Overweight 11 yo dd - advice on handling losing weight without denting self esteem(11 Posts)
I've just had a letter telling me dd was weighed and measured at school and is overweight. I am not surprised as she has always been a roundish child, very different from ds who is is a bean pole (as was I as a kid). She has a healthy diet, although she has a sweet tooth and prefers macaroni cheese to kale and lentil salad given the choice - we tease her at home that she eats toast on butter. I find the tips given in the letter frankly patronising. The difficulty I have is that there are no low hanging chocolates I can cut out to help her lose weight - we have skimmed milk, no sugary cereals or drinks, healthy home cooked meals most nights, pizza once a week as a treat (for me as much as anything), puddings only occasionally. She'd not very sporty but does do dance classes, plays quite physically in school with her friends and we recently got a dog so we're walking more than we used to.
I don't want to dent her rather fragile self-confidence (she has always been very aware of being shorter and wider than her stick thin willowy bf). Being on the cusp of puberty I am worried that handling this badly could be more damaging than her being a bit overweight. My aunt died battling anorexia, so I am very conscious of this. Having said that I don't want her picked on for her weight either - especially with her starting secondary school in September and all the associated social complications this can bring. Any advice?
Switch skimmed milk to semi or whole as calorie difference isn't much higher and it's more filling. For whole family.
Instead of pizza night, try soup night. Can get really good quality stuff nowadays. Alternatively buy lower cal frozen pizza from the supermarket such as Dr Oetker and load it up with more veg.
Replace cereal in morning with protein - eggs/grilled bacon/sausage as it keeps her fuller. Enforce for the whole family.
Water or milk instead of juice or drink. Enforce for the whole family.
Don't put all the butter on the table. Put out a small block or buy those small 10g portions and put them out for kids. That way you can make things fun without highlighting that she's different.
Does she have a bike? If not that's a great way of getting fit without highlighting that she needs to
What does she eat in a day?
How much does she move?
I see she getting her 10 a day? Maybe you could all aim to be healthier
Buy her a Fitbit type gadget, my kids are highly motivated by theirs. They don't need to lose weight, it they love the challenge of steps, mileage, badges etc.
It might encourage her to do more exercise which in turn will lead to some weight loss.
Shouldn't just get her a Fitbit though. All the kids need one otherwise she'll know she's being singled out
There's a clue here 'we tease her about having toast on butter'.
If someone has a cereal for breakfast, and will be having a snack at school, they don't need toast for breakfast as well. If you are not having toast for breakfast, then no one needs to be eating toast any other time of the day. A slice of toast with butter could be 230 calories. 2 of those is quarter of a whole day's recommended allowance of food, gone in a couple of bites.
Cut down the portion sizes. Don't make meals with sauces or cream based sauces. The cheaper ice cream has less fat than the premium brands. Macaroni cheese is absolutely packed with fat and as we all know it's delicious so people always overeat it. Same with cream based sauces. Learn about what calories are in food, then swap out the stuff without her noticing. Cook lean meats, don't add butter or cream to sauces. Cut down mayonaise etc in sandwiches. Keep after school snacks to fruit, rice cakes with honey or banana, etc.
If it's not the food then it's the quantities of food.
OP my dd is a bit younger than yours but we have a similar problem. We have been to dieticians and paediatricians and follow their diet advice and portion sizes to the letter but it's made no difference. I recently saw a photo of her now beanpole father as a child and he was chubby too but grew out of it (they say he was hit by a steam roller). The paeds told us she'd probably grow out of it as we're not doing anything wrong. We were also warned not to drop her calorie intake as they want her to grow out of her weight rather than to lose it and that may not happen until puberty. So maintaining her current weight while growing is what we've been trying to do. There's a good nhs booklet on portion sizes for all ages to adult that's worth trying to get a hold of. It's a wee bit carb heavy but we were advised to replace some of the carbs with additional protein.
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I am not keen on this weighing business at this age. I didn't want DD to participate.
Some girls are into puberty and so the sums just don't work. They are turning into women, yet measured on a child's scale?
I would increase her protein and her activity. Walking/swimming/rollerblading. Anything really. Treat it as a long term health plan that applies to you all.
Don't put her on a diet. More protein to keep her fuller for longer. More activity. Be aware of triggers such as boredom. Create a healthy attitude towards food as fuel, something creative and interesting and not as an emotional crutch.
Thank you ohforfox I also suspect it is an inappropriate age- some girls are developing their curves, others not. Dd is always going to be curvy- that is her body shape. I also think some children grow outwards then upwards, so a one off measurement might not tell the story.
I'm encouraging her to eat healthily and watch portion sizes, but I strongly believe occasional treats are healthy for your mind- moderation in all things.
I object most to the condescending literature I was sent implying I'm obviously stuffing her face with KFCs, Mars Bars and Fizzy drinks.
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