moderate level, they’ll swing too far in the other direction and find it challenging to rein in their compulsive overeating behavior.
2. Managing weight out of fear of getting fat or hating your body is self-defeating. Fear and loathing could lead to the rigid, low calorie diet and its unwanted aftereffects as discussed above. Hating your body or fearing what it will become doesn’t inspire good care. We don’t take care of the things we hate. We abuse them. To get the best results love your body. Treat it with the respect and best of care because that’s what it deserves.
What should I do if I start gaining weight?
If you start gaining weight, don’t panic and definitely don’t punish yourself. Take stock of your eating and activity habits.
- Are portions getting larger?
- Has your snacking and in-between-meal eating been getting more frequent?
- Are you eating more processed, higher calorie foods with added fats and sugar?
- Has your activity level decreased?
Even if you think the answer to each of these questions is “no” pay closer attention. It helps to keep an eating and activity journal just to enable you to accurately monitor your actions.
It’s is usually easier to manage weight sooner rather than later. Instead of buying bigger clothes and becoming comfortable with your gain take steps now instead of waiting until you’re 20, 30, 40, or more pounds heavier. Consider joining Weight Watchers to help you establish healthy eating behaviors and to reinforce them in an environment of group support.