They Just Wouldn't Understand

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I attended a family bbq yesterday. These were folks on my side of the family who I feel more comfortable with though in reality, they are probably no less obnoxious-prone than DH's side of the family (who by the way, put the DYS in functional).

Anyway, back to the real story...... So there I was. After all the hugs and back pats and catching up on who's where, latest accomplishments, and the perfunctory tsk-tsk stories, I found myself sitting on a wooden picnic bench surrounded by all my favorite foods of holidays past. Potato salad, fried chicken, baked beans, macaroni salad, a well-stocked deli tray, lemonade, corn on the cob, dinner rolls, spicy chicken wings, a few gravy/brown saucy-laden things of unknown content -- well, you get the picture. It was not the picture you would find under the heading, “Healthy Choices.” In the past, I would have put a little bit of everything, and a lot of some things on my plate. But yesterday, I opted for a spoonful and a half of potato salad, grilled corn on the cob, 1 spicy wing, 4 slices of tomato from the deli tray, and a half a glass of lemonade. I navigated my way to a table some distance away from the food table. I was also careful to avoid my aunts who, God bless their souls, take it as a personal insult if your plate is not filled to the brim with their tasty, but lethal entrées. I actually sat next to Exhibit A for proof of the lethal-ness of their food. One of their husbands, my uncle, was hospitalized last year after suffering a heart attack. He probably weighs close to (or over) 300 pounds and is on all kinds of medications, including one for high blood pressure. But there he sat, eating ribs, with a large mound of potato salad, baked beans, and buttered dinner rolls on his plate quietly awaiting their turns to be pillaged.

He eyed my plate when I sat down and said, “Is that all you gonna eat?”
“Um, well, I guess.” I sorta stuttered, not really sure how to answer that.
“What -- you on some kind of diet or somethin?”
“Um, well, I guess.” He looks at me kinda weird now, probably wondering if I got stuck on stupid or somethin.
“Well,” he mused, “I guess we all could stand to lose a little weight.” He grins, patting his ample belly with one hand, and sucking the last of the saucy meat off the rib bone with the other.
“Um, well, I guess.” He shakes his head just slightly and soon strikes up a conversation with another person at the table. One who I'm sure he hopes has a more expansive vocabulary.

I don't know why I didn't want to answer questions about what I was eating or whether I was on a diet. Families like to shoot off at the mouth and I am reluctant to give them ammunition. So certain things I feel better keeping to myself. I will let the results of my weight loss efforts speak for themselves this time next year.

After I finished eating, I saw my aunt headed towards our table with a huge platter of cake covered in the creamiest chocolate icing I've ever seen. Luckily, I was able to flee before she got there, saying I had to run to the little girls room. Look, my friend, dieting involves a certain amount of subterfuge, okay?!? I stayed away until I saw she had left and taken her chocolate temptations with her.

I returned to the table and my uncle says, “Are you alright – you having a good time?”
“Um, well, I guess.”
This time he looks over his glasses with a raised eyebrow, kinda like The Rock used to do.

“Child, you don't seem too....,” but thankfully, before he completes THAT sentence, my DH yells for me to come and play some horseshoes. So I scoot off toward the horseshoe pits, and when I turned around to wave bye to everyone at the table, they were already huddled together in conspiratorial whispers -- no doubt talking about the odd behavior of their once-normal relative. I wonder if they'll settle on drugs or alcohol as the reason for my weird awkwardness. Or some sort of mental spousal abuse, I thought, as DH waved me frantically toward the horseshoes. That one made me smile a little. All in all, I had a wonderful time, though it's obvious I have to work on my 'lifestyle change' behavior. Um, well, I guess!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Jo - I think you did the right thing at the right time for you. The time will come (next year as you said) for you to make a "stand", it just wasn't the time to do so at this particular gathering.

    Ya did good!
    3733 days ago
    I completely understand the pain of a family get together. Just driving near their houses makes me go all squirrelly. I think you handled yourself greatly. You go girl!
    3736 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2948406
    ok, what you just experienced is what i call in my vocabulary the "food pushers" . they are vengeful, evil people who want you to shrink (or grow) to their level anyway possible. they are the people who bring their left over holiday candy to work or the people who THINK they can cook and insist you try. food pushers are everywhere and they are just as dangerious as pimps and crack pushers. my solution = avoid or spend as little time possible until ia m stronger to say no or not have it ruin my day.
    3736 days ago
    My Dear Jo-Jo...

