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My 12 YO DD has got quite big on lockdown, def within the overweight bracket(51 Posts)
we've had endless conversations about healthy eating and activity levels. I don't know how to tackle this anymore without weighing her and putting her on a diet.
With the lockdown she won't be able to access the corner shop, so whatever she eats, she finds in the house. What are you buying? what does she snack on?.
At that age, becoming heavier is a mix of hormones, puberty, eating and controlling cravings. If you add to that living in pjs or baggy comfy clothes, it is hard to notice you are putting on weight.
Talk to her, and maybe select some recipe together to do in the house. And clean you cupboards binning all the snacks, crisps and the like. Stop buying any fried food, any white flout product, and take charge of the content of your kitchen and what is served on the table.
What does she tend to eat and drink in a day?
weighing her and putting her on a diet.
Do not do this! Unless you want her to have issues with food and her body for the rest of her life. Diets don’t work anyway.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re stuck in our homes. Most people will be putting on a few pounds! It’s a very stressful time. Don’t make if worse for your daughter.
Yes, cook nutritious meals and get out for a long walk every day. But don’t make your DD feel any shame or guilt over putting weight on.
You're on lockdown. Any snacks, meals, activity and so on is entirely under your control. You don't need to weigh the poor kid, you need to make sure there's healthy food and enough exercise.
Everyone in our house does an hour (at least) of sweaty exercise a day. DD can complain about Joe Wicks but that means running with mummy or even worse, weights with daddy. Trampoline pike competitions? Stair climbs. We do weird things to stay active.
She's eating what's in the house, so what are you buying?
I won't weigh her or put her on a diet. Before lockdown, eating ridiculous amounts of sugary snacks was a daily occurrence, I only realised when I found empty wrappers all over her room. She had at that point started putting on some weight but it was very difficult controlling this side of things as she would eat in hiding. Now on lockdown she does not have access to this type of food. At home we don't eat processed food and do not keep things like crisps or chocolate. But she does eat a carb heavy diet. I think what's tipped the balance is the lack of activity. Suggesting that she builds in some activity into her day is like I am slapping her across the face. Say on a gorgeous day like today I ask her to go for a gentle jog around the block, even offer to go together. She absolutely doesn't want to go with me, and despite asking her to go put her leggings on so she can go and get on with her day, she takes ages to get changed, and I find myself chasing her, then an argument follows, so I make a point of leaving her to it, trusting her to set up her own routine, and two weeks on she's literally done nothing.
I don’t think the average 12 year old can be expected to go for a gentle jog. I’ve never seen one.
I have a dd same age and she has lost a bit of weight during lockdown as she is not in school with all the chocolate and crisps etc. which I don’t provide but find the wrappers in her lunch box. Also no McDonald’s at the moment which she does like at the weekend.
It’s hard and complicated due to the individual. In my dd’s case she is very sensitive about it and I can’t even drop a hint about healthy eating. All I can do is provide a balanced diet for her.
At the beginning of lockdown we sat down with DD13 and explained that we needed to put some structure into the day to keep everyone fit and well both mentally and physically. There was much grumbling from the teenager and a massive meltdown at the beginning but now she’s started to enjoy the daily walk and the family Joe Wicks session in the morning. We do it together and make it fun - everyone ends up laughing at each other.
So perhaps that’s the key? Involve her in the discussion about what you as a family need to do to keep well and enforce the daily family walk. She’s never going to do it if you give in to her.
My DD used to do Parkrun with my DH up until quite recently and would easily run 5K in 25 minutes. She's strong and has the capability of being quite the athlete, but she sabotages herself, does nothing for ages and then can't be bothered. She is incredibly sensitive to any comment about her appearance so I have to be so careful. However the result is that she's done nothing and the weight has piled up. I feel this makes me a neglectful parent. There's no junk food in the house, which is not to say we don't treat ourselves to pizza and sweets on weekends, but it is certainly not a daily thing.
I think you need to set the example and encourage her to join you. We do Justdance videos on Youtube for bit of fun, exercising without really noticing it's that!
Bribe her to go on a daily walk with you, even download an app to track your distance/time etc so you have a challenge each day, don't tell her she needs to exercise, just ask her to go with you so you're not on your own.
If all else fails then I would bribe her with whatever works as it is so important she does something!
Does she have a bike? My DD cycles whilst I run. Makes it more fun for her.
