Could anyone advise me to help my daughter loose weight?

(14 Posts)
chuffinalong Sun 03-Jan-16 09:59:21

Hi, I have a nearly 11 year old daughter who has always been very big for her age. She is now 5 foot 3 and overweight. Her dad and I both have healthy BMI's, but my mum and brother have always been much bigger.
She is a very hungry child who seems to want to eat all the time and always says she's hungry. She also has learning difficulties, poor co-ordination and social anxiety, making it very hard to find any kind of activity to keep her fit. Even PE at school she usually sits out of it and refuses to take part.
She will only eat veg if it's liquidised and not recognisable, so I tend to do soups quite a lot, but she always overeats bread with it. As she won't eat unless it's on the end of bread.
Her dad has got her into the habit of having 'munchies' to films, TV programs or just a treat for any reason. It's now so fixed in her that she will whine constantly that she's hungry while watching anything on TV, even if she's only just had dinner. She is very much a creature of habit.

I've tried so many times to try and help her to control her weight but I always end up acting like the 'food police'. Constantly having to follow her around making sure she's not eating what she shouldn't be. It's especially hard at her grandmas house, where she goes regularly. I've tried many times speaking to her Grandma but it goes in one ear and out the other. She has loads of unhealthy food in the house and she will say "ask your mummy" but then it's always me saying no. She tends to say to me "You think I'm fat!" I said that we do need to control your weight so that you can be fit and healthy. I do want her to grow up with good self esteem and body confidence, but at the same time, she does need to loose weight and get fitter.

I'd be really grateful for any advice on this. Thanks.

pippistrelle Sun 03-Jan-16 16:59:31

That sounds really tough, OP. I don't have any specialist knowledge or expertise, but I didn't want your post to go unanswered. I wondered, if because of your daughter's particular circumstances, you might start with a visit to your GP. He/she might even be able to refer you to a nutritionist. My thinking is that a neutral third party might be better placed to get the message over to your daughter.

Ultimately though, habits are hard to change and you might just have to gird your loins for a tough month or so until new habits start to form. And I think you have to lead by example: just don't have 'treats' in the house.

I'd also think about how to increase walking. Surreptitiously at first, maybe. Walk to the shops for a small non-food treat. Walk to the library. And what about swimming? It's more fun, and a bit less in your face in its good-for-you aspects.

I wish you all luck.

Ploy Sun 03-Jan-16 19:13:13

Definitely go to the gp.

How overweight is she?

The gp will be able to refer to dietitians and exercise groups if she is above the 91st centile. Thus tripling the adult input immediately. You have nothing to lose.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chuffinalong Mon 04-Jan-16 10:11:48

Thanks everyone. smile I think she is about 9 stone 7. But hasn't been weighed in a while. I'm going to try to increase her walking and she does love swimming, so that'll be a good start. I've spoken to my husband who says he'll stop bringing the unhealthy food into the house. He works long hours and tries to make it up to her by bringing home treats, usually sweets etc as he knows how much she enjoys her food. He recognises that it has to stop though and only have these things very occasionally.

We have a trampoline, which she very rarely uses, especially in this weather. She can't ride a bike due to co-ordination difficulties, but we have a new cycle track near to us that hires adult sized bikes designed for people with disabilities, so we're going to have a look into that too.

She does have sensory issues Needascalf, mostly related to sound and touch. I've wondered weather the act of chewing is somehow comforting in a sensory way as well? She is being assessed re the anxiety and the co-ordination is just on-going, she's improved over the years but still struggles.

chuffinalong Mon 04-Jan-16 10:14:24

I should also mention in case it's relevant to her BMI, she is well on her way through puberty. She hasn't yet started her periods but I'm sure it won't be long now.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chuffinalong Mon 04-Jan-16 19:25:12

Thank you, I will definitely ask about it.

I did weigh her today and was shocked to see that she is now 11 stone! sad It must have been quite some time since I weighed her last.

notmaryberry Tue 05-Jan-16 17:00:38

Hi chuffin! I can totally relate to your situation, I have a 13 year old daughter who weighs around 12 stone, and also has learning difficulties and some physical difficulties which cause problems with exercising. My DD has always been overweight and spent years under a dietician when she was very young, but we did get a bit lax over the last few years so we are looking at it again. She started her periods at 8, so we are basically past puberty already! Here's what we do which may help:
Regarding exercise my DD does a trampolining club on a Saturday (1 to 1 lesson for children with special needs). This is helping with her core strength and balance which is very poor. She also does netball club at school and we try to either swim, walk or cycle on a weekend (she has an adult trike because her balance is too poor for a normal bike). We also have an exercise bike at home and have some physio exercises to help with muscle strength and flexibility in her problem areas.
Food wise, we follow a diet Monday to Friday which was given to me by a chef who works in a care home. It sorts each food into a category (for example 1 protein equals 1 sausages, 1 slice of bread equals 1 carb etc) then you have a daily allowance of 4 proteins, 4 carbs, 2 fruit, 3 dairy etc and you design menus around that, so they are still having the things they like but it is measured out and balanced. Vegetables are 'free' so my DD can snack on as many carrot sticks or cucumbers as she likes, this also means you can bulk out pasta portions (which are tiny) with veg etc although I understand that would be difficult if she doesn't like veg!
I replace as many things with low fat/calorie as I can - mayo, yoghurt, chocolate mousse, cereal bars, salad dressing, anything really. I never use butter or spread on her sandwiches and at the weekends when we 'cheat' I try to stick to popcorn / rice cakes / dried fruit as snacks rather than crisps. Only one fruit juice a day and no fizzy drinks.
It worked when we did it last year (she lost 17lbs) but we need to get back on it now as she is putting it back on.
Sorry for the rambling but hopefully there's something there that might help.

chuffinalong Wed 06-Jan-16 14:01:26

Thank you Notmaryberry, that's brilliant. smile I have actually messaged a lady in our area about a one to one trampolining class. I think I might take her to the docs and see if we can get a dietician on board. I would like to know that what I'm doing, new diet wise is right for her and properly balanced. They might also be able to give me some tips ie hiding veg in food? grin
I spoke to her the other day about how much more healthy she will feel and how much more energy she'll have once she's within a normal weight range. She then said to me "So when I'm a healthy weight, will you leave me alone then and let me eat what I want?" Bless her..

pippistrelle Wed 06-Jan-16 14:30:23

By the time she gets there (which shouldn't be too distant a goal because she's not very, very overweight), hopefully the new habits will be routine and she'll have a different mindset. I'm sure she already knows the theory because the healthy eating message seems to be prevalent in schools now, so now it's just a case of matching the practice to the theory. And, it sounds to me like you have a solid plan in place for dealing with that.

chuffinalong Wed 06-Jan-16 14:53:28

Thank you, I hope so. smile

notmaryberry Wed 06-Jan-16 16:31:43

Hmm I do worry about the comments my DD makes like "I can't wait until I'm a grown up and can eat whatever I like", but like you, I try to make it about 'being healthy' not 'losing weight' and she's very good about not cheating.

chuffinalong Thu 07-Jan-16 13:22:46

My daughter came home from school yesterday saying she had a cake at lunch time with icing on it, in a kind of "there, what do you think about that!" kid of way. I really don't want this to become a battle of wills in which she feels the need to sneak unhealthy food past me at every given opportunity. I don't think she really sees the need to loose weight/ improve her health/ fitness etc. This isn't going to be easy...

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