A very interesting visit I had with the parents. They came out to visit because the weather is better here, and they wanted to visit my dad’s aunt, who is 88, not getting any healthier nor younger. They get here on a Saturday late morning, so I’ve at least gotten to the gym already, then we go to farmers market – not my downscale, dirty, crowded, pushy, non-English speaking regular market, but one of the fancy Oakland ones. The mom is fixated on Chinese food for lunch (don’t they have that everywhere?) but now wants to snack. “No, I don’t want to share a croissant, but feel free”. I get a wistful look. “What? Get a croissant if you want a croissant!” I’m not winning any popularity points so far here. “Fine, I’ll split a damn croissant, ok?” She gives me an irritated look, walks off. That was strange, but I’m not pushing the issue, I don’t want a croissant.
She ends up eating crappy greasy salty Chinese food alone, while my dad and I get burritos. He orders the same thing I do, asks me 3/4 of the way through if there’s anything “bad” in it. He has heart disease, stent, is on meds for cholesterol. It has cheese. He gives me a nasty look, I tell him to read the damn menu himself next time. I am not into low-fat.
The next day, we go to Pebble Beach to meet the aunt. It’s about 2.5 hours away, and for some reason she wants to be there 11:30. Absolutely that doesn’t work with me, I have another market to go to, and what about my gym? The mom has a conniption, can’t believe I want to go to gym, we don’t have time to go to market, we must rush rush RUSH RUSH! I give up the gym, not the market. I call the aunt, arrange to meet at 1 pm for lunch, not noon. She prefers that anyway, only my mom wants to eat that early. I think my mom just likes stress and strain, enjoys arguing and ruining everybody’s mellow time.
My dad’s aunt now uses a walker. Until her late 70s, she could out hike any of us, including my sister. Interesting woman. We have lunch at her club. I order fish tacos, and she comments on them being breaded and fried. Whatever, I’m not going to comment on the cream in your food, I’m just going to shrug. This is the same aunt, when I saw her last summer, told me I was too fat for dessert, and women in general shouldn’t be eating that. Thanksgiving, I was thin enough to have dessert, but not as much as I ate. The way she asks if anybody wants dessert, she asks if anybody can afford the calories. Just my mom, and she wants dessert, but she wants to share. I’d have a bite. Aunt would have a bite. My dad never touches the stuff. My mom is irritated, but won’t order it herself. What she REALLY wants, is for me to order it, and not her, so she can tell me how I don’t need it, shouldn’t be eating it, she never orders shit like that, and for my own good, she’ll eat 3/4 of it for me.
My dad is surprised about the small serving size. It doesn’t seem strange to me, it’s actually a rare meal eaten with my parents that I (and I alone) don’t take home leftovers. My dad tells my aunt about how he does the grocery shopping. He buys hamburgers, ice cream, cookies, cheese, and he doesn’t eat a single bite. His aunt is surprised, maybe she doesn’t realize that there are women like that. My mom, looking petulant, says “I’m not overweight, why shouldn’t I eat that stuff?” I roll my eyes, walk to aunt’s house from restaurant. Fortunately, I manage to talk my mom out of joining me, I’ve had enough of her. I walk an extra mile past her street, turn into a neighborhood, illegally cross a golf course, and spend an hour or two with the family.
So yes, my mom eats everything and anything, and though she pretends to eat low-fat, she eats huge amounts of sugar. My dad eats healthy, but eats SO MUCH! We went to a Thai food buffet, and while everyone overeats at buffets, I was kinda stunned. Meanwhile, I hear them whispering about my full fat plain yogurt (blah blah heart disease blah blah thinks she’s invincible blah blah). Nobody is going to convince me that her fruity HFCS sweeter than ice cream non-fat yogurt is healthier. Not a chance. I think my genetics is not so much against me, as bad habits learned from them, years of dieting and all that bingeing. Maybe that’s why I still get to eat all the crap I eat, and still lose weight. Or perhaps it’s the 1000 calories of exercise* I do on most days? I’ve never noticed the extremeness of their eating, until now that I don’t eat anything like that anymore.
I just read this post from NYT well blog, about how eating 100 calories more or less day won’t really change your weight. It may stop you from gaining, but to really lose requires a lifestyle change, due to body’s adaptation mechanisms. This matches my experience, it was real easy to stabilize my weight once I learned not to binge, but to lose took long-term effort.
*Been thinking this over – there are 2-3 days week I burn >1000 calories with 2+ hours at gym. Other days I just walk/bike around, which maybe burns a few hundred/day, or do a random gym class. So maybe I burn 4000/week.