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best friend putting her (normal-sized) 2yo dd "on a diet"

(21 Posts)
cakeisgood Fri 10-Jul-09 00:08:53

am seriously concerned about my bf. she's a normal weight herself but talks about weight (hers and her friends) and clothes a lot, while simultaneously insisting that she is not interested in clothes or her size.

her dd is 2, completely normal toddler size. bit chubby in the places you'd expect - cheeks, tummy, hands. she is not fat, or even slightly overweight.

bf told me that she has "put dd on a diet" as she is "getting fat". I told her that her dd isn't fat, she is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. BF says "but she eats so much, her appetite is HUGE". I say - but look at how much toddlers grow and how busy they are, they have to eat lots.

BF says "but she's turning into a complete chubster, she shouldn't be this size and she eats loads of cheese." I say - yes but toddlers are pretty good at self-regulating, I bet sometimes she doesn't eat all her meals ....

Couldn't seem to get it through to her that her dd is absolutely normal, does not need to go on a diet and in addition has never yet tasted cake, biscuit or chocolate.

ok, so her child, her choice ... but I am really concerned because if she goes on like this she is going to give her daughter a real complex about her weight / size / body.

WWYD? Don't know how to get this through to her that what she's saying is not only odd and inaccurate, but really setting her dd up for damage ...

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 10-Jul-09 00:12:21

oh dear. Maybe try and contact the health visitor or talking to her yourself?
A child this age needs nitrients, calcium is essential.

SolidGoldBrass Fri 10-Jul-09 00:12:22

Does she take her DD to clinic/health visitor? Could you suggest she talks to a healthcare professional (who will tell her to get a grip before she harms her DD)? Some people will not listen to friends but will listen to professionals - you could suggest to her that she needs to be careful about what she does and does not feed her DD and should seek medical advice.

PortAndLemon Fri 10-Jul-09 00:12:46

Could you have a word with your HV?

Northernlurker Fri 10-Jul-09 00:15:14

I'm not sure you can get through to her actually. I think there is a good chance she has an eating disorder herself. Sorry not to be of more help but this sort of thinking is so ingrained in some people that it's very hard, if not impossible for them to change. You don't share a hv do you? Might be worth mentioning to them, but even then I'm not sure they'll be able to say anything that will help. If she sees her child as fat it will take an awful lot to change that.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 10-Jul-09 00:20:03

Please feel free to disregard this but if it was my best friend I would be utterly blunt with her and say that she is displaying signs of an eating disorder and that I was going to contact her doctors and HV to say I was worried about her passing on her mental distress to her child.

However, I know I could say that to my best friend.

cakeisgood Fri 10-Jul-09 00:27:27

it is tricky. i can be pretty blunt with her, and am seeing her soon (we don't live near but speak a lot on the phone) so will try then.

I know she would never starve her dd, it's not a physical thing. she's prone to over-exaggeration so when she says "diet" she probably means switching to semi skimmed milk rather than full fat.

it's the ingrained mental issues of always saying things like "she's fat" "she needs to go on a diet" etc that worry me. just seems so wrong to be saying those things about a little person, particularly a girl, who isn't any of those things. it seems pretty obvious which direction this is going to keep going in and it's not a good one.

also the approach (which I know some may agree with) of saying dd is not to have choc/ biscuits / cake worries me. her dd has literally never tasted any of these things. my approach with dcs is htat they know what all of those things are and have them fairly regularly, but they also eat tons of fruit, veg, carbs, protein, calcium. very balanced diet, sweet things in moderation. I'd like them to be able to take or leave things rather htan see them as forbidden goods. I guess that's less of an issue here rather than the statements bf is making.

cakeisgood Fri 10-Jul-09 08:26:29

just bumping to see if others have advice - anyone know of any websites or anecdotal evidence I can use with her to show how these sorts of comments can negatively affect young girls all the way into adulthood?

cakeisgood Fri 10-Jul-09 10:31:46

another bump - please can anyone give some advice on what sort of thing to say to BF?

I don't think I can just say "I think you have an eating disorder and you'll give your dd one too at this rate." I feel like I need to be able to explain why this is damaging and it would be helpful if I could do a bit more research - anyone got any ideas?

