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We need to talk about this - DD's weight(16 Posts)
DD2 is 15. Backstory - DW and I are married. Two daughters. Same sperm doner father, I carried DD1, DW carried DD2. I am average/small build, as is DD1. DW is larger build and overweight. As is DD2.
We have been careful about talking about weight. We talk about being healthy/strong. We don't ban foods, but tend not to have crisps/biscuits in the house. DW is unhappy with her size, but a back injury means she can't exercise. I exercise a bit. DD1 is a sports freak and very strong, muscular and can eat what she wants. DD2 is by nature sedentary, and seems not to have the 'full' switch that DD1 and I have.
Over the last 18 months, DD2 has got bigger and bigger. I estimate she weighs maybe 11 stone at 5 ft 4. She is now looking overweight as opposed to a bit big. Stretch marks everywhere (arms, inner and outer thighs, bum, back, boobs). We have been saying no to seconds, encouraging healthy eating, encouraging exercise. DD2 knows she has got bigger - we've had to buy loads of new clothes, size 14 on average.
The softly, softly approach is not making a difference. I read posts on here which say 'don't mention weight to teen girls, it damages their self esteem, leads to eating disorders etc'. However, what do we do? DD2 is getting bigger before our eyes despite our best supportive attempts to help her. I am beginning to think she needs a kick up the arse kind of conversation, but don't want to cause damage.
She needs to get herself under control basically. She is emotionally ok, no more angsty than others her age. She just will eat more than she burns off, and only exercises when encouraged and I don't have time to do it all with her.
Ideas please, please!!
Please don't say anything; I'm sure your DD knows. A size 14 with a few more months growing isn't too bad if she can stay that way.
She's not over the growing hormones yet. I was size 14 when I was 15 and felt huge but a size 9 at 20 and up and down from then to now.
The summer I was 15 I remember studying for my options subjects. Instead of reading in the sunshine I was wrapped in a duvet in the garden trying to sweat off some pounds.
I'm still unhappy about my size. It stops me going out. I wish I had been taught to accept differences rather than be shamed and measured only by dress size.
My mother is dead now but my auntie is still the same, 'Ooooh you've put weight on.' Like I don't know!
I think it's better to look at activity rather than focus on food. What are her activity levels like? It's that that will have more impact on her health long term.
Pokemon Go has helped at our house!
There is no point expecting her to tackle this on her own. It is your responsibility as parents to sort this out with her. Agree as a family and support each other. Sign up for Parkrun, do C25K, go & play badminton together or whatever but do it together. You all need it, not just her.
Is she snacking
in her room ? At that age my DD used to have crisps, chocolate etc stashed under the bed.
Make sure you have plenty of interesting fresh fruit in the house.
I have every sympathy with you, OP. My best friend is dealing with this same issue with her daughter. She is a social worker who works with children but is still stumped as to what to do with her own child. Like you, the softly-softly approach is going nowhere.
The only practical advice I have us to remember that weight control is about 90% diet, 10% exercise. You can't outrun a bad diet, as it were. I personally would sit her down and give her a firm but loving talk to. Not in a shaming way, but in a "this is your reality" way. I was skinny as a rake until I went to university, where i piled on weight. My family were concerned about my "self esteem" and figured it would do more harm than good to talk to me. I wish they had. I was in denial for years and needed a kick up the arse.
My best wishes to you - it's not easy.
My DM was one who believed in a firm kick up the arse when it came to weight. Cue decades of binge/purge and hating my body. Don't do it.
The only good thing she did was mandate exercise. DB and I had to do some kind of activity 4 times a week. We were allowed to choose what we like best (swimming for me, ice hockey for DB) but activity wasn't optional.
My DM took softly softly then really told me straight.
