NerdyLady

I have a challenging friendship with someone who has had WLS.

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That’s a mouthful of an opener. I don’t know if this is a venting post or an advice post. 

I have become fast friends with a woman who had VSG in 2011. She is a lovely person and has a three year old daughter who plays well with my kid. I truly enjoy her friendship. 

We have very different ideas about eating and how we feed our children. New Friend doesn’t eat much and for the most part, is respectful of my eating restrictions. However, she feeds her daughter food that doesn’t line up with my ideas of good nutrition. I’m not judging what she feeds her daughter but it isn’t the right choice for me.

New Friend is quite gracious and generous. Her mother died when New Friend was ten, so she feels the need to be a super mom. When I go to her home for a play date, she offers my daughter cookies, ramen noodles, French fries and other types of “junk foods”. I know she means well and I always turn her down. She has even suggested that we go to McDonald’s to treat our daughters to a Happy Meal. Again, not my kid, not my place to judge.

My home is a healthy eating home. We eat the way I grew up, which means plenty of fruits and vegetables. The only snack type foods we have around the house are plain Cheerios and a leftover bag of Goldfish. I don’t believe in having “treats” around the house because kids like snacks. When her daughter comes to our house, I jokingly say that this is the house where there are no fun snacks. 

How do I continue to refuse without ruining my new friendship? I’m not going to budge because I want to build healthy habits for my daughter. Perhaps I’m too polite because I’m starting to feel bad about the number of times I say no to New Friend. 

 

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Keep in mind I'm childless so probably somewhat clueless, but I think I'd just always pack something healthy for my daughter and say, "I'm a bit hyperfocused on her nutrition/intake, because I don't want her to be a WLS candidate like I was".

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I couldn't agree more with Gretta and taking lunch and snacks for your daughter is an excellent way to go.  It's your child, you make the rules about what you want and don't want her to eat NerdyLady and you don't need to justify yourself to anyone else.

I'd probably make a point of letting your friend know that you want to instill healthy eating habits with your daughter while she's still young and as your friend has also gone through WLS, she should understand that. 

 

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What if you had an earnest conversation with her about how important it is to you for your child to grow up with healthy eating habits; blame it on the genetic tendency towards diabetes and just say you're trying to set your daughter up for the best possible outcome and you appreciate her support in those efforts.  Then, take a fun healthy snack with you to play dates.  It may take repetition for her to get it but if it's a relationship you value it's worth the time.

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@msmarymac @cinwa @Gretta You have all given me great advice. I need to overpack options. Katya loves to throw food at me and yell “NO”. I need to have backups lest potato chips come out to play. 

@msmarymac, when the holidays are over, I will use your suggestion of having an earnest conversation about food. Maybe I can be a gentle reminder of why she had WLS? 

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I don't have children either @NerdyLady but I'm an educator and an aunt just to share my pov.  This summer after my surgery, I was trying out lots of new containers and healthy snacks.  My 4 and 7 year old nieces loved it when I brought some along on our outings for them.  They were eating diced turkey and cheese with toothpicks, grape tomato and mini mozz ball skewers, tiny .5 ounce containers of SuperSeedz, etc.  They thought the small containers and toothpicks were so much fun.  They eat yogurt all the time, but not in pink containers that have a special insert to keep their granola dry, such fun!  We froze some grapes and rolled them in pb2 powder mixed with coconut oil and it hardened almost like Magic Shell.  (not all of their snacks were WLS snacks, but many were!)  Their favorite is the myriad choices available now of individually wrapped cheese.  These girls can name like 15 kinds of cheese easily!  Not only did they love eating these snacks, they loved helping to pack them up when we went places.  And it helped me, the person who has cooked for them their whole little lives, feel like we had something fun we could still do in the kitchen together especially in the weeks right after surgery when you think you might never cook anything fun ever again, but I digress...

I was thinking maybe when you bring your daughter's snacks to playdates, you could bring an extra in case it looks enticing to her new friend.  Not trying to indicate that you're looking for ways to influence your friend's choices for her daughter, but sometimes making something that is different feel like a party (i.e. fun) changes the focus.  Three years old might be a little early for toothpick eating, idk, but you get the gist, right?   : )

And I thought everyone else had really good advice too...

Edited by kayak19
typo

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1 hour ago, NerdyLady said:

@msmarymac @cinwa @Gretta You have all given me great advice. I need to overpack options. Katya loves to throw food at me and yell “NO”. I need to have backups lest potato chips come out to play. 

@msmarymac, when the holidays are over, I will use your suggestion of having an earnest conversation about food. Maybe I can be a gentle reminder of why she had WLS? 

