Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: My mother is only slightly overweight and otherwise in good health. She has struggled with losing 10 to 30 pounds for as long as I can remember. Her best success has been with Weight Watchers and daily walks. My mom opens up to me about her extreme frustration with her failure to lose weight. I cheer her on and try to be supportive if she brings it up. Otherwise, I keep my opinions to myself. She and I have very different opinions of what a "healthy meal" means. I was one of those "know-it-all" teens who came of age in the "fat-free" '90s. There are still family jokes about my crazy diet. (Suffice it to say I have left those ideas in my past!) I recently traveled with her, and her "light meals" consisted of a huge plate of enchiladas, an enormous mayo-loaded seafood salad with garlic bread, desserts and a massive chef's salad. Amy, she is a nurse and has 20-plus years in Weight Watchers. She should understand the basics of nutrition. Does she really want help, or should I just continue to be supportive of her efforts while keeping my opinions to myself?--Trying to be Supportive
DEAR TRYING: You should ask your mother if she wants your help. But realize that if she is a nurse and has been following Weight Watchers for 20 years, there probably isn't much you can tell her about nutrition or portion control.
It seems the only thing she may not fully understand is impulse control. Weight Watchers has a handy smartphone app that might help her track her food intake (preferably before the actual intake). You could suggest it.
However, if she is only slightly overweight and is basically fit, the answer for her might be to work harder to accept herself just as she is.
It sounds as if you have also had a lifetime preoccupation with dieting. If so, you might realize that your mother's struggles with body image bring up uncomfortable long-term issues for you.