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AIBU?

Child weight issues

64 replies

Twistables · 26/12/2019 02:02

How should I handle my dd's (12 years old) weight? She has always loved her food - she was way more excited by xmas dinner than any presents. My dh is really overweight and will be getting a gastric surgery soon. I've noticed my dd has a bigger tummy than she ought to. Aibu to tell her? I'm afraid she will suddenly become self conscious and she isn't at all yet. She reckons she looks slim. She is very active. The problem is portion control. This has always been a battle but, now she is 12, I just don't have as much control on this as I did previously. I need her to realise she can't eat like a horse without gaining weight. She keeps arguing- just like her father- that each specific instance is perfectly ok. I'm totally worn out by the constant fights over what she can or cannot eat.

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Okbutno · 26/12/2019 09:09

Also you mention the belly twice. It's a really terrible idea to focus on appearance rather than health or overall weight. We can be at a healthy weight but have parts of our body that aren't toned or bigger than others. I don't mean this to sound goady but you don't sound that emotionally mature op.

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dementedpixie · 26/12/2019 09:14

Is she actually overweight or are you focusing on her body shape?

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SteeperThanHell · 26/12/2019 09:22

What does she actually weigh and how tall and old is she?

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Twistables · 26/12/2019 09:31

Thanks everyone. It is SO helpful to have perspective. I find it difficult to chat with DH about it as he has dysfunctional approach to food. She doesn't yet know anything about surgery. I don't know how to approach this? For comparison, I also gave a DS who has an ordinary interest in food and is thin. I won't mention the belly. Previous poster's are right, I've always had a belly myself and my sister also has this belly, even when she was very thin, so it's a touchy subject. She hasn't had her periods yet and I'm very interested to hear this might be a pre-puberty thing. She has always been v tall (about 5'5) but I can't see how BMI would tell us much. I'm afraid it would throw us off course - make her anxious; force me to reassure her; but then again, maybe that's exactly what we need? She has no boobs but a lovely curvy wrist and hips and I presumed the BMI can't account for this unfinished stage? We do have healthy food but it's the butter/ cream/ pasta that goes with the health fish/ green veg that is the problem. I will up my effort but tbh I'm so tired of it all. I keep my own weight down but I'm not perfect and I find it so hard and tiring arguing with DH and DD. Maybe it'll be easier after the surgery?

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dementedpixie · 26/12/2019 09:34

So she may not be overweight after all, you are just fixated on her body shape?

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Booboostwo · 26/12/2019 09:39

OP there is nothing wrong with having a belly. There is nothing wrong with being overweight. Excess weight is only a problem if it causes health issues or self-esteem issues, otherwise it is not 'excess weight' it is just how a person is.

I think you should talk to your DD about your weight image issues and tell her what you regret about how you see yourself, but only if you love yourself and your body.

Your DH should definitely talk to the children about his weight issues and prepare them for the surgery. Things won't necessarily be easier after the surgery, it is not a magical cure. Assuming he has a gastric sleeve, your DH will react quite obviously to some foods, so he will need the strength of will to avoid them. He will also need to be disciplined to keep his portions low, because over time he can stretch his stomach again. He will also need medical supervision as he will be at risk from malabsorption and malnutrition. My Ex lost quite a bit of weight at first, but he still yo-yos because of eating habits and exercise, but admittedly at a lower weight than before.

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Booboostwo · 26/12/2019 09:40

Sorry, forgot to say. The NHS BMI is a very good tool and adapted to children, it will take her sex and age into account. You can just input her weight and height, you don't need to tell her you are doing it or discuss her results.

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ShinyGiratina · 26/12/2019 09:44

Smaller plates make a difference to the portion size served and the satisfaction in getting through the portion.

If she asks for more, don't say no, but wait a few minutes for her appetite to settle. If she is still hungry, then she can have more. Over years of buffets at children's parties, the heavier children will tend to load their plate up with a piled up portion to begin with. Leaner children with big appetites will tend to take a more modest sample then return more times in tune with their appetite. It's not so much that there's a great difference in food consumed on that occasion, as that it's easier to stop in tune with your body's needs when your default is smaller.

