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Of course, one can't live in any first world country and not be affected by weight somehow, be it too much or too little, and the pressure to look fit. And yes there is an obesity epidemic, and food that makes you gain 5 pounds just by buying it is delicious and everywhere. Most all of us struggle one way or another with it. Lord knows I have.


I'd always thought older age meant not worrying so much about appearances and looks. Still caring, yes, but not as much primping, wondering what to wear, and fussing on looks as one did in their 20s. Being older, wiser and knowing what is worth stressing over and what isn't. Yet I've seen many posts here about their elderly moms still mentioning weight or being VERY proud they didn't gain in old age, like they've won a prize.


(I should clarify now that this is excluding those who have dementia, Alzheimer's and other elder mental issues that cause foregoing of hygiene or abnormal eating patterns.)


My grandmother harped on weight well into her 90s. Told her daughters they were too fat (they weren't, and both have body image problems still, my mom included). She told me in front of the whole family at Thanksgiving that I ought to go to Jenny Craig, yet she was bigger than I was, and I was maybe a size 12 at 5'8". I was in my teens and that really hurt. She was always trying this diet or that diet. After she died and we were cleaning out her house, we found all kinds of diets she'd clipped from the paper or scribbled on a notepad and kept.


My MIL is also weight-obsessed. She is 80, short, and has never been thin-- thinner when she was younger, yes, but isn't that true for most of us? We cannot get through any meal together without her mentioning weight. She'll eat a salad beforehand and make sure to tell us "Oh, I'm already getting full! I don't even need an entree!" (She eats the entree anyway.) Always mentions how she's going to 'lose this weight!'. Honey, you're 80. If you were going to lose it you would have by now!


My MIL has always made little references to my weight. When she flat out said to me "We could go shopping for clothes together if you'd just lose a little weight!"... yeah. I looked straight at her and flatly said "Yeah. I sure am fat, aren't I?". She said nothing, just looked at me confused, like how on Earth I could possibly be offended by that, and walked away. I then told my husband, who told his mother to never, ever make a comment on my body again.
Is it a generational thing? I'm curious!

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I don't know if its generation or not, but my 80 lb 89 YO mom is convinced she is fat . So I once told her I must be a whale. I have lost 20 lbs from stress and a medical diagnosis,, does she mention that? Or even notice it? She was just released from the hospital from kidney damage from malnutrition and dehydration, and still every dang bite of food and sip of fluid ( except her wine) is a battle. I told her no more.. I want to be her daughter and not the food police, and I am not having her taken to the hospital again from my house.. so if she can't act right and eat and drink..out she will go. It works for about 12 hours.. then back to the fight. My MIL was also very weight concerned,, the senior gym, healthy eating.. They are like anorexic teenagers
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Totally agree!!
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I think it's really hard to ignore the messages about weight and body image we are bombarded with all day every day, IMO if anything things have gotten worse in recent years with so many celebrities selling their particular brand of snake oil to promote "healthier lifestyles". Like a lot of women I've gained weight as I've gotten older, and although my higher brain tells me that I'm not really very heavy I can obsess when I look at my older, less fit, sagging body and when I struggle to accomplish things that were easy only a few years ago. The aging and sagging I can't fix, but those extra twenty pounds? - I can't help but despair and berate myself for not doing better.
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Exactly. Never mind that when I was 20 pounds thinner everyone thought I was too skinny, now I feel too fat. So I think just 10 pounds lighter and all will be perfect in my life. Ha. Wrinkles, sagging, and very much less energy to do what will make me thinner. Much better things to think about, right? But we get it from all sides and in all ways that we should obsess about our bodies.
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Women are trained from birth to be thin. And so many of our mothers have trained US the same way.

What's the old saying, you can never be too rich or too thin? Well, maybe you can't be too rich but you sure can be too thin! But not in some women's mind, even if they're 90 lbs.