 

Maybe you could bring extra of your healthy snacks for new friends daughter too? That way they could share and would be no need for new friend to offer junk snacks. This would be after letting her know how you feel of course. Maybe you will set a good example for her and she may see that her daughter enjoys the healthy snacks just as much as the unhealthy.

Maybe you could think of a healthier alternative to McDonalds next time she wants to go there? Maybe a park where they could have fun. Fun doesn't always have to revolve around food.

Edited by Readytobeme

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Mom of four here. I say just make it clear that your family doesn't eat those things. Not in an accusatory or judgey way, just a non-negotiable without apology. Maybe it's the California lifestyle, but I have plenty of friends whose families are gluten-free, dairy-free, food coloring free, Paleo, whole food only, etc. It just is what it is and if she's really your friend, it won't be an issue. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that it's never occurred to her that your daughter wouldn't eat those things. I'm relatively loose with my kids' diets, but when I know a friend is gluten free or doesn't eat food with food dye or has a diet restriction (voluntary or not), I adjust accordingly. If she knows those foods are off limits and pushes them anyway, then that's a different story. But assuming she just doesn't realize the differences in your diets, bring it up casually, maybe mentioning why your food approach is what it is. And in the meantime,  just make plans where you bring own snacks and meet in neutral locations (children's museum, park, etc).

And personally, I wouldn't bring up her WLS. I would make it about your family's lifestyle just like I would for any other parenting decision/choice. It's not a judgment on her, it's just how you're choosing to raise your daughter and a good friend will respect that even if she does things differently.

Edited by athenarose

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What they all said !!!

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Agree with all of the above. Make it clear to your friend that this is a non-negotiable issue...a deal breaker so to speak. It's getting around the time that you can also start having age appropriate chats with Katya about everyday foods vs sometimes foods and why there is a difference. Make it clear to new friend that fast food places are a strict no go for both you and your daughter. Believe me when I say as a mum, once that door is opened its really really hard to close. The time will come when you'll have to deal with them due to school friends birthday parties etc, but putting that off for as long as possible is the best approach. The topic of WLS doesn't even need to come into the discussion. It's a valid lifestyle consideration without any WLS motive. Besides, mass produced fast food like moccasins or KFC is just disgusting!!!!!! 

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3 hours ago, kayak19 said:

I don't have children either @NerdyLady but I'm an educator and an aunt just to share my pov.  This summer after my surgery, I was trying out lots of new containers and healthy snacks.  My 4 and 7 year old nieces loved it when I brought some along on our outings for them.  They were eating diced turkey and cheese with toothpicks, grape tomato and mini mozz ball skewers, tiny .5 ounce containers of SuperSeedz, etc.  They thought the small containers and toothpicks were so much fun.  They eat yogurt all the time, but not in pink containers that have a special insert to keep their granola dry, such fun!  We froze some grapes and rolled them in pb2 powder mixed with coconut oil and it hardened almost like Magic Shell.  (not all of their snacks were WLS snacks, but many were!)  Their favorite is the myriad choices available now of individually wrapped cheese.  These girls can name like 15 kinds of cheese easily!  Not only did they love eating these snacks, they loved helping to pack them up when we went places.  And it helped me, the person who has cooked for them their whole little lives, feel like we had something fun we could still do in the kitchen together especially in the weeks right after surgery when you think you might never cook anything fun ever again, but I digress...

I was thinking maybe when you bring your daughter's snacks to playdates, you could bring an extra in case it looks enticing to her new friend.  Not trying to indicate that you're looking for ways to influence your friend's choices for her daughter, but sometimes making something that is different feel like a party (i.e. fun) changes the focus.  Three years old might be a little early for toothpick eating, idk, but you get the gist, right?   : )

And I thought everyone else had really good advice too...

@kayak19 You are brilliant. I cannot believe I didn’t think of these suggestions on my own. I have been focused on the nutrition and not on the fun! Everyone likes fun! Thank you!

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2 hours ago, athenarose said:

Mom of four here. I say just make it clear that your family doesn't eat those things. Not in an accusatory or judgey way, just a non-negotiable without apology. Maybe it's the California lifestyle, but I have plenty of friends whose families are gluten-free, dairy-free, food coloring free, Paleo, whole food only, etc. It just is what it is and if she's really your friend, it won't be an issue. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that it's never occurred to her that your daughter wouldn't eat those things. I'm relatively loose with my kids' diets, but when I know a friend is gluten free or doesn't eat food with food dye or has a diet restriction (voluntary or not), I adjust accordingly. If she knows those foods are off limits and pushes them anyway, then that's a different story. But assuming she just doesn't realize the differences in your diets, bring it up casually, maybe mentioning why your food approach is what it is. And in the meantime,  just make plans where you bring own snacks and meet in neutral locations (children's museum, park, etc).

