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Daughter very overweight!

(38 Posts)
williever Fri 28-Sep-12 00:45:40

Hi, As the subject says, my daughter is very overweight. She is 5 and wearing age 10 clothes...

Firstly, some background history. When my eldest daughter was born (my first child), I was young and pretty clueless. It was only that an older mum at the playgroup who was pregnant the same time, mentioned a cook book that she had used and would be using when her soon to be born was at the weaning stage. It got me thinking, and I invested in the book, and the first year of her life, she was brought up on a varied and nutritious diet of home cooked food.

For some reason, I got into bad habits and introduced chocolate, biscuits, smiley faces, fish fingers etc. etc. (Can I just add, that I was brought up on a balanced diet - treats at the weekend, a take a way once in a blue moon, salads, fruits a plenty.) My daughter's dad however, was brought up on freezer foods and fast food junk. I was too immature to impose house rules i.e. "We all eat xyz or no one eats", so, I accommodated the needs of my own and my daughters dad and my daughter ended up with a somewhere in between, then eventually, refusing healthier meals in favour of crap- my fault completely, I acknowledge this.

Anyway, when I had my second daughter, I was older, wiser (so I thought), and determined to not slip into those bad habits. Again, youngest daughter was given balanced meals, lots of fruit and veg, rice cakes...and the bare minimal of 'treats' when she hit 2, she began getting very ill and ended up in hospital numerous times. The peadiatricion said that her immune was low and she was underweight, therfore we would need to 'fatten her up' so that she could recover better from illnesses, and hopefully not get ill as much. (Can I confirm that I never underfed her- she ate from all the food groups but she never ate enough in regards to portions even though she was given a suitable amount)

We were advised adding full fat cream to her weetabix or porridge, allowing more chocolate or full fat products - stupidly (on reflection), I took their advice on board and overnight slipped back into those old habits! Don't get me wrong, she took weeks on end to respond to the foods. But needless to say, once she got the taste, there was no going back for her.

Three years down the line and we have an overweight young daughter, who I feel ever so sad for. She has friends, hasn't been bullied, and never complains about it, but she looks very uncomfortable and obviously I have many worries for her, her health and emotional wellbeing as she becomes more aware.

The one thing I'll say, is that she still loves most vegetables, ricecakes, LOVES fruit especially berries. But she seems to have an obsession with food in general and thinks she is always hungry and has to eat. On top of the healthy stuff, I have also given her chocolate, freezer foods mentioned above (50/50) crisps etc. We as a family don't have take aways though.

Iv'e allowed this for so long now, and the less active she has become, the quicker the weight gain. She eats fast too. I've tried numerous times to encourage her to eat slow and chew - but she forgets most of the time.

With my eldest daughter, she began to tolerate and eventually enjoy a more healthier palate. I enforced this when I had my youngest daughter as wanted us all to be healthier. She still eats a bit of junk, but she is sensible and as a result is reasonably slim.

I know the blame lies directly with me - I'm not looking for someone else to blame and I fully expect many readers on mn will be incensed by me. I'm angry with my poor judgement and decisions in the past and present. The thing is, I KNOW how to cook/eat healthy, I know what's right and wrong, but I can't stay focused enough to follow something through for long. At the moment, I've told her (well both girls) that weekdays, they are allowed no bad food with exception to a couple of plain biscuits of an evening, but the weekend, they can have a few indulgences. I've been doing this for three weeks, and I'm not noticing any results with my youngest. She still has that puffy look. Anyway, today, I found myself breaking the rules!! why?! I was angry with myself and realised that things will never change if I don't stick to what I have said.

Ironically, I feel very educated on healthy eating. My fridge always has fresh fruit, veg, skimmed milk etc. It makes me feel ashamed to say, but I have found it hard to not give in to my youngest even though I know it's kinder to say "no". I don't feel like groups such as MEND or healthy eating classes are going to be beneficial to me as I know what;s what. The issue is simply me imposing it and sticking to it.

I've managed to not give in over the last few weeks with exceptions to weekends and today's blip. But I'm worried I'll gradually slip into old ways like I did today.

I know the solution to my problem - I know it's me, but any advice or shared experience would be really helpful...

Thank you in advance

scurryfunge Fri 28-Sep-12 00:58:29

Perhaps look at the issue from the exercise point of view? Trampolines are an easy way to increase exertion. How much running around does your child do?

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 01:03:46

she walks a mile a day to and from school. but she gets tired easily and can't run around in a park for too long.

