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5 year old over-eating

(24 Posts)
PurpleBucket Wed 05-Oct-11 01:04:17

I am getting really worried about DD1. Every since she has been a baby she just cannot resist food and would eat all day if I let her. I offer her healthy food at home. Lots of fruit and veg which she eats happily and we usually all eat meals together. We don't have cakes, biscuits etc on a daily basis but once in a while (eg parties, special occasions or if I'm cookIng etc) as don't believe in banning these completely. DD1 does ballet twice a week and tennis at weekends and they do PE at school and is generally an active child.

Right now DD1 is a good healthy weight but I believe she might be overweight in a different family.

I know people will want to tell me just to let her eat what she wants as long as it's healthy but I cannot do this as DD1 is completely unable to set limits for herself when it comes to food and will eat to the point of being sick. DS (who is a year younger and is also a good eater is not like this and stops when he's had enough).

This all got too much for me yesterday when DD1 had a playdate. I had kind of mentioned briefly that DD1 will eat and eat so don't feel bad about saying she has had enough (didn't want to go on about it a was first time DD1 ha gone there - I would have gone too but am not very well myself these days and needed to rest). But, when I went to pick her up I was horrified by the amount they told me DD1 had eaten (in fact cannot understand anyone who would let a little girl eat so much). And indeed when we got home poor DD1 said she felt sick and was over the toilet for 10 minutes retching and I had to walk her outside for 20 minutes (with a bucket) until she felt a bit better.

Can anyone give me any ideas on how I can help DD1? I don't like being the "food police" and saying "no, you've had enough" so often but perhaps this is my "job" even if DD1 doesn't always like me for it.

The other problem I have is that people think it's so great that I have a child who eats well (as most people I know have children who refuse to eat) that they don't recognise I have a problem. But, for me, a child who over-eats and cannot set limits for herself is also a problem. In fact I am wondering if a child psychologist could possibly help me as I don't want to end up with a child who has an "issue" with food/her weight and want to handle this im the best way for DD1.

Thank you for the help and I hope i won't get replies telling me she can eat all she wants as long as it's healthy as this does not work for us in this situation.

nooka Wed 05-Oct-11 01:13:21

I think if she is regularly eating so much that she is ill then a visit to the doctor/conversation with your HV probably should be the next step.

PurpleBucket Wed 05-Oct-11 01:19:37

Thanks for the reply and so late too. Yes I had thought about that and I have mentioned it to doctor before. They just tell me that I have to be stricter and not tell her things like "you'll get fat" (which I have never said anyway) but think it is getting worse so perhaps do need to go back and insist more.

She isn't regularly eating to the point of being sick as I don't allow it to get that far but I am now paranoid about letting her be with other people unless I completely trust them. Even MIL is a problem as she completely spoils her, has no sense of discipline and lets DD1 eat whatever she wants when she's at MIL's house.

anthonytrollopesrevenge Wed 05-Oct-11 21:49:49

My DD will eat herself sick too and is a little on the plump side. She has just noticed that she gets smaller portions than her brother, he is older so I justified it that way and she accepted it reluctantly. Doesn't help that she isn't particularly active, take her to the park and she sits under the slide! My main concern has been the sheer number of kids parties she went to in yr r and now in yr 1. She stuffs crisps, biscuits and anything she can get her hands on and stays at the table for ages after all the other kids have left. We do have treats at home regularly but I would never, for example, give her a whole pack of crisps - she gets a handful, as does everyone else. I do feel it's my job to ensure she doesn't get overweight and I also find others love over feeding her. Her school is a healthy school yet the dinner lady gives her stickers for eating everything up, friends love to see her eat all the things their kids won't and they praise her for it. I think DD already sees me as a kill joy, but the alternative is worse, I'm not going to let her get overweight. DD's diet is fine and she eats loads of fruit and veggies, it's simply that she has a big appetite and doesn't want to stop eating.

DD had bad reflux as a baby and I wonder if this has messed up her whole appetite control. Sorry for the length of this post but it is something that worries me.

