Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Like for many other American families, the battle for healthy weight management is also an issue in Anaya Goode’s household for as long as she can remember.
Take a peek at the exchanges in the Goode family kitchen one typical morning. Where do you weigh in on this topic?
Should family members be supportive to a loved one who is dieting to the extent where they agree that ‘fattening’ foods should be banned from the household? Where is the line drawn between healthy weight management and weight obsessed? If you felt like a friend or family member needed to lose weight, would you tell them?
I walked into the kitchen, where my dad, Roscoe, was fussing at my mother. He was bent over, looking in the cupboard. I sat down at the table quietly.
“When did you start buying Diet Dr. Pepper?” he complained.
“And, Anita, where are the cinnamon rolls?”
“The cinnamon rolls are at the store, where they belong,” Mom replied, not bothering to turn away from the cantaloupe that she was cutting.
“Wrong answer,” he told her. “Where they belong is right here in this kitchen, so I can pack them in my lunch.”
Mom turned and rolled her eyes at him. She had battled the bulge for as long as I’d been on the Earth, probably even before that. This means I grew up on every diet known to humanity. When she dieted, we all dieted with her—whether we wanted to or not.
“Come on, Roscoe, you know I don’t have that kind of willpower,” Mom explained. “You don’t need those cinnamon rolls. Take some of this cantaloupe to work. I’m taking some with me. You’ll like it. It’s sweet.”
“I don’t want cantaloupe, Anita. I want a cinnamon roll.” Roscoe kissed Mom on the cheek, picked up his lunch off the counter, and kissed me on the forehead before walking out of the kitchen.
She called out to him, “The banquet is in a month, and I need to fit into my dress. I can’t fit into my dress with cinnamon rolls lurking around the kitchen, taunting me.”
She looked over at me. I was still sitting quietly. I looked over at the small television on the counter. I wanted to avoid a conversation about food and eating habits. There were many things that Mom and I didn’t agree on, and weight management was at the top of the list. I’m size two, but I’m healthy. It seemed that my mom had developed a rare form of amnesia and forgot the countless diets she raised me and my siblings on. Now she thought I didn’t eat enough.
“Where are you headed?” she asked me.
“I have an appointment with Judy,” I responded.
“Okay,” she said, still cutting the cantaloupe. “Are you going to complain about the cinnamon rolls, too?”
“Nope,” I said, heading to the cabinet for oatmeal.
“That figures,” she said. “You don’t eat enough anyway.”
Here we go.
“I eat, Mom. Just in moderation. Healthy weight management, remember?” I said.
“More like weight obsessed,” she said, pouring a cup of coffee.
“I’m not weight obsessed, I’m healthy,” I said, instantly regretting the comment. I should have just kept my mouth closed.
“Bulimia isn’t healthy, honey,” she said.
“You’re right, Mom. Bulimia isn’t healthy. It’s an illness—an illness I don’t have.”
She glared at me over the top of her glasses. “You need to eat more,” she said, putting the cantaloupe in the refrigerator. “You’re as thin as a rail.”
I wanted to tell her that she needed to eat less, but I didn’t. I wanted to live to see the end of the day.