Sunday, January 11

Reverse Psychology and Low-Carb Parenting

As a single mom, I sometimes think that it doesn't matter what the subject under discussion is: whether we're talking about eating well, budgeting, or why my dang bedroom still isn't painted, the answer to the question "What is the factor of most difficulty in this situation?" is always "parenting".

For quite awhile I was pretty miserably depressed over my body having lost interest in losing weight, despite that I seemed to be eating fine. Then my eating got 'iffy at times', which didn't help, but if the result is "not losing weight" no matter what you do, it gets rather difficult to convince yourself that you really should eat 'meat' instead of 'everything else'. I lost interest in blogging here because I don't want to be a bad example. I lost heart in talking to my friends in a forum because I feel like a poser if I'm not "doing" what I'm talking about well-enough.

Me and the kid ("R") as you may recall from ancient history of this blog, were on lowcarb together for awhile. She lost 5 pants sizes and felt great and was very happy. She lost interest after that though, and the more I leaned on lowcarbing, the more every single meal became a drama-queen event. She is 12 going on 15, 'became a woman' a few months ago, and is SO hormonal it's hard not to pity her frankly. Puberty to mid-teens is like 5 years of solid PMS.

But it became such an issue I finally said, "Fine." and we went back to eating some of what we used to eat, spaghetti with meat sauce and other kinds of grains (thanks to gluten I could barely breathe), and a lot of junk, whatever was fast and near and cheap. At times, I made an effort to be LC myself despite this but I just felt depressed and the urges didn't last long.

I regained a little weight, not a ton but enough to annoy me. About 20#. More than that, but the rest is water weight that will be falling off me over the next few weeks if I'm eating low-carb, so I don't really count that as a weight loss accomplishment.

Over time she has really regained weight. She's also grown a few inches. Her hips and scale weight nearly made me keel over when we measured this morning. I didn't weigh that much until I was 23 and definitely overweight, and I'm a couple inches taller. I tried not to hyperventilate; I try to be casual with her. "Yeah, that's too much babe, we'll have to get that off you, ok." I want her to understand it's possible and believe in it and know she is responsible for not sabotaging her own eating plan and mine as well.

So over the last month she has mourned her size and talked about going back to eating lowcarb. I shrugged, I made it seem like something I didn't consider her seriously interested in so I wasn't either anymore. No more fights 3x a day at meals, no more having a hard enough time making food for ME to eat several times a day let alone her when "she won't eat meat or eggs." About a week ago she admitted that she'd never really disliked meat but was just mad and wanted 'other stuff'. But every time she has brought up something I've basically shrugged it off. Once I said, "Aw, well, I'm fat, I might as well get fatter, it's too much trouble to eat lowcarb." Heh.

Last night she insisted that we "return to lowcarb" today. "Mostly meat," she says. She is insisting also that we take vitamins and drink water, and she wants to exercise a little. Now she insists; it is HER decision and I MUST support her in this, she says!

I tried to be casual. Sure, ok.

I did not leap into the air yelling HALLELUJIAH THANK YOU JESUS YAY-UH! and happy-dance around the room.

Some days, the world goes ok.



KMG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Haha! Awesome! I'm glad you know your kid well enough to realize what would work for her. Hurray :)

Anna said...

I was obese as a teen and have struggled quite a bit dealing with the weight, especially because my mother (a single mother as well) was always thin - she never knew what it has been like to be even a few pounds overweight. She did many things to "help" me lose the weight - punished me for eating more than she thought was adequate, hid food from me, enrolled me in various weight loss programs, bought some sort of energy bars, etc. etc. Do I have to say that none of those things worked? She hid the candy again? No problem, I'll find it anyway and eat it when she is asleep. Or, I'll just buy a few candy bars - they are cheap and plentiful. She yells at me for eating too much at dinner? No problem, I'll just have some leftovers when she goes to bed. So, yep, I didn't lose any weight at all (only gained) until I left for college and dropped 100 lbs in one year.

Your daughter is lucky that she has a mother who understands what she is going through. You may not always succeed in getting your point across, but you are compassionate because you know just how it feels to constantly restrict yourself and watch what you eat.

It is going to be very difficult for her at 12 years old to keep to the low-carb diet. It is simply too restricting for a growing child. Her body will crave carbs because they are an efficient source of fuel for all her vital organs. I think it would be prudent to incorporate some whole grains into her diet to offset this a bit. Small amounts of whole grain rice, a slice of whole wheat bread, oatmeal, etc. will add the much needed variety for her.

Dealing with obesity as a teen is so difficult that I would never be able to fully describe it to someone who hasn't been there. Good luck to both of you, I know that eventually you will pull through.

nonegiven said...

I disagree with Anna. She may need and tolerate a few more carbs than you but she is your daughter. Wheat is probably a really bad idea considering the effect it has on you.

PJ said...

Thanks for the feedback you guys!

I'm intolerant to gluten and I suspect she may be as well, so I avoid grains unless I'm in a junk food stage.

But I do give her -- and me at this point -- more carbs than the very low carb approach. Right now we just began so I'm keep around <25 a day but that's only for a week or two; about 50-70 a day I'd do otherwise.

She likes shell beans and peas and salads, so I do those to bring more carbs into her life. It also allows me to make a lot of meat-stews, basically meat with some beans and a little veggies (peppers, onions, etc. sometimes a little carrot).

I feel like hell if I don't get enough carbs too, though I was ok at first with VLC, now my body is just not happy with that, so it's better to consider it 'controlled carb' than the typical definition of lowcarb.

But the hard part is making sure 'enough' isn't 'too much', since too many of them will kick up my cravings -- though making sure most of them are NOT coming from grains or dairy is a big part of controlling that.

Good point though, in general; I do think that at her point of growth she needs heavy on the nutrients and not much VLC.

Catherine said...

I really feel for both your daughter, and for you as a mom. This is such a tough thing to deal with. R doesn't have the life experience to have good judgment yet, and watching our kids suffer is excruciating. I too was a fat teen and it can be hell. If R could get the chance (maybe she already does) to develop mastery in some area of interest that has nothing to do with her size, it could really help her mood and perspective.

I've been following your blog for a long time and I'll keep watching for updates -- I have my fingers crossed and thinking good thoughts for you both!

chattykenyon said...

PJ, Way to go! Good luck to both of you on your LC journey.

Marbles said...

It is hard to discover what foods that your body will, or will not tolerate. Helping someone else figure that out, on a limited budget, is harder still. Then, of course, there is the issue of what she eats when she is not around you. I wish you luck, and strength in helping a teen with this. Of course, by learning these lessons from you young, you are reshaping her entire future. (Think of that when "Mean mom" is slung at you...)