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Mothers of daughters - weight issues(12 Posts)
This is everywhere in the news at the moment and there's quite a few threads about it. I almost feel like we can't win. If we're looking after what we eat, we can cause our impressionable daughters an eating disorder. God forbid we might ever mention weight to them. But I feel very conflicted. My 13 YO DD is a few kilos overweight. Not many, say 4, but if she doesn't grow much taller, (and it's possible that she won't as I am short), this can become an issue. I have felt miserable about my weight my whole entire life. Still do.
Is it okay for me to carry on as if I am not noticing what's happening to her body, knowing that years of misery will follow? This is a genuine question by the way, I am totally conflicted. At home we eat from scratch with an emphasis on vegetables. We also have treats (which I don't have), so it's not like she's deprived and then binges on sugar; I mean I know she does when she can, but not because she's not allowed sweets.
I can almost see myself in her when I was that age, and I was so uncomfortable with the way I looked, that I hid my body as much as I could, which really restricted what I could do socially (I grew up in a hot country) and I started emotional eating and becoming addicted to sugar for the next 40 years.
I need to educate my DD on healthy eating, activity, self-care, etc, but it is extremely difficult to convey this message without pointing out the fact that she is getting big.
I feel that my DD has inherited my body type, which means she'll have to work hard at it to stay within a normal healthy range. For me, I guess being vain enough helped me manage this. My worry is that my DD seems to have taken the 'I don't care about myself/I am not worth it' route like my sister, who ended up obese.
I don't even know if this is the right place to post and I realise I am rambling, but perhaps this might resonate with others going through similar who could advise? Lockdown is making things so much harder as activities have stopped.
My DD would rather poke her eyeball with a fork that go running with me. She does run 5K every other day by the way. She's a good runner but the 30 minutes a day she is doing in a context of inactivity is not cutting it at the moment. If I ask her to go for a walk with me she blatantly refuses and the atmosphere becomes heavy at home. I just don't know how to turn things around.
If I think about what would have helped me at that age, I genuinely feel that the fact that exercise and sports were like dirty words in my household, didn't help.
Okay, still rambling...
Would love to hear from others. Please don't bother pointing the finger at me, I already feel guilty for my DD's lack of self-esteem and weight issues.
I think its difficult at that age. She probably compares herself to her classmates and even if you think she doesnt care, she might really feel uncomfortable on the inside.
I would try to get her into some kind of sport thats fun. I would have never gone for a run with my mum at that age. Running isnt exactly exciting, at that age its quite boring and extremely exhausting. She has to find a sport that she really enjoys, that way she will have fun and not really notice how strenuous it is while shes doing it.
Yes I agree Lila. She needs to be active with kids her age, not with her middle aged mother. Lockdown has made this impossible at the moment. And you're right, some of her friends are really tall and very skinny and she sticks out.
No you mustn’t say anything. And you mustn’t project your own weight issues on to her! Just because she’s a few kilos over now doesn’t mean it will be like this forever.
You need to look at your diet and portion sizes, exercise will help but it’s not the main issue.
Buy fewer treats for everybody - you’re in control of the supermarket trolley.
Fill a fruit bowl daily/weekly and tell everyone to help themselves.
Watch how much oil you’re putting in food, cut down a bit on servings of pasta and potatoes. Don’t put butter on both slices of the bread etc in sandwiches.
There are many things you can do without mentioning a word of this to your daughter.
Can you help your DD to love her body however it is? It's likely to fluctuate over the years so that might be a better approach for her long term happiness, especially if she's already started to internalised that fat/obese = worthless her sense of worth should not be linked to the size of her body.
I disagree that being overweight automatically means years of misery - I've broken that cycle and am still definitely plump (size 18-20 currently) but I love my body, I'm proud of it and I am happier with it than many of my slimmer friends. I also treat it much better these days (movement, good food, stretching, and working on drinking more water) than when I was a few pounds overweight and it felt like the end of the world to have gained that weight.
I’m struggling to control my DD’s weight atm. She is 10 , is 4’11’’ and 8 stone. On the child charts she is overweight. She’s always been on the bigger side (95th percentile as a baby ie new born so tall for her age) but the last year she has put o weight and has a belly. Plus she is in puberty so boobs now as well.
She got into bad habits when I was going through a really busy and stressful period at work, as her sibling is much older if I don’t do stuff with her she is mooching around home by herself and she started comfort eating. Not helped by my DH who has some bad eating habits, he’s just started a diet and is not buying chocolate, biscuits etc
I’ve talked to her about it and explained that we love in a culture where there is an excess of food, we all have to learn how to manage that and talked about people we know who have put on and lost weight.
I just couldn’t avoid it any longer, being that be older (and mature and intelligent) she needs to be involved and take some responsibility for this. I think it’s a good opportunity to discuss a healthy practical approach to food and dieting and not the way we women often have of linking it to self worth. Having said that I am worried it will lead to food issues but I need to get her weight down
You educate by doing. Provide healthy meals in the right portions with occasional sweet treat. She is running great she is staying fit - that's certainly more exercise than my own daughter.
You are projecting your own experience on to her. She may be perfectly happy with how she looks. You pointing out that she is (only a little) bit heavier will just make her feel awful - you should be the one person who she feels doesn't judge her, and no matter how you wrap it up with concern for her health and self esteem she will know you are judging her. Don't compare her to her friends or yourself.
how about you teach her to love her body, however she looks, and empower her not to fall into the cycle of comfort eating and feeling crap about herself ...
It's really tough. My view is to not buy treats at home for everyone not just the overweight person in the family and to make a walk a fee times a week a family thing not singling out the chubby one.
This is hugely projecting from my own childhood but i would say spend some quality time together regularly that is saved weekly for her only. Overeating happens when you are trying to have control over something in your life or using it to fill an emotional hole. She needs more ways to feel good and deal with stress so explore some hobbies she might like and get her the tools or whatever she needs and you can afford to encourage them.
Remember, your daughter is not you or your sister. She is her own person and her story isn't written yet so please resist any temptation to use stories of gaining and losing weight with her UNLESS she asks about it directly.
Personally my weight gain as a child was from 5 or 6 and it was due to emotional neglect. Different nannies and people came and went while my parents were absent doing their own thing. I'm not saying this is you or what will happen to your child, i'm saying it to back up why i suggested spending quality time with her. Good luck.
At her age I would imagine she eats mostly what you buy and provide ?
Therefore if you change the food available to her then she won’t keep getting heavier.
Monkey see, monkey do.
I think the key is to not let DC help themselves to food, and to eat set meals of good food.
4kg sounds a lot, but children are usually taller than their shorter parent, and she might shoot up.
Praise her for things that matter to her, not on her weight.
We don’t eat any junk in the week
We make sure we have a mass of veg/salad available at each meal
Fruits for whenever
Ensure portions are reasonable
We’re a slim bunch
But my eldest has started growing breasts and putting down female fat and it has freaked her out
She’s a 28 C now from being bra free pre Covid
I think she thinks if she could starve them away she would
It has made me really reconsider the way I focus on food and eating. Maybe I’m too preoccupied