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Ideas for a fat-phobic mum (thinks most of what I'm trying to eat is going to kill me) AND trying to curb my binge eating

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM

This will likely be fairly long, but there are quite a lot of details which might influence your thoughts/ advice so I think it's better than I'm pretty thorough.

Stats: 20 years old, female, only living at home over the summer/ Christmas and Easter holidays because otherwise I'm at uni (England). 5 foot 7, looking to lose about 20lbs to get back to my 'ideal' body.

I've had issues with eating since the age of about 8, and mental health issues from 13. Been on meds (antidepressants, then antipsychotics for bipolar disorder) since the age of 16, but I'm currently 3 weeks away from being med-free after finding that the Paleo diet and lifestyle has vastly improved my mental health in ways that meds and hospitalisation just didn't.

Despite this pretty much immediate improvement in my symptoms after changing my diet, I still have fairly frequent (1-2 days per week) lapses in my diet. This might be something as small as eating 50g of dark chocolate when I didn't intend to eat any on that day (not such a massive problem) or as big as consuming 8000kcals worth of giant cookies, chocolate, crisps and cakes (big problem). I am ashamed of the way that I binge so I hide it from my parents and only binge when I am alone in the house. My parents have noticed that all "their yummy food" tends to go missing when I'm around and are aware that there is a slight issue so they hide it, but I find it when they're out (and eat little bits from everything so they don't notice) or I go out and buy myself stuff. They have no idea how bad my binge eating is and it's not something I can talk to them about because my mother has been emotionally abusive to me all my life so this is something she could really latch onto, and my dad has his own issues to deal with.

My ideal eating plan is: 1400-1600kcals per day <50g carbs 80g protein rest from fat

I say 'ideal' because I struggle to get enough fat on a lot of days, and I've read a lot about other people who curb binge eating by increasing their fat intake, which brings me to my next problem:

My mum is the typical fat-phobe. Buys lean mince (even reduced-fat minced turkey FGS), cuts all the visible fat off chops etc. and we eat a lot of chicken breast. She's convinced that eating high fat both makes you fat and causes heart disease etc.

I've gone through all the Paleo fat sources (and some dairy ones) that I can think of but I'm still a little stumped so I'm hoping for a little creativity from one of you guys, or a source that I've forgotten.

So this is my list of fat sources:
-Fatty meat (already explained) my mum panicks if I eat bacon more than twice a week, and that's the only fatty meat we buy
-Fatty fish - we eat fresh salmon once per week but it's farmed and I get a small portion because it's so expensive. I used to eat a lot of canned salmon but I'm giving myself a break from it at the moment because I ate it so often I feel sick from the smell of it at the moment. Smoked mackerel I'm also allowed twice a week
-Avocados - mum won't buy because she says they're too expensive
-Eggs - I'm allowed 2 per day maximum
-Coconut oil - we don't buy it, I've tried to hunt some down for myself but the only stuff I can find is ??15 for 400g :s
-Olive oil - have tried and can't stomach olive oil shooters
-Butter - my mum refuses to use much of it in cooking and I have no other way of eating it
-Nuts - macadamia nuts are hugely expensive over here (??2.50 for 100g) and all the others have unfavourable o-3:o-6 ratios, which is something I'm keen to avoid given my history of mental illness
-Dairy - I have access to full fat Greek yoghurt (I have to accomany my mum to the shop to make sure she doesn't sneak me the 1% fat version haha) and cheese but I'd rather not consume these in large quantities as dairy gives me acne and I am also trying to lose weight, as I said.

As I mentioned at the top I'm only at home during the holidays but this adds up to 5 months of each year so it's a significant percentage of my time overall, plus the recurrant binging episodes can't be doing anything good for my body so I'd like to nail them if I can. My mental health team don't see it as a problem as I'm neither over- nor underweight so they can't offer me any help with the binging.

Apologies for the length of the post and kudos if you read through all of it.

TL;DR
-My attempts at eating Paleo for any length of time longer than about a week at a time are interrupted by binging
-I've heard eating more fat can help with binging/ satiation, but my mum is fat-phobic and I'm living at home
-Any creative suggestions to getting more fat in my diet?

EDIT for Amy B/ Christine M:

My mother is very controlling. My counsellor and I have agreed that she has issues around me being younger/slimmer/ more attractive than her, she had an abusive first marriage and a difficult childhood and lots of her own issues. The upshot is that she hasn't really been a great mother, my doctor regards her as emotionally abusive and she uses food as a tool to help control me.

