Mom won't stop buying candy and other junk food
My sister and my 11-year-old niece live with me. My sister and I have both struggled with our weight throughout our lives; my niece is slim and athletic. Before they moved in, I kept sweets and salty snacks and other things I wanted to overeat out of the house. I ate them, but I bought them in single servings, one small ice cream cone, one candy bar, a small package of cookies.
My sister doesn't do this, and always keeps cookies or candy plus chips and other snacks around and, as a result, has been gaining weight steadily throughout the years, to the point that she's out of breath after one flight of stairs. (She has serious mental health issues and uses food to soothe herself.)
We've talked about this, she knows how much she's hurting herself and how she makes things harder for me, but she says she can't stop. I have asked her to keep the food in her room and eat it there, and she sometimes agrees, but doesn't keep it up. She always goes back to sitting on the couch with a big bag of M&Ms or cookies.
And it's really affecting my niece. Not only does she eat her mother's junk food, she also begs my sister for her own favorites, and my sister gives in constantly. (My sister says she feels guilty denying my niece when she's buying the stuff for herself.) On Friday, for example, my sister went to the store for her daily fix of junk, and bought my niece a big package of gummy candy (maybe 5-6 ounces), a single-serving bag of Funions, and a large can of whipped cream. And my niece ate almost all of this in one sitting.
My sister isn't stupid. She knows she's hurting her daughter, and will even talk about how she, herself, used to be slim and athletic until puberty, when she gained a ton of weight. But she says she can't quit, and that eating in her own room just isn't as pleasurable as doing it in front of the TV in the living room.
I cook most of our dinners and try to make sure they're well-balanced. I keep healthy snacks around. I talk to my niece about why sugar and lots of fat aren't good for you. But I don't see how to counteract the constant presence of her mother mindlessly shoving chocolate into her mouth.
Just wondering if any of you might have an idea I haven't thought of.