I have spoken to doctors and health visitors but frankly unless your child is extremely overweight they aren't interested. Would like to know how you get on purplebucket.

thisisyesterday Wed 05-Oct-11 22:01:52

some children just get messed up with their appetite control. one of the reasons that formula fed babies are more likely to suffer from obesity is because their natural ability to realise when they are full and stop eating has been over-ridden. I would imagine there are other ways this can happen to

I would suggest rather than limiting her food you allow her to eat, but try and get her to eat more slowly.
give her time to recognise that she is full-up rather than eating a lot very quickly iyswim?

so at dinner time give her a little portion. if she wants more then maybe suggest that she has a small glass of water. then wait until others have finished in case they want more THEN ask her if she is really hungry for more?

i mean, it's possible too that she just is very hungry and is burning off a lot of energy?

ppeatfruit Thu 06-Oct-11 10:01:47

Yes I agree with thisis you say you give her lots of fruit and veg. have you tried having the fruit raw and cut up prettily, if it helps, BEFORE a meal (it's much better for the digestion) Also it fills you up first making over eating less likely.

Serving raw carrots, lettuce cucumber etc. with the meal would also help her chew properly.

Does she eat for emotional reasons? maybe she's upset about something. It's difficult for you I can sympathise because food is so much a part of our culture we get so many mixed messages don't we?

PurpleBucket Thu 06-Oct-11 15:16:10

Anthony Trollope- oh I completely agree that other people LOVE feeding DD as they think it's great that she eats!! DD was breastfed (but expressed breastmilk - don't know if the bottles make a difference to her appetite issues) as had HUGE problems with latching on (but that's a whole other story...). She never had reflux though. DS had reflux (but eats normally now).

I will let you know when speak to doctor again.

Thank you also to other two posters (sorry can't remember names as on my phone and can't look at posts while type this). Good ideas re fruit and things but I have been thinking and, to be honest, at home DD is so much better now. The over-eating seems to happen much more out of the house (particularly when I'm not around -as though she feels she has "free rein" to eat whatever she wants and knows she can). Do you find this Anthony trollope?

I have also thought about DD wanting to eat as something is bothering her. For a while I tried to give her a hug everytime she seemed to go crazy for food. Didn't really work. Plus she's been like this since she was tiny and I can't believe she's had issues for that long.

I think I just had a real fright the other day when the "incident" on the playdate happened. Tried to explain to DD that er stomach is like a bag and only so much fits in before it all comes out again. We got out one of her handbags and filled it up to show her. Not sure if it just went in one ear and out the other though...

PurpleBucket Thu 06-Oct-11 15:20:43

This is yesterday- your point about teaching them to eat slowly is soooo true. DD really has a tendency to gobble and put loads in her mouth at once. Sometimes she ends up spitting out food as she can't swallow it all. Again she's done this from a young age. But this morning when she asked for another bowl of cereal at breakfast, I gave her some juice instead and she was fine with that.

Of course I realise that she is an active child and get hungry but, for me, that is completely different to over-eating.

ppeatfruit Fri 07-Oct-11 09:15:24

I remember a mindee of mine eating pieces of banana; he put so many in his mouth he was nearly retching so i had to sit with him and make sure his mouth was empty before eating the next piece.It didn't feel right TBH but at least it calmed him down he was 10 months or so and as you say with yr DD it was his personality.

The problem at parties is probably because she 's not used to the high sugar and salt stuff that is usually served at them. IMO and E they are addictive parents often get like that too don't they!! smile

Another thought purple wheat can create an addiction IMO and E maybe try her on porridge with fructose or honey and cinnamon (the goldilocks breakfast) instead of wheat cereals.

Sugar2 Wed 04-May-16 18:25:34

Hi purple bucket
I realise this is an old threat but I'm desperate to know how or if this problem resolved for you.

I have the exact problem with my daughter who is 4 and I'm lost on what to do. Yours is the first post I've read where I see someone else experiencing the same problem.

