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Dealing with overweight children. What’s the best way to tackle this please?

(11 Posts)
Eskdale2004 Mon 18-May-20 11:01:34

Not for me but for my DSD. She’s 10 and has just come to us last week after not seeing her for 7 weeks thanks to lockdown and myself and OH having underlying health conditions.

Before the lockdown it was obvious that she was starting to ‘fill out’ but we put this down to starting puberty, hips widening, breasts forming etc. She’s put on quite a lot of weight since she’s been away from us. I think not being able to go out much and not having the school routine hasn’t helped with this.
We usually have her every weekend and most of the school holidays as she lives 70 miles away and this is the most we can manage to see her reasonably. She’ll be staying with us for a month at least.

We eat healthily and I cook from scratch 90% of the time. I don’t want to deny her the occasional treats but she expects them several times a day and will have a fit if we say no. We’ve tried to encourage her to snack on fruit but she refuses. She’s getting slightly better with eating veggies which is great.

I had weight issues at DSD’s age but I was teased about it by my family and it really affected me. We would never make this obvious to DSD but I don’t want her to get to a point where it severely affects her self confidence (like it did with me - cripplingly) or cause health problems further down the line. We’re just trying to do our best at this end, her mum really struggles with her behaviour at home. She said that she will scream and trash the house if she doesn’t get chocolate pancakes for breakfast. Her mum is on her own so doesn’t have the back up of a partner etc to help.

As well as trying to encourage healthy eating and exercise, are there any other ways in which we can try to bring this under control? I don’t think the aim is weight loss but more making sure she doesn’t put any more weight on.

OP’s posts: |
Beechview Mon 18-May-20 11:20:00

Remind her of the benefits of healthy eating and getting the right balance of nutrients.
Have a look at why 5 a day is recommended with her and get her on board with everyone getting 5 a day and reducing sugar because it’s bad for teeth and health.
Education can help at this age.

sleepismysuperpower1 Mon 18-May-20 11:23:06

could you get a kids portion plate like this, put the food into it, and then tip the food onto a normal plate for her? It manages portion size to a kids amount and won't be obvious you are doing so if its on the same plate that you and dh are eating off. could you also have a snack basket. Get a basket like this, and put a few pieces of fruit, and a bears fruit winder or similar in the basket. Explain that these are her snacks for the day, and once she has eaten them, they are gone because the basket won't be filled again until tomorrow. It will encourage her to think about whether she is really hungry or just bored. Try also to encourage her to have a big glass of water often, since kids often mistake thirst for hunger.
Could you start doing PE with Joe every morning? Its a livestream on youtube that starts at 9am.

all the best

Eskdale2004 Mon 18-May-20 11:30:50

@Beechview thank you. We had issues with her teeth before her adult ones came through too. All of her back molars had to be filled and her front teeth were rotting too and she knows that eating lots of chocolate, sweets etc causes and exacerbates this.

@sleepismysuperpower1 some great ideas there thank you, I especially like the snack basket idea! I’ll definitely be implementing this. Myself and DD (6) do the Joe Wicks PE most mornings, DSD although encouraged to doesn’t usually get involved and will sit it out or do 5 minutes and then sit down. Ideally I’d like to go for more than one walk a day but it’s proving difficult with 2 to homeschool and an almost 1 year old 😬 thank you for the ideas!

OP’s posts: |
sleepismysuperpower1 Mon 18-May-20 11:33:51

No problem. I would do the basket idea for your dd also, so that she doesn't feel singled out smile

UpToonGirl Mon 18-May-20 11:39:57

Could you make one of your homeschooling lessons about nutrition/fitness etc - not drawing attention to why your doing it but starting to educate her without making her feel bad?

Maybe she needs a target to exercise, can you all train for a family sports day?

Marv1nGay3 Mon 18-May-20 12:18:47

As the mother of a teen battling anorexia I would tread carefully with the healthy eating messages. It can so easily spiral in the wrong direction as puberty approaches. Could you try making it clear that whilst she is with you then you are in control of what food is provided... and provide snacks that are filling but not loaded with sugar. I am sure that the behaviour might subside when she realises that it won’t work/ help her to get the unhealthy snacks she wants? Might she be interested in doing a yoga/ mindfulness online video? My younger dd, also 10, has got very into this kind of thing during lockdown. Apologies if it’s not helpful advice- I realise I am coming from a completely different angle- and it is such a minefield. Hope you find a solution.

missyB1 Mon 18-May-20 12:27:48

Sounds like anger management is an issue for her as well as sugar addiction. She needs help with coping with her emotions as well as adjusting her diet. I like PPs suggestion of yoga and mindfulness. Also try distractions such as outdoor games/ reading/ music. And I agree that calm but firm control of the snacks is needed. If she’s hungry she can eat fruit or other healthy snacks. Don’t get drawn into any drama or long winded negotiations/ manipulation.

Hagisonthehill Mon 18-May-20 12:31:34

The behaviour should improve as sugar intake reduces and getting there will be hard but worth it.
If you can withstand her tantrums in the long run you will be doing her and her mum a favour.

Eskdale2004 Mon 18-May-20 13:04:02

@Marv1nGay3 this is my concern too. I eventually suffered with an eating disorder and was addicted to exercise too in my teens, it was a very long and hard road to recovery. I’m sorry you and your DD are going through this too.

I don’t know whether it’s anger or the fact that it is like an addiction and once she has adjusted it’ll get better. I’m pretty good at not getting drawn into any manipulation with her whereas her mum finds that a lot harder - probably because I aren’t actually her parent and I know that she’ll play up more for her mum. All kids do!

OP’s posts: |
Marv1nGay3 Mon 18-May-20 13:43:44

Eskdale2004 thank you for kind words. I hope you find a way forward with your DSD.

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