Americans, I think, are super obsessed with weight issues maybe because we have 2 fast food restaurants on every corner, a coffee shop (Starbucks) that sells coffee for 580 calories a cup, Cold Stone creamery where an Oreo ice cream "Gotta Have It" will set you back 1,074 calories, 74 grams of fat & 97 grams of carbs.

So, on the one hand we're told to Eat Drink & Be Merry, but on the other hand, to stay THIN at the same time. That creates an obsession. We want our cake & eat it too, but most of us do not have the metabolism to absorb the American diet.

In Europe, meals are very small, served on cake sized plates rather than manhole covers. A meal in Europe is intended to feed one person one meal. A meal in America is better intended to feed 3 people 2 meals. And a doggie bag to take home. In America, we have all you can eat buffets while in Europe, that is unheard of, at least as far as I've seen on my many trips abroad. People eat like civilized humans over there, and they walk everywhere. Here, we eat like truck drivers and lay around surfing the web, playing on-line games or watching TV.

In Australia, a size 10 is considered "Plus" while in America, the average woman wears a size 16 and a Plus Size starts at 1X. Starts. Mostly all the clothing chains are now carrying a "Plus" line due to the obesity epidemic we're facing, but the food industry is still adding tons of sugar to most processed foods so our addiction is growing even LARGER on a daily basis. Purposely.

Yes, we're obsessed as a society with weight. We have to be, because we're growing larger by the minute thanks to a wide variety of factors.

My mother is 93 and has been obsessed with her (and my) weight for her entire life. She was apparently told she was fat, as a child, and ate pickles & drank vinegar to lose weight. She ruined her stomach in the process, she says, but to this day, pours red hot chili pepper flakes all over her food like salt. Go figure.

So she transferred her weight obsession on to me and that's how I can tell you how many calories are in almost ANY food you care to mention. Sad, isn't it? Not to mention a sheer waste of LOTS of time and LOTS of money on LOTS of stupid diets.

I'm just like Oprah, without all the money. Who hasn't watched HER climb from the bottom to the top to the bottom to the top of the BMI chart? Where's she at nowadays, I wonder? Somewhere in the middle, I guess, peddling her Oh That's Good! line of diet food? If it was so good, by the way, she wouldn't be all over the BMI charts like white on rice. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I can honestly say if I NEVER hear my mother make ONE more remark about her weight, my weight, my daughter's weight, what's 'fattening' and what isn't, I shall be truly happy. But that's not likely to happen, is it? Because once an obsession is born, it takes an act of God to kill it off.

My vision of heaven is an all-you-can-eat buffet where no weight is gained. Ever. Even at the dessert buffet. Sounds heavenly, doesn't it? :)
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Rbuser1 Jan 2020
Ditto on the comments/remarks!!
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Commercial interests capitalize on potential weaknesses and exploit them, for monetary purposes and their own gain.    And women weren't really able to battle societal pressures and defined roles for women, until the last few decades, when professional opportunities in higher paid professions opened up more.

Women focused on attraction b/c that was part of the definition of womanhood.  Now it's expanded well beyond that, to include education, community outreach, professions, and more.    If you've watched the impeachment hearings, you'll notice that some women aren't within the "acceptable" range of weight, but who cares?! 

They're holding positions of high respect, they're showing accomplishments, they're reaching out to help their constituencies.    To me those are more important than a waist measurement.

When I die, I'd like to think that I accomplished something worthwhile not only for  friends and family, but to people in need, that in some way I helped make the world a better place.    And those accomplishments might be on my tombstone, but certainly not my weight or hip measurement.
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LoopyLoo Jan 2020
This is my theory too.

My mom and some-- not all!-- of her friends around her age (late 70s) have very little intellectual curiosity. Married young, not too long after high school. Haven't worked outside the home since marriage or birth of first child. Husbands have paid for everything and taken care of them. Their goal was, and still is, to have a perfectly decorated home and look as perfect as possible. My mom has to put on a full face of makeup every day, even if she isn't leaving the house. It's like it never occurs to her not to.

