To feel like a failure!

(181 Posts)
upndown Sat 09-Mar-13 22:53:43

Basically my daughter - 6, is very overweight. She is in 10- 11 year clothes and carries the most weight on her tummy, but is visible overweight all over.

She was a very skinny toddler, but her weight crept up over the years from around the age of three. I honestly don't know how I've allowed it to get this way but I'm struggling to get her weight down. I eat a healthy diet in general. But I have a love for all things sweet too. I guess I've allowed my daughter to too.

She always seems to be hungry and over the past few weeks I have ensure that five days of the week she has no sweets/chocolate. at the weekends - I allow her some treats. She fills up in between meals on fruit.

Why haven't I seen a loss? I know these things are gradual, but she looks exactly the same size! I'm careful that she doesn't pick up on this, but she is already concious of her weight because she said 'I wan't a flat tummy like my friends at school" I am SO angry with myself for letting it get this bad. I know there are friends in her class that live on crap and fast foods. They are bean poles!

The types of food she eats are listed below. I never fry food or cook in grease and use healthy spread for toast.

Weetabix/rice crispies
granary toast
low fat cream cheese
lots of fruit
most veg
chicken
cod
fish fingers (yes I know!)
pasta with pesto
sausages
bolognaise
rice
mash
new potatoes
rice cakes/breadsticks
houmous
skimmed milk

mcdonalds is the only fast food she would eat and that is on average a handful of times a year.

chocolate was most days until the last 6 weeks.

is anyone in asimilar position. I want her healthy, but not feeling her weight truly reflects what she consumes??

btw, she is not very active, but I think that's mainly due to her size...
Thanks

WorraLiberty Sat 09-Mar-13 23:26:01

Can I just say as well...

You don't need to make weighing her any kind of 'game'.

Gaining weight and losing weight is a natural part of life...it's something we all do - the great equaliser really.

Therefore, making it 'taboo' imo really isn't helpful and I personally think all the pussy footing we do around weight issues, is something that's helping to add to the obesity pandemic.

She is unhappy with her weight and has already expressed a desire to be thinner...therefore that gives you a perfect opportunity to be open about health and weight issues and to let her know that you will sort this out with her.

Parents seem to have a natural instinct to never want to discuss diet/exercise (or lack of it) and weight with their kids...but personally I think that's the wrong approach.

They need to know that weight gain/weight loss is a natural part of life and not something that needs to be swept under the carpet in case it causes 'ishoos'.

Your DD already has an issue because she's told you she wants to be slimmer.

upndown Sat 09-Mar-13 23:27:01

*WorraLiberty Sat 09-Mar-13 23:03:56
This is a personal question so feel free to ignore it...are you overweight yourself?* Hi Worra - I was overweight yes, but as a long-term sufferer of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, I've tailored my diet to help with insulin resistance. I still considered myself to be a healthy eater before (minus the chocolate) but now I have cut out refined carbs and have lost the weight.

I'm shocked about rice cakes and breadsticks!! Just shows my ignorance as I thought they were a healthy alternative!

WorraLiberty Sat 09-Mar-13 23:29:51

Ahh I see...thanks for answering that I didn't want to sound as though I was being personal.

Re rice cakes and breadsticks...as soon as she's exercising as often as a 6yr old should, she'll be able to eat them in abundance no doubt.

Maryz Sat 09-Mar-13 23:34:45

She is bound to find walking and other exercise tiring - she has twice the extra weight to carry around as other children do.

It will take a while to get over that.

What you could do is a walking challenge, doing a bit extra each day (a bit like the child version of couch to 5K, expecially if you have an mp3 player, so you could intersperse fast and slow walking (dd used to really amble when we walked, the boys would run), starting with 5 minutes each way from the house and working up.

If necessary have an aim. For example, could you both together enter into a family sponsored walk, and train for it? Because really if she can walk, everything else will follow.

squeakytoy Sat 09-Mar-13 23:35:20

I agree with Worra re the issue of being evasive with children about their weight. Your child is not stupid, she knows already that she is different to the other children because she is overweight. If she were a skinny kid who was worrying about her weight, it would be different, but you know that isnt the case here.

