New to MN - 16 yr old DD 3-4 st overweight - help please(20 Posts)
My DD is 16, just finished GCSE and going onto a new school for A levels. Her weight has been creeping up and up over the last few years - today we went shopping and she is now a size 18. It makes it almost impossible for her to find nice clothes/shop. I worry about her health and her self esteem. I have tried over time to talk to her about it and have offered her all sorts of help - I have explained about healthy eating (I grow my own veg and 95% of our family meals are cooked from scratch), about exercise (she hates exercise - no matter what I suggest). I just don't know what to do. I feel so responsible - and now I realise that as she is approaching 17, I am not in control anymore - she needs to take the initiative. I am at my wits end. Can anyone offer any advice? We went to the GP last year - he said her BMI would have to be 40 before they offer any help. My DH and I worked out that that meant she would have to gain another 3 stone and make her completely obese. I don't know what to do.
Does SHE want to lose weight? There's nothing you can do to help her unless she buys in to the idea herself.
Is she eating snacks outside the home that are making her put on weight? It sounds like your meals at home are fairly healthy - so either she's eating badly elsewhere or there are issues with her metabolism.
Sometimes she says she wants to lose weight - and will try for a couple of days, but then forgets about it. And if we try to help she gets very defensive. Wants exactly the same portion etc as DS and DH - even when I explain diff in gender, body mass, metabolism etc.
Yes, she def eats outside of home - empty wrappers etc lying around. No biscuits, crisps etc n the house but she buys them at school. Also has school lunches - have tried giving her packed lunch, but again, she will agree for a while and then give up.
if she won't listen to the basic science (which should all be taught in school) then there is nothing anyone else can do. She is eating too much (and a lot of crap) and not moving enough, so she is getting fatter.
check for bullying and other issues, and remind her that any movement is exercise - she needs an active hobby which doesn't have to be the gym.
beyond that, if she is intellectually normal she's on her own.
what a shame.
Agree that it is up to her ultimately.
I can see how it must be upsetting foryou, as her mother to want to help. But cast your mind back to being 17, did you take any notice of anything your parents said? I didn't.
Perhaps she isn't so bothered about being larger? It isn't so unusual nowadays - a lot of teenage girls are bigger - so she possibly isn't out of the ordinary in her group of friends.
Keep doing what you are doing with the healthy meals. But you may have to back off a little. Let her make her own mind up now.
Agree that she has to want to lose weight herself, but could you also introduce exercise that doesn't feel like exercise? like going for long walks together at the weekend, 'borrowing' a dog to walk of an evening (perhaps a neighbour could lend you one?), bike rides as a family to somewhere nice for a picnic, bit of digging in the garden etc.
I was similar when I was at school and tbh the only thing that made me lose weight was a cruel jibe from someone when I was around 15. Alongside watching a weight loss programme I remember saying to my mum I'm going to lose weight. Mum then helped me whole heartedly, exercise/portion size etc. it has to come from her I'm afraid, and she has to hit the bottom before she will see sense I know that's so difficult as a mother x
Re exercise - we have a dog, who I walk, all have bikes - I do a bit of cyclying - but when I try to encourage her to exercise she argues/resists. re nutrition - she prob knows more than I do - she has just food tech GCSE and was top of the class - she likes cooking and likes good food (maybe my fault because we have always cooked good food and eaten together as a family). I really appreciate all advice - but it is soul destroying as a Mum to watch your lovely daughter just getting bigger and bigger and creating health issues for herself. My head tells me it is down to her - but my heart .........
It must be heartbreaking. But I bet that when she gets to uni, or interested in boys, or both, she'll change.
Most teens I know have lost weight in the first year at uni - due to a combination of not cooking, not having any money, rushing around a lot etc etc.
Please be mindful, that until she has decided that she wants to make changes, then the efforts you are making, although well intentioned may be making her feel worse. Does she have control of other areas of her Life? If you are trying to control her eating, this may be her rebellion.
