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A difficult 13 year old dd! Over weight and I need help :(

(56 Posts)
cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 08:04:19

It's very very hard to explain my 13 year old dd. I know her strops are a part of her age etc but I can't reason with her.
She doesn't like the word no! Eventually when she realises I'm not going to back down she hates me. She says awful things. Then she says I love her sister (my youngest dd) more than her. I let her sister do this, I let her sister do That, I don't shout at her sister. My youngest dd is so loving and caring and just doesn't complain. She understands life doesn't always go to plan and appreciates things. She obviously has her little strops but overall is mild mannered and lovely company.
Some days I'm anxious around my 13 year old dd. The smallest thing will set her off. Like I have cooked the wrong thing for tea, she wants chocolate, why can't her friend stay over again (they stay over), it's so hard to explain. Everything is a battle which brings me to why I'm posting.
My dd is also over weight and recently I have noticed faint stretch marks on her tummy. I have tried the gym, dance class, walking with her, encouraging healthy choices, we have cried together, she has been bullied and I have told her I can help her but she has to listen to me. She gets angry with me. She wont stick to any of it. She secretly eats. I find wrappers in her bag. She has absolute melt downs like a 2 year old if I say she can't have something.
I am not home until 5.30 most days so she let's herself in. I stopped buying rubbish ages ago but she will make cereal, eat bread, cheese, ham, anything she can. It's like it's all she wants to do is eat. I prepare snacks, buy fruit but she doesn't listen.
On weekends I try to stay active with them but she wants to see her friends. She gets angry because all her friends have money. I explain why as she spends it on rubbish.
I didn't want to take it all away as my youngest enjoys a treat so I stuck to weekend only treats. If I gave her money, she buys rubbish. Nothing works.
I'm desperate to help her but exhausted too sad

user1480334601 Tue 24-Oct-17 09:02:31

Oh sounds hard op sad try remember that at 13 her hormones are all over the place. Someone once described this age as like having bad pms everyday! It will pass

I was overweight at that age too and was super sensitive about it. I felt bad about how I looked and was bullied and food comforted me. It was a vicious circle.

Would your daughter speak to a professional? Might be able to give her ways to cope without being addicted and relying on food

KatnissK Tue 24-Oct-17 09:13:43

Oh dear OP, sounds really tough. I second the above poster - would she see a dietician? I was overweight at 13 and did just 16 I had lost 3 stone with lifestyle changes rather than a diet. Plus if it comes from a professional rather than you, perhaps she wouldn't feel so resentful?

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 09:14:10

user1480334601 hi smile Yes, it is a viscous circle, you are right. I try to empower my girls to not let society tell them what they should be. Tell them they're beautiful. It feels like I am constantly battling with her which then I worry if it's too much attention and I am making her feel she is 'fat' (thats what she says to me. You think im fat).
I have spoken to a school nurse (2years ago) and to be honest all she did was tell me to put my foot down. Be cruel to be kind! I understand what she was saying, but I have tried that.
I joined a gym with her, she went 3 times. I bought a fitness DVD she did it twice.
I'm not sure who else to speak to professionally.

LaughingElliot Tue 24-Oct-17 09:14:20

Oh God, your poor girl. You really need to quit going on about healthy eating, snacks, size and anything remotely related to her weight. She KNOWS she’s overweight, she feels terrible . Heck there are millions of adults who wish they were thinner but can’t manage it.

Forget the weight, she needs lots and lots of reassurance, kindness, nice times with you. Once she’s feeling better about herself, the eating will follow. You can help by not buying junk but don’t make a point of refusing her £s in an attempt to make her thinner, you’ll just add to the problem. You need to play it down bit ramp it up.

LaughingElliot Tue 24-Oct-17 09:15:25

not ramp it up

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 09:17:17

KatnissK hi smile that's fabulous! A dietician, how would I go about that? Could I get a referral from my Gp? Yes, I think maybe she might listen to someone else.

debbs77 Tue 24-Oct-17 09:22:42

I agree with the PP...... a bit like with a toddler where you ignore the bad and encourage the Good! Ignore all bad behaviour. Don't engage with disrespect. But instead heap on praise. I would expect that with praise she will feel happier with herself and that in itself will stop her turning to food for comfort.

Can you have a day with her on your own? Cinema, shopping etc

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 09:23:25

LaughingElliot hi smile I promise you, I do not ever say she is over weight. I tell her she doesn't need the extra food. I can't just sit back and let her eat what she likes can I?
We do plenty of nice things...
Have pamper evenings, go shopping, walks, film nights, picnics, one to one girly nights, friends over, we chat about everything, we cook together, they ride their bikes. And plenty more.... She gets upset when she can't wear the fashion. So, No, healthy eating is not following because I have tried everything.
I give her money she buys 2 big bars of chocolate. Do I let her continue? NO!

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 09:25:03

debbs77 hi smile Yes, I just posted above. I praise her every single day! Every single day!

