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Daughter isn't going to university because of her weight?(36 Posts)
Hello, my daughter did well in her A Levels (AAA) and got a place at Surrey which is where she wanted to go. However, she turned it down after deciding her weight would ruin it.
DD has been overweight since she was 13 and we have all tried to help her shift it as a family, since she hit 16, she has tried going to slimming world and did well but then gave up, so it's been 5 years since she has been trying to shift it and not much success, unfortunately. That's why I think taking the gap year for this reason is the wrong choice.
Well it could be....and it could be a good thing. Many students pile weight on during their first university year.
In your shoes (and I do have dds) I would support her choice fully and also tell her that I admire her making plans and having a goal.
Then I would encourage her not to do slimming world or diets of any type.
Can I ask, is anyone else in your house overweight?
I'm a little overweight, not a lot.
I have always encouraged her with slimming world, etc. I thought that was the right thing to do.
She has no plan at the moment.
Why doesn’t she take a year off to focus on her health and reapply for uni? With those grades surely the world is her oyster?
I just don't think she'll lose weight this year, going by the last 5 years and when we get to next year she'll still feel unhappy with her weight and not go.
I think that there's a lot to be said for understanding nutrition more fully than looking for diets or diet plans.
I was a couple of stone overweight and then the best thing that happened was me reading up on nutrition.
What I came to realise was that the only way to stay a healthy weight was to more or less completely avoid all processed foods.
Eat only when hungry and sitting down. So no walking about with food or eating on the sofa.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner....or if you have a smaller meal at "teatime" then it's ok to have another smaller meal at "supper time: but no packets or tins and nothing that's "ready"
Meat, fish, veg, eggs, fruit and grains...nuts and popcorn make a little crunch when you feel a bit like you want crisps.
BUT I don't NEVER have a bag of crisps or a chip...the way I manage that is to only have something crappy on weekends. And not loads. So a small bar of Galaxy one day and a small pack of crisps OR a portion of chips and fish the next day.
Not a lot of bread through the week. Two slices max a day. I eat butter almost daily but I also walk up to 8 miles a day.
Why not tell her that you will support her choice if she takes a course on nutrition or reads a good book about it? Maybe visits the doctor too.
Is that the only reason OP? Is she depressed and withdrawn from life generally? It doesn't sound like she wants a gap year for all the usual reasons which are positive more out of avoidance, so unless she gets some support for the underlying issues causing her weight problem she might be in the same situation next year.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea to be honest if she does lose the weight. Being overweight and unhappy could really bother her in her first year and affect friendships and decisions she might make.
How overweight is she? If you don’t think she’s going to do it it won’t help her, perhaps this is the turning point
Gap year with caveats-
Get a job
Join the gym and make healthy choices (support as a family)
What do you eat together?
She's in the late teen stones. I don't know exactly but she's between 15-18st.
Look, loads of teenagers these days are overweight. She won't be the only one in her Hall, or on her course, carrying a few extra pounds. Going away to University is a fantastic opportunity to learn new cooking and eating habits from the people she's living with, and to be more active. She can get a bike to cycle to lectures and into town for example. Even if shes not particularly sporty, there are bound to be lots of other clubs and activities she could try, such as the ActionTeam/RAG (or whatever its called at Surrey) which goes out to do voluntary work/fundraising in the community and usually involves being active without really realising it. I'd be worried that if she puts off going this year because of such a silly worry, she will lose confidence in herself and wont end up going at all, and will just stay home getting depressed as all her friends move away for exciting new lives.
So that's quite a significant weight. Can you see yourself where she's going wrong OP? It might help if you understand why she's overweight.
Going off to uni is daunting which may be making how she feels about herself worse. Has she explained exactly what her decision is based on? Has she been to the university to look round? Is she imagining that everyone but her will be thin, fascinating and fabulous, because they won’t be, it’s a cross section of society.
What might help is looking at any activity type clubs at the university that she could join and make friends, then as well as being able to get to a weight she is happy with she will make friends too.
If she is determined not to go this year (and she just might not be ready for the move away) then she needs to come up with a plan to either get herself into a position where she is willing and ready to go there next year or to get herself into a job. And she needs to stick to it, she can’t stay at home doing nothing.