    You did sooo damn good girl you oughtta be proud of outsmarting those sabateurs (sp) that seemed to surround ya. I know, fam means well, and I know all too well the look they give ya when you're not completely "pigging" out on their fat filled platters of, well, for lack of a better word, swill!

    Good to be with fam and LMAO over that cute lil Uncle of yours..."Um, well, I guess!" I love the ROCK - the eyebrow is called the "people's eyebrow"...yummy!! heehee

    Great work escaping all the potential dangers!!!
    3736 days ago
    Good for you!!! You did great...even though you were short on words with your uncle..Lol. That was too funny.

    But the important thing is that you stood your ground and didn't allow yourself to indulge on the foods that you knew would not help your efforts to lose weight and get healthy.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3736 days ago
    I had to laugh at your blog. Dear husband has a bunch of relatives and my family doesn't have get-togethers with people I am not comfortable with.

    Dh's family, well, that's another story! He has one brother that reminds me of the movie, Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, the guy that came in the mobile camper and wore the leisure suit, Yep, that's the one. I think they modeled the character from dh's one brother.

    Also when my rottweiler was alive, my daughter's cat chased a squirrel downstairs from the attic and the rottweiler and our cat and dd's cat were all in hot pursuit! I didn't name our rotty, "Snots", but pretty much everything was very similar.

    Dh also has an uncle that has an unusual interest in me, he and my husband look alike. At the last family get-together, I turned to go and he ran over and kissed my cheek and said we never came to visit him.

    You did well, Jo!
    3737 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7599351
    Good for you for staying on track. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3737 days ago
  • KITKA82
    Good for you for sticking to your guns. Definitely not easy at the family BBQ (I survived one this weekend).
    3737 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    You gotta love family.

    Continue to do Y-O-U!!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3737 days ago
    haha -- You are getting pretty good at that diet subterfuge emoticon Just keep doing what you're doing and they will see a new [more] marvelous you next year emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3737 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6096849
    Hahaha. I love when you blog about family gatherings because it reminds me so much of my family get togethers. My family also takes it as a personal insult if your plate isn't filled to the brim with a heart attack waiting to happen. I've been good staying away, or eating before I go to visit them. But with the temptation that you listed above, I probably would've went wild and then felt bad about it. Great job that you stayed the course and stuck to healthier alternatives. And you're right, next year they'll all be telling you how marvelous you look! xoxo
    3738 days ago
    Lol! Very nice job!! I will remember what to do when my turn comes around. I run from family like the plague tho, lol!
    3738 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon YOU DID WELL !!!!!
    3738 days ago
    Hi Jo

    Girl I can relate to that one. Everytime my family get together, the expect you to eat until you are stuffed. Thankfully, I have always been known as a picky eater, so they leave me alone. But I think you handled yourself very well, considering.

    emoticon , emoticon job.
    3738 days ago
    Good dodge! emoticon
    3738 days ago
  • JRIMM4
    Glad you had a good visit and it seems truly you handled it fine. Sometimes and to somepeople we want to express more than others and thats ok. Awesome taking part in the horseshoes! We had a bbq last night at a friends and I was truly stuck by the changes I've made when my friend looked at me and asked "did you bring any salad dressing?" to go with the great big ala cart salad I brought. Um, nope! I'ts been so long since I actually used dressing on my salad It didnt even occur to me bring any lol. I escaped the night doing well with food an extra large helping of salad (no dressing) a burger with no bun and a serving of chips. Totally blew it on the drinks though, who'd have thought 3 beers and a half glass of wine would = 600 calories! Yikes. I guess thats my next thing to tackle!

    3738 days ago
    it can be hard sharing lifestyle changes like this one with family, because family are just that FAMILY. while they can be your biggest supporters, they are also the ones you have heard doubt from in the past, who have (often unknowingly) offered up comments that made you feel sad. they are comfortable saying anything at all, because of the familial bond. it took me a year and some to tell my parents (i live out of country) that i was doing well in the healthy lifestyle and got some really mixed up reactions *L* keep holding your head high, doing your thing, avoiding temptation (i can just see you scurrying around the edges of the food!) and rockin it out, cause you are impressing the heck out of the rest of us :D
    3738 days ago
  • SUNSHINE6859
    Your family BBQ sounds a little like mines. Someone is always wanting you to overload you plate so they will not be alone in overindulgence. Misery does love company.

    emoticon emoticon
    3738 days ago
    Way to go! I will remember this blog when I go to the family reunion later this month. Luckily there should be more than a few healthy choices. I just need to stay away from the bad ones. Staying active is a great idea, even if it is just a trip to the ladies room.
    3738 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Thank the good Lord for the “little girls room” & for precious husbands who call in the nick of time!

