Body Image of Teenage Daughter

Updated on May 12, 2008
R.S. asks from Krum, TX
43 answers

My 13 year old daughter developed at an early age and is just a tiny bit overweight..(most of the weight comes from her chest). She recently went to see the doctor for a check-up. They weighed her, and she was very sad, because she was 140. She said that she didn't like the number that she saw at all. I told her, that "numbers don't really matter, don't worry what the scale says. You're healthy and active, so don't worry." She's now obsessed with her weight.

I've heard that if a mother has a bad body image, then her daughters read into it, and may have a bad body image themselves. I know that I'm overweight. This will be the first time in many years that I'll be able to shed some weight. I'd like to lose 25 pounds. How am I supposed to focus on losing weight (numbers on the scale) without influencing my daughters? I exercise every day at home, so she's used to seeing me active. I wanted to start the Jorge Cruise diet which focuses on eating small meals every 3 hours. How am I supposed to tell her that I'm trying to lose weight, when I've already told her that what the scale says doesn't matter?

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So What Happened?

Wow!!
I am so surprised at all the responses I got! It's really nice to know that I'm not the only mom in the world who's had issues like this. Thank you so much for all of your wonderfull advice!
I think that what I have to do now is focus on preparing meals a little healthier...olive oil instead of butter. Fruit and veggies instead of cheese and crackers for snacks. And I can't wait to get the whole family out of the house this summer to ride bikes and swim!
Thanks again!!

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P.M.

answers from Dallas on

Change the focus from only "losing weight" to getting healthy and the body shape will come along with eating healthy and activity.

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A.L.

answers from Dallas on

I am the mother of a 14 year old daughter who is concerned with her body shape as well...all her friends are skinny-minis, which is something she will never be. What I have tried to instill in her is that the numbers don't matter, but her health does. We have set up a lifestyle change for the whole family to improve what we eat (no junk food, sodas, or candy...snacks are now fruits and veggies...a real treat is a 100 calorie pack of cookies!), and include exercise (we walk, bike together). The numbers are important, it is how healthy you are and how good you feel because of it. Whatever you do, do together...it will be easier and you can both keep each other honest! Good luck!

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S.W.

answers from Amarillo on

If she's concerned about her weight that much, let her excerise with you. It's something ya'll can do together, and she might feel better about herself when she starts losing weight.

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A.S.

answers from Lubbock on

You have explain to her that the numbers dont matter now explain to her that how she feels is what counts.If she wants to lose the weightwhat better than a mom who is doing it the heathy way.You are the biggest influence in her life showing her that you can lose weight with diet and excersise is wonderful.She may want to do it with you.That is a lot better than her seeing some little twig with a eating disorder and trying to emulate her.Show her how to lose weight the right way and how to maintain a healthy deit.I cant imagine anything betterr for you and your daughter.

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G.A.

answers from Dallas on

I would have her join you in excersize, walking or biking or anything that will keep both of you active. All us us need to drink plenty of water and eat less portions of food. Depends on her height but she seems over weight to me. I am 150 and it took me 60 yrs to get there. Once you turn 20 they tell us that we gain a pound of fat a year. So she is very young to weigh that. Sugar is a killer and fat. Lots of veggies and fruits. Milk and they say whole grain food also will have a result in weight loss. I just got a list of foods and a FYI from John Hopkins that we all have cancer cells and sugar and milk fuel those cells. Cancer and diebetis are more likely with eating the wrong foods. My friend was giving her hubby peanuts daily found out it is also a fuel for cancer. Educate you and your daughter. I was skinny all my life and made fun of until now. I have more on me then I would like. At 17 I weighed 90 pounds. Good Luck G.

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L.B.

answers from Dallas on

I am a mom of 2 teens,both girls, age 13 and almost 17, and I have been overweight since age 6. My whole family started a healthy food and body journey about 3 years ago..starting with a at home weight watchers kit and a walk cd we could do at home. Now, the girls and I are looking forward to 3X week am jazzercise this summer, and swimming afterwards and I am happy to say my girls both weight between 130-14o pounds, but you would not notice it, s they are so much muscle and cute size 7's. We do not have sweets in house other than apples, and lower sugar juice and when they get in a choc. mood, it is a kiss they get!
Body image is a life time, and the sooner they get that, the better. You can do it! L. B
P.S. Email me if you want more info on jazzercise in your area or the in home cd's we used to have fun and get fit!
[email protected]____.com

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

This is actually the perfect oportunity to take an active roll in her body issues. You can eat healthy together and exercise together and this will teach her to tackle her feelings and issues in a positive way rather than with eating disorders or pills.

