Telling your parents you eat well and exercise regularly because you don’t want to end up like them can be a difficult conversation, but it’s an important one.

A user asked, Am I a jerk for telling my parents I eat well/exercise regularly because I don’t want to end up like them? We want you to share your honest opinion. 


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The Original Poster’s (F27)(OP) parents (Mid60s) have had tons of health issues pretty much as long as she could remember. Her dad had been at or above 300 pounds for her whole life so he has the health issues that go along with long-term obesity.

Her mom, while not obese, had been overweight pretty much forever also and just narrowly avoided a massive heart attack after having difficulty breathing while watching TV. She also had emergency open heart surgery to deal with several blockages.

What Does OP Say

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OP says ““Healthy” meals growing up was pizza after a small salad. So when I moved out, I unlearned unhealthy food and exercise habits and learned new, healthier habits. Props to my husband (m27) who had those healthier habits and has been SO helpful as I figure this stuff out.”

What Happened When OP Visited Her Hometown Recently?

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OP, along with her husband, recently visited her hometown/family for a week. They got guest passes for the local gyms because they both experience pretty brutal mental health declines if they don’t work out at least some.

Her parents teased them a little for “having to work out even on vacation” but she let it slide because she can see how it’s a little silly from the outside looking in.

They Went Out

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Next up, they went out to OP’s all-time favorite Italian place.

She says “I got baked ziti which comes with a salad as an appetizer which I did in fact eat. There was a snicker from my parents, I ignored it because I didn’t realize it was aimed at me, then the meal came and I only ate about a third of it, got the rest to go. We were going to be in town for four more days so I could reheat it and it wouldn’t go to waste.”

OP’s Final Outburst

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They were waiting for the waitress to come back to sign the bills and then head out, OP’s dad said “Are you sure you’re our daughter? The (my name) we know would’ve asked for seconds and wouldn’t have even touched the salad.”

And here’s how OP explains what happened next

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“I said I’m trying to be healthier, nothing wrong with that. He doubled down and said they don’t even recognize me anymore; they have no clue who I am because the kid they raised didn’t think twice about the gym, and now it seems to be my life with how much time I waste there and don’t get them started on the supplements (pre-workout and protein powder) because that’s a waste of money that we could be saving or putting towards expenses or investing.

What Else Did She Tell

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So I told my parents I was making the most important investment I could make: I’m investing in my health because I’d rather spend $200 a year on the gym and supplements than $200 a month on medication I could’ve avoided being on if I had just been a little healthier in my younger days.

What Else Happened

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My mom asked what that’s supposed to mean, and that’s when I said “I’m making the lifestyle choices I am so I don’t end up like you two. My genetics may be screwed, but I don’t have to make it easy for them to win, so I’m not going to.””

Following this incident, outrage and insults were hurled towards OP’s husband and her. The waitress came back just at that moment so her husband signed and they dipped out. The barrage continued with texts, so she just muted her phone.

OP asks “I get they took it personally, there’s really no other way to take it, but was it really that out of line?”

Y’all Are Rude

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“Yes you’re “right”, you want to work out to avoid/mitigate long term health problems that may or may not be genetic. Were your parents rude? Yes. Was what you said also rude? Also yes.” said one.

“I came here to say exactly this. Good on OP for improving their health, and the parents were rude for jabs like that, but how on earth did they expect that statement to be received? Even under the best of contexts, saying to your parents “I don’t want to be like you” is a hurtful statement that at best is going to make your parents defensive and hurt.” said another.

Some People Can’t Seem To Handle Blatant Honesty

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“Seems ok for them to shame you for having a healthy lifestyle; what you said was not even rude. If anything it was a bit too honest and some people can’t handle blatant honesty, which you may not even have had the need to use if they hadn’t been so pushy with their mockery to begin with. 

Here’s what gives me ick about this: instead of praising you for being a bit better and being grateful that their daughter may not endure painful heart problems like they have, they seem to feel so ashamed that you’re doing so much better, that they are trying to bring you down. Uuggghh nope, that’s just not right. Parents are supposed to want what’s best for you and this is clearly not the case for this particular issue.”

Fix Your Communication Maybe

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“They snipe at you, and then you snarl at them and everyone feels bad. It may be worth considering whether you have inherited unhealthy communication styles from them, and whether you could clean those up like you have with your eating habits. I get how you feel when they come after you, but just as with changing your diet, changing your reactions might make you feel better overall.”

It Was All In The Moment

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“Woof, You ain’t a jerk at all.

This isn’t a healthy/unhealthy debate. You now live a different lifestyle than the one you were raised in (which is totally healthy, normal you’re out in the world and making your own choices). And your parents are criticizing and mocking you for it, when it doesn’t affect them in any way whatsoever.

I think you returning their personal attacks with your own is understandable. It was in the moment, they were picking on you, you were highly activated.

But going forward, you need to decide what relationship you want with your parents. If you want respect for your decisions, you’re going to need a different approach that disrespecting *their* choices. Because again, it’s not about who’s lifestyle is better. All of you deserve to live the lives you want without being constantly criticized.”

Your Eating Habits/ Lifestyle Choices Shouldn’t Be Someone Else’s Business

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“People need to keep their mouths shut about other peoples’ bodies, eating habits, and the like. 

I get something similar from my father, who is of course the least healthy person in our nuclear family. 

Nothing wrong with firing right back in those circumstances.”

They Asked For It

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“Your parents raised the issue, they started teasing then escalated to how they don’t know you (in these cases it’s always because they know they don’t have the willpower to do what you do so they get mad and lash out at the nearest target, you) and you just ended it.”

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