Safe dieting for 14 yo girl - advice please!(18 Posts)
DD1 who is nearly 14 has always been a sturdy child and I never wanted to make a thing of her weight. She has always eaten healthily, just maybe too much, although genes definitely come into it as her sister is a very different build. First week back at school she has had some mean comments from some boys in her class. During the holidays she had already started using an app to record what she eats and control calories.
Her periods stopped recently and GP said she needs to lose weight as this could have caused it. He was actually very rude and insensitive which didn't help and when I asked if there was anyone we could see to help her diet he said no, there isn't. So we are basically on our own and I don't know how to approach this so she is eating properly but also with some feasible weight loss goals and a plan. Does anyone have any tips/websites/apps that can help her lose weight safely? TIA
I'm sorry your GP was so insensitive. But assuming he's correct about lack of paediatric dietician services in your area, there might not be anything else that can be done.
Cessation of periods is usually associated with underweight (and/or over training, neither of which seem to apply) or pregnancy. Has the latter definitely been excluded?
Is there a call-back for review if her periods do not restart spontaneously (watchful wait is all well,and good, but should have review points)
Have you put your DD's measurements into a BMI calculator? Do you have any idea of how much weight she needs to lose, and - if she is still growing upwards - if it is a case of holding weight steady as she gets taller or if she does need to shed weight.
Does she actually need to lose any weight? How is her BMI?
They stopped last October, having had her first one in April. We went to GP in May and she had blood taken to check hormone levels. When we went back for results it was obvious from a letter which I could see on the GP's computer screen that the consultant writing the letter had not been sent the results so could not analyse them. GP had the gall to sit there and deny this saying 'she (consultant) can see them on the internet'. He then said DD1 should lose weight and that would probably help.
She then had a period in June (first and only one since October) and we told GP (a different one) this in July but he also brushed off the failure to analyse bloods and said she had to lose weight.
She has lost a bit of weight over the summer. She has signed up for 2 energetic dance classes a week and will start going to the gym/swimming with me once a week soon. Having been one of the tallest at the end of primary she hasn't grown in height for over a year, she's 161 cm. BMI is not a good indicator of healthy weight but she is on the cusp between healthy weight and obese.
I just want to make sure she doesn't start obsessing about her weight but she does need to lose some. I know she is already starting to restrict calorie intake beyond what is sensible so need to nip this in the bud right now. A reliable website or something that is also attractive to teens would be good if anyone knows of one. TIA
This doesn't directly answer your question, but I would be wanting to get her checked for PCOS, given the lack of periods. A symptom of this can be weight gain.
What Nuzzle said^
Other than that just swapping bad fats and carbs for good fats and complex carbs plus keeping an eye on portion size. There's a lot of trampoline park type places that do really fun exercise classes these days, also Boxercise looks great fun. Plus then she can practice on mean boys that make nasty comments about things that don't concern them!
This was why we went to GP in first place but she doesn't have any of the other symptoms and weight increase has not been sudden. Am at a loss with attitude of GPs to be honest.
Pixie, she seems to be ditching the Pringles and other illicit snacks of her own accord which is good but I asked her how many calories she was aiming for each day, saying I thought between 1500 and 1800 would be reasonable (I actually have no idea except that 2000 is about right for an adult woman). She said she was aiming for below that which seems to little to me. She also said she was aiming for 55 kilos and weighs about 65 just now. I've said to her that so long as she eats 3 meals a day and they are balanced and not ridiculously tiny then it's ok. I want to be supportive but don't want to be too controlling because she gets upset.
Her BMI for what its worth is 25.1, 24.9 is normal.
That BM I wouldn't be healthy for an adult but for children it's different
Try this calculator www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx
Also on a percentile chart is she roughly on the same percentile for height and weight.
I also second looking into PCOS. The weight gain doesn't need to be sudden. Does she have acne. Is she more hairy than average for her colouring?
Very much look at low GI and good fats. Ditch the white, avoid sugary snacks, fizzy drinks including low cal ones and limit fruit juice to 1 small glass a day. Bulk out meals with a variety on veg. Get out doors every day for vitamin d.
"Her BMI for what its worth is 25.1, 24.9 is normal"
She's 14, you should be using the child values, and on that scale she is normal.
BMI is a pretty damned good screening tool, but you do need to use the correct version.
BMI charts differ for children/teens. A BMI of 25 for a teen is around the top of the scale meaning 10% of kids are larger . Exercise is good and it sounds as though despite those boys unkind/ mean comments she is motivated . Do slimming world and other such groups run classes for children ? A little weight loss may kick start her periods .
Thanks everyone. She doesn't have any of the other symptoms of PCOS and even though he mentioned PCOS the GP didn't seem to think anything other than losing weight would make her periods start again. Will see how the next few weeks go. Thanks again.
I would avoid any slimming clubs if you can. You don't want her on a cycle of being on plan or off plan and seeing food as good or bad.
I went chubby as a teen and my parents gave me a hard time, my mum weighed me every week and made a note and repeated some of the comments my dad said about me ( 'oh my god, I just saw whathavelost walking down the street with her mates, you should have seen the size or her arse wobbling'. Still stings 40 years later!)
I would cut out heavily processed foods and concentrate on home cooking if you don't already do so. Can you exercise as a family? Cycling, walking? Just basics without drawing attention to weight.
The NHS website has a lot of good advice.
It's so hard trying to help teens lose weight without making it a thing! I lost a lot of weight some years back and the big learning point for me was portion sizes. What most people consider normal portions now are anything but. DS had really let the kilos creep on and wanted to lose some weight so really started looking at portion sizes and avoiding crap snacks. He snacks on fruit (and yes, it has sugar, but it's obviously better than pies and crisps), popcorn and cruskit type crackers with cottage cheese if he really needs something between meals. He has lost 8kg and his self esteem has improved no end. Good luck supporting your DD.
Hello, rather belated addition to the discussion, but I found your thread last summer when I was seeking advice for my teenage daughter, also 14. Back then I bought her a book called "The Diet For Teenagers Only" by Carrie Wiatt from Amazon and it was brilliant for her. Really sensible advice, not at all pushing her in the "danger zone" of becoming obsessed/really restricting her intake. She hasn't followed the menu plans religiously (it's American so some unfamiliar ingredients and food items), but it really helped with giving an idea of calories needs, portion control etc. She's been sticking with it since September now, and she and I can really see the difference. She never weighs herself so I can't tell you how much she has lost but I reckon at least 10lbs. She is also doing a bit of running and exercise bike as well (3 x 20 mins a week).
I'm the same height as your DD and more or less the same BMI. I also have a 14 year old DD who's similar to me. I've been using a Fitbit app to try to help me shake off a few pounds, but I need more like 1500 calories a day to stay the same weight. 2000 is a lot unless your DD is still growing (unlikely) or super active. You could end up in unecessary conflict with her if you push her to eat that much, and she might well get fatter if she does.
I'd make sure she understands about important food groups and that the things to cut back on are snacks, sugary drinks and puddings, then be supportive of her trying to lose a bit of weight, or at least avoid conflict over it. It's possible to worry too much about eating disorders, when she may have a perfectly healthy attitude to food and body image, but be at risk of being overweight unless she watches her food intake.
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