Very overweight DD12(116 Posts)
Long post alert - sorry.
My DD12 is very overweight - technically obese. She's 5' 3" and weighs 10st 6lbs. Up until a couple of years ago, she was average weight. She hasn't started her periods yet, but she has had boobs for a good couple of years and hair growth is well underway.
By way of background / context, I was overweight for a few years when she was younger but have been bang in the middle of the healthy range for my height for 18 months, having lost just under 4 st in about 10 months following Slimming World.
Our diet at home is healthy - lots of cooking from scratch, fruit & veg etc. Her brother is, if anything, underweight. My husband is noticeably overweight but not obese and, sadly, not really motivated to do anything about it. We live close to extended family and see them very regularly. They are all a healthy weight with good diets.
My DD seems incapable of making any sensible or healthy choices - she has to be forced to have breakfast - often just a yoghurt. She then buys snacks at school during break and has a big meal and sugary drink at lunch time. When I try and send a packed lunch she still buys snacks. I send healthy snacks and they come home untouched, even when she chooses them.
After school she snacks and "picks" meaning it's a constant nag from me (or our au pair) reminding her to be sensible. She'll always try to have cake, biscuits or chocolate after supper and stomps around when they aren't available.
I do try very hard to moderate what she can access, and I know I model sensible behaviour - I eat real meals and enjoy a treat, but within limits. It's hard to have nothing sweet in the house as my DS, husband and our au pair all also enjoy treats too. My DD is the only one who is incapable of moderating her intake, even when I'm firm and explicit.
Out of the house, she jumps at the chance to have a hot chocolate with extra cream etc. She's always buying stuff to eat when she's out with her friends.
She does very little physical activity and even objects to walking when we're out as a family. Her weight is making it difficult to get clothes and she is a potential target for bullies. She has a couple of good friends and is generally happy, but she is quite lacking in confidence and definitely not one of the popular girls at school.
My DS comments on her weight - which she hates and he does get in trouble for it.
I've talked to her several times and she says that she wants to do something, but she falls at the first hurdle every time. This usually results in her screaming at me - regardless of whether I remind gently, nudge, say no or simply make sure food isn't available.
GP and nurse can help with menu planning but not with tackling the behavioural aspect. And I don't need help identifying what her diet should be, I need help getting her to understand that and to follow through.
I'm at my wits end. I'm worried about her health, her self-image, the impact on her friendships etc, etc. Please give me some advice.
Im not sure what practical advice I can offer but what's jumped out at your post to me is the sense of urgency. Yet I don't think she is obese for her height? Maybe not skinny but have you considered that this is a phase (which some go through before hitting a growth spurt in puberty). Are you overreacting a bit in relation to the weight she is?
I think you are the problem here not your dd.
She sounds exactly like mine. To a 'T'.
Unfortunately, my DD lives with her father and his girlfriend (both overweight themselves), so I have little input on her day-to-day diet.
It's so hard to know what to do for the best.
Unfortunately I agree with SimLondon .
The only thing I can suggest is that you try to increase the amount of exercise she takes . Could she join a gym with you ,go swimming ,do wii fit together ,walk a dog ? I do think you and your husband ( or at a push the au pair) need to do it with her to encourage her to do it and make it more fun .
I genuinely don't see a problem with her weight. Any fat will soon disperse to breasts and hips, so stop comparing her to rake thin peers.
Also, I honestly don't see how that weight and height combination will attract unwanted hurtful comments. I know women with those stats and with lovely figures.
All the bmi calculators place her at obese, not just overweight but obese. She wears a size 14 clothing on her bottom half yet is age 12 and 5' 3". I adore her and think she's beautiful - and tell her so often - but she is also fat.
Seeing her with other girls her age, she is always the biggest, by some way, but rarely the tallest.
My urgency is to improve her eating habits. She will continue to grow and so can grow in to her weight IYSWIM but she needs to learn how to make better choices. I don't think I'd be doing her any favours by ignoring it.