For instance yesterday she saw me eating a chicken breast at 10am, then some Greek yoghurt and berries at 1pm, and inhaled loudly (best I can describe it) as I went past with an "my God are you eating again you fatty?!" intention. When I was younger, before I'd learned that the only way to live with her is to humour her, we'd have a huge argument at least once a week when I'd take exception to her treatment of me and she'd ignore me completely for 3-4 days at a time, cooking everybody elses meals and just leaving me to get something for myself. I was 7 or 8 when this started happening, and it went on until I was 13 or 14.

Any food that I buy for myself has to go into the family fridge (like butter) or be cooked in the kitchen (eggs) so she can still see what I'm eating/doing. If it's something she doesn't agree with (like eating more than 2 eggs a day) she goes on and on and on about it until I give in. Given my mental health history I figure it's best to let her think she's 'winning' rather than risk the stress of being shouted at and/or ignored.

Basically I've been conditioned to fear her all through my life so that she maintains control, and even though I'm a fully grown adult who spends the majority of my time away from home, she still scares the s*** out of me haha.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 24, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Yeah it was suggested to me at my uni that I could sort out living arrangements in that city rather than go home. The only problem with that is I'd need a reason that my mum viewed as 'legitimate' for not going home (like a job up there - which I considered lying about) and even then she might just drive up to where I am and phone me non-stop. It's a careful balancing act at the moment that I'm still working on, but I've got good support at uni so that's good at least.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on July 24, 2012
at 12:19 PM

Oz, if you need someone to talk to who understands, as I've got bipolar and live in the UK too, you can contact me personally if you wish to talk more privately or just hang out. I have skype, email, and facebook.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on July 24, 2012
at 11:46 AM

With eating foods at friends, I would suggest eggs. They're cheap, nutritious, filling, and easy/quick to cook.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on July 24, 2012
at 11:45 AM

Can you not stay on campus over the summer? I had a friend who stayed on campus over the summer rather than going home. It was a different flat to her term time one and then had to move again into a new flat when term started again, but she didn't ever move off campus for her whole course.

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:26 PM

It's not his fault, people tend to believe what the mainstream media sells them

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:22 PM

Do everything you can to move out of this living situation. Get at least a part time job, team up with uni friends as above, see if you can spend time with friends on holidays. Look for internships or other ways to have your own place and own money to buy food. If you can't get out of the house and on your own, at least find some way to get enough money to have more control of your own food.

Cd77fd01d8be999aa91b8678e262f419

(825)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:13 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. Mine wasn't so bad, but my mum is definitely the "food=love" type and completely ignored any dietary plans I was trying to stick to, instead buying me all my childhood treats whenever I was back on holiday. After the first Christmas home, I worked out a deal with my uni so that I could stay in halls over the holidays, it greatly helped my studying and I got a part time job for some of the breaks. My parents weren't super happy but they accepted it. Hopefully you can end up with something similar? Good luck!

Dea5f440698f5488b975ada2f61daa0d

(393)

on July 23, 2012
at 09:38 PM

It's not fat that makes you fat, it's carbs. To rewrite this saying: good fats don't make you fat, but bad carbs do.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Tell me about it. My brother was sent to the USA for a week by his work and he came back singing the praises of grain-fed beef saying it tasted better and grain "must be the cows natural diet or something". I was so close to facepalming right there at the table... Does he envisage acres of grain growing naturally and cows gorging themselves before they were domesticated?!

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:49 PM

That's a good point actually Amy... I could do something like that. I've been going to a friends house a lot over the summer but eating around that. What I could do instead is take food with me and eat it there... Great suggestion, just the sort of thinking outside the box I needed!

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:47 PM

Forgot to add that one haha, I drink coconut milk in tea/coffee and pour it on berries etc. sometimes, but as with most other things my consumption is 'limited'.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:38 PM

Can't believe I'm suggesting this, Oz, but how about buying some of the foods you think will be good for you and eating them outside the house? Can you walk or drive to the store on your own and eat something on the way back? Maybe even keep a few things in the cupboard at friends' houses nearby? Normally I would not encourage sneaking around with food, but it might be warranted in this case.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:36 PM

Good suggestions. Unfortunately, it looks like the OP's mother is a manipulative, controlling you-know-what, and I don't know if any of that would be "allowed" in the house.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:33 PM

The grain fed fats you are eating ARE going to kill you and many other Paleo'ers not BECAUSE its fat, but rather because its not the right kind of fat thanks to the feeding of grain to animals who were not suppose to eat it.

