Ask Amy: Is Obese Daughter Too Content?

By Amy Dickinson | July 23rd, 2021

A mom can't help but worry about her daughter's weight...

Obese daughter eating donuts

Dear Amy: My 31-year-old daughter is “happy with her size.” She doesn’t seem to mind that she’s nearly 300 pounds at 5-foot 5-inches tall — until she has a mood swing and then she gets mad at me because I’m not big like her.

I never bring up the subject — ever.

I don’t know what to say and have to be very careful how I address the subject. Other than that, we get along well.

I do worry that her health is at risk, but I don’t dare say a word about her being overweight.

All (or most) of her friends are also very large.

She resents my being smaller. I don’t know what to do or say.

– At a Loss (for Words)

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Dear At a Loss: If you never discuss weight with your obese daughter, it’s not quite clear how you know that she resents you so deeply.

She is an adult and she is free to make unhealthy choices – just as you are. What she does not get to do is to blame or shame you. The same goes for you, by the way.

The National Health Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health states the following: “Obesity is a serious medical condition that can cause complications such as metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, cancers and sleep disorders.

According to the CDC: From 1999 through 2018, U.S. obesity prevalence increased from 30.5 percent to 42.4 percent. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7 percent to 9.2 percent.

Yet, despite the risk factors presented by obesity, according to both of these sources, it is possible to be both obese and healthy.

You convey that you would somehow feel better if your daughter felt worse – that you might actually be happier if she was unhappy. She is your daughter. How would her unhappiness serve either of you?

My perspective is that unhappiness does not help a person lose weight; in fact, I believe that the opposite is true. Happiness is overall good for your health.

A person needs to draw on a reserve of strength and self-esteem in order to undertake a health journey.

You are not responsible for your daughter’s mood swings, nor should you let her manipulate you. Encourage her to get regular medical checkups.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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