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9-year-old DD needs to lose weight - how can I help her without making her feel bad?

(16 Posts)
FairhairedandFrustrated Sun 05-Jun-11 20:46:22

As I said, she is 9-years-old.. she's 4.5ft and weighs 6st 10lb (one stone and half less than me!)

She weighed herself today and cried, telling me she was fat.

I assured her she was beautiful (and she is!) but that if she wanted to 'be more healthy' we could look at ways.

The awful thing to admit here is that I actually work with adults who are trying to lose weight, I have lost a lot myself, so how did I not realise my dd wasn't just overweight, but obese (in the BMI charts).

She eats well, weetabix for breakfast, wholemeal bread with meat/tuna for lunch, with apple, orange, and a cereal bar.
Dinner would be pasta/stirfry/meat & potatoes.

Though I probably do give her big dinner portions.

We're going to have to up the exercise I think.

Ds is younger and has no weight problems. Dh did when he was younger, as did I, and his parent seem to think it's OK to feed them rubbish, whether they are for it or not.

Dunno if this is the right place, but have any of you dealt with overweight children in a way that hasn't scarred them for life?

DoMeDon Sun 05-Jun-11 20:57:56

Sounds like your appraoch will be the right one - more exercise, trying to be healthy. You must address the GP issue - they could undo all your hard work with their 'treats'. Appeal to their love for your DD by explaining that DC with weight problems are on road to being fat adults with health problems, they also struggle with confidence and friends - they are less popular and prone to being victims/perpetrators of bullying.

Portion size is key - you can look up correct portion sizes/calories online. Libraries do some wonderful cookery books for kids with meal planners and appropriate portions.

Good luck and i think it's great you are tackling this now in such a positive way. (that is not meant to be patronising!)

FairhairedandFrustrated Sun 05-Jun-11 21:10:52

Thanks DoMeDon, I have had the talk with her GP's, but they think because of my job i'm obsessed by weight loss sad

But on the above stats, you can see there is an issue that needs addressed, not me being obsessed!

Georgimama Sun 05-Jun-11 21:15:56

Have you checked the charts in her red book rather than BMI charts? I have no idea what that weight/height combo would look like but conventional BMIs are not accurate for children.

From what little I know of children's weight management I understand the idea is generally to encourage healthy eating and stabilise the weight so the child grows in height to meet it, if that makes sense.

DoMeDon Sun 05-Jun-11 21:17:19

They will see it that way - they love her, see no bad, same as you couldn't see the weight. I have asked DH to keep me updated with DD's weight as i know I will be blind to it and am of the 'have some more cake' persuasion.

It is better she is not obese of course but more important she doesn't have the issues attached IMHO - which is why I think it's great you talked in terms of being healthy rather than 'mummy will help you lose weight'.

MrsShrekTheThird Sun 05-Jun-11 21:25:50

I think you're spot on. I'd be taking the "let's all make an effort to do healthy eating" line and sort out some fun exercise, anything she enjoys - find a dance class or do the insane zumba together!! With a bit of luck, her school is doing the "healthy schools" thing and they will also promote healthy snacks and so on. With a bit of luck she will make good choices and let the gps know herself. Don't go into panic mode either (easier said etc I know) but they often put a bit of weight on width-ways before a big growth spurt upwards. My ds1 does this sometimes - I start to go "hmm" thinking he is getting a but stocky then he grows several inches and out of all his trousers - he's 10yo.

FairhairedandFrustrated Sun 05-Jun-11 21:32:43

The school does have a healthy eating policy, which is good, but like other places, there will be those who go against it.

I didn't realise she could go to zumba at her age - must look into it because she would love that!!

She does have a bike, but we live on a really busy road and it's not safe for her, there's no footpaths for her to use, but she often cycles along the yard (not that big).

me & dh are both going to hav to work together on this - I tried before to help her, but dh said I was hardly feeding her and it dwindled away as I hated him thinking that.

But this time, I'll pesevere and we'll all get there.

DoMeDon Sun 05-Jun-11 21:39:44

An adult eye on portions is always going to see something lacking - stick with the experts. Exercise is the real key - she will love doing more things if you have the time to do it together.

MrsShrekTheThird Sun 05-Jun-11 21:40:03

Like you said earlier - research portion sizes, but maybe act dim / be too busy and get DH to do it wink
That way you will both know the info. AfIk a 'portion' of something is the amount that a child could hold in their cupped hand - but I'm sure there is a more accurate way of doing it than my mad guesswork smile

geraldinetheluckygoat Sun 05-Jun-11 21:51:08

could you get a bike carrier for the car (if you have one)? If you have any nice cycle routes near you, you could drive to an appropriate start point, both get bikes out and take picnic in panniers. I know it sounds a bit famous five, but cycling is easy to do if you are heavier and not used to hardcore excercise (I should know...) and this time of year, is lovely. You could discover some really nice places together, and stopping for a healthy picnic makes it a nice day out. Plus it doesn't cost anything!

Does she enjoy swimming? Swimming improvers lessons would be great excercise?

What about a dance club if shes into dancing, or a martial art?

Good luck, Im sure you will make great improvements together, she's lucky to have such a great mum smile

kreecherlivesupstairs Mon 06-Jun-11 08:34:21

Trampoline if you have space for it. I don't know a single child who would turn down the opportunity to jump up and down all day long.
Actually, I do, DDs friend broke her arm three weeks ago falling off an unenclosed one. Buy a trampoline with a cage and see her pounds melt away.
wink That was a joke the last sentence.

mummynoseynora Mon 06-Jun-11 08:45:42

I was going to suggest getting a trampoline too kreecher smile

bigTillyMint Mon 06-Jun-11 08:51:52

Make sure you use a small plate / bowl for her food - it will stop you giving her too much. And veg should fill half the plate wink

kreecherlivesupstairs Mon 06-Jun-11 10:18:26

One other thing, a friend of my DDs was really overweight, in conjunction with the school nurse, her mum surreptiously cut down on her food. Mum thought that cream crackers and cheese were a better snack than chocolate. Nutritionally they probably are, but they are completely calorie laden. She also stopped giving her two litres of full fat milk a day and changed it to semi skimmed. Small things like that enabled the big girl to grow upwards and into her weight. Girl used to drink a lot of juice, mum watered it down and offered plain water or sparkly water with lemon juice in it.

Butterbur Mon 06-Jun-11 10:24:51

Check the calories in that cereal bar. Some of them have an awful lot, and if she has one every day, it could be a daily extra 300 calories she doesn't need.

jaffacake79 Mon 06-Jun-11 10:34:47

She could be due a growth spurt too, my dd always gets a bit of a podgy tummy and then shoots up a couple of inches in a really short space of time.
I dug out her red book the other day as I was rootling around in the loft and weighed and measured her, and she's bang on the 91st centile for both - just where she was when she was born! She comes up as overweight on a bmi chart too, but they're not designed for children, so this was quite reassuring.

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