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:32 PM

I know what you're going through, we are rogue agents of health in this grain fed world. Your body and your health in general have to become the body of proof.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:30 PM

Thanks for the extra info. It does make my recommendation below seem too simplistic. I'm sorry the situation is so bad. Is your father (or some other adult relative - an aunt, uncle) in the picture? Maybe they can have a rational conversation with your mother. I dunno...that's a very difficult situation. Do the best you can in university so you can get a good job and stay the heck away from her as soon as possible!

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:09 PM

Yeah I'm working on that one! Thanks :)

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Quetiapine is the drug I'm tapering off at the moment. I'm hoping it will make it easier to lose weight once I'm completely off it. Thanks for the coconut oil tip!

78964c5cc470f86a5897db8e1ce8e6f9

on July 23, 2012
at 07:49 PM

Eek. The only suggestion I have then is to find some way to escape this living situation. Perhaps there are friends or relatives you can stay with in lieu of your mother? Team up with uni friends to rent a flat so that you aren't forced out of your living quarters three times a year? My mother is controlling and emotionally abusive as well - the only way I've found to deal with it is to minimize or eliminate contact with her.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Unfortunately she refuses to read them. I've tried explaining various concepts within them to her, such as fat being the preferred energy source but she watches lots of prime time diet shows and believes everything they say about wholegrains and low fat so I don't get a look in. Also she doesn't understand the science behind it, no matter how much I try to simplify.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 07:27 PM

I'll add an edit to the OP because there aren't enough characters here.

78964c5cc470f86a5897db8e1ce8e6f9

on July 23, 2012
at 07:26 PM

Took the words right off my keyboard. Could you get a short-term job for when you're at home, especially over the summer? Babysitting, tutoring, and lawn care are great opportunities during short breaks.

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9 Answers

6
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 23, 2012
at 11:20 PM

Leave...right...now. I'm serious, pack your bag and go. Wait tables for the summer, crash on a friend's couch, anything would be better, just get out of there. The binge eating will never be controlled as long as you are in that abusive environment, it is the only control you have, and a subconscious way of saying, "Fuck you mom! I'll eat what I want!" We are always our parents' children, and living with them once we are grown, but haven't started families of our own just reinforces old childhood routines and roles. This isn't healthy for any of you.

Day visits during the holidays are the extent of this toxic environment you should subject yourself to, and if that is too much of a trigger, just a phone call.

5
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:17 PM

"Basically I've been conditioned to fear her all through my life so that she maintains control, and even though I'm a fully grown adult who spends the majority of my time away from home, she still scares the s*** out of me haha."

((Hugs))

Time.to.move.out.

Find a counselor who gets it. Abuse is abuse, whether physical or emotional.

Love yourself enough to stop putting yourself in her path. You don't deserve this, no matter what her childhood issues.

2
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on July 23, 2012
at 07:11 PM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16476868

Your best hope might be to find material that disproves the saturated fat=disease farce.

Dea5f440698f5488b975ada2f61daa0d

(393)

on July 23, 2012
at 09:38 PM

It's not fat that makes you fat, it's carbs. To rewrite this saying: good fats don't make you fat, but bad carbs do.

1
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:49 PM

Do you have a local friend who would be willing to keep a food stash for you? If you can't do olive oil shooters, have you tried "hiding" it in soups/stews? A tbsp or two of olive oil goes into a bowl of soup like nothing; you don't even notice it's there.

1
B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on July 23, 2012
at 07:50 PM

It's highly likely your binging is because you're not getting enough fat.

Here's a line I've found helps fat-phobic people get off your back: tell them that while carbs are low, fat is used for fuel and doesn't stay around long enough to cause problems like heart disease. The key is that this doesn't deny anything they think is true, it just adds on a bit extra.

With coconut oil, try the ethnic supermarkets they usually sell it much cheaper. As you're in the UK look out for the brand 'KTC' as it's the cheapest, this is what I buy for only ??2.19/500g at a local halal supermarket.

You could try explaining that coconut oil is different because of the medium-chain fats, even conventional wisdom agrees now that coconut oil isn't fattening or dangerous to the heart.

