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I really don't know how to handle this

(30 Posts)
MrsPatrickDempsey Wed 08-May-13 14:10:17

Not really an Aibu but really need perspective and advice.

DD is 11 - in yr 6. She is starting puberty and is overweight (call from school nurse last year repeating that her BMI is in this category). From the back, DD is slim but she does have a large tummy. She has a massive appetite and eats 'normally' - not a good word to use but not fussy, good amount of fruit and veg etc. she walks to school and back (1mile each way) but isn't overly sporty/active. She makes the odd comment about not liking her 'fat tummy/legs'.

Last Thursday I left her for about 30 mins at home when I took DS to a club and came home to find she had eaten the packed lunch supplies for this week. (This included mini snack type bags of scotch eggs, chicken nuggets, cocktail sausages type things). I had got them as a bit of a treat as they were on offer and for convenience cos of my shift pattern this week.

We spoke about it (quite calmly) said I was disappointed by her dishonesty as she had 'taken' them and chatted about healthy/over eating etc. She apologised, said she saw the error of her ways etc.

Today DH is working at home, went to make lunch and reports that the 6 pack of special crisps have all gone. He got them when I was working on Monday. He then found 5 empty packs under her bed! Minx! This has happened before but not to this degree - the odd biscuit etc.

I have decided not to buy any more unhealthy stuff. But I don't know how to deal with this secrecy and her huge appetite. She seems to binge and have no self control. I don't want to make a huge deal of it and give her a complex - Gid knows what the implications may be - but feel I need to guide and support her to make healthy decisions for herself.

MrsPatrickDempsey Wed 08-May-13 14:10:42

God sorry

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 14:17:24

oh OP i really feel for you (and her) this sounds like me as a child, although i had food issues from as far back as i remember tbh so i dont know if it's the same at all. i jsut know that any chance i got i would steal snack food and binge on it. my mum started hiding it in the house and i would find it and steal a bit every now and again. tbh i still have control issues so i dont know how you fix thsi without giving her a lifelong problem.

i hope someone can help you. (((hugs)))

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 14:19:01

i think not having the stuff in teh house in the first place is the right place tp start though. smile

HeySoulSister Wed 08-May-13 14:22:04

have healthy snacks ready for snacking on
boiled eggs
carrot sticks
cooked chicken chunks
melon

prepared ready?

HeySoulSister Wed 08-May-13 14:23:10

but yes,dont buy it in the first place...crisps? I don't buy them,have you seen how many you get in a bag for a start??

better to tip a family sized one in a bowl and share it as a one off

numbum Wed 08-May-13 14:24:33

This was me as a child too. It started off with me sneaking 'special' food (things we were only allowed as a treat) behind my parents' backs. Then it turned to comfort eating massive amounts of crap unhealthy food because I was being bullied at school.

My parents stopped buying it, which then led me to steal money from them to buy it myself. I'm massively ashamed of that now but I just needed to eat treats to make myself feel better.

Maybe speak to the school nurse and see if she has any suggestions?

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Wed 08-May-13 14:29:36

Is the weight extremely specific to her stomach? As in, does she have slim arms? Did the weight come on very quickly? Since puberty has a extraordinarily strong urge to eat? (Which she is clearly ashamed of, hiding wrappers etc)

If so that would ring large bells along the line of thyroid/PCOS to me.

Good luck to you and DD. She sounds like a lovely child.

Walkacrossthesand Wed 08-May-13 14:30:04

Now that you know it's happening, do you look back and remember more times that snack foods 'evaporated' more quickly than expected? ie any idea how long it's been going on for? She's clearly feeling guilty about it - hiding evidence under her bed - so a 'telling off' wont help - I suspect you'll need specialist help to help explore what 'need' she's meeting by doing this. It's not just about appetite, that's for sure. I suspect my eldest DD (now in her 20's and struggles with her weight & has self-esteem issues) used to take snack food but she would always deny it, say it must have been our (overweight but trustworthy) childminder, etc. Very hard to deal with - sympathies!

Booyhoo Wed 08-May-13 14:30:29

yes i was a comfort eater and still am. i still really struggle with it tbh. i was also bullied at school. OP is everything ok at school and home with DD? do you think she might be getting stressed about something?

DeWe Wed 08-May-13 14:35:06

Do you offer her a healthy snack when she comes in from school?

Mine often come in starved from school, and if I give them a good snack then will be fine until dinner. If I don't get them something that will give them a bit of a boost, then they'll snack on what they can find (like the remains of their Easter eggs), and because the snack doesn't keep them going for long, they'll keep on eating.

If dinner is going to be latish (after 6:00) I'll sometimes give ds a sandwich when he comes in.

kotinka Wed 08-May-13 14:42:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsPatrickDempsey Wed 08-May-13 14:44:08

Thanks - good points to think about. She is struggling with her hormones a bit too - angry one minute, crying the next but we have talked about it openly and how she can manage her feelings which she says she doesn't
understand! Bless! She has had enough of primary school and says she is v excited about secondary, counting the days! We are close and I just want to guide her that's all.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 08-May-13 14:44:11

Processed food. Remove it all from your home. It's processed food that causes obesity. If there were no crisps, sausages and other rubbish she'd have to eat fruit, eggs, veg. I know it seems hard but we've managed it and our health is SO much better. I have lost a stone and we also make our own bread (as I cannot live without it) snacks are nuts (not salted) and fruit or veg.

redskyatnight Wed 08-May-13 14:49:14

OP, I used to comfort eat like this as a child (actually starting about your DD’s age). My parents did the same as you are planning to do – they kept non-healthy treats to a minimum and kept them where I couldn’t get them and talked to me about healthy eating and not binge eating. They entirely failed to address the why of why I was comfort eating. I was utterly miserable, was being bullied at school, was overtired and had constant expectations piled on me by my parents that I felt I couldn’t meet. Once I couldn’t eat at home I took to scrounging from friends and later to shoplifting sweets from shops.