My son and I do this I have have taught him a lot about healty foods, and which foods he eats too much of At first I felt a little bad, but then I realized he would be prepared for adolescent growth spurts and weight gains unlike his peers. His cholestorol was high and he was a little over wieght--now a year later he actually hasn't lost any wieght(but looks like he has) and his doctor says he is doing better and does not want him to lose any weight, but not gain much either...

(A good rule of thumb is to stay on the outside of the grocery store rather than on the inside isles which I call the carb isles)

L.P.

answers from Tyler on

You tell her (and yourself) that you are changing your eating habits to improve your health. By focusing on healthy lifestyle choices and keeping the coversations centered on living a long and healthier life, you can easily avoid the weight topic. If she asks, tell her that each of has our own personal best we have to achieve by making healthy choices when we eat and moving our bodies. Emphasize that your personal best probably isn't a stick figure model sized image that you see in a magazine, but her best is still beautiful and wonderful and loved.

Accepting our bodies is an important step to overcoming weight focused stress. Bless you both, and I wish great happiness to you and your daughter!

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S.H.

answers from Dallas on

HI R,
it's scary how these young girls are so concerned about weight, my daughter is 13 and skinny as a rail, and concerned about weight, it's a very fine line. I too at the ripe old age of 48 have started to put on weight, and am starting to watch what eat. My approach is, not so much "dieting" as eating healthier. Emphesize (Sp) on the health aspect of your meals, the over all benefits of eating healthier things will have on your well being. And as far as watching the scale, just do that when she's not around. My husband has a weight problem, so i try really hard not to have a bunch of chips or sugary stuff around. So when they want snack, it's either fruit or they can make something, like hot sauce and chips, or a PB & J or nachos.
good luck!
Good luck!

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K.N.

answers from Wichita Falls on

I in no way would ever say that you should push your daughter to lose weight or diet if the weight was only slightly above average. If it becomes a health issue then i don't know what to say to that really, because I too was 13 and 145 lbs when I went to the doctor and immediately became very aware of my body and as my mother and I left the office she proceeded to tell me how she weighed less than me when she was 30 and it crushed me inside. she pushed me to exercise and called me chubby to other people and I became bulimic and then when everyone found out I was bulimic because I had lost double digit pounds in 1 month I became an exercising anorexic, I was obsessed with exercise, I wouldn't eat much and would exercise well beyond the calories that I was consuming that became very dangerous when I became 98 pounds 5'5" and age 16. I would hate to ever see another child ever have to go through that I don't ever think you would do that to your daughter, but, be very conscious about what she is doing to control her weight or maybe just to lose a little if she so desires and make sure that she knows she is beautiful no matter what the scale says and that as long as she is healthy everything will be ok, numbers don't rule us. I had to learn that the hard way. Anyway I hope I helped and didn't say anything offensive, god bless your family and your relationship with your daughter. A mother and daughter bond is a very important and vital part of a girls life. Good luck with things and just don't let the numbers become what she thinks makes her pretty or important.

K.

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E.W.

answers from Dallas on

Well, I don't mean this in an insensitive way, but sometimes weight DOES matter...not just for looks or 'society' image, but for health. If this is a health issue, and her pediatrician is concerned too, then you probably SHOULD get her involved with your weight loss...as long as you're choosing a program that involves all food groups in a healthy way.

One thing you haven't mentioned is how tall your daughter is. I'm 5'3" so, for me, 140 lb is on the high end of healthy (I currently weigh 150 though; I'm trying to lose weight too :) ). My goal is about 135. However, I have a trainer who helped me calculate that goal. We measured my current weight and body fat percentage to calculate my current lean mass vs. fat mass; we set a goal for what I WANT my body fat percentage to be; we then estimated that I, through the course of training, would GAIN 5 lb of muscle, and we were then able to calculate what my resulting fat mass should be and subtracted from my current fat mass to determine my weight loss goal :) . He says body fat percentage means a LOT more than weight. So, in that sense, you are TOTALLY correct in telling your daughter that what the scale says may not mean anything. As long as she is a healthy body fat percentage (I think low 20's to upper teens for a woman, to be toned, but not emaciated), then her weight actually DOESN'T matter.

It's wonderful that she sees you being active regularly. That's probably the best thing you can do for her! Maybe instead of telling her that you're trying to 'lose weight', maybe you should just phrase it as 'get healthy' or something?

Good luck!!!

