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How to help overweight 9yo without telling her she's fat!

(12 Posts)
AChickenCalledKorma Thu 22-Jan-15 16:00:50

DD2 is 9yo and overweight. Not hugely overweight, but enough that we are getting concerned. Some people will say it's puppy fat, but frankly she's been a bit chubby for years and it's getting worse.

My issue is ... how on earth am I supposed to tackle this with her, without communicating to her the fact I think she has a problem? I understand about smaller portions, cutting out snacks, more exercise, letting them grow into their weight and all that. But it all requires some co-operation on her part. She's too old and too smart to just accept that we are changing eating habits without asking why. And the golden rule seems to be to avoid whispering a word to pre-teen girls about a weight issue in case they get into even bigger problems with body image, eating disorders etc!

Anyone got any wise words? Or can anyone tell me some encouraging stories about tackling this with their daughter?

It doesn't help that her older sister is bordering on underweight, so cutting down food for the whole family isn't really an option. It's a bit of a giveaway if I serve DD1 twice as much as DD2, even though that's probably what they both need!

lalalonglegs Thu 22-Jan-15 16:23:07

I've not had this with my children but I honestly think it is better to let her know (sensitively) that you are concerned about her weight and to see how she feels about it - it might be something she wants to tackle too. You can't get her to diet or exercise by stealth. You don't have to link it to her body image - eg "You'd be much prettier if you lost a few pounds/you'd have more friends/you'd look better in jeans" hmm - just explain that she needs to start making healthier choices and being honest with you about snacking/treats when you are not around to monitor her.

There is no way I would put her on a "diet" diet - but you can start cutting down on certain foods and, as you said, watching portion sizes and encouraging exercise. I think a lot of the time, children can be overweight because they snack a lot and have lots of sweetened drinks - not necessarily with parental approval. Good luck.

knittedslippersx2 Thu 22-Jan-15 16:27:05

Use a different angle. As a family you are on a 'get healthy drive'. Cut out rubbish food and start going on family walks or bike rides. Don't single her out, make it a family thing.

WyrdByrd Thu 22-Jan-15 16:42:44

It's virtually impossible to do it without some level of honesty I think.

My DD is ten and could probably lose a stone if I'm honest blush . Our diet is basically good but too many snacks & treats.

We have talked about it, I tell her I will always love her no matter how big or small she is, but I want her to be happy & healthy and a good diet will help achieve that.

Doesn't seem to be much difference yet though sad .

VenusRising Thu 22-Jan-15 16:47:20

Get running with her.
Buy her some fab running shoes (and yourself too) and get out there at least four times a week for an hour.

Stop buying snacks or soda, completly!

Stock up on nuts and fruit.

VenusRising Thu 22-Jan-15 16:48:24

Xposts knitted! I agree, family group exercise is the way to go.
And buy no snacks.

clairewitchproject Thu 22-Jan-15 16:54:49

I absolutely do serve different portions to my kids. I have to - I have boys aged 13, 10, 7 and a daughter aged 4. My children are aware that 'fair doesn't always mean the same'. They know that my eldest DS needs a lot more food because his body is bigger, and so on down to my DD. If I fed them the same either my DD would be obese or my 13 year old starving. They have no issues when he gets 6 fish fingers and DD gets 2, for example.

We have a snack tub which has 1 pack of biscuits a week in, breadsticks, and ricecakes, they also have a fruit bowl they can use. DS1 is allowed a pot noodle after school as well. (I know but they are his best thing!) . Once the biscuits are gone they are gone. They have sweets and crisps only rarely.

I would agree that family is the way to go....good luck.

slug Thu 22-Jan-15 17:52:38

Don't have food that concerns you in the house.

In our house we have a rule that any journey under a mile is walked. We don't have a car, though to be fair we live in inner London, but we only use public transport if it's a) over a mile or b) snowing/sleeting etc. I suspect this is the only real exercise DD gets most weeks. You could sell I to a 'trying to save money' basis.

amidaiwish Thu 22-Jan-15 18:09:44

I wouldn't mention it to her. The first thing I would do is stop all drinks that are not water. For both your children.
One pack of biscuits bought per week, gone when gone.
Watch how much white food she is eating, cereal etc and try to eat less bad carbs and more protein. You don't want her to be hungry. So an omelette for breakfast not a bagel/sugary cereal.
Good luck, fwiw I have said to my Dd1 (age 10) who snacks all day if she could that she is ok at the moment because she has grown so much this year but if she carries on she will end up getting fat. I guess it's easier to say when it isn't the case. (Yet!)

amidaiwish Thu 22-Jan-15 18:11:31

Running together is a great idea. Make it your little catch up time together. Say it is for you now the evenings are lighter and you want her to join you. Take it very gently. Lovely idea.

MuddhaOfSuburbia Thu 22-Jan-15 18:14:40


AChickenCalledKorma Thu 22-Jan-15 19:39:24

Interesting mix of ideas - thanks all. I do like the idea of a "whole family" approach. (Although I detest running, so might have to look for an alternative to that!) Although DD1 is slim and fit, her diet is not always ideal now that she's at secondary and has access to all the joys that the canteen offers.

I did serve them both much more dissimilar portions tonight and neither commented, so perhaps I need to be braver with that.

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