    It is a blessing that "they" don't have to understand in order for us to make good choices for ourselves. You "done" good! emoticon

    I enjoyed reading your Blog. You are one gifted writer!

    Be blessed!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3738 days ago
    Oh dear - the process is so much easier without family or get togethers, but you managed well from the "I didn't eat" standpoint.

    What would happen if you announced that - just for today -you planned to eat as healthy as possible given the circumstances? No big ** diet ** announcement. Just for today.

    I married into a family of totally normal weight and healthy people who eat nothing but fried food. They even like to fry the turkey on Thanksgiving, which I think is an abomination. My excuses to them on holidays go like this: it's a religious thing. I'm allergic. I needed four days to detox and these are the only four days I have that I'm not working. You get the picture.

    They have stopped inviting me to big family dinners and now just show up on my doorstep to walk in my garden.

    Love your writing!!
    3738 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6063397
    You did better than me, I gave in...ate the food.. now it will be payback time.....Ugh!!!!!
    3738 days ago
    You did a great job in not letting the bbq sabotage your healthy lifestyle. For some reason people seem to feel entitled to an explanation when you do not join them fully in their eating splurges. Just as we would not tell them to stop overeating, they should not tell us to eat like they are eating.
    When I go to gatherings, I either talke a banana along, or I eat a banana right before leaving. That way I am not hungry when I get there.
    I know that people feel bad if you do not taste what they prepared, but I cannot walk away with all that stuff in my body.
    Congrats for not letting the gathering ruin your good efforts.
    3738 days ago
    Aw, Jo...I can NEVER get enough of your writing! I sat here chuckling and nodding. Who among us, unless we were hatched in the forest by werewolves, can't relate to this scenario today? I've even gone so far as to spr-e-e-ead out my food on the plate to make it look like more. You have a way of drawing real-life caricatures with words sometimes that is absolutely irresistible! Outstanding blog post!!! - Sandi emoticon
    3738 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/4/2010 10:32:25 AM
  • SUZEQ09
    Congrats on NOT filling your plate with everything in site! That's a major accomplishment right there. emoticon You picked things that you felt were enough for you body and that's all that matters. The only person you need to please is YOU! This is your year, your journey.

    Keep rocking it!!!! emoticon
    3738 days ago
    From Now on, eat on the side lines, around that horseshoe pit! People who are not active do not even bother to go to where there is exercise of any sort going on.

    Use your DH as your back up, sit with him and the kiddos during the meal so people do not notice you so much.

    Otherwise, you need to look at them straight in the eye and claim a medical condition. LOL. Seriously, tell them you are getting healthy. Or try bringing at least one healthy food You KNOW you can eat.
    3738 days ago
    I can not believe you found yourself to be speech-less. You have such a way with words.

    Presuming positive intent (very difficult to do with relatives), let's say that they were perplexed at the loss of your wit and not by the lack of food on your plate! LOL!

    On a serious note....we all know that change is hard on everyone around us because one person changing forces EVERYONE to look at their own behavior. The comment from your aunt's husband about needing to lose a few pounds, is a perfect example of that.

    You did a GREAT job of managing this emotional eater's paradise!!!!!!! emoticon emoticon
    3738 days ago
    ---deleting duplicate post----
    3738 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/4/2010 10:09:18 AM
    Very funny. I know that sometimes I just don't feel like explaining my eating habits to everyone. Families in particular! With mine I could never win. I've always been either too thin (in other words, at death's door) or I've been too fat (in other words, fat and lazy). Now I'm after the size "I" want to be. What a quaint notion! Enjoyed your blog!
    3738 days ago
    You hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. This is a life style change, more than a diet. I have many people in my family who would react that same way. I get to put my "life style" behavior into action in a few weeks. You are right to let them see you as the example. Watch out next reunion. emoticon
    3738 days ago
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