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

Don't make the focus on weight loss/dieting. Make the focus on healthy eating (healthy foods, healthy eating habits) and exercise. Don't talk about "losing weight" instead say you are striving to be healthier for a longer, more active and fulfilling life. It you throw the words "weight loss" and "diet" around, then yes, she will definitely be influenced. And the two of you can partner up on healthy eating habits. In the end, it isn't about fad diets it is about lifestyle and eating habit changes.

I have a 13 yeaar-old as well and I understand where you are coming from. Her cousin is very much into body image and what other people think. I can see that my daughter is getting more focused on her own body image (she, too, has developed substantially in the chest area), and she has put on a little weight. But I am very cautious about what I say because I know her body will be changing more in the next few years, so I talk more about her eating habits (which are awful!) and try to encourage her to eat right.

I hope this was helpful and good luck!

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S.C.

answers from Dallas on

Don't say you are dieting, say you are trying to be more healthy, and allow the rest of your family to get in on it with you. Don't look at the numbers yourself, focus on how you feel and how your clothes fit and let your daughter hear that that is how you are gauging your success.

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L.G.

answers from Dallas on

I am a grandmother now- but was some over waight as a child - my mom was some over weight also - she wore a size 18 dress - she went on Weight Watchers and lost a lot of weight - I also went on WW a few years ago and reached goal - now I am a stay at home mom caring for my daughter who has ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease- she is on life support so I can not go to any meetings or even exercise - but I have found weight watchers on line - it is very easy and a new cook book was just out yesterday - maybe you could go on line and learn about WW and then make meals for your family and no one would have to know they were WW meals - just an idea - being a teen ager and a little over weight is hard - I hope this helps - just a thought from a grandmother of 2 greandsons age 8 and 12.

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

It's important for all people to develop a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise. You can tell your daughter that you are aware that you need to develop that - after all, having 4 kids takes a lot out of you physically just from the pregnancies and then raising them. If your daughter is concerned about her appearance, you can refocus her onto healthy living which may have an effect on her weight but the focus isn't on her weight or even her appearance. Healthy lifestyles that begin in youth or younger years will follow you through life. It will help you once you reach your middle age years and your menopause years. Healthy bodies can weigh more than unhealthy bodies because muscle weighs more than fat. So you can still discuss how the scales are not the real measure of being healthy. Focus on physical strength, stamina and general well being. It doesn't have to be about the # of pounds.

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Wow, it is hard at this age. I have a 13 yr old daughter, 5'4" and 105# and she thinks she is fat. I am 5'4" and about 116# and I will admit that I am very aware of my body. I am very careful to not convey the wrong message to my daughter and I know she sees how I am. She is one of the thinner girls in her group at school and she thinks she should be thinner. I really watch her closely.

We do not use the word "diet" around here. We do emphasize healthy eating habits. My daughter would live on salad and fruit if I let her. I am a lucky mom to have a child who prefers healthy food over junk food. Of course, we both get the urge for some junk now and then. The girls are much more aware of body image now because of tv, moms, magazines, etc.

One thing I stress to her is eating healthy and that does not mean she can never have any junk food. I don't buy any no fat/low fat stuff for my house. I believe that you are going to get fat in your body one way or another. I teach her to use moderation. If she wants some cheesecake, then have two bites and fulfill that craving. If you don't fulfill cravings, you will eat like crazy trying to fix the craving, therefore gaining more weight.

Healthy eating and exercise habits are a part of our family. No Diets are mentioned or discussed. It is a lifestyle.

My pedi is very sensitive to girls and she noticed when my daughter winced at 100# on the scale. She gave her a strong lecture on caring for her body, eating right, etc. That talk from Dr. Piga did a world of good for us because it came from someone else other than mom.

Best wishes to you and your daughter. It is tough out there for young girls these days. Kids can be cruel.

TF

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D.H.

answers from Dallas on

I can say that my mothers opinion of herself has definitely influenced my body image ideas. I was 5'8 in 10th grade and 110 pounds and thought I was FAT! so body image and teen years are already warped. At 13 she is probably much more intuitive than it appears my 12 year old son is. She already understands that there is a double standard from media (music, tv) and all of us here in the "real world" so my best 2 cents would be to be as honest as possible and talk talk talk about the good and awesome parts of her person that she can focus on great things like "you are a great listener" or "so considerate" I really would let her be, support her if she want to focus on a health lifestyle but with anorexia and bulimia so rampant I personally would try to stick to what her assets are. I still today struggle with it and would love to be like Queen Latifa because I don't think she has ever sat around and pouted because she dossent look like a super model in her clothes (not to say I haven't)her beauty comes from elsewhere and its really not what we were put here for. God created her perfectly and wonderfully made.
Good Luck

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

R.,

There's nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight! Yes, you've told your daughter that the exterior is what's important, it's what's inside that counts. That doesn't mean that you or she has to settle for being overweight. Perhaps you could help her and yourself (!) by focusing on your health. Instead of focusing on your desire to lose weight, you could both seek to improve your fitness level, your weight will adjust as a consequence of getting fit. It's a matter of perspective/motive/focus.

