Tue 2 Jul, 2019 08:06 pm
I'm 16 and I'm writing this because I honestly do not know what I can do to make myself better physically and explain to my mother and grandmother my concerns. For my age, I am pretty short with a 'plump' body type that is absolutely unacceptable for my grandmother who just came over from China recently. Ever since my mother sent a photo of me to my grandmother over a year ago, my mom has been hounding me about my 'fatness' since my grandmother called me fat. Now my mother and people back in China have relatively strict standards about body type, and I've been compared multiple times to friends that I used to have in China who got tall, skinny, and pretty, and any woman who falls under those standards. I definitely wouldn't say that I'm skinny, because I'm aware that I am slightly overweight, short, and ugly in Chinese standards. So after school ended for me, my grandmother basically dictates what I eat for breakfast and lunch since both my parents go to work. I feel obligated to eat everything my grandma makes for me, because it supposedly makes me skinnier. At breakfast, I am given a bowl of Chinese-style greens, some variation of grain soup (like oatmeal, Chinese bean soup, etc) and an egg. My normal breakfast on school days and summer days used to be some combination of a cup of milk, an egg, and a miscellaneous item like toast or mini-pizzas. Now I don't have milk in the morning anymore because I can't stomach more than what my grandma makes me - and I never really ate that much breakfast to begin with for many years.
At lunch, it is another bowl of vegetables, sometimes another bowl of grain soup if I didn't have it in the morning, and half a bun. This is already better than what I usually have at school, but still, mostly no milk. I don't want to sound like I am complaining again, but my grandmother really loves cucumber, which is one of the vegetables I can't stand aside from celery and mushrooms. I can't hold back my gag reflex whenever I have cucumber, so I have to eat the entire bowl holding my breath and breathing through my mouth. I know, so extra. That's not even the worst meal yet; for the last two lunches, she made this squash seaweed soup, which is basically cut up squash, seaweed, and water. And hold on a minute, it's not that delicious lightly-salted crunchy seaweed you buy in the pouches. It's some other species that is thick, hard-to-chew, and strong as heck in flavor. It is repulsive, smells like the ocean x10 and I cannot bear it. I had to throw half of it out secretly today because I couldn't stand stomaching it without breathing after forcing that cucumber down, and stand the slimy yet hard texture. I think my grandmother thinks I like the seaweed-squash soup because she remarked to my dad later today that I finished the whole bowl (which I really did not). And dinner is about the same, but I usually get some more meat during lunch. This time, I have a cup of milk and a full bun along with another bowl of vegetables cooked by my mom. This is the only meal I can stand and now my mom is about to cut it by only allowing half a bun after my grandma determined that I gained weight again after stepping on the scale right after dinner. Before I talk more about my mother and grandma, I just wanted to note that a strict Asian diet especially from my mom's side does not taste close to all like what you eat at Chinese restaurants or Americanized Asian fast-food places. The sodium levels are really low for my grandma's cooking, and the buns we have are tan and barely sweet. I have never eaten a dish from home (except for ribs and noodles) that taste exactly like or better than what they have in Asian restaurants, and duh of course, restaurant meals are generally unhealthier than home cooking which is what makes them taste good in the first place. So about my grandma, she really likes reading articles about living healthy on this particular Chinese website. The articles she tells me about always have some sort of scientific back up or case-study so I have to believe it. No kidding, most of them sound pretty reasonable and aren't like "eat this fruit for 4 weeks and you'll lose 40 pounds" cause that's absurd and my grandma knows that too. In the morning before breakfast, my grandma makes me weigh myself to see if I've lost weight. This morning, she seemed pretty happy because I was at a pound lower than yesterday. Now going back to weighing myself right after I ate dinner today, she was completely disappointed because I had went roughly 2 pounds back up. She told my mom, and my mom just came up to my room to limit my diet again. I have so many problems against this. First of all, like I explained to them already, the best time to weigh yourself to receive the most accurate weight is in the morning and not after a meal. But this logic was obviously broken when my grandma made me weigh in yesterday after lunch, and seeing that I was 1 pound below the previous day, she thinks that I actually cut down by more than 1 pound because food adds weight and even with food in my stomach, I was 1 pound below average. So tonight after dinner, I am 2 pounds above weight and my grandma and mom are convinced that I am not doing enough to cut down on weight, fueled with the fact that I just had only one slice of raisin bread with peanut butter on it at dinner!