I think mom and those like her were taught by parents and society that they couldn't make it on their own-- and to an extent, that was correct. Like you said, all these women in high positions on TV weren't of my mom's generation. Wasn't like her friends had moms who were doctors, lawyers or ran businesses. Lest they be labeled a spinster for still being unmarried at 30, the goal was to marry young. And you'll never land a man if you're fat and too smart, young missy! So if you can't make it alone and looks are your currency for worth, then it would be self-sabotage to not watch your weight and look as pretty as possible. Looks are all you have, and you can't break the glass ceiling, so why focus on anything else?
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My mother is like 4'8" due to curvature of the spine caused by botched back surgery. She is literally bent in a C- curve and cannot stand up straight. She can't see anything above 5' off the floor--so you can imagine how her apt looks--she can't even see half her stuff...BUT she has kept her weight down, which is good b/c to haul her somewhere is back breaking. She weighs about 120-130, which when she was 5'2" was fine. I don't know if the BMI charts take your height off your highest 'point' or what you used to be :)

Anyhow, she ragged on me and my sisters about our weight and looks constantly. I had cancer last year and lost all my hair, it is just now coming back in, and I do not look 'good' but I look a heck of a lot better than when I was actively doing chemo. I saw her a few weeks ago and she hadn't seen or spoken to me in 8 months. She walks in, sits down, takes in the 1" of fuzzy black that's not quite covering my whole head--sighs deeply and says "And you used to be my prettiest child".
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Sendhelp Jan 2020
And to think, she used to be a mother to you.

I doubt seriously that she knows what she is saying, and has lost all filters.

Sorry Midkid.
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I was a chubby child. In my Senior year I dropped 10lbs in a month to go to the prom. The next 2 years I dropped another 20. I kept that weight off till my children and then menopause. I was never real thin. I am 15 lbs higher than my lowest weight and have been for over 25 yrs. I can stay at this weight without starving myself. My problem is not me talking about trying not to gain weight its people commenting on me not eating. After eating large meals every night on a cruise one night I chose to just have a shrimp cocktail and a salad. A woman sitting at my table made a comment about it and my SIL said sarcastically "she is trying to keep her girlish figure". I just went on a cruise with a friend. Every dinner I had to hear about not eating everything. "You don't eat anything". I eat till I am comfortably full. I will be that little old lady who watches what she eats. Its now ingrained in me. I know what I looked like cubby and I do not want to go there again.
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My MIL will be 82 next month, she is 4’9” & weighs 90 lbs. fully dressed with shoes on. She has severe COPD & last year was in the hospital for an exacerbation. The Dr. had her on steroids to help her breathe & she was voicing concerns about the steroids making her fat! Mind you she couldn’t even speak a complete sentence without gasping for air. I told her it was better to be able to breathe than to be skinny. When she comes over to eat she’s very cautious not to eat too much because she “doesn’t want to get fat”. But she’s a country woman, still eats her bacon & sausage, not into healthy foods at all.
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JoAnn29 Jan 2020
This is me. I have told my family nothing that will make me gain weight.
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If somebody has been weight conscious all their life you can't expect that to disappear just because they've reached a certain birthday, it's become part of their core personality. My mom was the oldest in her family and as a child had to help with the chores a son would have done if there had been one while her sister stayed in the house doing the "women's work", she was also fairly tall for her generation at 5'7". When she was withered away at the end of her life she still had this image of herself as big and strong and poor. I had to smile to myself when the neurologist asked her to squeeze his hand and she worried she would hurt him 😏
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JoAnn29 Jan 2020
My Mom was a farm girl. She was dying and a nurse went to put a bp cuff on her. Mom fought her and then clamped her arm to her side and the Nurse could not budge it. So couldn't do her BP.
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CWillie, that's such a touching comment on your mother's concern about squeezing the neurologist's hand.    It brought tears to my eyes.
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It's not just elderly women. My late father-in-law was obese for much of his life and would often comment about how fat other people were.
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My MIL has always been obsessed with her weight. Eats like a little bird. A big meal for her is a lamb cutlet half a tomato some lettuce nd cucumber then complains she ate too much she is 91. Known her for 46 years
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So, I had to smile today when I was at my Mom's today and the subject of 'weight' got brought up. I don't know how we got on the subject it just kind of happens. It was said about I fella I used to go to school with. Won't bore you with details. But the subject seems to always be looming...
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My mother is tiny. She was always very fashion conscious. Just who she is. It's exhausting trying to figure people out.
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It’s not just weight either. My neighbor went to a new doctor and would not give the nurse her age. She told the nurse it was none of her business! LOL 😂
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I really do not like it when people make generalizations like this.  Your MIL was rude, that does mean all women are like this.
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Yep most women are like this. That is why the diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry and why women across the country were highly offended by TV commercial husband giving his tv commercial wife a peloton bike for Christmas. If this society wasn’t obsessed with weight, no one would have been offended by a harmless commercial.
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My mom just turned 90....always fashion conscious and very much aware of her appearance. Therefore she has mostly been thin/normal for most of her life. She's gained ten pounds over the last four months and is beside herself (4' 11, small frame). Can't figure out why...except she's been eating a large jelly glazed cruller donut every morning. I asked if she thought that might be the reason and she said if it were it was all my dad's fault since he buys them for her. Today she told the Rheumatologist my dad wants to make her fat so he can marry someone else. Not as a joke.....but dead serious....and obviously without a filter. Sigh.
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lealonnie1 Jan 2020
Sounds familiar.......I've heard my mother blame my father (and everyone else on earth) for every single problem or issue she's EVER had. Never has been her own fault even ONCE in 93 years. Amazing, huh? I guess your dad has been 'force feeding' your poor mom these large crullers every morning, huh? :)
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While shaking the family tree I get a chance to read very old newspapers. The ads toward women would not pass the test in today's world. I remember one ad for a wrist watch, it showed four people, two college aged men and two college aged women. The men say after college they want to be engineers and scientists. What do the women say, they want to get married. That is what society expected of young women.

