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SW/WW for 14 yo DD? Or better ideas?

(18 Posts)
Unwiederbringlich Mon 29-Oct-18 19:34:19

My gorgeous DD (14.5) has become quite severely overweight. She is tall and heavily built (5' 11", with broad shoulders, hips, thighs etc), but has become clearly and undeniably overweight. She was over 16 stone when I was last allowed to know her weight, though in a way the actual weight is irrelevant: what is undeniable is that she is carrying an immense amount of extra body fat.

So as not to drip feed...

She has always liked her food, ever since she was a tiny baby (well, she was never tiny - 11lb at birth, off the charts for length and head circ). However, it wasn't a problem when she was younger as she just had to eat the same things as the rest of us.

The problem has arisen since she started secondary school, and has had access to corner shops, Tesco Express etc on her way to school, and also spends time going to town with her friends. She has a set allowance per month (£20), so doesn't have acres of spare money - but she evidently convinces friends to either buy food for her or to give her money for it. I know this because I find wrappers stuffed under her bed, in her pillow cases, etc. She also gets friends to give her money so she can catch the bus to school and back, rather than walk (it's about 2 miles away, so just a bit too far for her liking).

I think part of the problem is that she started comfort eating when XH and I split up, and doesn't know how to stop.

She knows she is overweight, and is very unhappy about it - but the lure of crisps, Coke, sweets, chocolate brownies etc is too much for her to resist.

At my house, and at her dad's house, she gets decent home-cooked food and moderate portions. We have fruit readily available, though don't have puddings because XH and I don't like them particularly. I don't have any sweet stuff in the house because I don't have a sweet tooth (Pringles would be a different matter, though grin).

I am 5 foot and tiny all round, and am also pretty fit (walk/cycle everywhere within about 10 miles of home). XH is 6' 1", big built but slim (again, pretty fit). DS (16) is 6', also pretty fit, and like a beanpole, just for context. Though he doesn't half know how to rub this fact in.

DD has just been in floods of tears, asking me to sign her up for SW/WW. But I have no idea whether either of them would be any good for her. Please, please could anyone advise me? And I would, obviously, welcome any ideas at all which might help her. She is so sad (she is also bullied about it), and I would do anything to help her - though I know she is really the only one who can help herself. sad

OP’s posts: |
Blessthekids Mon 29-Oct-18 19:44:26

Before you go down the WW or SW route, can your dd access counselling? From my own experience, self discipline is never enough and over eating is always about more than the food itself. You mention she comforts eat due to the divorce, counselling could help her talk through her emotions which in turn will make any kind of change to healthy eating a much easier process. Good luck to her, I wish her all the best, give her lots of hugs.

LKRJM Mon 29-Oct-18 19:45:47

Slimming world etc are just as much as learning about healthy eating as losing weight so might well be a good idea! I found that getting exercise was harder than healthy eating. Try and see if she will join an exercise club with you or walk the dog etc. I joined slimming world and once I’d learnt the way of it after a few weeks I stopped going and weighed myself at home, I found it much more encouraging to weigh myself every day or every other day (I know this is slightly inaccurate) but even losing half a pound or less encouraged me to keep going that day - see what she feels comfortable with and definitely encourage her! Good luck OP xx

YetAnotherThing Mon 29-Oct-18 19:46:44

Oh gosh, that’s hard. I have no proper experience, but my inclination is to think she needs to retrain her relationship with food so that she has a lifelong solution, whereas SW etc sound more like a short term fix.... wondering if there’s someone she could talk to who could help her dissect her relationship with food. Also maybe a gym membership with you, where you could support each other and might motivate her? Hopefully someone helpful might be along soon!

mumto2babyboys Mon 29-Oct-18 19:56:39

Awh. Would she start going on walks and exercising with you
That must be so hard for her being so tall as well as big boned

My children are young but my ex was 6.3 and I worry they are going to be 6.7 or taller as they both hugely tall and big boned. They love their food, they have dinner and are hungry again an hour later.