It seems so obvious that it is a damaging hting to say, but BF is an intelligent woman and it clearly hasn't occured to her that she shouldn't be saying htis sort of thing about her dd in her dd's hearing, or to her dd direct.

thanks .... <<hopeful>>

Northernlurker Fri 10-Jul-09 17:29:45

I know you're desperate to help but I think the reason you haven't got any replies is because this is the very hardest sort of situation to 'fix'. I remember going to my deputy head to ask for help for a friend who was suffering with anorexia and had admitted to me she'd stopped menstruating. The head said she'd do what she could but in her experience (pretty extensive - it was an all girls school) people with eating disorders were very, very hard to reach and to help.
here is the eating disorders association website Good Luck

cakeisgood Fri 10-Jul-09 18:12:26

thanks Northernlurker - just want to go about it the right way and make BF understand that she is not going to give her daughter a healthy relationship with food if she grows up under this pressure... really appreciate the link, will take a look now.

frogwatcher Fri 10-Jul-09 18:23:09

What about looking up the number of calories a toddler that age needs (I seem to think it is almost adult amount) and dropping it into conversation and then talking about it. I can remember a friend mentioning to me that a child the same age as one of mine needed about 2000 calories or something (it was a long time ago so cant remember exact figures) and being so shocked that they needed so much. It may relax your friend a bit and almost give her 'permission' to relax and justify in her own mind giving cheese etc.

curlyredhead Fri 10-Jul-09 18:56:29

A book which I"ve been reading might be of interest / help for you and hopefully for her:

Health at Every Size It has some stuff on how different people have different 'set points' and that changing weight away from that setpoint is really difficult, and (crucially for your friend) how dieting can actually change a set point and make it more difficult to lose weight.

Another book which doesn't look like it would be helpful from the title, but which is about letting childern eat the amount / type of food they go for naturally and trusting them to find their own healthy weight and diet is My Child Won't Eat

Good luck, it sounds a really difficult situation for you, and I'm sad for the little girl and her mum.

SolidGoldBrass Fri 10-Jul-09 19:24:52

I'm afraid it sort of makes me want to punch the mother out and kidnap the child. NO, actually, to be fair, it makes me want to hunt down and deck every single fucker who ever peddled any kind of 'slimming' product. Because the 'slimming' industry is even more of a toxic brainwashing con trick than religion, and what your friend is doing is, sadly, not uncommon.

MissMoopy Fri 10-Jul-09 19:46:28

Your stupid friend should spend some time in an eating disorder clinic seeing skeletal girls vomit up a piece of apple because they are scared to ingest anything in case they get "fat". I am infuriated by your friends attitude. I hope you show her there posts so she might begin to deal with her own issues about food and weight before she inflicts them on her innocent child.

minxofmancunia Fri 10-Jul-09 20:13:34

She should have sat in with me with an anorexic patient I see for therapy, have been seeing her fortnightly for 6 months and in that time she's put on 3lb she's just about staying out of hospital, that's the reality of giving kids, particularly girls food isues.

Me and my little sister are obsessed with our apperances and are both highly self-critical, I can't look at photos of myself as I feel so anxious thinking I look ugly, sister (size 10) is almost delusionally pre-occupied with being "fat". It took dh to point out that all my Mum does is go on and on about how fat, ugly and awful she looks and always has done as far back as we can remember, all there ever was in the fridge when we were growing up were diet and slimming products and shelf after shelf of dodgy diet books.

Talk of this type is banned in our house in front of dd (she's 2.9) as I SO don't want her to grow up with the same issues. I love her belly and her cheeks and dimply hands!! When she gets a stomach bug and I can see her ribs that's when I get worried!

She eats loads of bread and cheese etc. She needs it, children of this age are on the go constantly.

minxofmancunia Fri 10-Jul-09 20:15:58

"Toddler Taming" by Christopher Green has a good chapter in it about toddlers nutritional needs, maybe show her that? Very sensibly written IMO.

MissMoopy Fri 10-Jul-09 21:17:09

Minx, I agree entirely. I do now allow any talk of diets, fatness, weight etc in my house and around my dd. I grew up in a house where both parents were obsessed with their bodys and food. I was bullied by my father my entire childhood to lose weight. Your friend needs a wake up call.

MissMoopy Fri 10-Jul-09 21:18:47

I meant NOT allow. Not NOW allow! Sorry.

cakeisgood Fri 10-Jul-09 21:50:46

thanks all. so sad about the teenagers in therapy minx. I have toddler taming so will look that page up and give her a copy.

she's an odd one, because she doesn't do "dieting" herself, ie there is always nice food in the house and she's not into shakes and slimming bars etc. she would probably do those hot water and lemon / cabbage soup for a week type diets to lose excess (she is not fat but nor is she skinny). It's just that she talks a lot about her weight, puts herself down, comments on my figure (I am not fat, nor am I skinny!) in a way that no other friends do. But if I said to her that it's something she seems to be overly preoccupied with, I htink she would be very surprised and deny that, I think she feels that she's just voicing outloud normal concerns that most women have.

will see if she talks about it either in front of or not of her dd when I see her next and try and talk to her about what she's saying. I honestly think that she would be surprised if I were to raise concerns. Ironically, her MIL is even more obsessed with looks and weight and comments on BF's weight - which BF hates and leads her also to ridicule her MIL's attitude! all seems very mixed up the more I think about it.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 10-Jul-09 22:03:55

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