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to shove my MIL's diet down her throat? my 11 yo is proud of how little she has eaten!!!

(80 Posts)
sausagesandwich34 Mon 31-Dec-12 18:57:12

ok so AIBU to shove anything down anyone's throat but...

MIL is always on one diet or another

DD has spent a few days there while I worked so unavoidable and option of not sending her to MIL is unrealistic her dad is too busy to see his dcs over christmas, too busy hanging out with his friends

DD is coming home telling me that she is doing MIL's latest diet with her and has apparently 'only' eaten 800-1000 calories per day and will I buy her a bikini for our summer holidays if she sticks to it?


dd is like any other child -rounds off then shoots up and slims down

she is currently at the high end of the normal BMI but is still normal and is due a spurt

what the bloody hell is my MIL playing at???

dds dad not interested and MIL always right so I am venting

GrumpySod Tue 01-Jan-13 20:32:22

I think it's a good chance to talk to the DD about the many misguided images girls and women get about healthy relationships with their bodies & with food. How this permeates society so much that even MIL has been sucked in (despite her best intentions). This whole episode sounds pretty tame compared to stuff she'll hear from peers and pick up from magazines & other media. It doesn't have to be as cerebral as that, just "Granny means best but she's a bit misguided" message.

I wouldn't ban her or stop her going over. If she were my DD I'd tell her to eat what felt right instead of calorie counting, & that as a growing active girl she doesn't have to watch her weight like MIL, there's plenty of time to worry about that when she's (ancient) over 50.

AfterEightMintyy Tue 01-Jan-13 20:08:13

Thread's probably died now but if anyone is still reading I just want to second the recommendation for The Care And Keeping Of You which I think is an excellent book for young girls. My dd loves it.

whathaveiforgottentoday Tue 01-Jan-13 15:00:21

I would have been furious and YADNBU.
Obsessing about food and worrying about their body shape is a concern for young girls and research is beginning to support this (can find the evidence if you need). In short, your approach was correct and your MIL is wrong.

oldpeculiar Tue 01-Jan-13 14:44:32

My DD is 11.5, 5 ft 0 and and weighs 5 st 7, so your DD is much heavier.I think she is in the range where an eye needs to be kept on things , but with more emphasis on healthy eating and exercise than calorie counting!

SugarplumMary Tue 01-Jan-13 14:26:05

I'm pretty sure in a few years I will be in this position. I've already had words with MIL but it is still there and with FIL a bit.

ODD thing is the still want the DC to finish everything on thier plates and buy them crap to eat and still sometimes try and hide that from us.

So thanks mathanxiety for the book recomendation.

Worryingly there are many eating disorders in my wider family both under and over eating and at 7 she seems to pick up from other school DC concerns about weight and eating.

OP - find a way to shut your MIL up but expect the problems from her to get more subtle. I can only suggest you teach about nutrition and exercise to counter like many others have.


LittleBairn Tue 01-Jan-13 14:12:03

WTF I would ban your DD of having any contact with your MIL she is a dangerous influence.

Startail Tue 01-Jan-13 13:51:07

My DSIS was big at 11 and is still very overweight at 42.

My DD1 was big at 11 and shot up.

At almost 15 she isn't skinny, she is a very standard size 12 and it suits her.

Therefore I know you have to keep a very careful eye on 11y and their sizes.

I don't subscribe to total paranoia about talking about weight and diets because all DDs are different.

DD1 will never have an eating what ever you say because she has a deep unshakable self confidence and loves food.

DD2 (who fortunately is an exactly average 11y) cares deeply what other people think of her and is stubborn enough to take to an extreme diet.

Only you know your DD well enough to know whether she will listen to you discussing these issues sensibly with her and smile and nod at her Grandmother. Or whether you need to tell MIL to shut up.

I think the pressures to be thin from society are such that even if you have a row with your MIL your DD will still be subject to pressures

ALMOSTMRSG Tue 01-Jan-13 12:09:25

OP - my Dd was 12 a few weeks ago. She has regular appointments with an NHS dietician,as she has coeliac disease, her height and weight are monitored at these appointments. At the last appointment she was 5ft 4in and 7st 10. Dietician said her proportions were excellent, if a little underweight. I don't think your DD is overweight.

freetoanyhome Tue 01-Jan-13 11:58:17

tell your MIL to butt out. My own MIL did this to one of my daughters as the stupid woman is obsessed with being under 8 stone regardless of height. Poor dd still battles anorexia. If she wasnt an adult I'd ban her from going near MIL who when she visits here tells me I'm fat - 6 foot and 10 stone (see, not the magic 8 stone) yet buys us chocolate.
Once the eating disorder starts, they never go away.

