7

votes

Monster-In-Law advice...

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 10, 2012 at 8:12 PM

I have been strict Whole30 compliant - Paleo for over a month now and have been very successful with weightloss. I love paleo and have never felt better. My question is, my mother-in-law who is extremely & morbidly obese and 'always on a diet that just doesn't work', keeps asking me questions about how I'm losing weight, but when I try to tell her about it or recommend literature, she argues with me about why it is unhealthy. Any advice on dealing with her?

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:43 PM

the frustrating thing is there is a study to defend every argument. this is famous in vegan dogma. the key is teaching someone who is truly curious how to EVALUATE studies and do their own research. but the average observer isn't that devoted.

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:41 PM

agreed x 100 - "she will do something about her situation when she is ready and not a minute sooner." the truth is when she is desperate enough, she will comply.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 12, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Joy - I'd love to, but it's just a collection of studies that I printed out for every diet change I made. It's not like I made a whole PDF of it.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on June 12, 2012
at 01:54 PM

Can you put your links on a google doc or put all the articles on a google doc and share with me? I want this book.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:11 PM

Love to see sources for that, Lady_Arwen... Cuz really I doubt skim milk makes someone fat. I can understand grains and seed oils, but skim milk? Nah...

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:10 PM

Lol Kasra what the fuck did you change your name too :D? I wish I could borrow some testosterone from you.

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:48 PM

she's insecure perhaps..

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:46 PM

show your blood work pre and post paleo? and loss in inches and weight?

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:46 PM

any chance she's jealous and/or terrified that it's actually working for you and that might shatter her belief system about nutrition??

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:45 PM

skim milk is given to pigs to fatten them too!

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on June 11, 2012
at 04:42 PM

Agreed. Family doesn't get a free pass from me for being family.

B8fa88e3a94784aeb9280cf1180564fa

(320)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:44 AM

You are so right. During my obese years I wondered why neither my parents nor grandparents were fat when they didn't diet or go to the gym. Turns out they ate mostly what I eat now. Duh.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 11, 2012
at 06:10 AM

It really does, and people think it's funny :)

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on June 11, 2012
at 12:55 AM

Awesome...I will have to use this!

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:44 PM

I recently used this response, that (cows are given grains to fatten them up...) and that is what it does to us. I think that made sense to her.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Sometimes this is easier said, than done. However, this is the approach I took. My father-in-law comes to my house, I find somewhere else to be. I blocked his emails and told him why I did it. My husband supports me in my decision after giving it the old college try for years. His relationship with his dad (his mother died several years ago) is still very strained, though he is trying to work on it and I support him in that. Family can be so stressful! =)

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:16 PM

I love this response! =)

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on June 10, 2012
at 10:29 PM

mmmmm. crabs and fiber.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 10, 2012
at 09:04 PM

why was this down voted? even if it's not your favorite tactic, it seems to be a valid response.

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on June 10, 2012
at 08:51 PM

I love this! I bet it shuts people up in a hurry!

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on June 10, 2012
at 08:45 PM

Not all Moms-in-law are PIAs. I've been blessed w/some really great ones. Hang in there....

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19 Answers

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16
35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on June 10, 2012
at 08:50 PM

Not for the faint of heart but you could tell her that grains are used to quickly fatten up cows and that we humans are not different from cows in that regard.

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6244)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:45 PM

skim milk is given to pigs to fatten them too!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:11 PM

Love to see sources for that, Lady_Arwen... Cuz really I doubt skim milk makes someone fat. I can understand grains and seed oils, but skim milk? Nah...

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:44 PM

I recently used this response, that (cows are given grains to fatten them up...) and that is what it does to us. I think that made sense to her.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:16 PM

I love this response! =)

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on June 11, 2012
at 12:55 AM

Awesome...I will have to use this!

13
F4fd0822101b09794f85a00923e1f85b

(291)

on June 10, 2012
at 08:37 PM

This such as common issue, not only with diet and exercise, but even in business. I see it almost everyday. Someone asks someone for advice or information, the person gives the information and then the receiver argues or tells the person all the reasons it won't work. Watch for it, you will see it everywhere.

If you don't want to help her, just don't answer her questions and leave it at that.

If you do want to help, it's going to take some guts. When she argues with you you have to point out to her in the gentlest way possible what is doing - arguing.

It might go like this

Her: Tell me again why grains are bad?

You: Well lots of reasons, {insert your answer here}. they cause inflammation, leaky gut etc etc -

Her: But that can't be healthy, people need crabs and fiber

You: {As nice as possible, don't make her wrong} Here is the thing - you asked me what I was doing that was working, and I told you, but now you are arguing with me. I can't help you if you argue.

Her: I'm not arguing

You: You just did it again.

The main point is to stay out of the argument. Just be as compassionate as possible, if you can't take it anymore, which is totally understandable, just buy her a book and move on.

She will do something about her situation when she is ready and not a minute sooner.

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 10, 2012
at 09:04 PM

why was this down voted? even if it's not your favorite tactic, it seems to be a valid response.

