Don’t Laugh At Me!

One of our readers, who is overweight, feels rejected by her own daughter...
January 03 2017 | by

DEAR FRIAR RICK: I lately had a heated discussion with my teenage daughter, who told me that she did not want to invite her friends over to our house because she was embarrassed. She told me that I was too fat and that her classmates made fun of her about it. My daughter would like me to be like other mums. I can’t tell you how much her comments hurt me. I felt so ashamed. It is true that I am obese. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. But to have my own daughter try to hide me is very hard to take. I want to do something about my weight. What can I do, Friar Rick?


Thank you for your letter. It must have taken a lot of courage and honesty to write about such a difficult encounter with your daughter. I can’t imagine how much it must have hurt you to hear those words from her mouth. I also sense that your being overweight is not news to you. It sounds like you want to do something about it. I want you to know that I support any effort you can make to become a more healthy person. Perhaps we can look at a couple of issues I thought about when I read your note.

First of all, there is the question of your daughter’s embarrassment about your weight. It seems to be related to comments that other children have made about you. It sounds like the pain that she has experienced is proving to be a good motivator for you to work on your weight. That’s great. However, I wonder if this might also be a good time to talk to your daughter about tolerance and diversity. Her classmates teased her because her mother was different. What if they teased her because her sister was in a wheelchair, or her father was of a different skin colour? Some people are tall and some are smaller. Some people are skinny and some are fat. It takes all sorts of people to make this world. All are valuable and worthy of respect. How do we communicate that lesson to our children?

More importantly, we need to believe that about ourselves! The fact that you are different in size to someone else does not lessen your worth. You are made in the image and likeness of God. You can be heavy and be beautiful, active, talented, intelligent and creative. Don’t let anyone, including your daughter, tell you otherwise.

The second issue that I wanted to share with you is that of doing something about your weight. Go back and read the last paragraph again; I’ll wait! Now if you find that your present weight prevents you from doing what you want in life, or is causing you health difficulties, then go ahead and do something about it. Please make sure that it is for you and not to please anyone else.

If you still want to do something about your weight for a healthier lifestyle, I would suggest you plan to take at least one year to accomplish this. Speak to your physician, nurse or a nutritionist to help you set goals. I must confess that I too struggle with my weight and I have seen many people I love do the same. Some of them have been on more diets than I can name, and it has not lasted. My suggestion is that you find something that is not so much a diet, but encourages a change in lifestyle. You don’t want to be taking meal replacement drinks your whole life long, do you?

Whatever you choose, make sure it is something you can sustain for life, and not something you endure like holding your breath until you can go back to normal.

The other important thing is to come to understand better why you over-eat at times. What makes you start? One way of doing this is to keep a journal of how you are feeling each day. This might be in conjunction with an eating journal. In time, perhaps you will notice how you are feeling when you over-indulge. Perhaps it’s when you are anxious or upset. Perhaps it’s when you are sad. Once you know what feelings are associated with over-eating, then you can find new ways of dealing with your emotions that might be more healthy. But again, the key is to do it for you.

Updated on January 03 2017