Chocolatecake12 Tue 24-Oct-17 09:27:57

Horrible situation. As hard as it is don’t take it personally - it’s not you she hates but the rules you are trying to enforce, the choices you are making for her and you are the only person she can treat like that who will still love her no matter what.
Make sure you tell her she is beautiful, that you love her. Sounds a bit like she needs her self esteem building up.
If she goes out with her friends could you give her some money to buy some thing specific so for example a birthday card and present for a friend? Or Buy her a voucher for Claire’s accessories or primark so she still feels she can buy something. This will make her feel the same as her friends which is so important at that age.
Does she do any after school sport? Is there something she would like to do? Street dance? Theatre classes?
Does she walk to and from school?
Find every opportunity to get her active and keep her busy.
And finally as pp have suggested maybe she needs to see a dietician or a counsellor tovtalk things through.

Patchouli666 Tue 24-Oct-17 09:39:36

You can either pay privately for a nutritionist or see your gp and get a referral to an NHS one - the non NHS ones tend to be nutritionists. But you may and can find state registered dieticians who have left the NHS and set up privately. If you go that route, find a paediatric specialist one.
If you go the referral route you may need to wait a long time to be seen as I'm sure you understand, there are some kids in dire need out there so waiting lists tend to be long.
I have four daughters though and it is just a phase. My 20 year old started at about 16. She was young for her age body wise. My 17 year old has been really easy hormone wise despite autism, but she did put on lots of weight as h packed lunches she made were huge banquet style affairs! She has now become veggie and lately mostly vegan and is cooking lots for herself and is making smoothies, using fresh raw ingredients and has gone from being visibly overweight to a size 10 and more toned as she's started cycling to college.
It's sometimes about giving them the responsibility- when I cooked for her she'd just shovel it in and then get more. Now she only makes enough for her and there is no more to eat.

It's bloody hard though and I've got two more yet to see how they get on!

Passthebiscuit Tue 24-Oct-17 09:44:41

Are there any chefs she likes? I'm a bit out of touch but could you focus on being healthy, having nice skin etc (rather then weight ) and have a go cooking some recipes from her favourite chefs? (Carefully selected of course!). I was overweight as a teen so she had my sympathies and you too of course

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 09:46:11

Chocolatecake12 hi smile Yes, I tell her every day. I want nothing more than to empower that. I give her money to go shopping and cinema with friends, I couldn't not allow that. It's on weekends/through the week and odd couple of pound where she buys rubbish. I know it's fine in moderation but she secretly eats too.
She has tried dance but gave it up. I have encouraged netball but she won't go. She walks to school but it's literally around the corner.
I think I need to see a dietician.
I question everything. We have a lovely home, she has nice friends after struggling in year 7, I buy her nice outfits, we are busy on weekends, we have day trips, holidays, fun, we eat together, we cuddle.
Her dad doesn't have a great deal to do with her. I have heard her say 'I know he isn't a good dad but I want a dad'. Maybe something there. I don't know.
I just want her to be happy.

Myheartbelongsto Tue 24-Oct-17 09:46:24

Lots of good advice here op so just want to add you sound like a lovely mum.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 09:53:02

Patchouli666 hi smile Ok, thankyou. I am a single parent so just scrape by. I will look into seeing how much it would cost. I will chat to my gp.
Your dd seems to be making healthy choices, which is excellent. It's like my dd doesn't care for herself which makes me sad! If he let her prepare food she piles it on.
Passthebiscuit hi smile I'm not sure. I know she enjoys watching master chef. She was always a fussy eater and still is. She wont try anything new. It seems to be the same things she eats.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 09:54:35

Myheartbelongsto hi smile oh thankyou, that was truly lovely to read. Thankyou. Yes, I appreciate the advice. MN is my best friend haha! smile

Vari757 Tue 24-Oct-17 11:24:47

I think you are going about it the right way by being encouraging and supportive. I was slightly overweight as a teenager (size 14) and my mum hated me for it. She used to call me fat and scream at me to "stop eating" , call me disgusting and tell me not to talk to her till I lost weight and she would weigh me every sunday morning. It was horrible and just made me want to comfort eat more.

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 11:39:11

Vari757 hi smile oh that made me feel so upset reading your post sad that must of been awful for you. It's so important to let our dc's know they're perfect, just the way they are. I'm concerned of my dd's habits and as she gets older may get worse. Also, she gets upset and people call her names. I worry about that impact. Your mum was so unfair to treat you that way!

TammyswansonTwo Tue 24-Oct-17 11:51:49

I had very minor weight issues age about 11. I would try to talk to my mum and rather than telling me I was fine as I was (which looking back as I was), she started pushing me into diets and generally making me feel like shit. My mum was constantly on a diet of some kind (she wasn't fat either). I ended up with anorexia by 14, then bulimia. I'm now 35, I've always hated my body, and had a lot of resentment towards my mum until she died (for many things, not just this).