Yes I think the bribing is the only thing left to try. I myself alternate between the 30 day shred and couch to 5 every single day. Honestly I 'invite' her to join me every time. She reacts like I've just spat on her. We have a lot of countryside and lovely walks around us and we try to do family walks; quite often there's a horrible half hour initially trying to convince to join us, and then simply telling her she has to join us, and then she has a right face on her. She does have a bike.
Exercise would be very good for her, but being overweight is really caused by what you eat. An occasional gentle jog would have a negligible effect on her weight. Unless she's doing the shopping and cooking the meals, what she eats is within your control. Don't 'put her on a diet'. Just don't buy unhealthy snacks, and increase the veg and decrease the carbs/fat in the family meals.
Surely as presumably you're the one buying and cooking the food, you are the one that is responsible for the carb heavy diet?
Swap the carbs for more veg, but for the whole family, not just your dd. Go out for a walk as a family.
Whatever you think about your dd diet, actually it needs to be all of you that makes a change!
I’ve been making my younger DC (12&10) come on an hour long walk/bike ride with me daily. I involve them in cooking which makes them more likely to try new things, if they’ve helped to cook/choose the recipe.
My DC have always known you don’t help yourself to ANY food in the house without asking (apart from the fruit in the fruit bowl) I keep a very close eye on what they’re eating because I was an overweight child and suffered the teasing etc and don’t want them to go through it.
DD goes on the exercise bike quite a lot and enjoys skipping. DS is usually outside kicking a ball about and practising his ‘skills’. Half the battle is finding an exercise they enjoy, then it’s pretty easy.
Do you have a Wii? My DC used to love doing the bowling/obstacle course games and the general exercise/yoga.
I think you may have to employ a bit of tough love (and it is love!). And tough parenting.
You need to have a frank conversation with her about her body. I don’t mean you should say; “you’re getting fat, so stop being greedy.”
Perhaps sit her down and tell her that she is probably not going to enjoy this conversation but you have to have it because you love her. And say it’s OK that she’ll be in a strop afterwards.
You Need to tell her you are worried about her health. She is at a cross roads. She can easily put things right with a little bit of exercise and thought about food (which you can help her with). Or she can continue and she will get fat.
And if she puts in weight it is hard to shift it.
It’s not her fault, hormones are a bitch, but it’s unfair and that is life.
Does she want to be an overweight teenager? Does she want to be teased? Or compare herself to her thin friends?
I think you have to be honest with her, but give her support. Explain that it’s not just her fault. But you can fix it together.
I would also get her a FitBit. Not one that counts calories burned but just one that logs activity. Get her into challenges and reward her with clothes or books or anything that she may like that is not food.
You will be the bad guy. But you really are the good one because you care.
I so sympathise, my ds10 is the same but we do have the junk in the house as honestly is is cushioning the blow of life on hold. I do hide it though and get it out bit by bit so no-one binges.
Ds does about 10 mins a day of gentle trampolining. He did a bit of Joe wicks at the start but now has lessons from 9-4 so it doesn't fit in. He does have a pe and games lesson in timetable but largely refuses to do what is asked of him.
He hates exercise, even when times are normal there is only one place he will walk and that is not an option at the moment. He hasn't left the gates of the house for nearly 7 weeks.
We are going to deal with it when this is over. He always loses weight when school starts after the holidays.
Good luck op
I was your DD. I finally lost the weight (I'm in my 30s) over the last two years. I'm proud of myself but my body is destroyed. Saggy skin everywhere. It's worth it to me, of course it is, but I wish I'd lost weight when I was young enough for it to snap back again.
Maybe looking at some pictures of people like me, who've lost a lot of weight, might help her come to that conclusion herself. Reddit progress pics is a good site for it.
Exercise won't make much difference in the weight. It might be good for health, mood but not for big changes on the scale.
This said, when stuck in the lockdown, the amount of time, one diverts towards the kitchen in ridiculous.
I might go against the crowd here and tell you to enrol her in revamping your kitchen arguing that both have put on weight, blame it on the lockdown, not her, and sort your fridge. Sauces, processed cheese (anything square) , sugary yogurt if any, drinks and so on.
It is not a diet, be clear, it is a change of life style for the all family and forever. You can talk about weight without being cruel. I found that here in Australia (I am French) there is a taboo about talking about weight .