Get her on the scales, weigh her once a week, and also take a measurement of her tummy, so that you can keep a check on things.

Parents tell their children that they cant have sweets and chocolate because it will make their teeth drop out, so why cant the be honest and tell them that if they eat too much and dont exercise, they will be unhealthy, and are likely to get fat..

There seem to be far more kids with body issues now than 30 years ago when straight talking was not such a taboo.

minouminou Sat 09-Mar-13 23:35:45

Blimey, upndown, they ain't! It's a common trap - but rice cakes are more like spun sugar without the sweetness (IYSWIM). They are banned from this house! We're a house of skinny minnies - protein fiends. In terms of carbs, though, we have rye bread and brown wheat bread. We tend to get the shakes if we eat refined carbs on their own.

We do eat a lot of apples, though, so I'm trying to source older varieties that aren't artificially sugary.

Like PPs, I don;t think you should make her aware she's cutting down, just get shot of the baddies

upndown Sat 09-Mar-13 23:36:44

Worra - I do own a car, but in fairness I hardly use it. I live in London and everything including family are with in walking distance. I walk a lot. However my daughter walks either really slow or takes her scooter!

squeakytoy Sat 09-Mar-13 23:40:14

I will add another "good old days" into this..

30 years ago, sugary cereal was not seen as a poison.. most kids had it, and it gave them that "kick" to put some life into them on the way to school in a morning.. kids certainly seemed to have a lot more energy back then.

minouminou Sat 09-Mar-13 23:41:41

I think scooting's pretty good exercise.

upndown Sat 09-Mar-13 23:47:41

So, after reading these posts, I'm guessing that I should reduce carbs, limit fruit especially apples and ditch the rice cakes.

I feel really thick that I actually have to ask this, but is the scooter a bad thing? I guess it's lots of gliding right? I could get her to walk to school I suppose.

I've always though that it was best to be honest with children - even sensitive issues with weight. But because I feel immensely guilty for allowing this, I don't want her to have the burden. She is quite a naive 6 year old. I don't know if she'll understand entirely.

WorraLiberty Sat 09-Mar-13 23:50:03

Well every 6yr old I've known claims to be tired if they don't want to walk somewhere...particularly if there's an alternative to walking.

Unless it's something they find really exciting like a walk round the zoo or a theme park for example....

WorraLiberty Sat 09-Mar-13 23:53:56

She's already got 'the burden' because she's come to you and told you she wants to lose weight.

All you have to do now is openly support her and make her believe she can do it.

I don't believe in reducing carbs/fruit etc.

I firmly believe that you need to understand what a ridiculous amount of exercise 6yr olds need...and then see that she gets it.

I'm sure you will because you've opened your eyes to the fact she's only 6 and is wearing clothes designed for kids twice her age.

Also with the clocks going forward in a few weeks...I'm sure you'll succeed together.

upndown Sat 09-Mar-13 23:54:21

Sorry, just looked up rice cakes on the net, and they reckon that wholegrain rice cakes are fine. It;s the sweetened/flavoured ones you have to avoid. I buy Kallo 100% wholegrain. I'm confused now?!

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 09-Mar-13 23:55:28

Limit bananas too- they have a couple of hundred calories in them. Hummus also has a high calorific content, especially when eaten with ten breadsticks! Have a look at myfitnesspal, it's great for spelling out how many calories someone is actually consuming.

When my foster son came to live with us he was three stone overweight. He over ate basically and had been eating the wrong things. He lost it by sticking to three plain meals a day and the occasional treat. I was strict, but he knew himself he was obese so was happy to go along with it. We were just careful to not be negative, but I did have to reeducate him completely on portion size and would plate his food for him otherwise he would gorb.

minouminou Sat 09-Mar-13 23:55:49

You could always frame it as introducing better foods, rather than denying/excluding not so good for her foods. Set up some good habits.