Don't ban anything, make it more occasional.
The danger of swapping sugar to sweetners is that you're not actually changing the behaviour of desiring sweetness. Better to have the real thing less often than confusing the body's signals with diet/ reduced versions.

Put the right balance of foods on the plate. Vegetables are great, but don't go overboard as that's still training the appetite to go large when presented with other options.

OP, learning to cook a good range of simple, nutritious everyday meals without the lashings of very calorie dense ingredients will be beneficial. Cooking doesn't have to be complicated, and there are so many simple recepies and videos out there, it is easier to learn than ever. For every day cooking, a few techniques go a very long way, because they transfer across food types.

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Margaritatime · 26/12/2019 09:48

OP, I was over weight as a child and still am. As an adult I reflect back on the attempts made to stop me eating sweets etc..My Mum was really good at providing a healthy diet, it was the extras and lack of exercise that was the difference between my sister and I.
The one thing I realise now is that no one ever asked me how I felt about my weight, they always told me what they thought and imposed this on me. I therefore fought against it.
You have a good opportunity after your DHs surgery to sit down as a family and talk about his diet, the families diet and to encourage your daughter to discuss how she feels.
The worst thing for me is banning certain foods, it's about eating healthily but having some foods occasionally as a treat. Also finding the right exercise is key. I personally think the NHS change for life is a good resource for anyone wanting to eat healthy and getting regular exercise. www.nhs.uk/change4life

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MT2017 · 26/12/2019 10:16

DS2 has grown from 5ft 7 to over 6ft in just one year.

He eats like a horse so am assuming he has more to go...

Op, I think you are worrying because of your DH's condition. Your DD sounds fine but keep an eye on it if it makes you feel better but no, don't mention the belly for now.

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Twistables · 26/12/2019 10:26

I'll weigh her soon. But maybe bringing her to the doctor for this would be better? However I would need a pretext; she would be very freaked out if I brought her to the doctor just to check her weight. I believe she'll be a few pounds overweight (eg 6 pounds). Tbh I don't hold much respect for BMI - I rely instead on the visuals. As it is now she is broad shouldered, big boned but perfect except for her tummy. My sister gives an objective view on this issue. As a baby my DD was notoriously heavy to lift even though she was visually thin. My DS was very light even though he was equally thin. This heavy bones thing is true. I figured that out about my DD when she was 2 and she was definitely perfect sized at the time. I don't think I have body image issues myself. I enjoy my food. I'm size 14 trousers and size 16 top (big boobs, wide shoulders) and I'm 5'10. I'm happy enough with that. I've never been thin and my shape is nice. My DH is extremely dysfunctional and self-deluding around food. This is the real problem but in the meantime I'm trying to protect my DD.

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Twistables · 26/12/2019 10:30

Thanks @MT2017 I'm just so worried about my DH and also worried about my DD's learned habits. I won't mention the belly!

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WellErrr · 26/12/2019 10:32

There is nothing wrong with being overweight.

🤦🏻‍♀️

Reading this thread it is no wonder there are so many overweight children around.

OP, well done for noticing and caring. I would casually weigh her and find out if/how much overweight she is.
Then get an appointment with the GP, first telling them alone/in a letter to give them to read when you walk in why you are there and that you don’t want to make her feel bad. Tell her it’s a check up, don’t focus on the weight.
And go from there.

As far as food at home goes, I’d just not buy anything sugary or unhealthy. She can’t eat what’s not there. No snacks in our house except fruit.

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Lippy1234 · 26/12/2019 10:39

My friend had bariatric surgery two years ago and her DC all lost weight afterwards. I think because my friend could only manage such small portions and couldn’t eat anything sweet it definitely rubbed of on her DC who are late teens/early 20’s.

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dementedpixie · 26/12/2019 10:43

Do you have scales at home? Can she not weigh herself there? Do it for everyone so she isnt singled out. You dont need a doctor.