I am middle-aged. When my mom came to live with me, I realized that if she fell, I did not have the strength to lift her up off the floor. I had a number of health problems that had kept me from playing sports or moving too much, but I joined a women's circuit training place (like Curves) and started to work out. I could hardly move at first, because I was so stiff, weak, and out of shape. I've been working out for two years now and I'm much stronger and more fit. As a by-product of improving my health/fitness level, I have lost weight and inches and I feel so much better! A lot of my health "problems" have diminished also: poor memory, brain fog, arthritis-like symptoms... I look and feel much younger than I have for years.

A. - At home mom, two teenagers.

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D.A.

answers from Dallas on

Having struggled with my weight as a pre teen and teenager, I was in my 30s before I really realized that the number doesn't count. According to "the charts" being 5' 1" I should weigh no more than 125. Well, I've never weighed 125 and if you saw me you wouldn't think I'm overweight. I'm muscular and even more so since I work out. As long as you feel that the number is not important but how you feel and how you think you look in your clothes. At her age she is going to have some friends who are bigger and some who are more petite.

Good luck. I look forward to having to deal with the same issues when my daughter reaches 13!

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B.B.

answers from Dallas on

I will check back to read the responses that you get b/c I am in sorta the same boat. My 8 yr old daughter who is not over weight but is still not a skinny as her friends is worried about why she looks different than her friends. Talk about being hit in the gut... I was floored to know that my daughter was feeling this way. The only advice that I can think of is do not phrase it as you are dieting but rather you are making a lifestyle change. And have the change be across the board in the house. Focus on the fact that everyone in the house could eat healthier and be more active. Yes it is true that if a mother has a bad body image that the daughters usually pick up on that and see themselves as needing to do whatever to "fit in" with the way that they think they should look. I am considered obese by doctor's standards and I am working toward fixing it and my 3 girls know that and I tell them that I am happy with who I am but that I know that I need to lose weight to be healthy. I focus more on the healthy aspect of it b/c I have one daughter that is normal as far as weight and we are waiting on a growth spurt(she is shorter that her friends and has been in the same size shoe and pants for almost 2 years now so I know one is coming) and then we have one that is 7 and weighs only 47.5 lbs. skin and bones. Her metabolism is crazy! SO I have it both ways at my house and that is hard b/c one runs around saying how skinny she is and the other one is comparing herself to her skinny friends. I hope that by focusing on the health of it all instead of the outward appearance that the message of a healthy body will prevail. I hope this helps.

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K.N.

answers from Beaumont on

Weight watchers plan would be ideal for both of you. It's NOT a diet, it helps you learn good portion sizes, make good food choices, and still have the freedom to eat normal foods. It essentially retrains you to eat like everyone SHOULD eat. It also gives you such an empowering feeling, to be in charge of what goes into your body. How good would that feel for a teen that feels perhaps out of control when she thinks of her weight. It would be a super confidence builder.

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K.M.

answers from Dallas on

R.,

I have not read the responses of the other moms, but I would invite her to go walking with you in the evenings. It doesn't necessarily have to be about body image, but you can tell her that you'd like to lose some weight, too (or tone up, if you will) and that it could be a good thing to do together. My daughters are very young still, but when they get older, I hope to make that something that we all do together. I don't think that would teach her that you have a bad body image, but that you want to stay healthy and it's all about diet and exercise. It's okay to want to shed a few pounds here and there (even for her, as long as she doesn't take it too far), so if you're doing it together, it's another way to keep a close eye on her and keep the lines of communication open between the two of you.
Hope that helps.
K.

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H.O.

answers from Dallas on

It should never be about weight being lost, it should be about getting healthy. I weigh 180 pds, I don't care that I weigh that much, my only wish is to fit into my old jeans. If the whole family gets involved it would make it easier to.