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a

(1365)

on June 10, 2012
at 10:29 PM

mmmmm. crabs and fiber.

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:41 PM

agreed x 100 - "she will do something about her situation when she is ready and not a minute sooner." the truth is when she is desperate enough, she will comply.

11
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 11, 2012
at 12:17 AM

She's already asked you what you're doing. She already knows. She sees the results you're getting. And she's decided to dismiss it anyway.

So be it, then.

If she's going to be convinced, it will be by your results over time. A month really isn't enough--any chronic dieter is familiar with losing weight in the first month on a new diet, only to have everything go to hell right after that. Dismissing what you're doing is probably her way of avoiding another disappointment--if she doesn't do paleo because it's "unhealthy," she can't fail at it.

But a year from now, when you've lost more weight and have kept it off and you're starting to show long-term, sustainable results? She might come around then.

Until then, I wouldn't bother arguing with her. Sometimes, defending reality is just an exercise in futility that only annoys you while failing to convince the other person. Next time she asks, just say, "I already told you what I'm doing, but you've already written it off as unhealthy. If you're curious, I'll send you some links to articles so you can read for yourself why this works and is actually healthy. But I don't want to argue about it, or try discussing it with someone who isn't interested."

And if she's willing to read up on it and understand it better, go ahead and email her links to articles, or to MDA. But save your own breath until she's finally ready for it.

6
B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 10, 2012
at 08:48 PM

Just ... do your thing. She'll eventually believe you :) Or start printing studies of everything you say, make a book out of it and every time you claim something take the book out of your bag, and show her a relevant study. Seriously I love doing that. I win all discussions :D

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 11, 2012
at 06:10 AM

It really does, and people think it's funny :)

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on June 10, 2012
at 08:51 PM

I love this! I bet it shuts people up in a hurry!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 12, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Joy - I'd love to, but it's just a collection of studies that I printed out for every diet change I made. It's not like I made a whole PDF of it.

D1728f99db66ff91d695a6df5cd38b02

(1368)

on June 12, 2012
at 01:54 PM

Can you put your links on a google doc or put all the articles on a google doc and share with me? I want this book.

31381cfeb5d6da6fc75f80ab68e041ea

(560)

on June 18, 2012
at 12:43 PM

the frustrating thing is there is a study to defend every argument. this is famous in vegan dogma. the key is teaching someone who is truly curious how to EVALUATE studies and do their own research. but the average observer isn't that devoted.

6
2e5dc29c61f97d335ffb990508424719

on June 10, 2012
at 08:34 PM

I have learned not everyone listens even if they ask questions and seem curious. Just evince the change that you have made and when you get blood work done, show it to her. Tell her that once you realize that once you let go of the conventional dogma the changes that seem unhealthy really are healthy.

5
5cd8441bd01fc10816085bfc092477c4

(925)

on June 10, 2012
at 09:09 PM

you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

4
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:42 AM

I am going to tell you what works for me EVERY TIME (by the way, my mother-in-law loved me more than she loved her own son).

  1. Show her how much you love her. Give her flowers every time you visit, ask her what to buy for her for Christmas, arrange getting together for Thanksgiving, ask her how her health is every time you talk on the phone. Call her once in a while and tell her how much you miss her and what a wonderful mother-in-law she is. Ask her questions about her life and other things.

  2. Every time she says something utterly stupid (like all mother-in-laws) - don't object. Just say, "Really?" Then smile and talk about something else, something that she likes.

  3. If she ever talks to you about your diet, just say that grains bother your stomach and processed foods make you very sick (insert some gruesome details). Don't go into "Paleo is the best diet" mode - you are not a preacher and she is not your audience.

If you do #1 and 2, she will love you forever. The scary part of it is that she will love you so much, she will probably want to be your friend. When people accept others, they do not accept them for what they eat or what they believe in - they accept them for making them feel good. If you like someone, that person will have to like you back. It is biological and it works every time.

4
F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on June 10, 2012
at 09:36 PM

Any advice on dealing with her? Answer: don't deal with her.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Sometimes this is easier said, than done. However, this is the approach I took. My father-in-law comes to my house, I find somewhere else to be. I blocked his emails and told him why I did it. My husband supports me in my decision after giving it the old college try for years. His relationship with his dad (his mother died several years ago) is still very strained, though he is trying to work on it and I support him in that. Family can be so stressful! =)

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on June 11, 2012
at 04:42 PM

Agreed. Family doesn't get a free pass from me for being family.

2
631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

on June 11, 2012
at 02:11 PM

The absolute best thing you can do in this situation (and this works for virtually every situation) is to become extremely educated on the subject.

What leads to arguments is:

"Saturated fat is clogging your arteries!" "No it is not!" "My doctor told me to avoid saturated fat." "Well, your doctor is wrong. I think sat. fat is good for me"

On, and on and on........