I still comfort eat when I am stressed but now recognise why and when I am doing it.

TippiShagpile Wed 08-May-13 14:50:11

Agree re getting rid of the processed food. It's full of saturated fat and salt and is called junk for a reason. It's not a treat for your children to be fed junk, honestly. It's also very addictive (which may explain the bingeing).

Your entire family will benefit from a no junk food policy and, as others have said, if it's not in the house she can't have it.

Good luck op - hopefully you can nip this in the bud and help her feel better about herself.

schmee Wed 08-May-13 14:52:21

I would suggest that you have a chat with her to ask about what she has learnt about healthy eating at school. Explain to her that as your body changes you can sometimes get food cravings, but that the best way to manage this is with low GI foods and water. I have incredibly strong food cravings premenstrually and I wish someone had explained them to me earlier, before I got into a cycle of binging.

There may also be control issues there, so getting her involved in choosing healthy food for her special "stash" might help.

Poor girl - it's good that you are thinking about this and helping her. My parents never did except to comment on my weight and I have had loads of issues with food.

fluffyraggies Wed 08-May-13 14:54:15

I was 'tubby' and ate like a horse in my last couple of years at primary. I hated my body. I never felt full. I remember my mum muttering about watching how much i was eating, but it meant nothing to me somehow. It was comfort eating plus just being darn hungry!

I started my periods the year i went up to secondary, grew a couple of inches and lost loads of weight. Got skinny round the middle. No diet. No lack of eating. It all just redistributed itself into an hour glass shape rather than an apple shape grinblush

Hopefully this will be the case with your DD, OP. But I too wonder if it would be worth asking your GP about your DDs appetite, as has been suggested up-thread.

DorisShutt Wed 08-May-13 14:54:31

Not having in the house may not help. My lunch money used to go on chocolate, and nothing but chocolate. 6 galaxy bars in one lunch time at my low point, followed by a whole jar of strawberry jam when I got home.

It was purely comfort eating, and I still have this issue even now.

It does sound trite, but talking about stuff does help, perhaps it might be easier for her to share with someone other than you to see if there are other issues?

schmee Wed 08-May-13 14:55:59

xposted with redskyatnight. I think that's a very good point - that there may be underlying emotional issues. You may need to give her space/encouragement to talk about these. Helping her finding alternative ways to relax/treat herself would also be good - e.g. swimming and pampering, or meditation. This could be a really positive way of making her feel that she is entering womanhood (for want of a less cringey word).

Howstricks Wed 08-May-13 14:57:47

Trouble is it can make you very unhappy when at a very self conscious point in your life everyonr is policing your food/weight. Have a big fruit bowl and healthy snacks, get out and about as a family and do some exercise..badminton/trampolining/wii dance/judo etc etc and tell her all the time how beautiful she is and how its good to have a strong body. Get her involved in meal prep..teach her how to make a loaf of bread..and don't watch her or exvhange glances when she enjoys the odd bag of crisps/sweeps. Keep her busy, positive and happy.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Wed 08-May-13 15:00:00

My (well other than the obvious) concern as a parent is she is hiding the eating from you. She isn't just over eating and 'not getting' what she's been taught about health. She feels guilty. There are many routes to overeating, I suggest you explore them all thoroughly. Since you emphasised her tummy and puberty I'd personally lay my money on either:

Hormonal problems (trust me, MUCH better caught as early as possible)
Bullying.

No matter what, you're clearly a loving and devoted mum. DD is lucky to have you.

Dawndonna Wed 08-May-13 15:01:16

We only have treats in the holidays. During term time, it's yoghurt or fruit after a meal apart from Saturday night and Sunday lunchtime. I do not buy biscuits/crisps/chocolate/snack bars until the last day of term. Everything left over at the begining of term is removed, although it's usually very little.

YesIamYourSisterInLaw Wed 08-May-13 15:07:03

I was a fat child and I really struggle with my weight now.
I'm also a comfort eater which doesn't help.
The only way I loose weight is being busy, I have zero willpower. Any chance you can get her busy? Out with friends, different groups after school etc?

aldiwhore Wed 08-May-13 15:11:48

This was me. Sometimes it still is me.

Don't go down the route of denial and hiding, but do certainly refrain from multi-buys, let your family have crisps, but buy only enough for one pack each.

This isn't so much about food but abject misery. I wish I knew what the answer was before binging became a habit.

I was overweight, and that caused misery and self loathing, I felt worthless, so thought 'screw it may as well be worthless with something tasty'. I WAS greedy, but I was miserable. Utterly miserable.

My mum put it down to hormones and greed, but she was only partially right, she banned all treat food, I stole pennies from her purse.

I don't BLAME my mum at all, but I do believe that had I had real help with all the misery I was feeling, the eating problems would have sorted themselves out well too, perhaps one of the endless diets would have worked.

I still struggle, though I'm no longer miserable. But have noticed that after my mum has been to visit, I slip back into misery, worthlessness and binge eating again if I'm not careful. Though my mum wasn't the cause, she was part of my habitual lifestyle and we never really did tackle my difficulty with being a teen and being overweight from an emotional PoV.

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