Is there anything you think she'd be interested in going to. Like a spin class or dance class that she could go to once or twice a week to make it more fun.

I know you can't stop her from snacking outside the house but my American relatives put locks on their pantry so the kids can't go help themselves to junk.

What if you put all the unhealthy stuff that's normally in the cupboard into a locked toolbox and only allow one treat a day to cut down on calories.

Must be so hard for her!

tabulahrasa Mon 29-Oct-18 19:57:56

Slimming world for under 16’s is very much about thinking about what are healthier foods and habits, and the focus is on changing those rather than their weight on the scales.

That’s not to say weight loss doesn’t happen, but it’s not the same eating plan as for adults.

I could go into more detail... but how useful that would be depends on how familiar you are with slimming world to start with.

mumto2babyboys Mon 29-Oct-18 19:58:19

She could start off doing ww online so that she isn't under pressure to get weighed in public every week. But then I think that's how it works so well for most people that you know you have to get weighed so you stick to your diet

Unwiederbringlich Mon 29-Oct-18 20:32:42

Thank you, all. I posted this with trepidation, as I know it's a big issue for teenagers, and I of course feel like it's somehow my fault, so I appreciate the kind replies all the more.

Tabulah, I'm not familiar with SW or WW at all. I just happen to be built small and skinny (everything about me is tiny). This doesn't help poor DD, who envies me my non-figure - whereas I'd love to have some of her height and figure (I have never even owned a bra, as I have nothing to put in it). She is almost as upset about her height as she is about her weight. sad

Mumto2, I don't have snacks/biscuits etc in the house, not least as I don't eat them myself. I would eat crisps until I exploded, but that's the reason I don't buy them.

Yetanother I did look into gym membership, and bought her a membership for a few months (at considerable expense, which I absolutely can't afford - but I thought I would do anything). She went a couple of times on Sundays, but found it tricky (understandably) as she has compulsory school until 5.30 every day, including Saturdays, and also has a lot of prep.

LKRJM, I love walking, and will contrive any excuse to walk, endlessly. DS is the same, and has been since the minute he could walk. It's as if someone wound up a key in his back, and set him off. DD, however, has always detested walking. Even when we had a dog, whom she loved to bits - now sadly not with us, and no prospect of another due to work - she still didn't want to walk, though. We only live a mile and a half from the centre of town, so she could walk to meet friends (as I always do), but she still won't do it.

Bless, her school has a counsellor, and DD has seen her. However, she declared it to be a "waste of time". She refuses to see the GP; I have seen the GP about it, but the GP said DD needs to be even more overweight (!) before they can suggest anything.

OP’s posts: |
tabulahrasa Mon 29-Oct-18 20:39:59

If you’re not familiar with it at all, then it’ll get confusing if I explain too much, lol

But it’s about filling up on lean proteins, fruit, veg and carbs and also things like whole meal bread and cheese before reaching for snack type stuff... and what sort of changes they can make which won’t make them feel deprived or obviously dieting to peers, but that are better choices for weight loss (so for eg, what’s the better things to have at Nando’s or McDonald’s rather than not going with friends). and adding in activity as well.

With weight watchers I believe it is exactly the same plan as for adults but with more points.

dobby2001 Mon 29-Oct-18 20:43:42

Hi, I am a great advocate of WW and in earlier life actually studied health and nutrition , so could quote studies saying group weight loss is more effective than going alone.

However in your daughters case I would have a frank,but gentle discussion with her about what is going on, as what you describe (pillow cases with food wrappers in, persuading others to buy her food) is more symptomatic of an eating disorder than just a weight problem. I sadly also know this as my daughter has been battling disordered eating and receiving help from CAMHS for the last 2 years. Hiding evidence of eating and getting food by stealth are common indicators of an unhealthy relationship with food and this needs to be explored before and attempts at weight loss are attempted.
There are many types of eating disorder, and this site might help you understand why your post rings alarm bells for me. I hope you are able to find the right approach for your daughter.

