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Dieting daughter

(7 Posts)
aida Wed 09-Feb-05 17:12:34

My dd is 12 and very concerned about her size (i posted a message about that in November and got some lovely helpful messages back) - now she has announced that she is "on a diet" on the grounds that she wants to get thinner. She is about 5ft 7 and weighs a bit over 9 stone (according to her). She has stopped eating much breakfast and now has just a bowl of Special K and a glass of apple juice; has only salad for lunch at school; and is turning down all sorts of things she used to like at wekeneds and in the evenings. I am v keen not to make this an "issue" between us and so far have limited myself to (a) being supportive about her determination to give up grotty stuff like crisps, chocolate and ketchup and (b) asking casual-sounding questions such as "is there anything you'd like us to buy that you want to eat for breakfast/supper or whatever". I also explained to her that at this age her body will be changing and she is just doing it earlier than her friends; to which her response was "I don't want to get bigger hips, I don't want to get a woman's shape". When I was 16 I became anorexic and went down to 7 stone at 5ft 8, and later became 12 and a half stone, so I am familiar with the issues and that is why I want to be so careful about it not becoming a power struggle or matter of control between us. She was actually very interested to hear I had once been so overweight (I am a size 10-12 now and have no eating issues and have never been on a diet in her entire lifetime, so she hasn't got this from observing me - it's come from teen magazines, TV and her friends all being so tiny). My next idea is to have a chat with her about balanced eating etc and to try to get her to see that if she learns a bit about nutrition she can actually take more control of her health and shape, not less, which is what I did when I was 12 and a half stone. She has always needed her food - gets very grumpy if she hasn't been fed and then is instantly restored to good humour by having a meal - and she's always eaten a hearty (and healthy) breakfast, so I'm worreid that now she will be feelign awful at school. I should add that unfortunately the things she likes most are things like pizzas, crisps and sweets so she will find it hard to adopt a healthier diet, and I'm afraid that she will just reduce all food intake. On the plus side, she loves fruit and most vegetables. Any advice, hints, tips, benefits of experience etc would be most welcome! Thanks in advance.

redsky Wed 09-Feb-05 18:13:35

For a start - loads of sympathy aida. Hope you get some useful advice - I could do with some too for my dd age 12. She too could do with being a bit slimmer and I really don't know how to approach it without making too much of an issue of it and maybe damaging her confidence. She feels quite self-concious at times of her big tummy. I keep hoping she will 'grow' out of her puppyfat as she is only 4ft7 yet - but what if she doesn't?????

maltesers Wed 09-Feb-05 22:15:48

my older son is so skinny and always has been. he is genetically correct as his dad and myself are not stock enormous builds. play it cool with faddy eating habits. when i was eleven i was bigger then all my school mates, i had a bra and by 15 was a heavy teenager. now thanks to exercise i am slim. can remember feeling the same that i didnt want to develop a bust and have periods etc. dont know what to suggest but just be there for her and let her know you care.

maltesers Wed 09-Feb-05 22:19:53

redsky, can only suggest that you stay away from buying fatty foods. gets lots of fruit and veg into house. keep away from buying chips, pastry, icecream, sweets, chocs, for daughter. keep encouraging her to get fitter, jogging, cycling, swimming, walking. kids nowadays do seem to be sitting at home a lot. its hard i know.

helsi Wed 09-Feb-05 22:51:48

I was also having eating probelms when I was 13 years old following a couple of comments by some silly school kids. Luckily I realised myself that I had gone too far & went to see my doctor who referred me to a dietician.

I agree that learning about the food and healthy eating did help and I realised that I could eat things I wanted but in moderation and still be healthy. Its not about just eating its also about exercise. Your dd needs to understand that to be fit and stop weight going on as she gets older she needs to exercise - a child her age should be getting plenty of natural exercise each day anyway.

stupidgirl Wed 09-Feb-05 23:10:06

Agree about having a good stock of healthy food in the house.

Could you encourage her to take an interest in food and exercise - would she be interested in doing a little research and maybe learning to cook? She could possibly take an evening class in healthy cooking if it's something that interests her? Or encourage her to sign up to some kind of sports class which may help her to think about food in terms of the nutrition her body needs, rather than just cutting down to lose weight.

Don't know if that's any use, just thinking aloud really.

msmum Sun 20-Feb-05 07:17:37

Hi Aida. It sounds to me as though you're doing all the right things, but just need support and confirmation. You approach, and your daughters for that matter, seems very sensible and balanced. As someone with an ED, and as you have been there too, you know that they aren't about food and diets, they are an expression of other troubles and insecurities. I would encourage you to establish there's no underlying cause or need for attention and then carry on as you are. There's a lovely calm, understanding patience in the way you've explained it which `i'm sure comes across to your d too. Tell heer to listen to her body - eat when she's hungry and make sensible choices. Everyone is different - my 12 yr old ds is a titch, but incredibly shapely - you know - we're all so unique. Mostly - keep telling her you love her... good luck

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