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When that isn’t the case — for whatever reason, including, of course, the father’s genes, which also come into play — as Christine’s experience shows, it can be a constant irritant.There are many high-profile examples of middle-aged mothers who are more slender than their adult daughters. Age-defyingly beautiful at 52, though her eldest daughter Amber, 28, has followed her into modelling, Yasmin is far slimmer than her other daughters Saffron, 25, and Tallulah, 22.‘I have to do this for me, not for Mum, otherwise it’s just not sustainable.’It’s a point that Carmen acknowledges, though she admits that she can’t fathom why Christine’s approach to food and weight doesn’t reflect her own.‘My mother is 94 and still slim and I have always aspired to be like her,’ says Carmen.‘I’ve emulated her healthy, lean diet.‘Even if I gain a few pounds I don’t feel good. So I can’t understand why Christine isn’t like me, given that I raised her this way.‘I don’t believe I was controlling about what she ate as a child, I merely showed her how to eat healthily.But the way she expresses her concern has been spectacularly unhelpful.‘Sometimes it feels as though Mum is ashamed of me and that really hurts.Whenever we see each other I can sense her assessing my size, checking to see whether I’ve lost any weight.She’s not greedy or lazy, and has real discipline in every other aspect of her life.‘She’s so intelligent and works really hard, but there’s a perception in society that if you’re overweight you’re lazy and don’t care about your appearance.I don’t want people to assume that about Christine because it’s not true.‘It’s a fact that women are judged for their looks.
‘There was a definite focus on “don’t eat potatoes, do eat broccoli”.’Still, by the time Christine was 16 she weighed more than 10st, before losing a stone on a trip to India a year later, which marked the start of a long battle with her weight.
Since then my weight has been a prominent theme in our relationship as I’ve lost it on various diets and regained it.‘I don’t want to blame Mum, but she doesn’t let things go.‘I’ve almost become immune to her comments because they’ve been going on for over a decade,’ says Christine, beginning to cry.‘I brace myself each time we see each other because she looks at me in a certain way and I know what she’s thinking.
It’s an awful feeling.‘It’s sad because I know that she wants to encourage me; she just doesn’t know how to express it.’Christine is seeing a nutritionist and is determined to get her weight under control.
Christine Brown (R), a 33-year-old neuroscientist, is 5ft 8in and the top end of a size 16.
Her mother, Carmen (L), who’s 62 and a global property manager, is 5ft 3in and a tiny size eight.
But that’s where the similarities end for Christine Brown and her mother, Carmen.