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M.M.

answers from Dallas on

I think what you tell her is that you want to be healthier, so you are eating healthier. Whenever you talk about it don't mention the words diet or losing weight. Focus on you are doing something positive, so that you won't have health issues when you get older. Tell her you are trying to insure that you stay healthy so you can be there when she grows up. Just maintain that it is about becoming healthier and not about your size. Good luck.

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J.C.

answers from Dallas on

I would make sure she understands that you are losing weight to be healthy, not for numbers. Being skinny and being healthy are two VERY different things.

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

As a now grown person who had serious body image issues as a teen and young 20's... I advise NOT tell her you aredieting. SImply go from eating bad for you foods to healthy foods, stop eating huge amounts 3 times (or more) a day to eating reasonable amounts several times a day. Invite her to go for a walk with you. Discuss the fact that you want to live a long HEALTHY life so you've decided to eat better and increase your activity. BUT NEVER tell her you are dieting and are trying to lose weight. There is nothing wrong with changing to live a healthy lifestyle.

My mother worked in a weight loss clinic and weight was a constant worry for me. I went from a healthy 120 to barly 100 in high school and almost never ate. I LOVED people telling me I looked too thin (and still find myself longing for a "are you losing weight" compliment though I am perfectly healthy at 135). It was hard for me to deal with gaining weight to be healthy when I was pregnant. If our focus had been health instead of weight none of this would have been such a big deal. Good luck living out a healthy life.

PS: I advise you to mysteriously break or lose the scale (don't focus on #'s just on health) and DON"T try to sneak diet pills. I found my mom's she had hidden long after she stopped taking them and I took them, and am still tempted to buy some.

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J.C.

answers from Dallas on

Don't focus on losing weight, focus on living a healthy lifestyle. If you focus on making the whole family healthy you will have a much better chance of losing the weight and keeping it off. You can start to cook healthy, low fat meals for the whole family. I have gotten some great recipes from Cooking Light, that my Husband never guessed where good for him. Do stuff with your family like walking and bike riding. Make sure you have healthy snacks like fresh fruit in the house. Remember that even if someone is skinny, it doesn't mean they are healthy. It won't be easy at first, but you will be surprised at how quickly you can see results. Good Luck!

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B.B.

answers from Dallas on

Hi R.,

Why don't you suggest that you and your daughter do the diet together. That way you can atleast know what and when she is eating. So that she doesn't just stop eating altogether or do her own unhealthy diet. It may be a healthy way for both of you to lose weight and you can be supervising her without her knowing exactly what you're doing. She feels like she is accomplishing her goal and it will give the two of you good quality time and you can be teaching her good nutritional lessons at the same time.

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L.C.

answers from Dallas on

Maybe y'all could lose weight together, and it would be something that would bring you closer together. Just work your ideas (eating 6 meals a day into your routine) in your lifestyle. She can do that with you, espcially with summer right around the corner. Tell her that this is a more healthy way to eat, it is the truth. Make sure that she is active and try to not have junk food handy to snack on. Offer healthy options and have those ready to eat: carrots, broc., etc. She will be ready to return to school in the fall with more confidence.

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

You sound like me except my daughter is 9. What I have done is the whole family now eats healthy and my daughter walks with me. I have not placed the word diet into her vocabulary but instead use getting healthy. My daughter is a very beautiful, smart, and caring child.

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L.I.

answers from Dallas on

Oh girl! What an opportunity! Let her know what you are doing! Let her know that you want to loose weight so you can live a healthier, longer, more active life for her and possibly for her kids some day!
Don't hide it, She WILL model what she sees. If she sees you (as an "old woman") putting forth the effort and dedication that it takes to loose weight, she'll have an "I think I can" attitude as well! Never make it about your figure, you are beautiful like you are! You can be 50 pounds over weight and have incredible self-confidence, but you won't be functioning at your best and you will open yourself up to sickness/disease.
Make it about your quality of life and the ones you want to be there for! She'll catch the vision faster than you realize and she'll want to join you in the fight!

I can't wait to see how it goes!

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D.A.

answers from Dallas on

Rachel,
I didn't read other responses but you shouldn't think of losing weight as a diet. Think of it and talk of it as getting healthier! Then it has a positive flair to it, not negative. This will be good for your daughter. Eating smaller meals every three hours works! I worked out with a trainer last year and that is what he had me do...now I did eat the foods I liked, not what he told me to eat. If you want I can email the plan to you. Just email me at [email protected]____.com and give me the email address you want it sent to.

Congratulations for taking the time out of each day to get healthier, including exercise! Your daughter will thank you for the lesson of taking good care of your body. Hopefully she'll pass this lesson along to her own children someday. Not only will this say so much to your oldest daughter but the rest of your children and husband too!