What works much better is actually supplying the person with information and the ability to draw their own conclusion. so it goes more like this:

"Saturated fat is clogging your arteries!" "You know I always thought that too but have you seen the new study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition? In a study of 350,000 people they found no link between saturated fat intake and and CVD. I'll send you the link so you can look at it."

It is hard to argue with that.

2
Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

on June 10, 2012
at 09:01 PM

Diets don't work. Your MIL, like many obese people have been on every diet that exists???they might lose weight initially but it's often by losing what little muscle mass they have left along with some fat and water weight. Then they go "off" the diet and gain the weight back without building muscle???so in essence, the diet made them "fatter" by way of body fat percentage.

Paleo is not a diet, it's a way of life that is easily sustainable.

Her parents probably ate a diet very close to Paleo and depending on how old she is, she may have as a child.

Yes, it goes against conventional wisdom but there is plenty of evidence to support a paleo diet and if she's really interested, she'll look for it.

We are sold a bill of goods with all of these magic "diets" floating around???for some people paleo is just too simple to make sense.

B8fa88e3a94784aeb9280cf1180564fa

(320)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:44 AM

You are so right. During my obese years I wondered why neither my parents nor grandparents were fat when they didn't diet or go to the gym. Turns out they ate mostly what I eat now. Duh.

2
Fc25b41326b954c4e5b8ce0dabb889a6

on June 10, 2012
at 08:17 PM

Some people are better shown the way. Keep doing what you're doing, lose the weight, and she'll have seen that you're in the best shape of your life, optimum weight for body frame, and both mentally and physically healthy. Time will win this battle for you.

PS - Monster-in-laws were meant to make you're life a pain in the ass. Pull it together!

Hope the advice helps and keep it up!

76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

(1098)

on June 10, 2012
at 08:45 PM

Not all Moms-in-law are PIAs. I've been blessed w/some really great ones. Hang in there....

1
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:07 PM

My advice: give her a book and then drop it.

A book is less threatening than a conversation because when you're reading a book you don't have to worry about saving face. People don't like being proven wrong: face-to-face it's humiliating. The knee-jerk reaction is to argue to save face for yourself, to make yourself look knowledgeable and not like some ill-informed idiot. But with a book, you don't have to worry about what the other person thinks of you, since there is no other person. It's easier to put your ego aside and really think over the argument. And then it gives you time to fight past that knee-jerk reaction before you talk to another person.

It might not work, but it's worth a try.

1
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on June 11, 2012
at 07:23 PM

I would avoid the topic. Be as polite as possible when you tell her that you've already hashed this over and let your results speak for themselves.

1
D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on June 11, 2012
at 02:45 AM

Stop talking about it. Really. Why pick a fight? Thank her for caring about your health and move on. She has the info she needs now, if she wants to go out, do her reading, and have her own epiphany.

1
76d70438d2442d21206b8e5528d23d23

on June 10, 2012
at 08:44 PM

Two ideas:

  1. A shorter version of what MattG said: Next time she asks you about it, tell you you already answered that, but she didn't like the answer! Or,
  2. Talk it out with your Significant Other. Present your favorite of the answers you get here, and see which one(s) they think will work best.

0
Aa69579f867333b08158c70e25f7daf1

(1826)

on June 11, 2012
at 08:26 PM

You can't reason with someone who didn't reason themselves into thinking a certain way.

That being said, point her to MDA. I think he's pretty non-threatening and informative without being too overwhelming.

0
B1076248dde479773e75044818e1878c

(458)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:15 PM

I would recommend to tell her to try it for just one week...just one! My very scientific boyfriend was a vegeterian (sometimes ate fish) when I first met him, and he thought my paleo autoimmune diet was bizarre, unhealthy, and against all the articles he read. But, because I was part of the Loren Cordain autoimmune study, he began preparing some of the paleo foods for me since he loves to cook. After awhile, he began eating some of the food. He found it all incredibly delicious though felt guilty for eating so much meat.

He soon noticed how good he was feeling and that his anxiety levels had dropped. After a couple months, he quit more SAD foods (grains, ice cream sandwiches, nightly cereal, etc.). He kept worrying that his next bloodwork check was going to be awful, but he was stunned when all his levels had radically improved. He was also so amazed at how he could eat tons and tons of food and he continued to lose weight easily. He had gained a lot of weight going vegetarian.

So, he's now an avid paleo preacher. He's lost over 30 lbs, and he recently told me how thankful he is that I shared my weird diet. He said, "I thought I was going to be like my father and probably only have 10 years left." (His father died young of a heart attack.) He has such a renewed zest back, and he's excited about the future.

And yes, he even eats the egg yolks now! Oh, how he looked at me like the devil when I first fought for the humble egg yolk! :)

0
5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on June 11, 2012
at 01:10 PM

Don't talk to her.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on June 11, 2012
at 09:10 PM

Lol Kasra what the fuck did you change your name too :D? I wish I could borrow some testosterone from you.

0
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on June 11, 2012
at 01:30 AM

I wouldn't argue with her. Just give her a list of sites to read. She can write them and argue.

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