I told my family that I am eating primally before coming home for Easter. I did not make any attempt to push this on anyone else but was surprised how resentful they acted about it. My mother made too big of a deal about it - loudly saying in front of family members about every single thing she was making, "this has __ in it...is _ on your diet?" and talking about how it is important to drain all the fat so we don't clog our arteries. My little brother at one point angrily told me I was nuts if I didn't eat a bagel. I did not eat that bagel. You get the point.
Anyway, I ended up eating a lot of things I wouldn't normally eat just to avoid the uncomfortable attention and to not hurt Ma's feelings. Last night, my stomach was so bloated that I looked pregnant. My face is horribly puffy and my joints are killing me. I had the mental fog, mood swings, and sleepiness that I knew would come. I'm IF'ing today to try to mitigate the damage.
My question: do I tell her that I am feeling this way? I am thinking that it might drive home the point that eating SAD makes me sad, while primal makes me feel like a superhero. The hardest part I am having with primal/paleo right now is the reaction of my family and the social pressure. Any comments or thoughts on pressure from family members is welcome. I am really struggling with this and thanks in advance for any help you all can offer.
Honestly, I've found it to be easier not to try to involve the family. When I dine with people where I don't have any control over the menu, I usually take a plate of food and either (if I have the choice) only select the foods I know I can eat, OR take a little of everything, but only EAT the things that I know aren't going to make me feel horrible. Usually, I'll also bring at LEAST one dish, and usually TWO dishes, that I know I -can- eat, because eating with one's family, in a pleasant environment, is a "goodness". And this is even with the onus of truly having food allergies that -do- limit what I can eat.
For example -- when dining at my dads (Sicilian), Easter dinner includes both lasagna and roast duck, along with asparagus, spring vegetables (which I brought), chopped liver (which I brought), a salad, roasted new potatoes, cake, pie, homemade brioche... you get the picture. I fix a plate with a small piece of lasagna (now that my mom is dead, my dad is SO proud of his lasagna, because it's the last thing my mom taught him to cook), lots of roast duck, some veggies, a big scoop of chopped liver, and a bowl of salad. I'll eat the duck, veggies, salad, and chopped liver, and cut the piece of lasagna up (I did eat the sausage, chunks of veal, and chunks of beef cooked in homemade tomato sauce out of the middle) and push it around my plate so it looks like I ate some, but got full. Then, nobody complains, and I don't have to "justify" my eating habits to people who, quite frankly, don't really CARE to hear about yet ANOTHER weirdness that I have.
It isn't so much that I hide my choices -- in fact, I'm quite open about how I eat and why I eat what I do -- however, I tend to have these conversations during the pre- or post-dinner discussion period, and I don't let those choices intrude on a family meal in such a way that they ruin other peoples' enjoyment of the meal, or make other people feel like I'm putting them out on a rather busy occasion. Plus, if people see me enjoying myself and not being a "bother" at a family meal, they are more willing to consider the possibility that they could change their own eating habits as well, without "putting other people out" or having to miss family meals, etc.
It's different if I'm eating at my dads, and it's just him, me, my companion, my brother, and my brother's wife/kids -- then I'll usually give my dad a polite reminder about my special food needs, I bring something I know I can eat, and I don't mind reminding dad, when he passes me something that I don't eat, that XYZ isn't something I'm able to eat without feeling sick.
No joke: your family sounds like a bunch of jerks. I mean that in the plainest, but sincerest way possible. My family has a history of weight issues, so I think the subject of diet is understood and considered a little more sensitively that what you described. I also have no issues telling anyone in my family to go &%^! themselves if they are trying to push-my-buttons (as only family members are so good at doing to each other).
"I am thinking that it might drive home the point that eating SAD makes me sad, while primal makes me feel like a superhero." Focus on the latter point, and dutifully explain the former point when asked about negative effects. You'll get a lot of eye-rolls if you start talking about "getting brain fog". If you talk about how good food makes you feel great, I think that is easier for others to understand more readily. So, not "get brain fog", but "I feel incredibly clear-headed and vibrant when I eat vital foods."
Limit your cheats. Strive for none, enjoy the ones you choose. Love mama's manicotti 'cause it reminds you of Easter in your childhood? Go for it. Feeling pressured to eat a bagel that you're not going to enjoy? Tell your bro to lay off.
You are in control of your life - not your family. Find common ground for discussion at the table, cheat your diet where it improves your life, and stick to it where it's the best choice.
People don't care what you eat or don't eat, do or don't do. Their reaction is based only on how they feel about themselves (bad) when they see what you eat or don't eat, do or don't do.
In other words none of what your mom and brother did or said is actually about you. Unfortunately talking about it with them probably won't help much. If you have something to say to them say it and get it off your chest, but if you say it because you want them to change - that would be you doing to them what they just did to you.
NO It was what YOU did- NOT THEM. A social skill that Paleo folks need is how to eat around the 21 century much like hunting and foraging and eating foods who trust. Yes, it would be idea if your extended family was hard core paleo but come on - it aint going to be so eating what you can, nibble other things, make the family happy, then go your a few sprints, swing the kettlebells or just plain lift yopur self up off the floor a dozen times after a walk. Its you not them.
Sheesh, that is rough! A lot of people don't like having a mirror held up in front of them, and unfortunately that's what happens when we talk about the way we eat (even if you aren't pushy). I wouldn't go out of your way to tell your mom, maybe use it as an explanation next time as to why you don't want cake, pasta, etc. Honestly though, if your mom was making a stink about your diet, who cares about hurting her feelings? If I eat something that I know will probably make me feel bad, it's got to be because I really want it, and I know it's going to taste fantastic. Don't worry about walking on eggshells around your family; they don't seem to care about your feelings (your bro got angry over bagels?!), and it ain't worth making yourself sick! I hope things improve; keep doing your non-pushy thing and hopefully they'll leave you alone.
I'm sorry you had to go through that. Especially during a holiday family meal which is supposed to be a time to connect with everyone. As it's been said a few times in the posts above, you'll either have to put up with the family's "suspicion" towards your diet or not say anything at all. Just eat what you know won't make you sick. Although I'm lucky that my parents are very accepting. The worst criticism I've received was a raised eyebrow and then a shrug. But they all did notice when I started losing weight and my skin started to clear up. Hang in there!
In my family we are pretty used to ignoring each other/not listening to each other, so I haven't had any pressure problems. But I have eaten crap by my own volition because hell, it's a holiday and I wanted to. If you are going to give in, you might try carrying some enzymes. I had my pie yesterday and I feel fine, though knowing that my main issue is fructans, I made it a tiny tiny piece of pie.
Also, I think it's another opportunity for me to drive home that you need to get screened for Celiac by a doctor, because if you legitmately have Celiac, it's a whole nother ball game and you are going to have to do more than just try to avoid things, like bringing your own food that hasn't touched anything that flour has touched.
You are obviously intolerant to the foods and need to just grow a pair and tell her that. If she doesn't want you eating fat around her fine. But tell her how you feel after grains. Tell her it's not just for shits and giggles. It's real.
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