I don't THINK I ever really was overweight (I was tall at 5'8'' - grown even taller now - and only ever pushed the 10.5stone barrier) but I think society overall has weight issues .. - we're fatter as a population than we ever have been before etc etc
It did hurt but I'm glad she told me. She encouraged with diet and exercise, I was pushed into a run most days and by the end I enjoyed it, was glad that I had lost the weight, and in the long run, pleased my health improved
For what it's worth food at home was always healthy but big portions. Pudding most days but snacks were rarely allowed. Normally just a big glass of water offered outside meal times. The weight I put on was sweets and chocolate binged on school bus!
Still have a sweet tooth but pleased mainly with my attitude to food now. Bad habits are hard to break especially relationships to food.
Is she into gadgets? Could you get her a fitbit to monitor her activity levels, if she can see the impact upon the difference in activity levels would it make a difference?
DD2 stopped growing height-wise about a year ago, so she isn't about to shoot up and be a healthy weight.
What is worrying me is that I can see she has got bigger in just the last couple of months. Prior to that the gain was less noticeable.
She doesn't snack in her room, eats the same size portions as me.
I get what you are saying about exercise, and like I say, she will do when encouraged, but that alone is not going to help her lose weight. She had a fitbit, but lost interest when she wasn't able to meet the targets she'd set herself.
She runs a couple of times a week with me, but is not getting any fitter and like I say, DW can't help her with the exercise side, plus I work shifts so am limited in what I can do.
I am loathe to even think about calorie counting with her, but despite discussing portion sizes etc, she is always asking for seconds, and for example on days when we are both at work, will easily cut herself four doorstep slices of bread for lunch. With cheese. She likes food! Doesn't eat cake/ice cream, but will eat too much of the normal stuff iykwim?
I just see her future as getting bigger and bigger, unless she gets a hold of herself. I don't think she would go to a GP, but I am wondering what else to do? I don't want to pathologise this, but it IS a problem. DW is struggling with this too as she never found an 'off' switch either.
I very much agree that you don't want to make it personal. I'd rather have a daughter who was a few points over her healthy BMI than one obsessed with her weight.
Could DW sign up to a slimming group and ask DD2 to come with her as support? Having a bad back doesn't mean you can't lose weight. They could do a challenge together to lose 10% of their weight by Xmas and then treat themselves to some new clothes or a night out.
Make it clear that the whole family is on board. You could do the diet for 'health reasons'. Clear out the cupboards to remove temptations - if fresh bread is her weakness get rid of it for now. She isn't very overweight at all, plus she's got youth on her side. Even an 8-week family-led challenge should deliver some very noticeable results.
PS - You sound like a wonderful parent. Wish mine had been more sensitive!
Does she otherwise seem fairly happy with life? Eating too much because you like food is v different from comfort eating and they need separate approaches.
Sorry, I see you addressed this at the end of your post.
Maybe encourage her to drink before meals so she feels full sooner? And not eat too fast.
Has she expressed concern at her own weight? I think if she has you can address it more frankly, but if she is happy and confident I'd be pretty unwilling to push her into anything if she's not massively overweight or massively overeating.
Is there anything she likes that isn't exercise but is inherently active? Ie if she likes horses could she volunteer at a stable, I'm sure others could think of examples!
I'd get rid of anything that's tempting to her too, I don't buy bread because I can eat a loaf in 24 hours! It's like crack to me, especially with nice salted butter.
Food that you can have a lot of bulk without many calories - soups, vegetable curries, food where you'd use mince but use lentils instead?
And re seconds, could you make enough for four (generous) portions but that's it, so she can't eat for two at dinner time. I just don't make enough for me to have seconds. Works for me!
I think limiting food and making comments is not the way forward.
If you get into a life style change, get more active, everything else falls into place.
Get her into 1-2 hours sport/activity a day (maybe start slow, then add more)
If you do 1-2 hours activity each day (that includes walking to school etc.) most people can pretty much eat what they like (even chocolate and crisps).
Also, once you start loving a sport, say tennis or running, you will WANT to get a bit fitter, and you can feel any fat wobbling around holding you back.
Then the desire to be fitter and stronger comes from WITHIN, and IMO that's the only way.