And personally, I wouldn't bring up her WLS. I would make it about your family's lifestyle just like I would for any other parenting decision/choice. It's not a judgment on her, it's just how you're choosing to raise your daughter and a good friend will respect that even if she does things differently.

@athenarose I think you are absolutely right. New Friend is a lovely person and I think she keeps offering snacks out of a desire to please. You have given me the reinforcements needed to hammer the message home. 

@Readytobeme I am currently in New England and winter has arrived. Parents scramble to find indoor play areas and it can get expensive. I think New Friend has suggested McDonald’s as a fun place to play and have lunch. I’m going to suggest the library and bring snacks to share. 

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23 minutes ago, Aussie H said:

Agree with all of the above. Make it clear to your friend that this is a non-negotiable issue...a deal breaker so to speak. It's getting around the time that you can also start having age appropriate chats with Katya about everyday foods vs sometimes foods and why there is a difference. Make it clear to new friend that fast food places are a strict no go for both you and your daughter. Believe me when I say as a mum, once that door is opened its really really hard to close. The time will come when you'll have to deal with them due to school friends birthday parties etc, but putting that off for as long as possible is the best approach. The topic of WLS doesn't even need to come into the discussion. It's a valid lifestyle consideration without any WLS motive. Besides, mass produced fast food like moccasins or KFC is just disgusting!!!!!! 

@Aussie H A little off topic. What is Moccasins? I looked it up but all Google had to offer were Ugg slippers. 

I can always count on my twin to give me tough love. I need to be clear and firm about Katya’s snacks and meals. Ironically, I don’t live in an area where much fast food is available. Our city has an excellent health initiative that promotes health and wellness for people of all ages. The more I think about this situation, the more I realize that New Friend also struggles with deep food issues. I can’t let her food issues drag me or my kid down. 

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1 minute ago, NerdyLady said:

@Aussie H A little off topic. What is Moccasins? I looked it up but all Google had to offer were Ugg slippers. 

LOL that was autocorrect changing Maccas which is what we in Australia call Mc Donald's!!!!

 

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2 minutes ago, Aussie H said:

 

@Aussie H

LOLOL Imagine my confusion when I typed in “Moccasins Australia Fast Food ” and I saw these:3AC2C5F8-50F6-4A7C-AD0C-B8F6C2912A4C.thumb.png.6e6753a5e7e19a17a279c7328d3fb90f.png

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Haha!!!! I really should read my posts before I hit submit.

Edited by Aussie H

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As a mom, I am caught in the middle of where your New Friend is and you. I want my daughter to enjoy fun things and times and while I try to ensure that it isn't always food related, sometimes it just is and that is what I am learning to deal with right now - enjoy the people and be too busy talking to eat...lol!!!  I have a friend who has no weight issues and neither do her kids. She suggests McDonald's all the time to meet up for lunch - even offering to treat - and then go to the local park. I keep turning the lunch part down because while I will let my daughter occasionally eat there, I can not and plus they use that magic dust they sprinkle all around to entice you to eat that crap and well, ok, yummy FF's! I just don't want to be tempted - especially since I don't really dump on anything (except a stupid cookie from church that they made...lol!). I had a talk with her and explained my issues and concern and how I am really trying to reshape my 4 yr olds eating habits with mine as I go through this journey. I told her lunch isn't the issue, per say, but where and what. So we had an open and frank conversation and she was happy that I came to her. We did make a compromise that I thought was beneficial to both of us, which is Chick-fil-a. I personally eat the grilled chicken sandwich (without the bun) and if you order it that way, they add extra lettuce so you can use a bun. I just cut everything up and make a "salad" for a fraction of the price of their normal salads...lol!) And, I order my daughter the grilled chicken nuggets, fresh fruit cup, and either milk or apple juice. It is a win-win for us all...plus they have the play room where the kids have a blast and I can have a normal adult conversation for 20-30 mins before getting overly distracted at the park. Plus it is a good place on those cold or rainy days. I think it is about level setting what is important to you and for your child. I LOVE @kayak19's ideas - so fun for a house or park play date with a "picnic" date. You have gotten a lot of great advise on here from everyone, so I don't think you can go wrong. If she is a good friend, she will completely understand and respect your decision. Let us know if you do talk with her and how it turned out.

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21 hours ago, NerdyLady said:

That’s a mouthful of an opener. I don’t know if this is a venting post or an advice post. 

I have become fast friends with a woman who had VSG in 2011. She is a lovely person and has a three year old daughter who plays well with my kid. I truly enjoy her friendship. 

We have very different ideas about eating and how we feed our children. New Friend doesn’t eat much and for the most part, is respectful of my eating restrictions. However, she feeds her daughter food that doesn’t line up with my ideas of good nutrition. I’m not judging what she feeds her daughter but it isn’t the right choice for me.

