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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Where Do These People Come from?

I was at a diner in Pike County, in the land of obese people. The restaurant contained three generations of one family: a mother and her daughter who were running the place, and a granddaughter eating and fussing with a computer. The ten-year-old or so granddaughter was about 25 or 30 pounds overweight. She had been eating a stack of three pancakes with syrup, which she then set aside.

Her grandmother came out of the kitchen with four strips of bacon for the girl, and then looked down at the girl's plate: "Why haven't you finished your pancakes?" she asked the girl.

"Why haven't you finished your pancakes?"

I couldn't believe my ears. This girl should be skipping breakfast altogether for the next year or two, bu, instead, her grandmother is hounding her about not gobbling down that third pancake before she eats her four strips of bacon. Can she actually not see the extremely rotund child sitting there right in front of her eyes? What is she thinking when she asks this?

5 comments:

  1. My extremely obese grandmother still thinks we are the starving, famished family with whom she grew up in her village. She still sees meals as a chance to fill up before the lean months.

    When she sees someone not as obese as her i.e. all of us in our family, she describes as skinny and weak. We are quite the opposite. It's like she has hallucinations.

    She shouts at our parents and her grandchildren when none of us are willing to eat twice the normal adult's meal. "Are you out of your mind?! Finish it!", she says when my father or mother refuse to take a mountain of rice. Same with us. It makes us all reluctant to continue having dinners with her.

    She also incessantly worries and keeps telling me about my parents, "They leave home without filling their bellies! How will they work? They will faint!"

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  2. I've seen similar behavior from people who lived through the Great Depression. They appear to think that wasting food is a major offense, despite the changed contemporary situation. At least she didn't haul out the old "children starving in Africa" chestnut.

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    Replies
    1. My family was like this in terms of 'wasting food' even when it is plentiful, and I agree with the Great Depression attitude. In general, I think it reinforces an outlook that is uncomfortable with wastefulness and destruction, and I think that is very healthy.

      But my folks put a reasonable amount of food on the plate. Doing the same thing with copious quantities of pancakes and bacon would almost seem to reinforce the opposite perspective on things.

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    2. My family was like this in terms of 'wasting food' even when it is plentiful, and I agree with the Great Depression attitude. In general, I think it reinforces an outlook that is uncomfortable with wastefulness and destruction, and I think that is very healthy.

      But my folks put a reasonable amount of food on the plate. Doing the same thing with copious quantities of pancakes and bacon would almost seem to reinforce the opposite perspective on things.

      Delete
  3. Both my mother and my grandmother (my mother's mother) are like this. Not only will they keep filling you full of food, but if you even take the slightest bit of weight off they will think that you're too skinny. I currently weigh 200 lbs and am at around 12% body fat (i.e. an extremely healthy body composition), yet my mother insists that I'm too skinny and need to fatten up. My brother, who is slightly overweight, is perfect and "looks healthy" according to her.

    The funny part is that while my mother doesn't see being overweight as being unhealthy, she is constantly telling me to go get a blood lipid panel (which I did this past week), because she's afraid that I eat too much fat and cholesterol. But then she's always trying to get me to eat cheesecake, pie, chocolate, etc after serving a big roast with buttered everything.

    What can you do? Mothers from certain generations are just insane, and you cannot tell them any different.

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