Could it be emotional eating Getting her to talk about the reasons why she's over eati g may be needed before you can tackle the logistics. Does your NHS trust have a children's weight management service which you can self refer. They're usually staffed by dietitians, physics and psychologists.
This is an example of he type of service I was referring to
Oh Duvie feel soooo much for you. I know what posters are saying makes sense, but I don't think there has been enough empathy for you as a mum, feeling so bad about your DD and her weight. There is an old saying "when they're little they make your arms ache and when they're big they make your heart ache...........and it is SO hard as a mum to have to stand by and not able to help your DD. I think this is one of the hardest thing a parent has to do.
Does your DD have friends and does she socialise. I see lots of bigger teenagers these days and if she's happy then I would try not to worry. As others have said you can't do it for her. She might well decide one day to eat less and move more, until then, you must I think try not to show your concern, as this is going to make her feel worse.
OP is there anyway you could exercise with her? Perhaps yoga, zumba or swimming together? Then she may not feel alone in the whole process, and besides, exercise is good for us all.
However I agree with other posters - she has to decide she wants to lose weight, or she will never be able to.
Please, please, please just let her be.
This post could have been written by my mother regarding my sister. What she really needed was for her mum to back off and just let her decide what was right for her.
It is her body, you can no longer dictate what she does and the best thing you can do is accept this. Putting her under pressure and making her feel like she is being watched when she eats and checked up on are not conducive to her taking control of the issue and deciding for herself what the right thing for her is.
Thank you for all your responses - it has helped getting others views, even if some of them feel a bit "tough" to take - I realise that unless she decides to do something, that nothing I can do will make a difference - and, as some of you point put, may make her feel bad. Even the thought of that makes me feel dreadful. She is a lovely girl - has some very nice friends, socialises a bit, likes school, has ambitions for her future etc. I just want her to be healthy and happy. I am going to work on providing support if she asks for it - and try to let her take more control of her life. Having said that - we went to water aerobics together tonight (my suggestion, she came along happily) - and both of us really enjoyed it.
On the NHS front - so far, I have found our GP and NHS support...useless. If the issue was 3st underweight, they would deal with it. 3st over - and more - doesn't concern them. Odd that.
Glad you both enjoyed the aquarobics. I'm sure it will all work out in the end. x
Just wanted to tell you you are not alone. My DD has just started medication which makes you gain weight and this combined with inactivity and deciding to eat several choc bars a day and snacks made her gain almost 2 stones in 4 weeks! She was warned about weight gain but doesn't care it seems!
I am worried because it is going to be harder for her to lose it because of the medication and it would have been better not to gain so much in the first place.
Assuming your DD has no health issues she will be able to lose it when she decides she wants to.
Do you know about myfitnesspal. We put my DDs weight and height in and it tells you exactly how many calories you should eat daily to lose for eg 1 pound a week. You can earn extra calories through exercise so if for example you want a choc bar you have to do a bit more exercise that day. I showed it to my DD and she seemed to take notice because it was written in black and white rather than me nagging. It also works as she did stick to it for a couple of weeks and lost weight despite the meds.
Maybe you could try this with your DD but otherwise I fear you will have to leave it up to her.
I just wanted to say I know how hard it is to watch someone you love behave so destructively.
Oh Duvie please take notice of Liaras lovely post. I'm sure mumzy means well with her link and my niece's child was overweight in the pre-school years and she went to something similar and it was really successful, but for a 16 year old I can't think of anything she would like less.
The main thing is your DD is happy, she has friends and has plans for her future..........AND she went to aqua aerobics - woo hoo. I know how hard it is because my DGD (aged 13) has skin problems and she is on antibiotics but they don't seem to be making much difference and she has always been on the heavy side, but is very sporty and so I think that keeps her more or less ok, but I find myself looking at all teenage girls and they all seem to be skinny with lovely clear skin.
OMG we should just be glad our loved ones are healthy and happy.
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