New Friend is quite gracious and generous. Her mother died when New Friend was ten, so she feels the need to be a super mom. When I go to her home for a play date, she offers my daughter cookies, ramen noodles, French fries and other types of “junk foods”. I know she means well and I always turn her down. She has even suggested that we go to McDonald’s to treat our daughters to a Happy Meal. Again, not my kid, not my place to judge.

My home is a healthy eating home. We eat the way I grew up, which means plenty of fruits and vegetables. The only snack type foods we have around the house are plain Cheerios and a leftover bag of Goldfish. I don’t believe in having “treats” around the house because kids like snacks. When her daughter comes to our house, I jokingly say that this is the house where there are no fun snacks. 

How do I continue to refuse without ruining my new friendship? I’m not going to budge because I want to build healthy habits for my daughter. Perhaps I’m too polite because I’m starting to feel bad about the number of times I say no to New Friend. 

 

I would be straight with her. If she had WLS but allows her children to regularly eat junk food she has a disconnect. Maybe she came from a family that shows love through junk food? Who knows but whatever her issue is, she is making it yours too by feeding stuff to your daughter you don't want her to eat. If it were me, I would tell her you don't want your daughter eating those foods and you are more than happy to pack snacks for her. I would keep it simple with the goal of the conversation for her to say, Okay, I will only feed your daughter what you pack.

 

As a side note, my mom rarely allowed junk food in our home so my brother and I quickly figured out which of our friends' had access to junk food in their homes. I wasn't a fat kid so my friends' mom would let me eat 4 ding-dongs at once if I wanted them. That dynamic helped teach me there were two ways for me to eat - what my mom wanted me to eat when she was around and then a free-for-all of whatever I wanted when she wasn't. I'm not blaming anyone but it was the beginning of my binge eating. 

 

Edited by Stephtay

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On 7.12.2017 at 11:53 PM, NerdyLady said:

Maybe I can be a gentle reminder of why she had WLS? 

That's an almost surefire way to ruin your new friendship. 

"Weight" usually continues to be a sensitive topic. I wouldn't cross that particular border.

Edited by summerset

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On 12/7/2017 at 10:30 PM, NerdyLady said:

....

How do I continue to refuse without ruining my new friendship? I’m not going to budge because I want to build healthy habits for my daughter. Perhaps I’m too polite because I’m starting to feel bad about the number of times I say no to New Friend. 

 

Well this is tough. Maybe you could put the onus on yourself and say you are perhaps unreasonably fixated on your daughter only getting the foods you mention because of your own issues, rather than saying you would prefer she not eat the garbage your friend feeds her child. A kind of ju-jitsu... 

I remember my son (who only had organic healthy food blessed by the Gods, delivered by angels, in our house) had friends at his daycare whose daily breakfast was - a jelly donut. He so wanted that. My Perfect Wife would not allow him to have ANY fast food EVER, and when I once took him at age 4 or 5 to a nearby McDonald's on a lark, and said he had to eat his burger before the fries.... he wept uncontrollably. I felt like a torturer and it has stuck in my guilty memory since then (he is nearly 20 now). Luckily he forgot. He has also become a vegan and eats incredibly well and makes excellent food choices and is a very healthy weight. So something worked despite exposure to the garbage eaten by his peers. 

My guess is your daughter will absorb the lessons you provide about healthy food and they will subsume the others. I remember in high school my son would come home from parties and wolf down food afterwards, and mention how bad the food was at those gatherings! If anything I wish my Perfect Wife and I had more quickly recognized that in the long run, our son would have to make his own decisions and that you can only lead by example. 

Again good luck. Every circumstance and relationship is different, and maybe this one will evolve (in terms of foods for the kids) over time in a direction you like more. 

 

 

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On 12/7/2017 at 1:30 PM, NerdyLady said:

 

My home is a healthy eating home. We eat the way I grew up, which means plenty of fruits and vegetables.

 

Nothing I am about to say should be construed as saying that you don't have 100% the right to raise your child in whatever way you see fit, but maybe consider that the way you grew up may not be the way to go considering your need for surgery as an adult?

 

I grew up in a "healthy eating home" as you put it, in which everything had to be healthy/sugar free/cholesterol free(it was the 80's when they thought dietary cholesterol meant a lot), then once I was a teen/young adult improper diet became part of my adolescent rebellion, which led me to habits of no less than a 2 liter of MT Dew every day, fast food 4x per week and when I did cook, everything fried which put me in the place to need surgery to correct.  I cannot speak for your experience, but I cannot wonder if mine would have been different if my mother had went for a moderation approach rather than an outright ban.

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