My daughter does not stop asking for food. I give her slanted meals and healthy snacks but she is obsessed and asks all the time for more. As soon as breakfast is finished she will ask for her vitamin. Then she will ask me what they are having for morning tea and ask to see it. It's usually fruit and crackers. Then pester me until it's time to eat it and then move into lunch. It exhausts me. At parties it's embarrassing. She won't play with other kids but just stand at the food table and I'm petrified what would happen if I wasn't there to supervise. People laugh at how much she eats and think it's good she has an appetite. But this is crazy. Only recently a friend had for a morning and she said she now completely understands why I'm worried. My friend realised just how relentless she is. She eats healthy good meals and I know isn't hungry. - porridge and toast for breakfast, protium and brown bread at lunch.
It's starting to really be a problem and yesterday at a party I just started crying after she wouldn't leave the good table. She'd had 2 pieces of cake, a biscuit, packet of crisps, and wanted more.

Id love to hear what you did snd if things got better.

Cloclomomo Sun 15-Jan-17 14:25:59

I am in the same situation (4 yo DD) and would love to hear how this has played out over time for OP or anyone else who has had the same experience

AtleastitsnotMonday Sun 15-Jan-17 15:27:32

Is your dd confusing thirst with hunger? It's a very common problem for both adults and children. Maybe try always insisting that a glass of water is drunk prior to meals and snacks. The previous comments re slowing down eating are also very true. If you want a fun way of introducing a slower pace the children chop sticks are fantastic!

MilkRunningOutAgain Sun 15-Jan-17 15:59:06

Have name changed since 2011, I was Anthonytrollope. My DD is now 10 and is plump. Nothing much has changed, she still overeats. She is now fully aware she is overweight. The whole thing became more of a problem when she was around 8ish, as she was less and less happy with me giving her what she thinks are small potions. She wants as much as her older, much taller and very much more active brother. She wants far too many biscuits and sweets too. This is only a problem at holiday times when I have them around, usually I don't. She eats tons at friends houses ( it's embarrassing, a couple of mums have spoken to me about it). She overheats at school dinners, which I let her have because she moans so much about the sandwiches I give her. This is something that I have no idea what to do about and have not been able to get doctors or health visitors engaged with, I suppose there are more serious things for them to be spending their time on. To an extent I've given up, I really don't want an ongoing running battle with her, so she continues to overeat and get a bit fatter every year. This year I'm really promoting activity and healthy eating, I am taking up more exercise myself and am hoping she will copy. I have had a bit of luck with getting her to be more active over the last 18 months or so, she now enjoys swimming and cycling , and judo, which is great. Sorry not to have answers for you, it's something that really worries me, I am amazed I am the mum of an overweight child as this is not something I ever thought would happen. But the only alternative I can see is giving her even more issues and getting into massive rows, which I don't want. If anyone suggests something I haven't thought of, I'll grasp it very happily!

Gooseberryfools Sun 15-Jan-17 16:25:02

I had a similar issue.

Sugar. Tell your daughter before the party that she needs to eat the healthy savoury stuff first. Then she can choose 2 unhealthy savoury items plus two unhealthy sweet items. Explain she can't have any more because it's not healthy and you don't want her to be sick. So she might have a plate of veg sticks and a sandwich, plus small sausage roll and crisps, then a birthday cake plus a chocolate finger. Tell her to eat what ever she chooses very very slowly as once it's gone that's it. There is no more. Remind her to slow down occasionally while eating.

I give pep talks before a party or play date.

Also explain to other parents the rules your child has and explain why.

Have completions to see how slowly you can all eat a yogurt or treat

Cloclomomo Sun 15-Jan-17 22:52:50

Thank you for those practical tips Atleast and Gooseberry!

MilkRunning, I am so sorry to hear this. Could you afford to go to a private paediatrician who would take your concerns more seriously? Btw, my DD also had reflux.

In case of interest, I just found this article:
and am about to read this book:

everythingstaken123 Mon 16-Jan-17 14:40:16

Do they eat a lot of fruit for snacks? This can play havoc with the sugar levels in your blood making you feel hungry all day, in the same way as eating processed sugar does. I imagine you have tried most things but have you tried feeding your Dc's as though they are diabetic? With food that has low carbs and low glycemic index? Or foods high in fat but only with a low carb intake? (so the fat fills them up). Just ideas. It must be very difficult for you and I sympathise. I was a child whose mother also felt very worried for me as I liked to eat (still do). She put me on a diet and I was totally humiliated at school about it. Now i tend to eat for comfort whereas then I ate for greed. Nowadays i find removing foods with sugars in (all fruit and all sugars) helps enormously at helping me control my eating and cravings. Good luck.