It can be hard to loose weight while on anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, I know first hand (mirtazapine made me gain 3 stone, and currently struggling to loose atm on quetiapine). The main problem is they increase insulin resistance and can cause cravings Hopefully as you're coming off them soon this will get easier.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:07 PM

Quetiapine is the drug I'm tapering off at the moment. I'm hoping it will make it easier to lose weight once I'm completely off it. Thanks for the coconut oil tip!

1
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 23, 2012
at 07:20 PM

I know you're living at home and are in school, but do you have any money saved up that you could use to buy your own butter and eggs and not have them "rationed" by your ignorant (yet I'm sure well-meaning) mother?

Also: if you're in university, I'd say you're a grown-ish woman and your mother doesn't "own" you or your food choices. I realize she might have a fair amount of control if you're living there for the summer, but still...unless she can keep you in a highchair and spoon feed you, what goes in your mouth is your choice, no?

I'm guessing the budget is an issue, since you mentioned the expense of a few items. Don't worry about getting top-of-the-line stuff. If all you can afford is regular eggs, get 'em! If all you can afford is supermarket butter, get it! Those aren't expensive. (Well, in the U.S. they're not. Not sure about the UK.)

I'm a little worried at your use of the word "allowed" with regard to your food intake. Even if you are living at home and your mother feels like she should be in control of your diet, this still worries me...

78964c5cc470f86a5897db8e1ce8e6f9

on July 23, 2012
at 07:26 PM

Took the words right off my keyboard. Could you get a short-term job for when you're at home, especially over the summer? Babysitting, tutoring, and lawn care are great opportunities during short breaks.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 07:27 PM

I'll add an edit to the OP because there aren't enough characters here.

1
Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 23, 2012
at 07:14 PM

Have her read a good book on Primal/Paleo

E.g. The Primal Blueprint-Mark Sisson, The Paleo solution-Rob Wolff

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 23, 2012
at 10:26 PM

It's not his fault, people tend to believe what the mainstream media sells them

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:32 PM

I know what you're going through, we are rogue agents of health in this grain fed world. Your body and your health in general have to become the body of proof.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Tell me about it. My brother was sent to the USA for a week by his work and he came back singing the praises of grain-fed beef saying it tasted better and grain "must be the cows natural diet or something". I was so close to facepalming right there at the table... Does he envisage acres of grain growing naturally and cows gorging themselves before they were domesticated?!

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Unfortunately she refuses to read them. I've tried explaining various concepts within them to her, such as fat being the preferred energy source but she watches lots of prime time diet shows and believes everything they say about wholegrains and low fat so I don't get a look in. Also she doesn't understand the science behind it, no matter how much I try to simplify.

0
736662d9fd6314d426cc6de1896aa045

(175)

on July 18, 2013
at 05:49 PM

DePaw's tip on KTC coconut oil is good - price is cheap in asian stores in UK.

You might try it as the oil for Seth Roberts' Shangri-La because the taste is mild: take a tablespoon before bed (no need to heat in the current heatwave), and see if you enjoy reduced appetite next day.

Also bulletproof coffee with butter - I think the optimal amount of butter varies person to person, but it's definitely a filling breakfast. I started with 80g, but reduced to 30. Also I add a teaspoon of cocoa powder and a dash of cream. Homer Simpson taaasty.

There's also a great recipe for fat bread, but I don't have the link at the mo. Minimal carbs, flour from omega balanced nuts - very filling and it doesn't go stale.

0
3351f6c8ec1ea64435e419f380ca6468

(1255)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:33 PM

A couple of things occur to me that aren't on your fat-source list that might be less expensive.

You mention coconut oil being pricey - what about full-fat coconut milk? It's available at basic chain supermarkets in the US, in cans, and while not perfect if you're worried about BPA or guar gum or carrageenan, since it's hard to find unadulterated, it does have MCTs and you could drink it straight from the can fairly easily (I've done that in a pinch when I needed quick energy on travel). A 12-ounce can should have around 70 grams of fat.

Also, if you can't stomach olive oil shooters, what about eating olives? They range between half and one gram of fat each - and I'm not at all sure that's very well known, so they might pass for "healthy" in your mum's eyes.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:36 PM

Good suggestions. Unfortunately, it looks like the OP's mother is a manipulative, controlling you-know-what, and I don't know if any of that would be "allowed" in the house.

Af2662fc82df87952abb3fdf16b20aa4

(410)

on July 23, 2012
at 08:47 PM

Forgot to add that one haha, I drink coconut milk in tea/coffee and pour it on berries etc. sometimes, but as with most other things my consumption is 'limited'.

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