I find it hard to stick to a diet in my 30s so I'm not surprised a child that young finds it tough. Firstly, are you sure she's not about to have a growth spurt? Girls seem to tend to grow outwards first, then upwards, whereas boys seem to grow up tall and skinny and then bulk up later. Secondly, how much water does she drink, are you sure she's not confusing hunger with thirst? Finally, I think you need to approach it as 'making small healthy changes' rather than going on a diet. I would gradually reduce portion sizes and put more veg on her plate and less meat/ carbs, find something she will eat for breakfast (what about some sort of home made muffin that you could freeze a batch of and defrost one overnight? That might satisfy her sweet cravings). Does she have school dinners or packed lunches? And your DH really does need to step up and join in too.
I don't want her to be a rake. I'm not and nor our any of our family (except DS). Her diet is very unhealthy, her BMI is 25.9 putting her on the 95th percentile for BMI.
I'm not sure how wanting to help her to learn to eat a healthy diet and take care of herself is a problem.
It's not an appearance thing as far as I'm concerned. She's at a much greater risk of developing cancer and heart disease, amongst other things, if she doesn't get this under control.
And as horrible as it sounds, I would limit her access to cash if all she's doing is buying junk food with it.
She might not seem overweight to us as we can't see her, but if she carries in with these eating habits she won't get any healthier anytime soon.... The situation will just worsen
Op, you are not the problem. That's a really unhealthy size, and not all pre teenagers have growth spurts preceded by being fat, so not 'normal'.
I would be really worried too, because it's so hard to break habits and it sounds like she an unhealthy attitude to food. Could it be comfort eating? Or just liking food more than wanting to be slim: average?
I don't think 'official' diets work , it always seems sad to have 12 year olds going to placed like WW.
I can't think of anything useful beyond the trite advice you probably already tried. Is she depressed? Bullied? Escaping into food?
Can her school limit what she is allowed to buy? My DC's school lunch system can be set not to allow junk food (though why they sell it is beyond me...seems daft) which might help?
BMI over 25 is overweight, BMI over 30 is obese.
She is only just in the overweight BMI
Could you try these:
a) Don't give her any money and make her a packed lunch.
b) Don't have cake/biscuits/sweets/fruit juice in the house.
More importantly, watch Robert Lustig on youtube explain about the serious problems of sugar.
Fat cells produce leptin which tells the brain that no more fat needs to be stored. Trouble is, this leptin signal is blocked by insulin. Insulin is kicked off by sugar & carbs.
Did you do that for a child? The NHS child bmi shows the dd as well into overweight.
The OP is right to be concerned. At age 12 a BMI of 21 is overweight and BMI of over 25 is obese. I think many posters are confusing the weight and height stated with adult normal ranges.
World Health Organisation has very clear charts.
OP I do not think you are the problem.
I agree you are not the problem here OP.
What can be done to help with we self esteem issues? I don't think making a big deal of her weight is going to be productive but maybe have NO crisps, chocolates, snacks in the house at all? That includes fizzy drinks and sugary drinks.
Does she have any hobbies? Do any sport whatsoever?
Thanks for the replies.
18 to 25 BMI is normal for adults, not children. I work for an organisation that provide advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent a variety of non-communicable diseases, so I know I'm not over-reacting or using dubious information.
I am going to try again to tackle the food at school issue. None of her friends have a packed lunch so I feel a bit mean. I can look online to see what she buys each day so I might tell her that if she buys junk one day then she has to take a packed lunch the next. I don't want it to be a punishment but more of a consequence.
She's feeling a bit fragile at the moment as she wanted to buy some tops from Jack Wills and Hollister with her Christmas money but she can't find one to fit. I hate the effect it's having on her but it might give me the leverage I need. I've suggested that we plan meals and snacks together and have a real health kick (not diet) in January.
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