Moominsarehippos Tue 01-Jan-13 11:47:15

I'd find the whole 'slim to get into a bikini' more worrying than slimming down.

I'd chat to her about eating healthy and exercise, and how food for a growing child is very different (if growth and development) than food for an adult (fuel and regeneration). I hope to goodness she's not imagining a diet will turn her into one of those pop stars that are all plastic boobs and fake hair. I'd also have a chat about self image (and image manipulation in magazines) and respect for her self (it doesn't come with a weight loss diet).

elizaregina Tue 01-Jan-13 11:35:46

I have whole list of why i dont want my mil to have miuch to do with my DD and my mils OBSESSION with her weight is also one reason, i also think its very irresponsible and dangerous to push such things onto young impressionsable children

FryOneFatManic Tue 01-Jan-13 10:56:57

Another thing I thought of is to maybe get your DD involved in the preparation and cooking of food.

Knowing I had these issues, I have done my best not to pass them on to the DCs. DD is 12.5 and does cook dinner with me and we discuss menus. I discuss what would be a balanced menu and how we can vary our diets. So far, she looks reasonably fit and toned, walks a lot and will try most food.

DS is almost 9 and wants to cook as well.

FryOneFatManic Tue 01-Jan-13 10:52:14

I am 44 and have had food issues all my life, mostly manifesting as comfort eating. I can trace this directly to my mum's weird issues about food. If she didn't need to eat to live, she wouldn't bother. We always have trouble when we go out with her, she spends ages looking at the menu and whatever she picks there's always something wrong. She hates fruit and veg and has a very narrow range of food she will eat.

It's only now, in the last year that I've really been able to see the web of effects these issues created. I've begun to try new foods, and slowly I'm beginning to shake off the old habits. It won't surprise anyone who's read this far that I am obese.

I agree with those who have said to concentrate on the fitness aspect towards encouraging a healthy diet, and healthy attitude to food. I have decided to concentrate on getting fit myself and just try to eat sensibly, rather than to go on a diet. I began shortly before xmas on the couch to 5k programme, and although I had to quit for a while I did notice that I was getting fitter and my trousers a little less tight grin I don't have scales in the house, but I am around 16 stone and I will know if I've lost weight. (So, if you see me blundering along on the fitness programme, a smile of support wouldn't go amiss grin)

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jan-13 05:18:18

'The Care and Keeping of You' is a sensible book published by American Girl Press that addresses healthy lifestyle, explains about periods, body changes, etc -- I highly recommend it for an 11 year old. It has a positive and healthy message about the body and what a girl needs to have as her priorities.

Please do your utmost to keep your DD away from your MIL. I grew up around someone who had (and still has) bulimia and massive body image and food control issues. This kind of issue is not something that is a part of someone's life -- it is their life and it colours every aspect of their day to day living and every relationship they have.

Impressionable young people who are in frequent contact with an authority figure who has a body image/ food control problem learn very soon what aspect of themselves the adult will focus in on in any relationship they want to have with that adult, and will learn what the adult expects of them and comply in order to avoid criticism or in order to be accepted, and because it feels exciting and flattering to be treated as an 'adult', initiated into the world of 'sophisticated adult concerns' by someone who is in fact pretty sick. It is a toxic situation and no good can come of it. Your MIL has been doing this to herself for years, engaging in sick thinking and letting this take over her life. It's a serious problem that won't go away by itself or in response to pleas for sanity from you. It will express itself in every glance she throws your DD's way even if she does agree not to say a word.

Lavenderhoney Tue 01-Jan-13 05:17:03

I don't have any teens (yet!) but this would fill me with rage.
If your dd has balanced diet, and gets plenty of exercise even just walking the dog that should be fine.
Can you talk to someone at school and see if they are doing healthy eating in any subjects and explain that you feel with coming up to being a teenager it might be useful? And your dd has had some mixed messages from mil? As I feel children will often listen to a teacher as well as a parent.