When she was a baby , you taught her to walk and talk, when she was a child, you taught her to cross the road safely and ride a bicycle, , as a pre-teen now you teach her how to eat for a healthy body. The next step, you will teach her how to shave/wax her legs, and later how to stay safe with boys at parties, who to accept lift from and so on. Weight is one of many tricky conversation. As long as you don’t blame, hurt or shame, it is part of life. Avoiding that conversation might be worse. I don’t know. It might be cultural. In France, we talk but mainly we lead by example and eat a lot less industrial food.
Most days, we have a piece of meat/ fish /eggs / tofu (for me, the only vegan in the family) with a couple of veggies. Avoid fried food from chips to fish or limit them to once a week. Of course , we have rich dishes, but the average weekday dinner is quite simple.
Maybe reconsider the way you cook and eat in the house as a family. Write down the average meals you cook and how you cook it and check them on cronometer.com to a analyse their nutritional value.
Try to cook your meats, fish without sauces or jars, but use fresh herbs, rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper.
Try new dishes and new veggies, aim at 10 different veggies in a week - sounds a lot, but it is less than 2/day. A cucumber and tomatoes salad with some tuna for lunch, brown rice with roasted pumpkin for dinner, a steak with a butter lettuce, omelette and green beans, sautéd spinach and herb coated chicken breast with thinly cut fennel salad with a squeezed orange juice, grated carrots with parsley and roasted chicken ,
Try one of these example once a day.
It is also about the frequency with which you put something in your mouth. In France, normal people don’t eat in the street while walking or carry food/ snack in bags, we don’t take lunch boxes to parks
You can start by watching some sugar movies or industrial food documentaries together.
Also apply some rules on where to eat. Only eat in the kitchen or dinning table, not in front of tv, bedroom and all together as a family .
Of course, you can still prepare pasta, but avoid white sauces or cream. Prepare an authentic sauce with crushed garlic in a pan with olive oil , to which you add a bottle of passata and leave on low heat for 30 min, add salt , pepper and 4 or 5 basil leaves.
Reconsider the bread loaf if you are buying the typical white and maybe bake your own with a mix of wholemeal and spelt. Industrial bread is so spongy, soft and fake. It is hard to binge on old style bread, a slice will satisfy you.
Do not demonise carbs or anything, but do avoid ultra-processed food, industrial artificial food, anything that has more than 4 or 5 ingredients listed, anything that you can't replicate in you kitchen because it need high pressure or a degree in engineering. Try to avoid refined carb, this yes, so white flour, white rice, and so on.
I have listed general observations and most probably don't apply to you, but maybe there are a couple of ideas you might reflect on.
I don’t know you, your DD or family and don’t want to make hurtful assumption. Good on you for seeing an issue, and wanting to tackle it,
Exercise won't make much difference in the weight. It might be good for health, mood but not for big changes on the scale.
For adults, I agree. But with children, I do think it makes a difference. Not a sedentary 12 yo doing one walk. But I put a pedometer on DD once and she does an insane number of steps and it does make a difference.
Thank you everyone. I've taken lots of good advice from this thread. Appreciate it.
I feel your pain op. My ds is also 12 and a couple of years ago started putting on weight. He is tall so can kind of carry it but he is a little overweight. His sister, who is 2 years older is very slim so it seems a little unfair but I guess we are all different.
He is not sporty or active at all and the only exercise he got was the walk to school
And back (roughly a mile each way) so I was concerned for his health when schools closed.
Somehow me and his dad (we are separated but both run) persuaded him to give jogging a go and every other day the two of us go out together and run/walk a 1.5 mile route. We set little challenges along the way to make it more fun, like run a lamp post/walk a lamp post and over a couple of weeks he has really started to push himself. When he ran 12 lampposts the other day he was so proud of himself and that’s what I want to focus on rather than weight. I also try and drag both kids out when I walk but at their age I can’t force them and if I do it’s miserable for everyone!
He doesn’t eat too badly as I cook pretty healthy meals but he does have a big appetite and I know as a mum it’s hard saying no, especially when food is the only pleasure a lot of us are getting at the moment!
Good luck with it all x
My 12 year old ds hates running but he does love going on his bike, so me and dp walk or run and he rides. Some days we do 20 minutes, some days we do an hour.
What does she like doing?
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