Unfortunately, we have rampant high cholesterol in the family, and I'm making DS (six) and DD (just short of four) aware of this already. Nothing too full on - just "we like olive oil because it's better for our hearts than butter".

Also, with veg and so on, we have a mantra..."Good for your bum, good for your eyes, good for your dinkle (that's tomato-specific, that one), good for your insert random body part...." It's about developing a positive relationship with food - the good it does for you.

I always think, when people eat something and then say they shouldn't....if you feel guilty about a certain food, just don't eat it! I love food - lots, but I'm just not a big sugar/carb fiend. The kids are following this - fave snacks include smoked salmon and capers on rye, cheese strings, bananas, apple slices with peanut butter on them.

WorraLiberty Sat 09-Mar-13 23:55:50

Honestly a couple of rice cakes or no rice cakes isn't going to reduce a child's weight dramatically.

Please stop worrying about rice cakes.

upndown Sat 09-Mar-13 23:58:55

WorraLiberty You are so right. Seems a vicious circle as she was so active when she was young. She doesn't do half as much as she should now. Roll on clock change!

Feeling a lot more positive about this now - thanks everyone.

squeakytoy Sat 09-Mar-13 23:59:11

I really dont think the foods are the problem here, it is the complete lack of any exercise.

At 6 I was swimming 3 or 4 times a week, at the park every day after school or running around with my friends, for at least two hours. My mum didnt drive so we walked everywhere. Computers did not exist and the only tv for kids then was Blue Peter really... and to be honest tv was not something that kids were even bothered about.. we just wanted to be playing with our mates.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 10-Mar-13 00:01:17

You could also limit snacks- she won't starve, just make sure you make a proper lunch and dinner to carry her through and insist on cereal for breakfast. If my foster son complains of being hungry I always say- 'fine, have a bowl of cereal', nine times out of ten he leaves it because he isnt actually hungry but hoping for a sugary snack (which he does of course get, but not when i know he has just had a proper meal and is bored or whatever)

minouminou Sun 10-Mar-13 00:01:46

It's difficult to get the exercise in nowadays, though. I was brought up rural and we roamed for miles (literally).....harder to do that now.

squeakytoy Sun 10-Mar-13 00:03:36

Why is it any more difficult now? confused

upndown Sun 10-Mar-13 00:04:36

scarlettsmummy2 Seems like you did a great job with your foster son, however, I would find it a bit extreme cutting out bananas, I think there are other things I would rather tweak first. She does love bananas, but she's more of a berry girl!! and goes through ridiculous amounts of apples. Thank you though!

WorraLiberty Sun 10-Mar-13 00:06:40

Exactly what Squeaky said.

She's an old gimmer like me wink

When I grew up in the 70's, everyone cooked with lard. No-one worried about full fat butter or milk and beef dripping on toast was a normal snack.

But we ate far less and we were always outdoors.

If we weren't playing in the street or the park, we were playing in the garden because if we didn't we were bloody bored.

We only had 3 TV channels and only 1 TV in the house. There were only so many things you could build with your Lego kit so off outside you went.

That's what I mean when I say I genuinely think some parents have no idea of just how much energy kids have to burn if they're allowed to do it.

But sadly life today is totally different and is very sedentary.

minouminou Sun 10-Mar-13 00:06:58

We don't tend to turf kids out for hours now. There was some study a few years ago that showed children's freedom to roam (or the area they had to move freely within without supervision....or similar) has been seriously curtailed in recent decades.
Obvs we've got clubs, and gyms, and the Wii and whatnot, but we're just not as active as we once were.

larks35 Sun 10-Mar-13 00:07:07

Exercise is the key here really. Both of you together. Park, ball, bike whatever the weather. My DS is 4 and moans about walking but if I turn it into a race or game or start singing Grand Ol' Duke he forgets about his aching limbs and just gets on with it! Outdoors is best for exercise and as I say that can be done whatever the weather really.

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