Terrible waste of an AAA not to go. If she's miserable about weight she needs support to get going on it, not to slouch around at home unhappy (and getting fatter - at least, that's what happens to me).
Surrey campus is quite exercise-friendly, it's built on the hill around the (horrid brick) cathedral. Buildings have ground floor at different floors on each side.
She seems to have a bad day and just always plan oh tomorrow will be better, even if she has one bit of chocolate, she'll turn that into a lot of food because she thinks she has messed up already.
She also doesn't do any exercise which is why I thought uni would be better for her.
She is adamant she doesn't want to, says she will never socialise in halls, etc. etc.
And to add that I lost a stone in the first term at university because I was too skint to pay for public transport so I walked there and back every day with a bag full of books. I didn’t even count it as a fitness exercise, it was a money saving exercise instead.
What does your DDs doctor say @ChristianBlue
Well if she's already turned down the place at Surrey then I don't see what other option she has but to defer for a year. I think I'd press her on her plans and encourage her to go and see the GP and get help with a healthy weight-loss plan, if this is what she wants to focus on this year. However, I think you should make it a rule of her deferring that a) she reapplies and goes next year, regardless of her weight and b) that she works and pays her own way this year. Allowing her to lounge around the house for another 12 months with no plan is hardly going to help, either with her weight or her MH. Are all her friends off to uni in the next few weeks? If so, I'm guessing that might make her feel quite gloomy, so a serious plan of action is needed.
I don't think there's much you can do if she's made a decision about this year, but you can help her to focus on what she needs to do to make a gap year successful.
is there anything you could do together to help her lose weight? Something like joining an exercise class, Couch25K, finding some healthy recipes and making them together on a regular basis. If you have a parkrun nearby I can recommend them - I lost weight by doing C25K and going to parkrun weekly (walking at first) as well as changing my diet.
It can be very hard to feel that everyone's eyes are on you waiting for you to lose weight, even if it's in a supportive way, so if you are able to make it a family 'get healthy' project it might take the pressure off a bit? Being fitter is also a good mental health booster.
I'd also make sure she keeps focused on the end goal of uni - if she's turned down Surrey rather than deferred, then she needs to think about re-applying soon. Perhaps it's also an opportunity to think about whether that uni or course was right for her?
Apart from some time to try and lose weight, a gap year could be really positive for gaining some work experience and developing in confidence and maturity - all very useful for uni and for later employment.
She has great results so can afford to reinvent herself if she wants to.
FWIW my eldest has decided not to go to uni this year for different but equally (to my eyes) self absorbed reasons (incl weight but other issues too) and we have come to this compromise: 10000 steps per day, An online course.,A part time job, Significant assistance around the house. If these are adhered to I will not nag about applying to uni and if they are feeling better about things next summer we can revisit the issue.
I went from school to uni to uni to job after job and now find myself in my 50s in a very well paid job I loathe. An opportunity to decide what I actually wanted before I got on the treadmill would have been a good thing.
I hope your DD finds out what she wants OP, and you are able to support her choices without feeling that you are giving up on her.
Poor kid, weight is such a misery.
The trouble is with being overweight in her teens is that statistically, she is pretty likely to be overweight in adulthood. Of course, she might not be, but a great many people are, if she's going to take a year off, she needs to focus on seeing herself as a person of value whose achievements have nothing to do with her weight, whether through counselling or whatever else, so that she's ready to embrace university whatever her weight. For instance, it's so easy to internalise ideas about lacking discipline, being 'lazy' when it comes to weight but she got three As - she's clearly got discipline. She needs to be able to respect that in herself. And (even more than the rest of us who haven't been obese) exercise needs to part of a long term plan and can do a lot to protect her health.
I've got a lot of sympathy with your worry about her taking a gap year, because of course, this is the situation she has previously been overweight within (not, by the way intended to convey any sort of responsibility). So she needs to be challenged as to what makes this 'different' and that, I think, needs to represent more than the number of the scale.
OMG I can't believe people are focussing on losing the weight. This is a young woman who has done exceptionally well I'm her a levels and has a place at a great university. Why would being overweight ruin it? To be honest, going away and doing well is going to do miss for her self esteem than flogging herself in a hair short for a year. Focus on her strengths. Yes health blah blah - going to uni does NOT stop her from doing something about it. Feeling good about herself might help her achieve it.