How do I avoid turning into my mom?
June 30, 2011 12:53 PM Subscribe
After seeing my mother suffer from myriad health problems due to her depression and obesity, I am freaking out that my destiny is written in my genes. Please help figure out how to change the things I can and accept the things I cannot. I also welcome stories/advice from children of unhealthy people who learned from their parents' mistakes.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My mom is a wonderful person, and I love her very much. I worry, however, about her declining physical and emotional health. Her second marriage is complicated, she hates her job, her kids have left the nest, and she clearly battles depression. She is on prozac and other medications, but she doesn't see a therapist nor do I think she actually thinks of herself as Depressed.
I will shortly ask a question soon about how to help her get healthy, but for now I need to separate my concern for Mom from my agitation that this debilitation might happen to me.
Mom visited me in the large city where I live, and it was nearly impossible for us to get around due to her health issues. She is obese, and for a small-framed woman, these extra 100 pounds put enormous stress on her knees and back. It makes walking up and down stairs very painful. She sweats constantly and can only be active for brief stretches at a time. She has struggled with her weight since her 40s (she's 60 now) and went on lots of fad diets, which worked only briefly. She takes a nap every day and drinks at least 2 glasses of chardonnay a night, though often she finishes off an entire bottle. Her diet consists mainly of wine, starches and processed products, with very few whole foods.
I try to remind myself that my life is very different from my mother's. I live in a city where people walk everywhere. I bike instead of drive, avoid most carbohydrates/starchy foods, keep active, and seek relationships that bring me happiness. But seeing her sweat and suffer while doing basic activities has me terrified that I'll need to be enormously disciplined in order to avoid her fate. I've already lost close to 30lbs after a huge diet and lifestyle change about 2 years ago, and I'm now at a very healthy weight. Then again, I'm also still fairly young at 30 years old. I worry that the older I get, the easier it'll be to gain weight, get depressed about my health issues, rinse and repeat.
My mother used to be beautiful, healthy and active. I worry that any comfort I may take in my current fitness and happiness is illusory and fleeting, that I'm judging her for something that will inevitably take hold of me and not let go.
If anyone who's been in my position, what steps did you take to make sure that you didn't repeat your parents' lifestyle choices? Can city living, knowledge of good nutrition and a general awareness of one's own genetics be effective preventatives?