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Advice desperately needed - 4 year old daughter food obsessed

(8 Posts)
JanineWardle86 Fri 01-Aug-14 15:23:54

I am in desperate need of some advice from anyone who may be going or has gone through this.

My daughter has just turned 4 in July and for as long as I can recall she is obsessed by food. I'm talking it's the first thing she says when she gets up and the last thing she asks for before she goes to bed. Her whole day has to evolve around food also. For instance myself and dh have been off work this week and have tried to take her out everyday to keep her entertained. All she cares about is have we got the picnic what's in the picnic when can she have her picnic etc. And it is really getting me down.

I will be honest she seems very greedy but it is not just treats she wants like I would expect most children to its more of everything. I may not find this such an issue but she is a very large child. She is tall for her age but is also at least twice the 'width' of other children around her and is uncomfortable in clothes finds it hard to get clothes to fit and gets more out of breath doing activities. I know it sounds very harsh talking about your own child in this way but it's really upsetting to me as my sister was a larger child and was bullied and called at school which was awful to see and I don't want my child to have to go through that.

I have aired my concerns to others but always get the usual well she's tall, she will grow out of it etc responses which are not really helpful. I even mentioned it to my gp once and was just shunned off even though it is very clear to anyone that looks at her she is overweight. It's like a habit with her that I really need to break before it goes any further but she has me at the end of my tether at times and refuses to give in even though I say no!

I wouldn't say I had the most healthiest of diets but if I do want to eat something 'naughty' I generally won't do this in front of her. I am not o overweight, my dh is but generally doesn't eat a lot of unhealthy foods either. I have always tried to give her the best and even from being a baby weaned her on everything homemade, no salt, no sugar, no jars of food, she was breast fed. Now she fruit veg family meals and rarely has children's foods such as chicken nuggets, fish fingers etc as will generally choose something else. I do let her have some treats as I don't want her to go the other way and be obsessed by her body image either (I have gone through this and it's not good either). Her grandparents and other family members who she is in care of at times will just give her anything she wants even though they admit she is overweight. I have spoken to them about this but it just doesn't sink in, I think sometimes it's for an easy life as you do have to be really firm with her.

Her behaviour gets very aggressive about food too and she will get very angry grit her teeth etc when I say no.

I really need to break this habit especially since she starts school September and ds is due in a matter of weeks. I just don't know what I am doing wrong so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 01-Aug-14 15:30:06

I'm sure I've written your identical post at times about my soon to be 5 year old DD.

I received lots of helpful advice, but also lots of posts about how great other people's DC were about food - this was very similar to my HV and GP, so not helpful at the time!

I've just continued to be firm, set limits, but lighten up a bit about ice cream on days out etc. We've realised that doing the ice cream or picnic at the beginning of a trip prevents the constant whining later! It's not perfect - I even went to counselling about this, which helped me work out which bits were my problem - but it's either a lot better or I'm dealing with it better.

Everything in your post is so familiar!

stargirl1701 Fri 01-Aug-14 15:30:45

I taught a wee boy in Primary 1 (5 years old) who was obsessed with food. Every time (100 times a day?) he asked me for food, I offered him a cup of water. The constant asking stopped after 6 weeks or so.

JanineWardle86 Fri 01-Aug-14 15:53:15

Thanks guys. I do still allow her treats on days out etc and always explain that it's a treat and people can't have them all of the time but healthy foods like fruit vegetables etc are nice to have to if you get my drift.

We have tried the picnic at the beginning of the day but then all I get all day is when's the rest of our picnic and I have to explain that we have eaten it. I have to laugh sometimes. I have often felt that we are getting somewhere but then it just goes back over again.

I will have a look to see if I can find your post as that would be very helpful thanks.

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 01-Aug-14 17:05:17

I've pmed you.

losenotloose Fri 01-Aug-14 19:26:33

my ds1 was like this. to the point I was depressed because of it, didn't know what to do for the best. someone on here recommended a book by Ellyn satter when he was 5. I think it was called feeding your child, helping without harming. he's now 8, still a food lover, not skinny but a healthy weight. MUCH more 'normal' when it comes to eating. honestly, I think it really saved us.

tobysmum77 Mon 04-Aug-14 07:12:42

a couple of things that are only tiny observations rather than being massively helpful probably:
- Be careful about calling unhealthy food a 'treat'. Tbh if she was my daughter she would get nothing with sugar in at all unless at a party when I couldn't stop it. Sugar makes you want to eat more.
- Is she getting enough at dinner time? Particularly protein and good fats? Is she eating it all? What are the portions like? Remember girls that age are meant to eat a lot (almost as much as a grown woman) all this supernanny portions stuff is nonsense. I always make sure my 5yo eats lots of meat, that seems to fill her up.
- my dd would also nag about the picnic and she's very slim that's normal isn't it? smile
- and if she's overweight you are right to be worried. I hate this dismissive 'Oh she's fine'-type breezing that people do. Can you go back to gp and ask for referral to dietician or something?
- they are all different my two ate both fine but dd2 is definitely not as naturally slim as dd1, despite the same diet/ regime.
- how naturally active is she? I met a friend with her very overweight 8 year old step daughter and it was noticeable to me that she didn't play. My friend justified it as being too old for where we were but the other ones her age are running around/ up slides when she just stood. Perhaps more organised activities?

winnertakesitall Mon 04-Aug-14 07:27:30

I have no first hand experience so ignore me if you wish!

I have no idea about what to do about her constant demands, except persevere with large portion sizes at meal times with plenty of protein.

- I'd press it with your doctor. Like someone said above, get your dd referred to a nutritionist. Where is she on the red chart height and weight wise? I know that is just a guide, but it is a useful one.
- Could you ramp up the exercise over the summer holidays, to try and use up some of her food intake? So every chance of being outside use go for it. Lots of competition- who can get to the lamppost the fastest type thing... I'll time you getting from x to y, out on her bike/scooter after dinner each night. Realise these may be challenging if you are heavily pregnant.

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