I would tread very carefully with this issue and seek professional help and support. Eating in secret is not a good sign, it sounds like she's already ashamed of it, I hope you can get her some support,

WhoeverUWantMeToBe Tue 24-Oct-17 11:57:14

Sounds to me like your daughter is binge-eating because she's unhappy. Eating has become a coping mechanism.

I had similar eating habits as a child. I never gained much weight, as I vomited the food back up. But I empathize with your DD.

I am actually inclined to agree with the PP who said focus LESS on her weight. I know that seems hard right now because her weight is making her miserable, but I suspect her overeating is a symptom of her unhappiness, and you need to treat the cause.

I recommend counselling for her if she can afford. NOT - and I can't stress this enough - NOT counselling for her weight. If she brings up her weight as one of the things which is making her unhappy with her counsellor (and she probably will) that's her choice.

Overeating is a very mindless action. I also encourage:

-Mindfulness. She's not too young to learn to meditate and it can be an incredible tool.

-Exercise. I know that you have been trying REALLY hard to encourage her to exercise. But maybe a different angle could help. During my obsessive eating days I never stuck to an exercise regime because I was fixated on my weight. If I didn't see results instantly I became disheartened and gave up. I only learned to stick with exercise as an adult when I realised exercise is about how I FEEL, not how I look.
It sounds like you guys already do a lot of walking and cycling which is great. It needs to be part of a routine, a daily regular thing. It's a hard habit to form (but one of the best and one which will benefit both your daughters for the rest of their lives.) I know you're a busy working mum and don't get in until 5.30. Maybe a daily evening walk would be a good start? DON'T MAKE IT ABOUT YOUR DD'S WEIGHT. I suggest telling your DDs, plural, that YOU want to start getting in 5,000 steps a day (or whatever you think is a reasonable amount for a walk with your DDs) and YOU want THEIR help and support in doing so. Enlist your DDs as your supporters, but also get them excited about the steps goal. That something you can all achieve.
That way you can give your DD a solid goal to work towards - a certain amount of steps - that's something she has achieved at the end of each walk.
Exercise goals like that are much better motivation than weight loss, and they give a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis.

-Still as an adult if I feel myself slipping into the unthinking mindset which leads to overeating, I do something which grounds me in the present moment, in my body. Meditation and exercise are the obvious ones but I also find having a candlelit bath, listening to my favourite music, helps. Or doing arts and crafts. Help your DD find some mindful coping mechanisms to replace the maladaptive coping mechanism of mindless overeating.

I'm not saying don't bring her to a dietician. But please don't do it without also addressing the underlying issues which are causing her to overeat. I know you're trying hard & you sound like a lovely mum. But sometimes that's just not enough on its own - she's at a difficult age and clearly has some struggles.

My last point: you don't mention your own exercise regime expect to mention when you joined stuff for your DD. A great piece of advice I heard once for modelling good eating/exercise habits to kids is, we can't say 'Do as I say, not as I do.' They need to see us do what we recommend. We need to normalise healthy eating/regular exercise by doing it in front of them. Again, I don't know what you do, and if you find it difficult to fit a lot of exercise in I'm certainly not judging. But it could be helpful for your DD for example to watch you do couchto5k or the 30 day shred - not do it just to encourage her and give up when she does, but actually do it yourself. When she sees you manage it, it will seem more like a normal achievable thing normal people do - and talk about it in terms of fitness goals, like 'I could only run for a minute at the beginning, now I can run for half an hour' or 'now I can do fifty sit ups' or whatever. Keeping the doc on fitness targets above weight loss is a much better way to incentive exercise and the weight loss with come later.

Okay! That was a really long post. Just a personal issue for me. Good luck OP.

KatnissK Tue 24-Oct-17 11:57:58

cupcakesmakeyouhappy - I think my mum got me referred via the GP, yes. Best of luck!

cupcakesmakeyouhappy Tue 24-Oct-17 11:59:14

TammyswansonTwo hi smile I'm so sorry! Thankyou for sharing. I am grateful for your advice. I will tread carefully. Thankyou. It's so difficult. I don't mention diets. Always healthy eating. I always say a little of everything we enjoy, is ok in moderation. I try to encourage activity for health benefits and that feel good feeling.

user1494670108 Tue 24-Oct-17 12:00:19

My ddd sounds so very similar to yours and whatever nice things we do - the healthy habits do not automatically follow so don’t feel bad about that.
I’m trying to bite my tongue and bide my time, she cares most about being like her friends and fitting in so sooner or later she will hopefully make her own choices and make the right choices sensibly.
She also has always been a picky eater with a dislike for veg and a likin for all things “bad”

WhoeverUWantMeToBe Tue 24-Oct-17 12:02:57

Counseling if you can afford it, I meant of course.

I agree with the PP who says tread very carefully. I'm sure you're already trying to be sensitive but you can't be too sensitive when it comes to a thirteen year old girls weight (trust me, bulimic by 11.)

Try to incorporate healthy habits for the sake of the whole family's health rather than make it about your DDS weight.

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