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Any tips on how to get a Fat 8yr old thinner?

(28 Posts)
Wills Wed 31-Aug-11 22:01:08

My gorgeous dd2 is fat! I can't kid myself any longer that its puppy fat or that she'll grow out of it. I'm gutted. Her weight measures on the 86th Centile, but her height is only on the 25th. I've had to search out 10 to 11 yr old uniform cos its the only things that fit her. The greatest heart ache is that she's really into Hello Kitty but most outlets tend to stop the bulk of their hello kitty stuff at 8. At the same time I'm painfully aware that a couple of her class mates have called her fat. She's not really worked it out yet, she's still chuffed that she's into such older clothes and sees it as meaning she's more grown up than others but it wont be long.

So..... How to resolve this. I have been working on it but am getting nowhere. Firstly she's a very very active child. She does two hours of ballet and tap, 2 hours of running, 1 hour of swimming, 1 hour of gymnastics each week outside of whatever they do at school. She doesn't spend a lot of time indoors and can normally be found either on our trampoline (trying to do sommersaults) or on her bike. So lack of excercise is not the issue.

Next, I am a really into eating healthly and naturally. I'm trying to teach all four of my children how to put together their diets each day (so ok the toddler can't do it but I'm hopping you get my drift). I don't like low sugar things I'd rather than did low sugar but cutting down their sugar intakes. Equally however I've always been of the opinion that nothing should be denied to them so sweets, biscuits and crisps had always been around but were for treat times and after healthy food is eaten first. BUT I've found that shes started to hide food and steals it during the night. At the moment she's no idea that I know she's stealing/hording food. At first it was biscuits so biscuits ran out and never got replaced so she then found the fun sizes that I'd been using a rewards for my ds for when he gets a certain number of stickers at school, so they've 'run out'. Crisps are now 'running out'.

I desperately don't want to tackle her as I feel she'll just hide it even more. Equally I don't want her to work out that she's fat. At 18 I suffered from anneroxia so I'm very very aware of how wrong things can go and I don't want this for my wonderful 8 year old. BUT she's obsessed with food! We've just returned from a holiday and she spent the whole time wanting to know where the next bit of food/chocolate/icecream was coming from. When she's bored she's hungry. What the heck do I do?

LaurieFairyCake Wed 31-Aug-11 22:07:14

Stop buying crap at all (or hide it better). Lots of small meals so there's not much time between meals.

Also she should be eating meals the size of her hand, it's really easy to overfeed a child as most dinner plates are massive.

Be aware of occasional growth spurts when she's hungrier. My dd was very straight and rounded in the torso at ten, as soon as puberty hit she went to a size 6/8 and has stayed there for 3 years. I always gave her small extra meals, a couple of babybels and some chopped apple for example.

Also make sure she drinks plenty as thirst is often mistaken for hunger.

FannyFifer Wed 31-Aug-11 22:08:21

How are portion sizes? We cut these substantially and that has made a big difference, DS doesn't generally get snacks either.

Wills Wed 31-Aug-11 22:08:49

Hadn't thought of thirst. Good idea. I don't restrict fruit at all and am loathe to go there.

nancy75 Wed 31-Aug-11 22:09:29

my friend is going through the same with her dd at the moment. She is 5 and in age 12 clothes. The issue has been mentioned to her by the school and some of the things they have suggested are starting a food diary - if you write down everything she eats you might be suprised by how it all adds up. My friend does tend to cook healthy food for dinners but gives her daughter the same amount of food as she gives her husband - so portion size is often another issue.I have heard that the best way to decrease portion size is simply to use smaller plates, rather than giving a plate with little on it.
Hard as it sounds you probably need to stop buying sweets/crisps for the time being - if they are not in the house she can't eat/ hide them

Wills Wed 31-Aug-11 22:09:51

Hm, portion sizes are possibly an issue, though I still serve her on side plates or the cheapie plastic IKEA kiddie plates.

Bluebell99 Wed 31-Aug-11 22:10:42

Marks and Spencers do Hello Kitty stuff in larger sizes.

nancy75 Wed 31-Aug-11 22:13:00

Wills - it is often hard to see when it is your child, you think they eat the same as all the other kids, but when my friends dd come to ours to play (she is same age as my dd) we are amazed by how much she eats compared to our dd.

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 31-Aug-11 22:16:14

You still serve her on side plates? Are you sure it's not that her portion sizes for her main meals are actually too SMALL and so she steals the junk food because she's legitimately actually not full from her main meal? Just asking cos ds1 is nearly 8 and more or less has adult sized portions for his tea, he never seems particularly hungry between meals and I'm guessing it's because he,s properly full from the meals. As a consequence he doesn't really have many snacks. He is actually slightly UNDER weight.