As a reminder, I am writing this because I have no idea how to cut down on weight and please my mom and grandma. In my defense, from last Monday, I have been working out for about 1 hour each day at a local gym which includes running, ab workouts, and weight-lifting. An underlying motive from my grandma to want me to get skinnier is so that I'll grow taller. She thinks that if I cut down on all this fat that is weighing me down, then my bones will start to grow because it's not too late yet apparently. By forcing me to change my eating habits which I've kept pretty consistent since I've entered high school 3 years ago by the way, I am afraid that I will actually start to lack the nutrients that I need to grow as I've heard a lot of Western dieticians say that children and teens should not diet to prevent a lack of nutrients that hinders their development. I don't know if I am still growing; my grandma thinks that I already am eating a surplus of nutrients every day, and my mom is going through menopause which is another factor making her overreact and deaf to anything I try to say to her. I think my dad cares, but he can't really do anything because he's always been at my side for real-world related issues like school, but always takes it out on my mom if she makes me upset - which is something I really, really try not to do because I know my mom is already under an emotional burden from menopause and my dad's unpredictable attitude in general. My mom and grandma are hard people to be reasoned with because they grew up in a more traditional Chinese society, while I grew up and still am growing up with a new generation which is really open and different from my mom's generation.
I feel like that's all about I feel like saying, and anything you guys say would be appreciated because I don't really have much people I am comfortable turning to at this point except to complete strangers on the internet who I hope can resolve my issue somehow. And no, I'm not trying to discredit you in any way; I really appreciate anyone who has read my 'rant' this far and am thankful for your time.
Thanks for reading,
Tell your family you want to see your doctor and talk to him or her about your diet and exercise regimen. When you are at your doctor's, ask them to give you printed material, not website URLs. Tell your doctor everything you wrote here, including the ridiculous obsession to weigh you every few hours (your menstrual cycle, whether it's hot and you're sweating, and stress can all affect the normal little fluctuations we all get during the day, and those have nothing to do with anything you eat).
Why? Because your doctor is likely to tell you that this regimen is absurd and all it's doing is making you neurotic about your body. Plus you're probably missing out on calcium which, yeah, might affect your bones. I am suggesting something in print because it's often harder for people to dismiss print.
This argument is what's called an appeal to authority-- and those can be fallacious, but not if the authority you're appealing to actually is an authority in the subject.
BTW, you can also ask for a referral to a dietitian. This person would be pretty much the ultimate authority on what you should be eating.
FYI I am not a doctor but I have dieted on and off for much of my life. Everyone, particularly women, has natural weight fluctuations during the day. Those are normal. They aren't evidence of you "cheating" or being "good". They're evidence of you having a teenaged female body.
Thanks a lot for the advice, I'll see if I can speak with a doctor about what's going on with my body.
I have an idea.
Go to who loves you most in the fam (mom?) and tell her you’re feeling depressed because you feel rejection and judgment about your size and what you are forced to eat.
I mean—it might set off a set of weird reactions because your mom seems controlled by her dominating mother, but it may resonate with your mom that her mother is now victimizing her daughter the same way she victimized your mom.
I’m worried that you must stand up for yourself or you’ll be fucked up for life. Think about it.
There are counselors at school who would probably intervene, but you can’t really count on them. You can’t really count on anybody. But, maybe a counselor or a teacher or your beaten-down mom will stand up.
Start with mom. Give her a chance to help you.
That's very personal and frustrating. Especially thinking of how important it is to feel the urge to eat - it's also important for your metabolism and overall health. I always find inspiration from famous people and cooking shows or magazines.
Where I come from where traditions from greece, italy and the united kingdom come togheter there's no such problems. Maybe you come from a family that hasn't experienced food culture like Europe and the Americas. Culture also affect the way we think about food, but also it's manners - quiet and eat, or if you're religous. If you have been affected by illness and cancer it's also very hard to eat - imagine if something like that would happen to you (I think this is a very reasonable argument). China got a widespread variety of dishes, and also a big export to secularised european countries - including other asian nations.
Carbs: Rice, Pasta, Noodles, Potatos i e
Protein: Chicken, Fish, Meat
Vegetables: Onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage i e
Think about what you enjoy and try to personalize and mimic by guidance of big chefs inspiration (or if someone in yoru family is a good chef). Try to avoid fast food it's expensive and unhealthy. Buy omega 3 butter with oil.