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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D.A. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
I wouldn't over worry as she's only 10...but it sounds like you are worried about her self esteem. Tell her how beautifuly she is and do things that will help build her self esteem.
I'd definitely seek assistance with a doctor and dietician to make sure she's eating healthy all day. I've read and worked out with a personal trainer. One thing I've found in common is that we (everybody) should be eating 5-6 times a day...this means eating every 3 hours and eating small portions. If you'd like me to email you the plan I was on private message me with your email and I'd be happy to forward it to you.
Each meal consisted of protein, carbs, water, etc. I had fruit & wheat bread with my meat the first three meals of the day and veggies (no bread) the last three meals of the day. What I loved best was that I chose which foods I ate. I didn't eat anything I didn't like! :) I felt very energetic and healthy too! The trainer said that it would be beneficial for my entire family...husband 9 year old and 4 year old.
P.D. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
Based on your post, I don't think you are overreacting at all. It sounds like you are concerned mostly about her emotions and her body image. Let me tell you, as a chubby kid, I FELT like I was a fat kid. As a curvy teenager, I FELT like a fat teenager. It's hard to see the truth about your body when you measure yourself up against little stick figure girls. I am now a fat adult, about to make the step next month in having weight loss surgery. If I have one wish as a mom, it's to keep my DD from every having to feel about herself the way that I do. If I could make one wish to go back in time, it would be that my mom would have taught us about portions and making "deals" with ourselves about food. (i.e. if you have sugary cereal or pancakes for breakfast, make sure you have something healthy and lighter for lunch and dinner.) Believe it or not, not everyone has these skills. I have to be conscience of it EVERY day. The other thing I have had to learn is to find my worth in God, see myself as the person He created me to be. That helped me make my decision to have surgery. Good luck with your DD, keep being a great, caring mom...it goes a LONG way with your kids!
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.
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.
L.L. answers from Dallas on May 04, 2008
R....I feel your pain! I also have a 10 year old daughter that has been fighting a weight problem for a couple of years. Tears....tears...and more tears. What I have done with my daughter is to teach her portion control....sounds simple and hard...but it is the one thing that has worked. We both eat out of a small plate and eat just a little. She was wearing clothes in the girls plus sizes which broke my heart. Yesterday we were at JC Penny's and she was able to wear the regular pants with no elastic. She was so excited. Basically if she eats bread it is whole grain. She takes her lunch and eats good veggies, protein, and fruit. It can be done....just have to teach her how to eat at her young age. Good luck!