ZuleikaD Fri 28-Sep-12 07:31:51

I think you have to give yourself a break and not allow junk food on weekends or for treats either. Just don't have the stuff in the house, and I mean none. No freezer pizzas, no ready meals, no cream, cakes, soda, biscuits, chocolate, juice, sweets etc. You just need to cut down the calories all over.

The main problem with junk food is that it's far easier to digest than healthy food. That means your body isn't using up as many calories to do the work of digestion. It's why if you squeeze an orange for the juice it's actually more fattening than precisely the same number of calories eaten as the actual orange. The juice is easier for your body to deal with so less energy is used up in digesting it - and is therefore stored as fat. Remember that ALL spare calories are stored as fat. That's why sugary drinks are so incredibly bad for you. Sugar doesn't fill you up or make you feel full so you know to stop eating, and all those extra calories are stored as fat. Most junk food is stuffed with sugar, especially the low-fat stuff.

I think it's very difficult to remain focused on a healthy diet when unhealthy stuff is in the house - just ditch the lot. And I'm sorry but your DH has to stick to the rules too. Healthwise it will do you all good in the long run.

fuzzpig Fri 28-Sep-12 07:43:04

I agree just take it out of the house altogether. Remove the temptation.

I'm not sure why you are shouldering all the blame here, their dad has to take responsibility too!

exoticfruits Fri 28-Sep-12 07:45:38

I would simply change the eating habits for all of you - and get rid of the junk food and don't buy it. If you don't have it in the house you can't eat it.
Get them cooking with you. Do the exercise in short bursts. All go out on bikes.
It will only work if you all do it. DCs do as you do and not as you say.

exoticfruits Fri 28-Sep-12 07:46:06

Their Dad has to eat healthily too.

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 09:22:44

Hi. Thanks for your replies. I do model healthy eating myself. They see what I eat. Eldest daughter eats some of what like too. As I've said, I've gotten into the bad habit of giving the youngest crappy foods because admittedly I can't deal with the battle.

I forgot to mention that their did has been eating really healthy due to a health scare a few years back. The change is unbelievable.

This, I guess is what frustrates me. I know that there really is no excuse. I just seem to cave in all the time.

I work f/time so after school clubs are out of the question at the moment. I will put my thinking cap on for a weekend activity to get us all active.

Always seems so obvious when you write it down!! But I need to get tougher...

Thanks again

BigStickBIWI Fri 28-Sep-12 09:29:12

OMG - she's only 5! You're already demonising certain foods and making her aware of her weight. That shocks me more than you talking about what she is eating.

Please don't make an issue out of her weight or her food. It's your issue.

No use wringing your hands about it if the 'bad' foods you talk about are being bought by you and your DH/DP. You are the parents here.

Stop buying the carbohydrate-heavy foods. You shouldn't be forbidding anything, which means you can allow the occasional biscuit/bar of chocolate (they are growing children), but they don't need cheap freezer food which is high in carbs. Make your meals around fresh, unprocessed protein and add fresh veg/salad to it.

And don't, whatever you do, cut down on the fat - children need fat to grow.

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere Fri 28-Sep-12 10:36:43

If she gets out of breath easily maybe it would be worth bringing that up with the GP. She may have asthma or something underlying that makes it difficult for her to get the amount of exercise she needs.

You seem very aware of what you need to do on the food front with regards to a balanced diet... so I'm not going to insult you by saying stuff you already know. Good luck grin

juneau Fri 28-Sep-12 11:16:11

Since your DH's eating habits seem to be a big part of the problem here, can you get him on side with perhaps getting the whole family to eat better and eat one, healthy, balanced meal together? Similarly, could you decide to take more exercise as a family - perhaps take the girls swimming at the weekend? Or take walks together? Your DD2's weight is the issue here, but it sounds like your family, as a whole, could perhaps be eating better better and getting out more. Buying fewer (or better), snacks is a good idea too.

If you feel uninspired in the kitchen perhaps you could invest in a few family-friendly cookbooks. I like Jamie Oliver's recipes as they tend to be easy to make, full of healthy stuff, tasty and with four kids himself, they're often aimed at families. 'Jamie's Dinners' is a good one.

juneau Fri 28-Sep-12 11:19:29

P.S. Cheap freezer food is generally high in fat, salt and sugar - which are far more dangerous than carbs. Children need carbs to give them energy - but it's better if they have wholemeal or complex ones (i.e. wholemeal bread, sweet potoatoes, brown rice, etc).

Your DD's weight is no doubt contributing to her inability to run around much, but yes, I would get the doc to check her out. But I suspect she'll get more energy as her diet improves and her weight lowers.

