she called herself when she walked into my office after calling to meet for a consultation about her 5 year old son.
A teeny, beautiful woman, working as a top physician in one of New York City’s best hospitals, this Mom joked with me, that she calls herself, “The Obese Mom”, after taking her son to the doctor for his annual checkup. The doctor turned to her, horrified, after weighing her son, and said: “He is obese! How did you let this happen!”
How awful for her. A physician and heart specialist yet, who works daily with people who have medical problems stemming from obesity.
As we talked more, the issues became clear. Her food legacy came out; how her Mom never cooked meals, let them eat anything they wanted, junk food, they mostly raised themselves vis a vis eating. Her own guilt about her long hours and how she didn’t want to challenge the babysitter she was so dependent on, even though this babysitter showered her son with love/food. Never said no, and had a bottle or food in his mouth at all times. How on her days off, since her son loved to eat, they would bake cookies together, and eat the cookie dough. He loved it so much.
It was time for some tough love. For both of them. Coaching her through weaning her son of sweets and a habit of eating for comfort, for any reason, was hard. Working through her guilt and her connection of food as love and nurturing had to be examined.
Hard to be a Mom. In time, this child lost weight, and this Obese Mom did other things to enjoy their time together.
Did they have a period of deprivation, screaming and yelling? Yes. Did she feel like the worst Mom in the world? Yes. But she knew it had to be done. Part of the process after taking away sweets, was a period where he got to choose when and how he got his treat per day. He felt control by knowing it was in the fridge, he could get it when he wanted, but that was it. No more than that.
She set limits. She felt hated by him. She was the bad guy. (And the Obese Mom yet!)
Now she can joke about it. Her son is happy, healthy, socializing and this “Obese Mom” doesn’t fear getting yelled at by his doctor.