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    November 7, 2003    PAGE FOUR      
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              The In-laws and the Outlaw by Jo Cordi Sica
                                             "Things turn out best for the people
                                   who make the best of the way things turn out."
                                                                              John Wooden

I was sitting in my kitchen having coffee with some in-laws when once again, they decided to launch an attack on my eating habits. Mind you, Iíve been through this drill enough times that I ought to have the good sense to get up and leave the room when this happens. Yet, I remain seated and the battle is joined. The absurd arguments are always the same, with their reasons being:

  • Anything sugar-free tastes like excrement.
  • No one would want to live that way.
  • Itís not worth it.
  • What you eat has no effect on possibly developing diabetes
    or other health problems.
  • I should just count calories instead.
I used to give them the benefit of the doubt. I assumed that they argued against my low carb lifestyle because they felt sorry for me having to give up all the bread, pasta, and pastry that they live on. After all, they are family! Family would only be looking out for my best interests, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong!

I have come to the conclusion that their motives for attacking my lifestyle are not in any way based on genuine concern. In fact, I believe that there are a number of reasons, none of them altruistic, for their constant criticism. They are after me much as the Pinkertons were after Jesse James. I have become the family outlaw.

It occurs to me that their primary motive for condemning my food choices is jealousy. I believe this because interestingly, all of the male family members are encouraging and complimentary about my lifestyle. The women, on the other hand, could not be more negative. Why? Because they would be much more comfortable with me if I were fat and frumpy.

Iím certain that the denim skirt and fitted shirt I was wearing was the trigger for this latest assault. My husband was grinning at me all day. My brother-in-law fussed over me again as he has been the last couple of months. I looked good and that made these women uncomfortable. Virtually all of the women in the family are overweight. They got married, had babies, and got fat. Thatís just the way it is. I choose not to be fat, therefore I am an interloper. I have the audacity to be thin, thus demonstrating that overweight is a choice. Shame on me!

Not only is my weight problematic for my dear relatives, health is another proverbial thorn in their sides. If I am right, and manage to avoid clogged arteries, heart disease, and adult onset diabetes by following a low carb lifestyle, then they would have to own some responsibility for their various health problems. It is so much easier to chalk it up to luck of the draw. Worse, they might have to accept or admit that they were wrong. Cajoling me into joining them in carbohydrate hell would be much more conducive to their agenda.

On the subject of agendas, I know control is a major issue for my in-laws. My husband and I donít always go along with their program and that is a major annoyance to them. Since my eating doesnít fit their idea of normal, they expect me to change to suit them. I hold my ground and refuse to eat the things that I know to be detrimental to my health and weight. The battle rages on. Sure, I could eat a piece of bread to make them feel better, but I wonít subordinate my needs to their desires.

Along those same lines, I sense the mere fact that I have such control over my eating drives them crazy. My husband fully supports my low carb lifestyle, but he is not giving up his carbs. When we have his family over, which is often, I am a gracious hostess. I serve a bounty of food that includes both high and low carb choices. I willingly cook, bake, and serve the foods my guests enjoy and expect; I simply choose not to eat the high carb items. I do not attempt to impose my eating habits upon my guests, yet they feel the need to insult my lifestyle. Conversely, when I visit their homes, never have they bothered to consider what I will or will not eat. Even then, I am a gracious guest. I always bring a few dishes including at least one low carb item.

They cannot control me, but I can, unlike them, control myself. Because of this, I have the power. This is unacceptable for two reasons. I am a member of the family only by virtue of marriage, and marriage to the baby of the family at that. In their minds, they should have all the power. I donít know if this will ever resolve, but I do know with absolute certainty that I will not change my eating habits just to satisfy someone elseís desperate need for control.

Right about now, you are probably thinking that I dislike my in-laws. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I deeply love these people. I enjoy having a house full of family, and invite them all over often. I do my best to accommodate their tastes because I care about them. I know what each personís favorite food is and make sure it is on the table, because I enjoy making them happy. They are a close-knit family that will drop everything to come running to the aid of any family member in distress. If I were ill or in trouble, they would be here in a heartbeat to help me, just as they have in the past. I can count on these people far more than I could any blood relation. In turn, I would do anything within my power to help any one of them.

Well, anything except eat bread and sugar. Maybe one day they will accept me anyway.


                  Jo Cordi Sica,
                  SPHR Organizational Development and Training
                  jwcordi@aol.com

Copyright © November 2003  Jo Cordi Sica and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright © 2003  Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury




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