May 06, 2008,
R.T. asks from Arlington, TX on April 30, 2008
Seeking a Way to Help My Daughter Lose Weight.
I'm the mom of a beautiful, but overweight 10 (soon to be 11) year old. I could really use some input on how to help my daughter lose weight. I send her lunch to school with her and make sure it is healthy. Usually, it is turkey (no bread), carrots with Ranch, fruit and flavored water. She is very active at school and when she comes home she is outside playing with friends until my husband or I call her in. I was taking her to the gym with me for a while but when they found out how old she was they said that she was to young to be on the equipment and that she couldn't join until she was 12.
There are times when we go shopping for new clothes for her that we both end up in tears because all the kids clothes are too tight and all the adult clothes are to "grown-up" so we end up with nothing. I am concerned about her health if she does not lose weight. I've heard that if a child is overweight at the age of 12 there is a good chance they will be overweight for the rest of their life. Any help is appreciated.
C.G. answers from Jacksonville on May 04, 2008
I'm sorry she is having to go through this. I know a few people who admit to being over weight as kids and young adults and they are slim now (they do have to work at it). I know that eating breakfast as early as possible is a great way get things started, and having more snacks or small meals helps too. some times stress of losing weight causes some to gain. Try not to "exercise" and go have fun. Dancing, roller skating, and swimming are great to boost self esteem and are underestimated. If these things don't seem to help, love is the only thing that remains. I hope you guys have great times together.
M.C. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
If your daughter is truly overweight then this is very serious. Type 2 juvenile diabetes is way up in our society and it is completely preventable. Your daughter may have a medical problem though like thyroid or something that needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Take her to be evaluated by a good doctor! If he/she says there is nothing medically wrong and that only diet and exercise is needed than I suggest you enroll your daughter and yourself in a program like Weight Watchers. The whole family should be educated on making good food choices regarding healthy eating. I am on a diet myself and have lost 51 lbs. in the last 11 months. I am relearning how to eat right which is so important.
The other thing I notice from your post is that you remarried. Perhaps your daughter is doing emotional eating due to some underlying factors. Perhaps she feels neglected since the new husband came into your life and is turning to food as a comfort? Even if he loves her and is wonderful with her you never know what can go through a kids mind. She ruled the roost until he came along and it could have an emotional effect on her. Perhaps a pediatric psychologist could help too? It sounds like you make good food choices for her lunch but what could she be getting on her own and why? If it's not a medical condition then this fat is related to overeating which could be a symptom of a larger problem.
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J.H. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
R. go to your pediatrician. Talk to them about your concerns.
They can recommend a nutritionist or dietitian. She sounds very active keep encouraging that. I understand about clothes not fitting well.. I am a l fluffy girl myself. Have you thought about looking in the junior sections? Or maybe even finding someone that can sow her clothes, they can usually make patterns from scratch.
Keep your chin up!
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M.B. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
You don't mention how overweight your daughter is, nor do you mention whether you and/or her father have weight issues. It is genetic, although lifestyle does contribute. I was a chubby child and your daughter is at the age when alot of girls are at their chubbiest just before puberty. So, I honestly would not be so, so worried. The impact on her self esteem of having her mother not approving of her weight is likely a far bigger issue. As far a shopping, you might consider some of the online catalogs like Lands' End that have high quality, classic styled clothing at reasonable prices and they have quite a few plus size items for girls (I am petite, so I can fit into some of the larger size girls clothing and they are really, really cute IMHO).
I think it's a fallacy that if your daughter is chubby at 12 that she'll be that way as an adult. I am no longer chubby (indeed I've had people call me thin, something I never would have imagined as a child who had very poor self esteem because I was the only chubby one in my family). You also don't mention what your daughter eats for breakfast - that's very important. I didn't develop a healthy weight until I started eating a good breakfast regularly. Also, I would get rid of the flavored water if it has artificial sweeteners. More and more research is showing that those actually contribute to weight gain.
In short, I would suggest you just keep feeding her a healthy diet, encouraging exercise (riding bicyles as a family is a great way for everyone to stay fit) and work to find clothes that complement her figure. The suggestion of others to work with a nutritionist is likely a good if you do have doubts about whether you daughter is getting adequate nutrition. Supplements can help in some cases. Also, having your peditrician checking the status of vital nutrients like B-12, folate and ferritin is a really good idea. In addition, you may want to ask that they check her thyroid as a low functioning thyroid (evidenced by elevated TSH) can result in weight gain despite a healthy diet and exercise.
