My mother had a best friend who I grew up calling Aunt M. She was a fixture in our house when I was young. If there were a family party, she would always be there.
I remembered asking my mother why they were very close, and she said that it’s because Aunt M did not have the best relationship with her family. “She saw my parents as her parents, so we are practically like sisters now.”
Aunt M eventually became a role model in my eyes. She was a gorgeous Afro that never seemed to go out of place. Her clothing style is elegant yet practical. More importantly, she had smooth skin and a fit figure. I told myself that I would grow up like Aunt M and become as confident as her.
Troubles In Her Life
I was already in sixth grade when Aunt M got married. I thought that Peter was friendly and funny, and he cared for her the way I saw my dad care for my mom. I liked Peter more when he agreed to let me be a young bridesmaid at their wedding.
Not long after the marriage, Aunt M announced that she was pregnant – with twins, no less. I felt excited because it had been a long time since we had babies around. Even if they won’t live in my house, I figured Aunt M would come by often, so I could play with them.
When the twins arrived in Aunt M’s life, I expected her to be more radiant than ever. I honestly thought she got motherhood down to the T, considering she often babysat me and received tips from all the mothers she knew. So, I felt surprised and bothered when I overheard her telling my mother – who also happened to be a therapist – that she felt lost and ugly since she gained a lot of weight.
Having gone through childbirth, mom advised Aunt M to let her emotions out and understand that things would get better after a few months. “You’ll have to put in a lot of work, for sure, but I believe that you can cinch your body in no time,” mom said encouragingly.
Aunt M exercised for a bit, but she grew frustrated because it was not working as fast as she wanted. That’s when she found the first fad diet that required her to avoid carbohydrates.
Now, if you have no idea about what carbohydrates do to the body, you should know that they are essential energy sources. Without them, your body will try to generate energy from fats, causing ketones to be released. Although nothing happened to the babies that Aunt M breastfed, it made her highly hypoglycemic and had her brought to the hospital.
Did that scare the woman away from fad diets? No. If anything, it made Aunt M want to go through every program out there to see what worked best. This odd kind of addiction went on until her husband begged my mother to perform an intervention on her. Peter was afraid that Aunt M was about to lose it because she was no longer getting enough nutrition in her body.
How Can You Make People Stop Embracing Fad Diets Too Much?
The first thing that mom did that hit Aunt M with facts about fad diets. She pointed out that her best friend followed everything the programs asked for, but to no avail. There were also no other experts claiming that they were helpful. It meant that the problem was not Aunt M but the diets themselves.
Did Aunt M accept that immediately? Of course not. She knew that not all of them worked, but she remained hopeful that something would in the future.
Mom had a tough time getting Aunt M to stop even thinking about fad diets. Her goal was to help her best friend get rid of the idea that those programs could resolve her weight issues quickly and permanently. Even if I was young back then, I knew that mom was correct, so I did not understand why Aunt M refused to get it.
When A Breakthrough Happened
Therapy became fruitful one day when Aunt M revealed that she got hooked on fad diets since her confidence level tanked as she put on a lot of weight. She worried about everything – from being undesirable in her husband’s eyes to not having enough energy to keep up with her twins.
This breakthrough made it easier for my mother to help Aunt M. They worked together to boost the latter’s self-confidence. As a therapist, mom asked her to keep a journal and write everything in her mind whenever she felt insecure. As a best friend and sister for life, mom accompanied her to the gym and whatever physical activity that Aunt M wanted to try.
Aunt M’s need for therapy came to a close when she felt confident in herself again.