Growing up, my mom, a relatively thin woman, was always concerned about her weight. I have specific memories of her squeezing her belly and saying “ugh, I’m so fat, I need to go on a diet!” She and my dad frequently did things like the cabbage soup diet, etc. She’s still like this - they go on diets, she talks about being fat, I’ve been chastised for not noticing that my dad dropped 10 pounds and congratulating him.

This, obviously, has affected me - I think a lot more than I would like to about my weight and the food I eat.

I don’t want it to affect my boys, either in their own body images or in the way they think about weight and other people. But when we visit, my mom is still like this. “Oh, Nana will sit with you if she can get her big fat legs under the table!” etc. And then last weekend she was looking at my 6 year old and saying “oh, you can see all his bones! He’s so nice and slim! He’s not skinny, he’s just slim. How much does he weigh?” I was so uncomfortable but I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing, but I’d like to be prepared better next time. That being said, my mom and I don’t have a super close relationship and she doesn’t respond well to perceived criticism, so I have to tread lightly.

Has anybody been through this? Is it better to just try to change the subject when she raises it and continue to demonstrate healthy attitudes at home? Should I just say “We don’t weigh ourselves, we just try to eat the foods that make our bodies feel good and spend a lot of time outside” or some other kid-friendly message? Should I blow up and tell her she messed up my body image and I won’t let her do it to my kids?