DameKewcumber Fri 28-Sep-12 11:27:01

you know what to do. Not sticking to it perfectly isn't the end of the world. Getting cross about it is pointless.

I am however concerned that you are disheartened that you can't see a result in three weeks. THREE WEEKS! It's not slimming world - she's five. You should be aiming for her weight not to increase (and as she grows she will therefore slim down).

Improving her activity levels is defintiely the key - not to weight loss but to sustaining a healthy lifestyle and laying down good patterns of behaviour in the future. And I speak as a child who got hardly any exercise and ended up morbidly obese (think BMI 50) and has had a struggle to get it down from there.

All "treats" should at the end of a bike ride perhaps - we have fish and chips about once a fortnight and DS rides his bike and I walk around to the chip shop.

DameKewcumber Fri 28-Sep-12 11:28:48

"I just seem to cave in all the time." - well don't. You are an adult, she is a child. I didn't thank my mother for giving in to me as a child and she now acknowledges her part in my obesity struggle.

Pancakeflipper Fri 28-Sep-12 11:35:13

I agree on the exercise. Up it.

And get back to cooking at home cos you then know what's in the food. You can make pizzas, make burgers ( chicken and apple are yummy) as treats if that's the stuff they like eating, have fun buffets full of healthier foods and new stuff to try.

I think your mindset on food and now your disappointment with yourself needs some support. Have you spoken to the Dr, a SureStart group etc about it?

Don't dwell on what happened, use it to change things.

rainbowinthesky Fri 28-Sep-12 11:36:24

I think this is quite serious. It sounds very worry that she can't run around for very long. I am surprised the school hasn't raised concerns with you. You need to go to the GP, get her weighed and find out exactly what you are dealing with. Hopefully you will get referred to a dietician. As you say, you're not able to see things through but in this case you have to. If you can't do it alone you need to have professional support.

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 17:17:46

BigStickBIWI - You are very right, however, I have not 'made her aware of her weight'. I've simply explained to her that the reasons she cannot have certain foods (junk wise) because we all have to eat healthy to look after our hearts and our health and to make us have lots of energy so she can run around in the playground etc. I haven't mentioned her weight to her, as like you have said, it's not her issues, it's ours. And, at no point have I said otherwise.

I am aware also, that the freezer food is crap! She has mccains smileys/waffles and fishfingers as far as freezer foods go. Other meals are pasta/pesto, chicken and rice, bolognaise and cod and mash. She does have a lot of bread too.

Pancakeflipper Fri 28-Sep-12 17:41:37

What are your portion sizes like? Can you reduce them?

I second pancake on looking into your portion size my dcs are 7 and 5 (until next month) and only use 'side' plates for meals, half of which is veg, a quarter protein and a quarter carbs. My kids do have 'freezer food' 1-2 times a week but as part of a balanced diet and in a small portion size it hasn't caused us problems so far.

Good luck op!

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 18:42:21

GuybrushThreepwodWasHere - I hadn't even considered Asthma! I'll book an appt with GP next week - Thank you!

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 19:10:15

juneau - Thanks for your response. Their dad eats far healthier now and I'm a vegetarian so live on pulses, veggies and only eat wholegrain/wholemeal -no white rice/pasta etc. That kind of makes me feel more guilty...!

We could definitely be more active as a family. I detest exercise but do walk a lot. My daughters weight has put her off physical exercise such as football, ballet, dance, swimming. But I think I will insist on swimming on the weekends..

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 19:16:00

DameKewcumber I don't know why, but I really thought that after three weeks I'd notice a slight difference - not a miracle. I have heard before about maintaining weight as they are still growing and stretching. Makes perfect sense, but I don't feel I have starved her the last few weeks or put her on a diet. Rather that I have done what I should have always, and insist she eat similar foods as the rest of us and allowing more flexibility at the weekend. But it's me sticking to it that I need to address!

savemefromrickets Fri 28-Sep-12 19:35:53

Similar position and self-beating up here. We've introduced an extra two or three hours of exercise over the weekend and I'm trying to cut back on portion sizes too. The problem is that as he eats at school, and has a snack at Afterschool club, and he's not with me for half the weekend, I actually don't control a lot of what he eats, but I have to try...

I feel so guilty too.

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 21:16:10

Pancakeflipper - we all eat quite big portions except eldest daughter, but dd2 definitely eats too much and seems to be a bottomless pit. I do dish up a 'normal size for the girls, but quite often the youngest asks for seconds... the oldest rarely does

williever Fri 28-Sep-12 21:18:27

savemefromrickets - well done for making a start. My DD2 has packed lunch, so I know what shes eating. Good luck with the exercise :-)

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