Dragongirl10 Mon 16-Jan-17 14:45:36

you are so right to be worried, as whilst you are doing a great job now and she is healthy, this is not natural.

There is a 'hunger hormone' called Ghrelin that we all have and in many cases of obese people this hormone is lacking or over supplied, l think you need to ask your doctor about this and get her tested. I am not a Doctor but understand it is easily treatable if this is her problem.

If this is the issue she will never be able to satisfy her hunger hence the eating till she throws up , so telling her not to eat more is pointless as she will be reliant on willpower alone and be fighting hunger all the time....

Good luck

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 16-Jan-17 14:54:56

Right now DD1 is a good healthy weight but I believe she might be overweight in a different family

We might all be different weights in different families.

She's not over weight now so concentrate on lots of protein rather than fruit encourage her to drink lots of water.

Really don't have chats about healthy and un healthy foods at parties- that's the point of parties that it's not the norm.

Continue to feed her healthy food at home.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 16-Jan-17 14:56:26

Dragon- if that were the case there would be no over weight people anywhere, surely?

Dragongirl10 Mon 16-Jan-17 19:39:41

Dame...l am not a doctor l have just read a couple of articles about this hormone...of course adults overeat for all sorts of reasons....bad day/ stress/comfort/ lack of knowledge on healthy eating, for example l am a stone overweight because l love chocolate and cakes!

A child does not necesarily overeat for those reasons so it may be this issue in which case it it treatable. If this was my DD l would want to find out..

Most people don't go to their doctor and ask for this to be tested...l have no idea how common it is.

Cloclomomo Mon 16-Jan-17 21:22:56

Thank you again for all these really interesting and helpful thoughts

MilkRunningOutAgain Wed 18-Jan-17 23:09:59

Sorry to sound so negative. Positive things I have done are to speak to my childminder and to the school ( to the head, and with his blessing, to the lunch time staff ) to explain not to give DD seconds and thirds. DD has no idea I've done this. I don't keep many treats at home. I serve up relatively healthy food ( we are by no means perfect but I do try to limit sugar) . I try hard not to lecture or nag or go on about it. DD is fully aware of what a healthy diet is and we do talk about this from time to time as a family. Tonight she did netball club after school. The teacher who takes the club kindly brought a packet of chocolate digestives & shared them round at the end. DD told me with glee that she ate 8 biscuits. I didn't comment as I was afraid of arguing about it if I did. I have no idea whether this was true or not, but I really do wish I knew how to change her attitude.

mollyfolk Sat 04-Feb-17 22:07:55

Interesting to read of others with the same problem. My 3 year old is overweight and completely obsessed with food. We eat a very healthy diet at home and she is the only one who is overweight. I have decided just to only have healthy, filling food in the house - wholegrains, veg, fruit, lean meat, fish and nuts. We just don't do "treats" at all anymore at home and rarely eat an unhealthy meal. I am also careful to provide small portions but will give her a little more it she asks for It. However when we are at a Party/in someone's house she is allowed to eat whatever she wants. I have just sat on my hands and watched her eat three cupcakes in a row and said nothing, in order not to make food an issue. The parties are so rare that I hope they won't make a difference to her weight. I have no idea if I'm doing the right or wrong things. Our doctors advise was limited to talking about high sugar and fat items which are not our problem.

smileyreiley Sun 05-Feb-17 07:32:40

Oh goodness - am I glad to have found this thread, by 5.5yo is like this and I have recently had a health check which puts her in "obese" category on BMI. She loves food and has very developed palate- she is also quite reluctant around activity- so currently trying to find an activity that suits her- we also trying to police the treats better- my other 2 kids eat same or have same access to food and no issues- did anyone get the hormone checked out??

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