Unwiederbringlich Mon 29-Oct-18 20:48:51

Tabulah, that makes me feel very slightly better, as that's what I'm doing anyway. The fridge is full of protein-heavy 'snacks' (chicken bits etc), cheese, hard-boiled eggs, veg sticks - she can help herself to any of that if she's hungry. But I've long thought in her case that "hungry" is a synonym for "bored", "tired", "miserable" and so on...

Which leads me to dobby. I came to the conclusion a while ago that she does have an eating disorder - and that, as with anorexia, she is the only one who can actually do anything about it. You can't 'force' an anorexic to eat any more than you can force a compulsive eater to stop eating.

I suppose all I can do is support her once she really does want to make some changes, as I can't police what she does outside the house (though I have been tempted to go to every corner shop on her route and tell them they are not to sell her family packs of Doritos!) It's very hard, though.

OP’s posts: |
Unwiederbringlich Mon 29-Oct-18 20:51:24

Dobby, I have just looked at your link. Thank you. "Binge eating disorder" seems to have much in common with DD's eating pattern.

Parenting is not easy. sad

OP’s posts: |
trickyex Mon 29-Oct-18 22:05:59

I agree it does sound very much like your DD has an eating disorder.
In your shoes I would go and see the GP with her and ask for an urgent referral to your local ED services.
There is help available on the NHS and its better for those under 18.
I think finding food wrappers hidden away is not an issue to be addressed by WW or SW.
There is good info on the BEAT site and look up ABC (cant link at the moment).
There is an ED board on here where you might find more support too.

Schmoozer Mon 29-Oct-18 22:12:02

I agree with possibility of binge eating dIsorder
I recommend BEAT
Overcoming Binge Eating by Fairburn
And assessment by GP

MintyCedric Mon 29-Oct-18 22:21:38

I can't offer much advice beyond what's on here already. SW is a really good programme for teens, and under the circumstances I agree that looking into some emotional support for your DD would be a good idea.

I was in a similar position with with my own DD earlier this year, also 14, 5'7, big boned and post mine and her dad's divorce.

Her weight had highlighted her for a while but not enough to do anything about it. In the end we joined the gym together and she really enjoyed it and now goes 3-4 times a week. She also started eating more healthily (basically less junk 'snacks', more fruit, swapped bread based lunches for salads etc). It was largely inspired by the fact that she now goes into town with her mates quite regularly and like them wants to be able to fill a bag in Primarni for £30, but at pushing a size 18 couldn't get anything fashionable.

Since May she's lost about 16lb and is now a size 14. She's hoping too lose another half stone and get into size 12 comfortably by Christmas.

It's really worrying and tricky to handle but it can be done, and will be much easier if your DD is ready to address it herself. Good luck.

mumto2babyboys Tue 30-Oct-18 07:02:18

Awh that's so lovely for her. Well done her!

Hope your daughter finds a class or something that she can enjoy. What about the couch to 5k programme. It's free online everywhere and running would make her lose loads of weight really fast

Unwiederbringlich Tue 30-Oct-18 15:34:17

Thank you so much for your advice.

@MintyCedric, it would be fantastic if my DD could do that. She also suffers when she goes shopping with her friends. She normally comes home in tears, because nothing fits her. sad

@trickyex, I think you're right about the wrappers suggesting something that might not be solved by WW/SW. The more I read about binge eating disorder, the more I think this might be the problem. I can't say how grateful I am to those of you who have suggested this as a possibility, as I had never even heard of it.

I talked to DD about it, and she agreed - for the first time - to go to the GP. She seems happier about the idea that it's a psychological issue, rather than just 'greed' on its own. Given that she also has very low self-esteem (related to her weight, no doubt, but possibly has other causes too), the holistic approach might be a better one for her than just weight loss.

Thank you again!

OP’s posts: |
trickyex Tue 30-Oct-18 17:00:50

Good luck OP
I really recommend ABC
They are hugely supportive and helpful and can offer practical advice to you on how best to deal with things.
You could leave the details lying around for your daughter (as well as Beat) so she can do a bit of research and hopefully feel less alone.
Are you able to say where roughly you live? There are some good resources in some cities.

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