Also, it might be time to point out about air brushing and being lovely as a whole, looking at what she might like to achieve when a bit older and how that is extremely unlikely to come about if her main concern is what she looks like in a bikini for 2 weeks of the year. What was your mil thinking?
Has your dd got any role models that arent celebs? They seem hard to find to me, starts with that wretched Barbie and Disney princesses...

lottiegarbanzo Tue 01-Jan-13 05:09:08

I think 11 is a really crucial age, probably pre-puberty but at the point where girls are likely to start taking an interest in teenage things (if they haven't already). Certainly 10/11 was the age when I went from blissful obliviousness about my shape to thinking that losing weight was generally 'a good thing' and obvious slimness desirable. That became a bit unhealthy around 14-16 but the seeds were planted at 11 and included comments from family members implying I was not slim (I grew the way your dd does, so had chubbier phases) and that this was some sort of personal failing. That linked weight to self worth very effectively.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 01-Jan-13 04:56:18

I hope you can have a major conversation with your dd about this, discuss what is desirable, healthy, how this is best achieved and why health is more important than appearance. That your MiL is always on a diet says it all really.

brighthair Tue 01-Jan-13 02:03:10

Forgot to say I think fitness is one of the most important things. I have a size 4/6 friend. Eats like a horse but never exercises, gets out of breath running for a bus. I'm size 16 with a stupidly broad frame (can't fit fingers around wrists) but I exercise a lot and can easily do an hours spin or circuits
I think pointing out physical effects such as brittle bones, unfitness is maybe more? Important than physical appearance
But as I said in my previous post I am biased, I now have a slight problem with food, I can't eat with people watching. And that's down to my upbringing

brighthair Tue 01-Jan-13 01:55:13

I would be raging. Not saying much as I would have to name change but I have issues with a family member that consistently berates me about my weight. They have never said I look nice, or called me pretty or beautiful just fat and chunky etc
I vow that when I have a daughter I will tell her how beautiful inside and out she is

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 01-Jan-13 01:09:01

I'd rip MIL's head off and stick it up her arse!
Nobody should be encouraging an 11 yo to go on a 800-1000 calorie diet. She is a child. A child needs encouragement and education to eat the right foods in the right amounts as part of a normal diet.
as for a Bikini body, the poor kid probably hasnt even hit puberty yet! Stupid stupid woman!

pointedlynoresolutions Mon 31-Dec-12 23:08:55

Worra I would not use the word 'trim' as that is linked to visual appearance - I would prefer to use 'fit' as in, having good stamina, strength, speed and agility. A healthy diet plays a part in that, but so does exercise. You were of course absolutely right to intervene with your DD2, BMI or not, but I do think with teenagers you need to think carefully about the terminology you use.

DD1 is in Yr7, she is on the 74th centile on the NHS child BMI calculator. That has not changed since September. However, she has changed a lot in other ways - all her clothes are loose and she is visibly more muscled and toned, because instead of 2 sessions of PE a week she now plays netball and basketball for the school. Between training and fixtures as well as PE, she is doing 7-8 hours of sport a week, plus swimming on weekends. It's this, in combination with a healthy diet, that has made the difference.

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 31-Dec-12 23:02:45

and = had

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 31-Dec-12 23:01:55

You're shocked that a child might need to 'get trim'?

Really MrsMushroom??

When my DS2 was in year 6 he took part in the national weights and measurment programme.

He had a fairly big flabby belly which both I and my DH had already decided we needed to help him do something about, as he was the least mobile of our 3 DCs...preferring to read, play the violin and guitar rather than playing in the park/swimming/bike riding etc...

His results were that he had a healthy BMI.

Now despite the fact my DS and everyone else with eyesight could see he and an unhealthy amount of abdominal fat, are you suggesting he didn't need to get trim and that he should have continued with all that fat clinging to his internal organs? confused

I'd like to say I'm shocked that you're shocked, but actually I'm not because there's a lot of ignorance about these issues...that's why I'm hoping things will change in the future.

Less 'shock' and more action will lead to a healthier and longer life for our kids.

ItsIgginningToLookALotLikeXmas Mon 31-Dec-12 22:24:12

I remember being on a low calorie diet (with mother's approval) when I was 11. I looked fine then. Thirty years and about 3zillion diets later, I remain obese. I would try to stop this, OP, if you can.

PimpMyHippo Mon 31-Dec-12 22:15:19

YANBU. My serial-dieting mother started taking me to WeightWatchers with her when I was 11 (I thought I was enormous, but looking at pictures I can see I was an ordinary sized child), and throughout my teenage years she would regularly compete with me and my sister to see who could lose half a stone the fastest, with a cash prize for the winner, or offer to spend £200 on new clothes for me if I could get down to a certain weight. In between diets we'd binge on chocolate and cakes together.

Unsurprisingly, I've had eating disorders all my adult life - never anorexia, but bulimia and over-eating issues. Much to my mum's disgust, my BMI is now firmly in the obese range. I'm sure she'd much rather I'd become anorexic instead - I'd still be just as unhappy, but at least I'd be the thin daughter she wanted. angry sad

So yeah, putting too much emphasis on dieting (as opposed to sensible healthy eating) is a really really unhealthy thing to do to a child and if I were you I'd be using all my restraint not to resort to violence against MIL!

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