Food Pushers

Our $9 haul from the produce stand on Saturday:

veggies2.jpg picture by kimmothy69

Some of the items were for Brian to make his pico de gallo, which he made so frickin’ spicy, the house smelled like a Mexican restaurant for two days and I can’t smell it without my eyes watering, let alone eat it. Thanks, buddy.

That’s not the subject of this post; I just like taking pictures of veggies.

I knew going into this the Sunday “dinners” (to me it’s lunch, but that’s okay) at his parents’ house were going to be a weekly exercise in self-control. I’ve already discussed at length the many high fat and calorie aspects of Southern food, and his mother is the epitome of a Southern cook. She’s a wonderful cook. But as long as I’m counting calories, I have to be really mindful with portion control when eating her food. It’s a fine balance between eating enough to show my appreciation for her hard work and effing up my diet every week. I think I did a decent job this past week, but something happened that bugged Brian a little.

As we were getting ready to eat, Moms said, “Kee-yim, (that’s my name said with a Southern accent) there’s some Coke out in the garage fridge if you want one.” She’s known me a long time and therefore knows I’m a Coke and Diet Coke junkie, so nothing unusual about that. I said, “No thanks; I’ll just have water.” A few minutes went by and she mentioned the Coke again, that there was plenty of it. I politely declined again, and Brian said, “Kim’s trying to lose some weight, Mom; she’s not really drinking soda right now.” Later he told me it irritated him that after I’d said no the first time she brought it up again.

I hated to break it to him, but I had to: his mother is the classic food-pusher.

I’ve had enough experience with them to know right away when I’m dealing with one. I come from a family of Jewish people and though mine wasn’t the classic pushy Jewish grandmother, there were plenty of other women available to say it – “Eat, eat!” and take it as a personal insult if you didn’t eat enough to their specifications. You can substitute Italian for Jewish and get the same idea. Probably other ethnicities as well, but these two are who I’ve had the most experience with.

I think I understand a lot of what’s going on with it. The ladies I’m speaking of are older, maybe like my mother-in-law, retired from working and have a lot of time on their hands. While they’ve always enjoyed being the provider of food and comfort for the family, now they have more time than ever before to devote to it. I’ve noticed that with my MIL the past couple of years she’s gotten increasingly food-oriented. When she’s not cooking it, she’s shopping for it, comparing bargains for it, trying new recipes, etc. It’s not all she talks about, but it ranks pretty high up there. I get it; I saw something similar happen with my mom. I don’t think they’re doing it to be malicious at all and I don’t take offense to it. I just have to keep my guard up whenever I’m around it.

There’s another kind of food-pusher however, and I think there might be a little difference behind the motivation with them. I’m talking about the acquaintance, friend, co-worker or maybe even significant other who is well aware you’re being careful or on a weight loss program and it seems like all of a sudden their goal in life becomes to sabotage your plan. I haven’t run into this yet this time, but I have in the past. And I don’t think the person even consciously realizes they’re doing it. The things they say sound innocent enough: “Oh come on; you’ve been so good lately – you deserve a treat!” That kind of thing. You can’t accuse them of anything really; technically they’re encouraging you to do something “nice” for yourself. But there’s definitely something else working under the surface there.

In the situation I’m thinking of, I don’t think this person wanted me to fail, per se. I think maybe it was a matter of her not being entirely happy with herself at the moment, but not really doing anything about it. Is it a little harsh to put it in the category of “Misery loves company?” I don’t know, but that’s kind of how I saw it at the time.

I know we all deal with all different kinds of obstacles when working toward a goal like this. Hopefully if we can recognize them for what they are, we’ll be able to deal with them better when they pop up. I know what I’m up against almost every Sunday; mentally preparing myself against her fried chicken, rice and gravy, biscuits, chocolate cake, sweet Teat, etc., etc., etc. will not derail me.

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10 Responses to Food Pushers

  1. crisitunity says:

    Booooo to food pushers!

    I think it’s partly to be social, and partly a kind of let’s-all-be-normal peer pressure. Everyone drinks Coke; let’s all have a Coke. Everyone in America eats too much; let’s all eat too much. It’s fun!

    I know you can move through it and come out better on the other side. You just have to keep remembering that it’s your body that hauls your brain around, not hers, and yours is just more important.

    • Kimmothy says:

      It IS a social thing, you’re right. The weekly donuts and bi-monthly birthday cake at work. The date with your girlfriend at Starbucks that turns into a PMS-y chocolate fest. The holiday get-togethers.
      I think I need to be alone for six months while I do this! Not realistic, but would be effective.

  2. dyskinesia says:

    Very, very good for you, Kim! This is a GREAT post too; we all run into this. On the one hand, like you said, when it comes to the food they prepare, I think they (particularly older women – and older Southern women) can take it personally because the food they provide also defines who they are because it’s the way they provide for their family. Restricting intake of that can be seen as an affront, I guess. Though, for the life of me, I’ve never understood why people get so bent about their kids trying to have/do something good for themselves that is better than the parents have been able to do or manage. That one always irritates me to no end.

    And seriously, big kudos to Brian for saying something to her! I do so love a man who takes up for his wife to his mother. 🙂

    • Kimmothy says:

      Yes! This is a sweet lady, but I know she keeps a mental file of which people don’t compliment her cooking enough. I swear this is true.
      I got a warm fuzzy when Brian did it too and told him so!

  3. Laura says:

    Aww, brownie points to Brian for sticking up for you!

    My Grammy was a food pusher, too. We’d decline one thing, and she’d proceed to list the entire inventory of her pantry, refrigerator, and all the things she could pick up at the store later if we wanted.

    It’s a running joke in our house, now – the first time I took Calvin to Maine to meet my family we stayed with my Grandma. The first morning she wanted to cook us breakfast. Calvin isn’t a big breakfast eater, so he just wanted coffee. I, of course, knew what was coming, so I just let her cook me breakfast. The entire time I was eating, Gram would say to Calvin, “How about some nice eggs? No? How about a nice english muffin? I bought them fresh yesterday… no? How about some nice melon? I could slice you up some nice melon…”

    So now when I ask Calvin what he wants for a meal, and he says he doesn’t care or he’s not hungry or whatever, I ask him, “How about a nice english muffin?”

  4. Taoist Biker says:

    Some ladies also just can’t bear the idea that someone would not be partaking of something they loved for fear of offending the hostess. They just keep trying to shove food down your throat just in case you’re quietly pining for a big fat slice of cake. I had some great aunts like that, big time.

    • Kimmothy says:

      Maybe it’s because it’s rare I cook for large groups of people, but I’ve never been a food pusher and I’m going to really try never to become one. I’ve never taken it personally when someone doesn’t want to eat something I’ve cooked.

  5. Shari says:

    That is so funny! I was going to say, Is your Grammy Scottish? Because to Scots, its all about the “nice” food as well. I kind of have the opposite thing with my mother-in-law. She will say things like, “Oh you can’t eat ALL of THAT.” Then my rebel side kicks in, and I think, “Yes, I can!” Mostly it just ruins my appetite and makes me self conscious, and then I realize why my sister-in-law is a friggin’ stick.

    • Kimmothy says:

      Maybe food is “nice” to all of the older generation because they lived through a time when it wasn’t as plentiful as it is now? But still – it gets old sometimes!

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