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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

DD is overweight

(94 Posts)
howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 11:57:52

Can anyone help? 16 year old DD is gorgeous - really beautiful face - but she is overweight.

She was a normal-sized child and in the early part of her adolescence fine - normal BMI, although she's always edged towards the higher end of 'normal' but she's slammed on weight this year (GCSEs) and it's making her unhappy. My mum used to go on at me about my weight so I deliberately haven't mentioned it to DD, although I have supported her in other ways like signing her up for a posh gym.

We don't have cakes or biscuits or crisps in the house but I know she eats copious amounts when she's out with her friends, and goes to places like Macdonalds and KFC which all teenagers do. Yesterday for instance she had:

banana and grapes at breakfast (she doesn't really like breakfast so we've compromised on fruit) cup of tea with s-skimmed milk and one candrel tablet.

She went shopping and to the cinema with her mates in the afternoon and she had a pizza at Pizza Hut for lunch and a packet of crisps on the way back.

Then she had macaroni cheese and a yoghurt for tea. Cup of tea and apple before bed.

She is such a lovely, lovely girl - so cheerful and polite but she's a reader and doesn't enjoy exercise at all, never has. She will come for walks with me but that's it: doesn't like the gym, swimming or dancing. I don't want to go on at her but at the same time she is moving from a chubby but pretty girl to a girl who is properly 'fat' if you see what I mean and I am worried that it will get just too difficult to do anything about it if I leave it any longer.

Please help! I don't know what to do for the best!

CaurnieBred Sun 23-Jun-13 12:27:02

Another thing to look at is portion control - I have bought smaller plates as our usual dinner plates are huge and a "normal" portion on them looks ridiculous.

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:28:57

Yes, I could try that. The trouble is, I have to confess I am not wonderful at sticking to WW/SW myself (mind you it might encourage her competitive side if she loses more than me?)

I don't think her breakfasts are the problem, really. I think it's a combination of her lack of physical activity - she reads a lot and also does the normal teenage stuff of Facebook, etc. - and also there's an element of 'denial' so for example she won't buy diet Coke, she'll buy Coke, to make it look as if she doesn't care, if that makes sense.

We do go to a Boxercise class together but I'm not convinced DD puts a huge amount of effort in! grin

My mum discovered I had eaten some chocolate when I was 13, and (I'm not kidding) dragged me to a gym by my HAIR, it was awful.

Right. So, WW or SW - any recommendations? Also have two DSs aged 14 and 12 who are like whippets but eat truckloads of food! I'm taking DD out next week to have highlights done as well, hope this will help give her a lift appearance-wise.

WorraLiberty Sun 23-Jun-13 12:30:28

And I agree- it's almost like we are not allowed to confront the 'fat' issue nowadays as we will damage self-esteem. However, it is a problem that needs sorting!

Yes I think we're letting our kids down really, and setting them up for a whole lifetime of self esteem issues.

Gaining/losing weight is a natural part of life...something that happens to all of us.

Hopefully in years to come, the whole subject will no longer be taboo...just like discussing sex is no longer taboo but years ago it was.

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:31:45

Worra - good point. Cripes, feel really guilty now blush

That was my thinking as well re the food, eating out. I like the idea of low carbing; any suggestions that won't lead to cries of protests from DH/DSs (although the former needs to lose more weight than me and DD put together!)

Mintyy Sun 23-Jun-13 12:32:36

Oh please please don't put her on a formal diet.

She needs to find something good to do to replace her comfort/binge eating. She probably needs another hobby to get engrossed in, something to do to replace the wandering around town scarfing junk food. How about zumba, or some other kind of dance class, amateur dramatics, tennis, badminton, cycling? Anything that will keep her occupied and she can grow to love.

Also, if you serve up her food, simply start giving her smaller portions, especially of carbohydrates.

Encourage her to give up the sweetener in her hot drinks - they set up a sugar craving, in much the same way as normal sugar does.

sweetsummerlove Sun 23-Jun-13 12:32:43

touchy subject: IF she wants help she needs to ditch the processed foods and sweeteners (awful) educate yourselves on the benefits of eating clean and. perhaps get her to a nutritionalist x

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 12:34:09

I find low carb eating better than all that counting points! And you don't pay class fee's.... Also, importantly, she is likely to lose a biggish chunk straight off which might motivate her?

biwi threads here on mn are excellent

My older teen joined me on c25k programme.... Again, threads are here on mn for support

WorraLiberty Sun 23-Jun-13 12:34:39

You shouldn't feel guilty OP, and it wasn't my intention to make you feel that way.

I should have made it clear that this is a societal issue more than anything.

No-one wants to tackle their child's weight for fear of upsetting them/causing issues with self esteem.

But if we as a society made that conversation totally normal, it would be much easier all round imo.

HeySoulSister Sun 23-Jun-13 12:35:23

Low carb eating or paleo clean eating really really work

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:37:42

Mintyy - the problem is, she REALLY doesn't like any physical activity. She never has. I don't want to call her lazy as it's a foul word and besides she isn't, she is very hard-working, but she does dislike exercise. She will do some stuff for the social aspect but she puts minimum effort in and finds classes dull.

It is difficult knowing what to do for the best. Since she IS hard-working, she WILL exercise if it means she loses weight, but she won't enjoy it and so she would only be doing it with a specific purpose in mind.

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:39:17

Oh no, don't worry Worra, it was what you said about the fags that made me realise that yes, I absolutely would take her to task over the fags but have avoided with this issue due to worries about impacting on her self esteem. But she isn't stupid and must know herself she's bursting out of size 16s.

Sirzy Sun 23-Jun-13 12:39:46

I started putting weight on at a similar age (injury/illness started the no exercise slippery slope and I stayed on it)

I have 'tried' to diet so many times in the last 10 years or so but never been in the right frame of mind to REALLY want it, more a case of doing it because I felt I should IYSWIM.