Sidge Wed 31-Aug-11 22:22:01

Stop buying snacky foods.

Stop using food as a reward.

Increase portions of veg and possibly protein, and look at overall portion size. Most parents of overweight children hugely overestimate how much food they need.

Limit snacks between meals - children don't "need" midmorning and midafternoon snacks (but I appreciate may be ravenous after school especially if doing sports) so don't offer them, but if asked you can give some fruit, or a milkshake made with skimmed or semiskimmed milk, or a couple of crackers with peanut butter or thin slices of cheese for eg.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 31-Aug-11 22:29:28

Ice lollies made from squash. Great trick - child thinks they're getting a treat and secretly you're getting water into them. Particularly useful after an energetic trampoline session.

Wills Wed 31-Aug-11 22:31:42

Right, traditional carbs such as potatos and pasta are limited. We are already big into veg and protein. I'm very aware of healthy food eating. Its not helped that I have a mum's help that always gives them sweets and crisps after school and often rejects the 'healthy' dinner I may have made and gives them an iceland pizza cos they'll eat it but refuse mine. I've had to face letting her go though she still pops into cos she adores my children and brings them sweets every time. I can't blame her for it all but she's definitely not helped!

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 31-Aug-11 22:49:42

No to the sweets and crisps after school obviously! Mil is like that with my nephew, she is constantly offering him biscuits, ice creams, crisps even though it might be half an hour before his main meal of the day. And he eats it all. I think his stomach has now just got used to NEVER being empty and so he just eats anything offered. Mil is killing him with kindness/ignorance and it drives his mum mad.

DocDuck Wed 31-Aug-11 23:22:32

Have you seen the doctor about this? This is the first course of action you should consider. People give great advise here but they can't see your DD and interact properly with you both to get to the root of the problem.

I'm sorry to hear you had an eating disorder, and naturally you're concerned that your DD doesn't go down that path through developing a food obsession. On the other hand, you may be worrying too much about her weight, and the doctor will be able to provide an objective view on this.

It's horrible when kids make 'fat' comments. I suffered from them at that age but once I hit puberty it all changed, and I was luckily not affected in the long term. The one who developed an eating disorder in my family was never a chubby or fat child.

Well done for tackling this and not confronting your DD, by the way! I'm sure you will find a solution with time.

gordonpym Wed 31-Aug-11 23:39:01

Potatoes and pasta are not bad compared to crisps and chocolate. Just don't cover them with butter or cream.
8y olds seem to be constantly hungry. DS1 eats a lot more than me in these days. But I stopped buying biscuit or danish pastry and prepare plenty of fruit. When he asks me for food, I offer a camomile tea, water with ice cubes, fruit, actimel and so on. We don't have sweets or breakfast cereals, he had a chat about them with the dentist and he doesn't mind.
If boredom is the problem, try to entertain her, read with her, prepare a dance show, or start doing scoobydoo bracelets, knitting a scarf, ...

nametapes Thu 01-Sep-11 09:22:06

Cut out all cakes, biscuits, chips crisps , ice cream sweets, anything high in fat and sugar.
Fill the house with fruit, vegetables, lean meat, and salad. Fruit juice, water.
Skimmed milk, and low sugar drinks. Fruit juice. Low fat spread. Low fat jam etc.
Try to get her into some structured exercise, and tackle the whole thing very seriously NOW before she is any older. She wont thank you when she is 16 yrs and still fat.. If you work with her now she will look back and think, "I know mum was tough and strict at times, but i realise why she was doing it; to help me lose weight so I was healthier and happier."
Would a reward chart help? i.e. when she sticks to the routine every day, after 5 days she gets a treat. (and thats not an edible one, unless its low calories) A trip to Splashdown, snow dome, swim pool, cinema, shops to buy an item of clothing or friends round?

nametapes Thu 01-Sep-11 09:30:48

sorry just read that you have her doing structured exercise already, and she is active.... SOOO its her diet and her over eating that is causing her to be overweight. Dont mean to teach you to suck eggs....

Good luck with diet.. xx

ragged Thu 01-Sep-11 09:46:36

I am wondering about hidden sugars in your diet, OP. A lot of people are unaware of that kind of thing, anyway.

DD is a scrawny nearly 10yo and hordes/nicks snacky foods, so that's not a fat kid thing, believe me. smile. It's a kid thing, methinks. I have most of your "bad" habits & yet mostly scrawny kids (I was a pudgy kid, myself). I wonder if you'd be brave enough to keep some food diaries, post them here & get some feedback that way.