Today is just as bad, we see ads for diet food as bikini weather is just around the corner. Bikini's? Yeah right. And ads for surgery reducing fat. Ads for keeping wrinkles at bay, to make yourself look 10 years younger..... oh great, now I can look 63 instead of 73. Plastic surgery this and that. Botox. Lips that look like you fell into a bee hive. And good heavens, can't live with peach fuzz on one's face :P

And the age old question, when we do put on weight, why oh why does it have to land in our lap?
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OMG thanks for the laugh FF. This comment is pure gold!!!!
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Well, I have to weigh in here - no pun intended.

I hear you about Mil's comments. I had those from mother. She wanted to shop with me then sit and make "helpful" comments. They weren't and I quit going with her. Also mother would comment on other's weight when she wasn't skinny herself.

But I think it is a case by case situation. I am sensitive to carbs so have to restrict them if I don't want to gain and get adult onset diabetes. So far at 82 I have avoided it. Also I have food allergies so I have to avoid certain major food groups - dairy, and most grains and other things.

You write "I'd always thought older age meant not worrying so much about appearances and looks..." Hey if anyone hasn't gained in their old age, I think they are worth a prize. But crowing about it to put others down is a no-no. I like clothing etc and have always spent time on how I look - at whatever weight, as it went up and down with 5 pregnancies.

I have realized my appetite outstrips my needs by about a few hundred calories a day. so if I eat what feels right I gain. It doesn't matter how much exercise I do, I still gain. So for health and well being's sake I need to watch what I eat. For me it is more about health and feeling comfortable in my own skin than it is about looks, though they count too.

The age thing - whatever. I haven't changed the way I think about it for years, though the time may come when I will.

Loo, you have had some significant women in your life being nasty to you about your weight, Size 12 at 5' 8"is awesome. I am sorry they hurt you. ((((((((hugs)))))))
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