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Advice please- teenage DD & food(20 Posts)
Really not sure how to deal with this, my 13 yr old DD has never been a good eater, when she’s at school she never eats lunch despite most days being out of the house from 8am-6pm. She’s now refusing to eat breakfast most days too and will only eat the bare minimum at dinner. She seems to think one meal a day is perfectly ok. She looks healthy and is really active, happy at school etc.
Should I be making her join us for breakfast and encouraging her to eat or am I just going to be making a thing out of it and making it worse? My other (older) DC eat like horses so it’s not been something I’ve come across before and I really don’t want to make it a big issue if it’s just a phase. On the other hand I don’t feel right ignoring it.
Any advice gratefully received.
if she's healthy and active she must be eating something
She eats 1 meal a day but other than that not much else. Which doesn’t seem healthy to me. Although she is very active she’s very tired when she does get down time.
She won’t be healthy and active for long. You need to get help to nip this in the bud before it becomes a full-blown eating disorder.
I know, that’s what I’m scared of. I’m just not sure how without making it worse. Do I refuse to let her go to town to meet friends unless she’s eaten or does that make it an even bigger problem?
Seek advice from an eating disorder charity, google if there are any you can ring. Don't do what you think is best until you've got proper advice.
That’s a good idea Buster thank you, not sure why I hadn’t thought of that- possibly in denial that it could be heading that way
No problem Op, I only say this as I was like your daughter, I'd have one yogurt for lunch and a piece of fruit. I was very fussy and was brought up with an older sister and mother constantly on diets. I've never had a healthy attitude to food and once was so skinny that my boss at work had words with me. I'm now the heaviest I've ever been and many wouldn't even suggest I was fat but to ME I am! I'm not sure what I'm trying to say but eating disorders need a gentle touch and the wrong words can haunt the person forever!
Thank you very much, I will definitely speak to a professional. She’s always been fussy and on top of that has been a veggie for a long time (we eat mainly veggie as there are other veggies/vegans in the family). Currently she hasn’t eaten anything since 7pm yesterday- starting to get really worried now. We’re having a meal she likes tonight so hopefully she will at least eat something then. I will try to make sure I’m being gentle with her.
Go gently. Talk to her and explain to her why you are worried. Provide her with information about how many calories someone of her size may need to function and the consequences of a low calorie diet to health and functioning. Calculate how much she has eaten and ask her whether she feels this is sufficient. Try asking her how you can support her in increasing her food intake for example making lunches or buying certain food. Ask her whether she would like to go shopping with you, plan meals and cook.
Alternatively, if she has a healthy BMI then try not to worry and just keep an eye on her. Don’t pathologise her if there is nothing to worry about.
Thanks Nikki, I’ll do that. I tried to gently talk to her about why she wasn’t eating and she was angry and teary. She says she just doesn’t feel like it but she’s got no idea why and she doesn’t want to talk about it.
Reluctant to calculate her BMI as i don’t want her to get on the scales and stress about her weight, she’s slim though so I think it would be within the normal range. We can definitely look at how much food a healthy person her age should be eating, might wait until she’s a bit more receptive though.
She does love cooking but never eats what she makes, I will keep trying though. I’ll involve her in planning the meals for next week, suspect this means the same 2 meals on rotation but at least she’ll hopefully eat them!!
Honestly Op, this sounds a bit more serious than I first thought, in the midst of my eating problems I'd bake so many cakes and watch people eat them! Please get help before discussing food, please reach out to an eating disorder charity. Food isn't the problem, her mental health and feelings around it is!
I think Beat is the leading authority on eating disorders, so it might be worth checking out their website and see if it rings any bells. I am told they are very good, but cannot give a personal recommendation.
Would your DD consider drinking something at breakfast time? Thinking a smoothie, or even juice. Some people find it easier to drink rather than eat.
Thanks so much for your advice buster and Leeds, she’s had a good dinner this evening thank goodness. I think it’s sort of snuck up on me as she’s mainly been skipping lunch at school so I haven’t noticed (she says she hates the school food), avoiding breakfast has only started this week (I did get her to have a milkshake this morning- not ideal but better than nothing- will try smoothies too) and being half term it’s become really obvious how little she’s eating during the day. I will get in touch with BEAT and will ask their advice.
We became worried recently about my daughter's (15) weight loss and eating patterns. She was eating very little breakfast, tiny lunch at school and reasonable dinner. I had a chat with her about how many calories she needed to remain healthy and for the last 5 weeks she has been eating much better.
I took her to the GP this week and she was weighed (we don't have scales at home) and measured and the Dr had a really gentle talk about eating using the analogy of petrol in a car. She has taken up his suggestion of full fat milk and I'm hoping will start taking a banana to school each day next week. Her BMI is still within a healthy range but had dropped. She will be reviewed in about 6 weeks. The GP handled it really well and my daughter did seem to take on board what he said.
I have been cooking dinners that she likes and making sure we have food that she likes at home. It has been difficult and stressful at times.
I’m glad it sounds like things are improving for your DD vjg. I have talked to my DD about perhaps seeing the dr but she was quite upset at the idea. I’m going to give calling the BEAT charity a try on Monday and see what they suggest. I hope things continue to get better for your DD. The full fat milk is a good idea.
I was unsure about taking her to the GP and she was less than thrilled but she did have significant weight loss and a real loss of appetite by the end of April. I think sometimes she can competitively under eat almost with her friends.
She can also be quite literal and I knew she would take professional advice better than mine. I was very happy with the low key approach the GP used and she didn't get upset. I also felt calmer than previously because I can see she is eating better.
I think the GP will be the next step, I just need to drip feed the idea for a few days until she gets comfortable with it. I was reading on the beat website this morning that the earlier you can get help the better, sounds like you had a fantastic dr who has really helped your dd.
Trying not to mention food today, just put a selection of bits out for breakfast and after initially saying no (which I didn’t say anything about) she then had something.
That's a good start Op, try not to build food up to be a battle ground.
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