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N. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
First, if she is eating healthy and is active, have you taken her to the doctor to find out why she is overweight? Does she sneak high calorie foods or are you providing other meals that are high in calories that she is overeating? If the weight gain is recent, it might have something to do with your recent marriage. If it's emotional, I would recommend letting her speak to a counselor about what's going on with her that's making her overeat. She's only 10 so if her eating is not emotionally motivated or she doesn't have some other underlying health issue that's causing her to gain weight, my best advice is to not make a big deal about it.
I was an obese child and I think I ate more every time my mom would mention anything about my weight. I think if my mom would have had healthy foods in the house, and didn't constantly nag me about my weight, things might have turned out differently. Instead, we ate very high fat meals, had high calorie snacks available all the time and my mother would sabotage me all the time by giving me treats as rewards. I am trying very hard not to do that to my children.
My daughter is slightly overweight. I think she eats more than the average child her age, so we've learned to keep healthy snacks like fruits. lean meats, whole grain breads, and vegetables available for those times she says she is "starving" and can't wait for dinner. We let her participate in soccer, at her request, as a way to get additional exercise outside of school P.E. and just general kid's playing and running around. Also, whenever she asks to get on the treadmill, we always say sure. She thinks it's fun and we're happy she's getting some extra exercise. We never ever tell her she needs to be more active or exercise more or anything like that.
I also try very hard not to mention anything about her weight. When she wants snacks, I usually let her have one "unhealthy" thing, like a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (always on whole wheat), but she knows if she wants anything else, it has to be something healthy. We pretty much let her have an unlimited amount of fruits and veggies. And our deal is that I don't care if she doesn't eat anything else on her plate at dinner time, but I expect her to eat all of her vegetables. I do that so that she knows she has some control and at the same time, I know she's getting the vitamins she needs to be healthy.
Bottom line, if you are providing her healthy food choices and opportunities for activity and exercise without making her weight an issue, she should begin to see some progress. Again, don't make it an issue and don't think it will change overnight. My step-son, who's now 21, was obese when he came to live with us at the age of 7. I did the same for him that I'm doing for my daughter, and by the time he was in 8th grade, he had lost so much weight he was no longer big enough to play a lineman in football like he had since his dad began coaching him in the peewee league several years prior. It was very gradual, but now he loves fruit and will usually choose that for a snack over chips or some other unhealthy option. He's very fit and lean and doesn't seem to have any food issues at all now.
My approach would be just to give her love, time and healthy lifestyle options and if she doesn't have any other underlying physical or emotional issues, it should all work out ok.
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M.D. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
Sorry, but I dont have any advice as far as weight loss goes. I did want to let you know that JC Penneys carries a whole line of girls plus sizes. All the cutest and lastest fashions. Give them a try and good luck to you and your daughter. Dont be too hard, if she is eating healthy most kids outgrow it.
K.H. answers from Dallas on May 01, 2008
Hi R., I come from a large family with lots of girls. The best thing you can do for yourself & your daughter is not to make a big deal of this. She could possiably have a thyroid problem but just change her snacks & her sugar intake as well as her portion size at meal time. If she is active as you say, she will balance out. I'm the big one in my family & have a grandaughter who is 10 & is overweight as well. If she is bothered by this or getting made fun of, just keep encouraging her to except and love herself for the beautiful person that God created her to be. Please don't let her know that you have a problem with her weight, this only makes her feel that you can't except it there is nothing worse than feelong unexcepted by the person that should love you unconditionally. I hope I'm not being to blount but I've been there with my oldest daughter as well. God Bless you both.
T.F. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
If she is eating healthy consistantly and getting exercise, I would have her evaluated at the Dr.
She is approaching (if not already) the age of hormones, etc and maybe something is off balance IF her weight gain is fairly new.
I have a 13 yr old, EXtremely health conscious to the point that I have to monitor that she eats enough. She would live on salad and fruit if I would allow it. She tells me of her friends at school who take healthy lunches, ditch them and get the junk in the cafeteria. These "friends" are slightly overweight. She also has friends here a lot and I make healthy dinners, etc and they just don't eat it. They prefer to order pizza, go to Chik Filet, raid my pantry which has very little junk, etc.
I feel for you and your daughter because kids are so cruel at school, especially at this age.
M.W. answers from Dallas on May 01, 2008
Hi my daughter was like this at age 10 to 12. What happen was I let her start riding her bike over to her friend who lived about 5 to 6 blocks away . They would meet half way the either ride to her friends house or to our home. Her weight started falling off plus she was getting close to age 13 . The teenage years around 13 to 14 she started to grow taller and thinner. But I think riding that bike all summer help sooooooo much. So try bike riding. Best wishes M.