"My Husband Nags Me About Being Overweight"
Her TurnFood Fights
"Mark is embarrassed by the way I look," says Sherry, 31, a homemaker and mother of a 2-year-old daughter. "He makes snide, sarcastic remarks about my lack of control around food because I haven't lost my pregnancy weight since Ashley was born two years ago. He'll say things like, 'Must you eat those French fries?' I feel like he's counting the scoops of ice cream in my bowl. When he returns from the supermarket with bags of fat-free cookies and low-fat frozen yogurt, I want to throw it all in his face.
"He's become just as obsessive about our daughter. He tells me, 'If you eat that in front of Ashley, she's going to pick up your lousy habits and be fat, too.' He freaks out if I take her to a fast-food restaurant for a hamburger -- but he'll take her there to play in the playground and then not let her eat anything! What's so ironic is that my husband, in all honesty, would never be mistaken for Brad Pitt. He's not fat, but he could certainly stand to drop a few pounds. He never exercises, either.
"I want to lose weight, but I've never been able to stick to any weight-loss or exercise program. And the way Mark harps on me makes me very defensive. He sounds like my parents used to and, before I know it, we're into these tit-for-tat battles about everything from food and exercise to cleaning the house and discipline. He complains that I'm far too lax with Ashley and keeps saying, 'How come she listens to me, but never to you?'
"Growing up, I was overweight -- not obese, but chubby. Kids can be cruel and I was often the butt of jokes. But what hurt the most was that it was so clear I was a disappointment and embarrassment to my parents. They were both slim and attractive, and keeping up the Joneses was important to them. Mother didn't like having a chubby little girl.
"I got so many mixed messages from them. When I was about 10, my mother, who was a housewife, would prepare these two-inch-thick grilled cheese sandwiches, piled with bacon and, when I'd finished it, she'd scornfully say: 'Sherry you eat like a truck driver.' She dreaded taking me shopping for clothes since we always had to go to the chubby department. Once, she bought me this purple winter coat, which I loved but, when we got home, she told my father I looked like a little ox in it.
"As I got older, my father, who worked for the city government, would often comment that the boys were never going to be interested in a chunky girl like me. It's funny -- my older brother was so much heavier than I was. Now, though he's a doctor, he's still very overweight. But they never gave him any grief; he was the boy, the future doctor.