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In Honor Of Mother’s Day: Taking A Break From The Guilt/Blame Cycle

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on May 9, 2011

by Golda Poretsky, HHC
http://www.bodylovewellness.com

Listen to the podcast here:

Recently, I was interviewed for an article about HAES(SM), and the interviewer asked, “What was your earliest experience with dieting?”

I felt a little funny telling her that I did my first diet when I was 4 years old. Even though I include that fact in my bio and I hear similar stories all day long in my practice, it still  felt funny to say it.

My mom is a big Sophia Loren fan (as am I) so I figured I'd put up this lovely picture of her with her kid.

I actually remember quite a lot about that first diet. I don’t remember what I ate or how I went about it, but I remember telling my Mom that the kids at nursery school were calling me fat. After some discussion (I was a really talkative kid) we decided that I would go on some sort of diet, and I would get a gold star on the calendar every day that I stuck to it. After a certain number of gold stars accumulated, I would get a toy.

As you might imagine, I think that this set me up for a lot things that some of you may have experienced too. For years, I had underlying beliefs like:  it’s important to focus on weight and food, it’s important to please people in order to get something (a toy, approval), I need to change how I look to be accepted, and in some ways, a belief that the bullies were right.

Maybe in reading this, you’re thinking, “I would never put my kid on a diet at such a young age.” And perhaps, you wouldn’t. But when I think about my Mom’s experience of life, how she was the chubby one among her thin siblings, how her Mom (my Grandmother) worried about her weight and my Mom’s weight, how she had gone through life thinking she was fat, starving herself to fit in, etc., then it doesn’t seem so weird. In fact, it makes perfect sense. My Mom was trying to avoid the pain that she had experienced as a fat kid.

Antique postcard mom and daughter

Antique French Postcard (Graphics Fairy)

When I write in my gratitude journal, I often find myself writing about my Mom. I feel grateful to her for so many things, but I’ve also come to a place where I’m really grateful that she put me on that diet at age 4. That diet, and the diets that followed, were part of my journey to where I am now. I would never have been the anti-diet crusader, the fat activist, and the healer that I am today if I hadn’t gone through the intense torment of repeated dieting. I wouldn’t wish it on another kid, but I see that journey coming to fruition in the fat activists around me, and I think there will be legions more of us in the years to come since childhood obesity has become such a lightning rod issue (phony as it is).

I inherited so much from my Mom. I have her wavy hair, her love of learning, her zeal for social justice, her love of humor, her love of creature comforts and beautiful things.  I know she blames herself for my inherited weight, even though I would love for her to let go of that.  I think that would be a great Mother’s Day present to herself, even though my Mom hates Mother’s Day and thinks it’s a commercialized, fake holiday.  (I guess my Mom’s hatred of fake holidays is another thing I inherited, though I solemnly and devoutly celebrate International No Diet Day every year (and every day, really).)

Antique Postcard Mother & Daughter

Antique Postcard (Graphics Fairy)

So here’s a tip for finding some healing from the guilt and blame cycle.  Take a moment to picture your mom (or whomever was like a mom to you) in different stages of her life.  Picture her as a young child, a preteen, a teenager, and a young adult.  For each of these stages, ask yourself, “What were her dreams for her life? What were her fears and insecurities?”  Doing this exercise may help you understand your mom a bit better.

It’s a good reminder that, as Louise Hay says, “our parents were doing the best they could with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that they had” at the time.   (And by the way, if you’re not there yet in acknowledging your parents’ journey, that’s okay too.)

Please share your insights in the comments section below.

[PSSST.  HEY, YOU.  IF YOU'VE BEEN THINKING THAT YOU WANT TO WORK WITH ME, GET SUPPORT IN HEALING FROM THE STRESS OF DISORDERED EATING AND BODY HATRED, THEN YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT REGISTRATION FOR MY TRULY AMAZING GROUP PROGRAM ENDS THIS WEEK.   IF YOU'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT, NOW IS THE TIME.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO.  I HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!]

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Hanlie June 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Golda, I don’t know you from a bar of soap – it’s my first time on your blog – but I think you just broke a dam wall inside me by suggesting that I consider my parents’ journey. I guess I was ready for this today. Thank you so much for sharing.

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Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. June 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

@Hanlie, That is so beautiful to hear. <3

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NewMe May 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

In many wonderful ways, my mother sounds very similar to yours. Although she never put me on a diet (I did that to myself, starting when I was around 16), I think she too felt bad about passing on her fat genes to me. It’s taken me over 50 years to start accepting the fact that healthy bodies come in many shapes and sizes–and I’m still only learning to accept that fact, in both myself and others.

Glad to have found your blog!

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Alexis May 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

You had a normal mother. Many of us don’t. I for one am extremely irritated by that feely goody, one size fits all statement by Louise Hay. If LH thinks a grown women telling her 7 year old, 10lb overweight daughter, “You’re so g*d damn fat I can’t stand to look at you. Get out of my sight.” is the mother’s legitimate best, I’m at a loss for words.
But the next time I hear a daughter “whine” about her drunk mother using the food money for booze, I’ll tell her what LH thinks and see what she says. After all, the mother was doing her best. Or at least as best as a drunk who refuses to get sober is willing to do for their daughter.

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Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. May 12, 2011 at 11:14 am

@Alexis, I hear your anger and I totally get it. This blog post is just a suggestion, and may not feel right to everyone.

According to Louise Hay, she was severely abused as a kid. I think for her, finding compassion for her parents was her way of moving forward with her life.

I think that for some people, being horrible to their kids is all that they know. Some get help and figure out that they don’t want to treat their kids that way and actively work to prevent it, and some don’t. I’m not sure that everyone really has the capability and maturity to change in order to be better parents. I really don’t know.

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Mulberry May 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm

You know something, Golda, there were plenty of mothers who weren’t fat and had fat daughters, and put them on lots of diets. What was their ezcuse?

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Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. May 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

@Mulberry, Truthfully, I think we have lived in such a fat-phobic society that thin women are often experiencing the same fear of fat, and instilling that in their kids.

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Golda Poretsky, HHC (@bodylovewellnes) (@bodylovewellnes) May 10, 2011 at 7:27 am

Thanks for sharing this! RT @CurvyYoga: "Taking a Break from the Guilt/Blame Cycle" Fabulous post from @BodyLoveWellnes http://bit.ly/jd3onZ

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Anna Guest-Jelley (@CurvyYoga) May 9, 2011 at 9:08 am

"Taking a Break from the Guilt/Blame Cycle" Fabulous post from @BodyLoveWellnes http://bit.ly/jd3onZ

Reply

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