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DD 5.10 over-eating under-exercising

(11 Posts)
herethereandeverywhere Sun 02-Aug-15 10:22:11

How do you encourage a healthy lifestyle in a child obsessed with food?

She has always loved to eat and it's been a constant battle to ensure portion control ever since she weaned. Even 5 years on she still has a one track mind for food. Whatever activity we are doing she'll always say 'when is snacktime/lunchtime/teatime' repeatedly. I obviously ensure she has enough to drink and try my best with healthy food and snacks (she loves most food so veg/fruit/wholegrains aren't usually a problem, in fact she dislikes fried food!) but her one track mind is never far from food. It's exhausting and depressing that nothing's changed over 5 years. She is right at the top of the 'healthy' BMI scale, it wouldn't take much to spill over into 'overweight'.

We try to incorporate exercise into each day, I don't drive so lots of walking is a good start! However recently she's started complaining when she runs that she needs to stop as she doesn't like getting out of breath (this is after about 3 seconds of running!)

Her younger sister is nothing like this. Typically fussy veg refuser, naturally slim, loves to run and do physical things - she'll often get up and do a few laps of the kitchen for no real reason and prefers to run than walk (so my parenting's not all wrong!)

What do I do with someone who gravitates to food and inactivity?!!

QuiteLikely5 Sun 02-Aug-15 15:38:07

I've got one of these.

Out with meal times I offer, fruit, raw veg or water.

I cannot tell you the despair I have felt at times.

I'm hoping once she starts school she will forget about snacking so much!

Luna9 Sun 02-Aug-15 21:27:10

I would take her to the GP? Running out of breath and overeating could be a sign of something else.

Asleeponasunbeam Sun 02-Aug-15 21:38:25

I have the same DD (same age too!). And younger DS is very active. They're both obsessed with food though, and feeding them has always been difficult. Both 'failure to thrive' as babies, and then insatiable appetites once we started weaning.

I do feel that in the last few months though, things have improved a bit. DD isn't asking for food quite so often and is eating more varied meals. She's choosing to play more actively and has learned to ride a bike.

TheHouseOnBellSt Sun 02-Aug-15 22:14:57

I've had to simply stop buying biscuits. Can't have crisps and have to work hard to ensure portions are correct.

No snacks at all unless it's raw veg or fruit and water encouragement.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 03-Aug-15 08:22:39

My DS has a huge appetite so we do the only milk or water to drink and fruit between meals thing too. He is very active though and does football, rounders, cricket, scouts and karate.

Does she have set meal and snack times? If so, try to remind her gently that the next snack will be 10.30.

What activities does she do out of school? Does she have swimming lessons, ride a bike go to gymnastics or ballet? A bike helps as do days in the park. Walking is good but ideally at this age they need to be on their feet as much as possible.

If you've got a trampoline could you say the next snack is 15 minutes away, see how many bounces you can do in that time!

Does she get enough protein too? The only thing that ever fills me up is protein, carbs just make me hungry all of the time.

defineme Mon 03-Aug-15 08:38:38

I don't think snacking is a bad thing necessarily. Is she having food that will fill her up for a long time like porridge or eggs for breakfast, nuts for snacks, thick soups, etc. Is she having enough to drink? Confusing thirst with hunger is common.
On a school day my kids will have breakfast at 7.30, milk and fruit for snack, school dinner, snack after school and their tea, then often a snack before bed
if they have been swimming etc. None are overweight.
however, my dd was a round baby/ toddler and just into overweight as a 5 yrold...i honestly believe it was genetics and baby fat because I fed her identically to her skinny twin brother and they did the same activities. From age 5-8 she just seemed to grow up in height and turned into a stringbean like her brother. Her height percentile is now higher than her weight age 10.

the only thing that concerns me is her comment about breathless...that's very unusual and i would consider the dr if she really is out of breath like that.

herethereandeverywhere Mon 03-Aug-15 11:04:30

Thanks for the responses so far.

Some answers:
- We don't have fixed meal snack times - they don't vary that much but particularly for school hols we'll sometimes get up a bit later/eat out for lunch or tea so I've never set times but perhaps I should be more regimented.
- Our garden isn't big enough for a trampoline unfortunately. I wish it was but we're in SW London, moving to one big enough would be at least an additional £500k outlay to stay in our neighbourhood - bad planning when we bought!
- she can only ride a bike with stabilisers and isn't very good so goes so slow she literally exerts herself less than walking
- she does ballet and swimming during term time. I take her swimming now but she is very nervous and spends he whole time clinging to the side or standing up. I've looked into lessons for the summer but as i don't drive it's impossible for me to access them as they're all in private houses too far from public transport. I'm hoping some weekend in term time ones come up in Sept so DH can take her.
- We took her to tennis (had to book at term in advance and cost us a fortune) she went once and refused to go back - literally screaming meltdown. Ditto kids soccer. The more we 'push' her the more stubborn she becomes. I'm actually waiting for a GP referral to a behavioural therapist to deal with this behaviour.
- She doesn't seem to be breathless (I can't see her struggling or hear wheezing) she just said she 'doesn't like being puffed out' confused

TheHouseOnBellSt Mon 03-Aug-15 11:09:23

Well is she actually overweight? Or are you just concerned in case she gets that way?

Nutgirl Mon 03-Aug-15 14:03:35

Just wanted to say I empathise, my DS almost 4 is obsessed with food and always has been since weaned (and when on a bottle he would guzzle massive 9 0z bottles and cry when they ended). He thinks about food constantly and is always asking if he can have a snack, when is lunch, is it ready etc. Drives me insane sometimes! He's been to a lot of birthday parties this year and is always the first one and last one at the food table with me having to draw the line and say no more, you will be sick. He just doesn't know when to stop and can't seem to differentiate between hunger and wanting to eat (what I call greed). Luckily he is very active and never sits still so he does seem to burn it all off but I do worry about his future as obviously we can control what he eats and portion size whilst he is young but I worry what he'll be like when he's older. He is 75th centile for weight and 50 for height so on the stocky side but he eats really healthily and luckily eats anything he is given so in some ways I'd rather it this way than a fussy eater, just wish he wasn't so extreme and could think about something other than his stomach sometimes!!

You are not alone.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 03-Aug-15 17:29:10

Shame about the trampoline. Do you eat out a lot? I find it quite hard to keeper a healthy diet if we eat out regularly. Could you go to the park and take a picnic instead?

If set mealtimes and snacks don't suit, how about offering her things like raw carrot or an apple if she says she's hungry? A hungry child will take what's on offer, whereas if she's just hankering after a favourite snack to pass the time she'll say no.

How active are you as a family? Does she get to sit down much or are you all on the go? Does she get much screen time and do you know what her centiles are?

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