It was only when about 6 weeks ago I realised that I was just under 16 stone (and at only 5ft 1 that is way to much) that I found myself in an I WILL mindset. Through sensible eating and changing eating habits (brown bread not white, veg with each meal, water not pop etc) and exercise (30-60 minutes a day) I have lost 18lb in 6 weeks and strangely for the first time in a long time I am enjoying eating not just doing it because I have to.

Sirzy Sun 23-Jun-13 12:41:14

how to - do you have a wii or anything? Would she enjoy doing wii fit type things more than going to a gym? I hate exercise generally but that is working well for me. I have also been walking a lot more and next week I am braving going swimming again as the determination is making me want to exercise more.

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:41:25

Sirzy you must look and feel amazing, well done! grin

Wolfiefan Sun 23-Jun-13 12:42:24

I hated all exercise as a teen but that was because I was fat and self conscious. I think Pizza Hut followed by crisps and then mac cheese is a heck of a lot of food. Coke is terrible. It's milk or water here.
I wouldn't go down the route of doing a diet. I'd just think about getting her to eat a healthier diet overall. She does need to get active anf find exercise she will do. She could reward herself for losing weight and getting fit.

Wolfiefan Sun 23-Jun-13 12:43:42

X post.
Go Sirzy! I have been steadily putting weight on for years. 18 months and 5 stone down I'm maintaining that weight. Ought to lose a bit more but in no hurry!

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:43:51

She hates the WII; honestly, she really finds exercise dull. She has plenty of hobbies but they all centre around sitting on the couch! She:

plays the flute and the violin to a very high standard
chats to her mates on Facebook grin

She's a hard working girl - should be getting mostly A*s/As at GCSE, and she WILL work at weight loss but she won't enjoy the exercise so I won't be able to 'trick' her into doing some in the hope she'd enjoy it, as she won't.

WhatEverItIsIDidntDoIt Sun 23-Jun-13 12:45:03

Does the gym do classes? I absolutely hate going to the gym and being left to my own devises, I get really self conscious and think people are watching me. But my gym does 45 minute cardio and weight classes that I love and it had been really successful with my weight loss. Could you suggest she tries one or maybe do one with her?

snooter Sun 23-Jun-13 12:45:27

It's often portion sizes being too big rather than the actual components of the diet. Even fruit & veg contains calories which I think some people forget - certainly heard of slimming groups who tell clients to eats "as much F & V as you want" & have seen people at work literally filling mixing bowls with chopped salad & eating it all.

At the end of the day, no matter what or how much she's eating, she's eating more than she is burning up because she's getting fatter. If she's upset about photographs & clothes then she hopefully she ought to be receptive to a bit of advice. Smaller portions rather than banning any foods & more exercise is the way forward, & watch calories in soft drinks & fruit juice.

NatashaBee Sun 23-Jun-13 12:46:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tumbletumble Sun 23-Jun-13 12:48:31

I agree with Mintyy, I would steer clear of formal diets at this age as I think when you get on the lose / gain cycle it's hard to get off. I'd do it by reducing (halving?) portion size (esp carbs) at her evening meal and not having junk food around for her to snack on.

It's ok for her to go out for a pizza on Saturday if she is eating healthily during the week. What does she eat on a typical school day?

snooter Sun 23-Jun-13 12:51:26

There probably will be a form of exercise that she likes, she just hasn't found it yet! Perhaps she's self-conscious about her weight too. If she'll go for walks with you then could make more of those - go further, climb a hill, step out so you're moving faster. She could try a pedometer & set herself targets.

howtoapproachmydd Sun 23-Jun-13 12:51:53

She doesn't like exercise at all.

She has finished school now so I think there is a lot of grazing. I leave her soup (home-made) and there is always fruit but she'll make toast or have two bowls of cereal. She also will buy Coke and crisps from the shop. She'll then have whatever I've made for tea followed by a yoghurt or fruit, sometimes a banana before bed.

Chandon Sun 23-Jun-13 12:52:11

I think diets are a big bad idea. Eatingless junk, fine. But cutting out or reducing carbs...

The key is getting active. It is not even the case that you burn lots of cals doing exercise, but you raise your metabolism .

You would not let your dog go without a walk ( or two) all day, would you? All creatures need DAILY exercise, it can be walking or cycling into town, it does not have to be the gym.

Low carbing....maybe for those who cannot physically move and burn it off.

But it is amazing how well you can eat ( including pizza and crisps) if you get active.

Romann Sun 23-Jun-13 12:54:51

OP, have a look at the book Fat Chance and maybe get her to read it. It sets out why sugar makes you fat and unhealthy, and problems with the food industry and government policy around it. It's quite interesting and also gives ideas for how to help yourself and your children (the author is a doctor who works with children specifically).

His basic thesis, very simplified, is that the policy of telling everyone to eat low fat has made the obesity epidemic worse, as it has made manufacturers load everything with sugar to compensate for the taste deficit when you take the fat out. He says that the best place to start with your family is to stop them from drinking any soft drinks or juice at all - only make water and milk available. Buy no processed foods, and no refined carbohydrates at all. Only prepare meat/fish/eggs/veg/whole grains for meals. He says that exercise is very good for you and you should definitely do it, but it doesn't make you lose weight unless you're really in training for a marathon or something. I suspect this is true.

It sounds like you have the kind of relationship where you can talk to her about it, and I do think you should. It's a health issue, and likely to become a social issue for her too. It also sounds like you, your dh and she could all act on it together so she wouldn't be being picked on.

Eating out with her friends is a difficult one, but perhaps she could agree at least to skip the coke and crisps but have the pizza?

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