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Booboostwo · 26/12/2019 10:44

WellErr I will 100% stand behind my claim that there is nothing wrong with being overweight. Overweight individuals can be healthy and fit, it depends on the individual. And even if someone has health problems due to their weight they should never be made to feel bad about who they are or how they look, nor should they feel they are morally at fault for their body shape. Children are not overweight because we don't judge them enough for it - in fact the opposite is true, children who are made to feel bad about themselves are more likely to overeat for psychological reasons.

OP taking her to the doctors just to weigh her would be overkill and would certainly draw the wrong kind of attention. Is there no reasonable excuse you can come up with to weigh her and measure her height? We need to know the weight and height of children for car seats, medication dosage, growth charts, etc., wouldn't any of this make a reasonable excuse for your DD?

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Newmummy64 · 26/12/2019 11:24

Don't tell her! I was overweight when I was younger and was told all the time, even made to go to weight watchers at 8 years old! I'm the most self conscious person about my weight until now (28 years old) and had some serious eating disorders.

Please don't tell her but try and change what you have in the house, make a conscious effort to eat healthier together and go out on walks together.
I think telling her would have a detrimental effect on her.

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WellErrr · 26/12/2019 11:50

WellErr I will 100% stand behind my claim that there is nothing wrong with being overweight.

And I will 100% stand behind my claim that your belief is damaging bullshit.

I was overweight when I was younger and was told all the time, even made to go to weight watchers at 8 years old!

I know people who’ve done stuff like this to their kids.
8 year olds don’t get fat by themselves. It’s not their fault in any way shape or form. Their PARENTS allow them to get fat. And then blaming the child for it is just disgusting.

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OceanSunFish · 26/12/2019 15:54

Personally I weigh and measure my DC every now and then (say two or three times a year). I don't make a big deal of it at all ("Let's see how much you've grown" "now jump on the scales"). Then I privately calculate their BMI and make a note of it. I think it's a useful tool, it can be misleading at times (eg if they're just about to have a growth spurt) but this evens out over time. As others have said that should help you to understand whether there's a problem or not.

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LadyTiredWinterBottom2 · 26/12/2019 16:18

Really don't mention it. I remember the exact moment my sister became anorexic. My mother told her she was too fat to wear a new dress. Actual anorexia, for years, l'm not exaggerating.

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mrsbyers · 26/12/2019 16:20

Just change your family diet to be healthier

If your husband is going through surgery sticking to lots of butter and cream will mean he won’t lose weight as he will still get a lot of calories in small portion so it’s time now to start to change for very one

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Twistables · 26/12/2019 19:59

Got it! Her BMI is 23.4 she is 58.4kg and 158cm. It's exactly as I suspected. Not great. At risk of being over weight, just about getting away with it

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Crazycrazylady · 26/12/2019 21:28

Op I think you have a super opportunity with your dh s operation to drive a new healthy eating agenda for your family. That way it's not at all about her but about your dh.
I think it's great you are aware and a bit concerned. Way too many parents don't seem to care.

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ProfessionalBoss · 26/12/2019 21:36

Your daughter is at the age my eating disorder began... Be careful please...

I hid my weight loss from everyone until I was 16, my periods had stopped, and although I was 5ft 8in tall, I only weighed 5st 11lbs (that's 81lbs for those in the USA)

Although I'm slightly overweight now due to medication, I always say I'm in recovery, because left to my own devices, I can go days without food as I don't get hungry...

I realise that as a parent, you're going to worry whether she is underweight or overweight, but the best thing you 6is buy nutritious foods, have healthy snacks in the house, and maybe once a week have a special night watching a movie and eating "junk"...

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amusedbush · 26/12/2019 21:45

Please don’t make a thing about her ‘belly’. My mum did when I was around your DD’s age, she took me to a slimming club and all it did was drive me to do was eat in secret.

I’m almost 30 and have suffered with eating disorders for 18 years. I’ve been almost suicidal when in the grip of binge eating disorder and have lost/gained up to 5 stone every other year for as long as I can remember. My mum made it all about ‘bad food’ and how awful fat people look, and I wouldn’t wish my eating habits on anyone Sad

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