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Auntie SparkNotes: My Mother Won't Stop Telling Me To Lose Weight

Auntie SparkNotes: My Mother Won't Stop Telling Me To Lose Weight

By kat_rosenfield

Dear Auntie,

I have a small issue with my mother. I'm a little on the heavier side, and I'm pretty self conscious about it. I'm very quiet in school, and my grades are pretty decent. However, my mother brings up my weight a lot. I hate talking about it and I tell her so, but she keeps doing it.

For example, I'll be getting ready for school and she'll say something like "That'd be so much cuter on you if you lost a few pounds." It drives me crazy and I can't stand it. It's not like I'm not doing nothing about it, I've been drinking a lot of water, exercising, and eating better. How can I get my mom to at least not mention it so much? I love my mom, but I'm dreading school shopping because of this.

Have you told her so?

Because if not, then that's your first step... and if so, then actually, retreading it is probably a good idea anyway. People who take this sort of cruel-to-be-kind approach need to be told, directly, that their words are causing nothing but pain—partly because knowing they're not helping can be the thing that makes them shut their mouths, but mostly because it's a rock-solid reason to say, "Enough." Her comments are hurtful, and you're done giving them an audience.

Yes, you are.

So, in your own words:

"Mom, I know what my body looks like, and I certainly know what you think my body looks like, and I'm making an active effort to be healthier. I don't know what you hope to accomplish by continuing to harangue me about my weight, but all you're doing is making me feel terrible, and I dread being around you because I'm just waiting for the next hurtful comment to come out of your mouth. So from now on, this subject is no longer up for discussion."

And if she brings it up again, that last sentence is the line you hold. (A good way to deflect any future remarks: brightly reply, "Okay!," and then immediately change the subject.) Because alas, you can't control your mom's behavior. And I'll be honest: she will, in all likelihood, keep on doing this no matter how much you tell her to stop. But how you deal with it? That, you can control—and when your mom says something nasty about your weight, you can control it right into your brain's automatic spam filter and dump it out along with the rest of the useless trash.

And before everyone rushes to the comments to argue that your mom should get a pass because she's only doing this out of love—well, hey, she probably is. In fact, if you asked her, she'd probably tell you that she only wants you to be happy and healthy, she's only trying to help, she's doing this for your own good.

You know what? It really doesn't matter.

Good intentions don't change the indefensible awfulness of a person trying to make you feel ashamed of your body—and a person who does that is a person who forfeits her right to be listened to or taken seriously when your body is the subject. You don't have to take to heart what your mother says just because it's your mother saying it. Treat her comments as you would any useless and hurtful remark: give yourself permission to ignore it, to leave the room when she brings it up, to close the dressing room door and lock her negative drag-downs safely outside so that you can back-to-school shop in peace. And while you're at it, give yourself permission to like your body just fine the way it is, to appreciate the things it does that have nothing to do with how big or small it is, to enjoy moving and eating and shopping for cute clothes that make you feel terrific—whether you end up losing weight or not. A slimmer figure might be a nice perk of the healthy changes you're making, but it's not what makes them worthwhile.

Oh, and that thing you're wearing? You look like a rockstar in it.

Do your parents harangue you about your weight? Tell us how you deal with it in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, body image, advice, mothers, moms, weight loss, body-shaming

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About the Author
kat_rosenfield

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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