I have confronted DD about the food nicking, though, giving all the reasons why it's not a healthy habit.... but I don't think I said anything about fat (I had an eating disorder, too), just about teeth & moderation in all things & heart disease etc. I will buck the trend by saying I am not sure that you can get anywhere with this without talking to your DD in some way, she needs to be involved with managing her own health.

rainbowinthesky Thu 01-Sep-11 09:53:29

i agree with others about the crisps and chocolate and food as a treat. I have food issues (too much) so have always made a conscious effort with dc. We do lots of exercise in our family so try to lead by good example.
Fruit is always readily available as is things liked chopped and peeled carrots.

We rarely have things like crisps in the house or chocolate. Puddings are usually a fruit salad maybe with icecream.

I have never praised her for finishing the food on her plate or encouraged her to eat "a little more" when she is full no matter how little or much she has already eaten. My dm finds this very difficult to follow as she always congratulated us for being a member of the clean plate club and still wants to encourage her grandchildren to eat a bit more before leaving the table.

talkingnonsense Fri 02-Sep-11 16:44:10

Second the suggestion to make sure she has enough at meal times- lots of protein and veggies. Eggs great for breakfast. Put her height and weight into the red book chart to check you aren't overreacting. And does she get fun size treats for good behaviour? Cos if not the hoarding food may be related to sibling jealousy/ food = love stuff.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 02-Sep-11 16:49:30

Look at upping exercise - getting a trampoline is a fun way for them to burn off calories for 20/30 mins and worked on dd when I thought she was getting a bit tubby. Family bike rides at weekends?

Oh and h&m do Hello Kitty stuff past 8yo, my DD is in age 11 and gets Heelo Kitty stuff from there and sometimes from Sainsburys as well.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 02-Sep-11 16:50:36

Duh, soor didn't finish reading post and see she does exercise a lot.

mercibucket Sun 04-Sep-11 19:44:44

that's a whole load of exercise! it's great that she's so fit tbh so I (total non expert) would expect the weight loss thing to be easy - she's growing, she's exercising lots, so it's 'just' the food reduction that needs tackling. some of her weight could be due to more muscle than the average 8 year old perhaps?
my 8 year old is also quite obsessed with food, steals it, constantly asks for more food, begs treats etc so I know it is hard
I don't buy any snacks at all apart from very very plain digestive biscuits and a few cereal bar things that look healthy-ish. we have a help yourself fruit bowl but not too many banana type filling up fruit, mostly apples, kiwis etc.
I agree about the thirst thing, often my ds is distracted by a drink or ice lolly when he asks, but I've had to ditch the fruit juice and the sodas and now we do water or sugar free (I've bitten the bullet on that, aspartame issues aside) only.
the one thing I never do is talk about the calories or reducing weight etc, only because I've read somewhere once that it's bad to make them think about all that when they are young.
good luck with it

festi Sun 04-Sep-11 20:13:20

my dd is 5 and would eat all day long if she could, she is constantly asking for food. It is a habbit sometimes, even if she is not bored or is doing something she will ask. some times even if it an apple or a handfull of grapes, I do have to say no, you have had enough to eat have a drink of water instead.

She should not be eating crisps and chocolate evry day if she is over weight. My dd has a small pack of sweets or an ice lollie, I would say pretty much every day, she shouldnt I know but she is not over weight and she has a packet of crisps once in a blue moon, not even every week or month. She has a rice cracker or a couple of bread sticks if she wants a savoury snack. My dd has large meal portions some days and less other days. probably more on school days than the weekend as she grazes at weekends and obviously eats less on school days.

I would increase your dds portions at meal times as she may not be eating enough then, my dd 5 eats of an adult plate with a fraction less veg and meat than me and probably about a third of the rice or potato or pasta than I have.

I would actually address the eating and hiding food with your dd as it is actually a very healthy open relationship you should be promoting so discussing any food issues with her in an open way will be helpfull. I would explain that hiding food is not acceptable and is a worry to you as people who do this tend not have a good relationship with food. tell her she should not feel guilty about what she puts in her body and that what she eats is fuel is needs to be adequate to keep her body healthy this includes in size and weight as well as fubnction, talk to her about the effects of salt and fat and cholesterol and that maybe having a drink of water or apple would be better than that bag of crisps. or a peice of cheese instead of that bread and butter etc. I wouldnt obviously tell she is fat but maybe she needs to be told she could possibly become dangerously over weight as she grows up if she eats food high in fat. but I would be as open an honest without causing her any distress.

festi Sun 04-Sep-11 20:18:02

just to add I was the fat kid in school my mum never said no when I asked for anything, she told me ignore the "bullies" that I wasnt fat I was just heavy boned. this did me no favours what so ever, I would have had a far more possitive attidue if mum had said, do you knw what you are over weight and we can change this, she could have educated me far better about eating and food and said no you cant have sweets or crisps.

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