Many blessings and I look forward to hearing from you!
D. :)

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D.B.

answers from Dallas on

Definately focus on health not losing weight. I have a friend who became obsessed with her own weight and now has a 10 year old with an eating disorder. There is a group of doctors in Dallas that might help. The practice is called Girls to Women and the treat 10 to 25 year olds. They also have a program to focus on healthy lifestyles for those at risk of obesity and eating disorders. My friend took her daughter for a check up and spent 2 hours with the doctor and another 1 1/2 hours with the nutritionist. If you google Girls to women dallas you can find them. It might help with her image.

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D.W.

answers from Dallas on

HI R.,
Tell her and show her that YOU are focusing on getting healthy. Have you had your blood work done recently? Maybe you tell her you have to focus on lowering your cholesterol, or blood pressure. The leading cause of death for women is heart desease. So as a family, focus on changing your eating habits and activity levels. Tell her you want to be healthy and around for her as becomes an adult. Ihave young boys and they notice everything! So when I stopped eating fast food this year and eating salads with my meals, they noticed. I don't want to send the message to them that girls have to eat a certain foods, or that they need to worry about being heavy, so I changed what my family as a whole eats, not just what i eat. I go to the gym, but I also go running in the park with them and recently got a bike. It's now become a normal part of our lives, not mommmy's diet. God Bless you for being concerned about your daughters body image. You are a loving mother!

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M.A.

answers from Dallas on

It’s simple mathematics. Tell her the truth that calorie intake verses calories burned equal weight gain or loss. Numbers on the scale do matter, it would be bad to tell her they don’t, almost like telling her she has no control over her weight and no responsibility for it.

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

R. maybe you could elimanate the word diet and say food plan. I know when I go on a food plan I always say I'm on a food plan to develop healthy eating habits,and then focus on eating more veggies and protein and less sugar.Good luck

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C.P.

answers from Abilene on

I think that maybe you should reword what you are trying to accomplish. You are not just trying to lose weight, you are trying to get healthy. If your daughter is so worried about her body image then maybe this is a good time to encourage her to take some control of her body so that she has more confidence in herself. What you are doing, exercise and eating smaller meals throughout the day, is a very healthy way to live. It isn't just a diet (you aren't taking pills), it is a healthy way of life. If the two of you can find a way to encourage a healthy lifestyle in each other, that will benefit both of you for the rest of your lives. She doesn't need to lose weight, she needs confidence and a confidant. I would tell her that even though you don't think that she needs to lose weight, maybe the two of you can sit down and go over some ways to be healthier together. This could be a very positive thing. By the way, I was a D at 14 years old and wasn't heavy anywhere else, I know how hard it can be.

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

Okay this is how I have gradually lost weight through the last couple of years. Cut out the following foods: no cokes (carbonated drinks), ice cream, chips, breads, pork, beef, french fries, gum (makes me hungry chewing gum!!!), milk. Eat a lot of beans, salads, fruits, vegetables, drink green/black tea.... Limited intake of cookies/cakes/pies/potatoes/rice/popcorn. I walk about a mile or two most evenings and ride a mountain bike once a week about six/seven miles. For breakfast, I eat an apple or banana and a big tablespoon of peanut butter sprinkled with cinnamon. Drink lots of water and get a decent amount of sleep. You might sit your daughter down and say this is what I am doing to loose weight. If you join me on my quest, maybe you can be successful too. If you set a weight loss goal of x-amount per week, maybe you can do a special thing like going out to eat but watch what you eat!!!

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S.W.

answers from Dallas on

At 13, it's okay for your daughter to know that you are trying to get healthy. In fact, I think it's a great idea for you to do this together! I was 140 pounds at 13 (5'4") and would have loved to have had my mom as a partner to getting healthy. I agree with the other posters - don't use the term "dieting". It's a lifestyle change. Diets are things you start and stop, but a lifestyle is something you keep for life. It's about re-learning or learning for the first time how to eat right. Maybe you could both go to a nutritionist together to talk about healthy foods and meal plans. Make the grocery list together and have her help you in the kitchen. Don't ever make any food "off-limits" because that only makes you want it more. Everything in moderation. Maybe you could both join a local gym (like a women's gym, city rec. center, or YMCA) and take fun aerobics classes together. With summer just around the corner, try taking aqua aerobics classes or just swimming together.

Regardless of whether 140 lbs. is a healthy weight for your daughter, if she doesn't feel good about herself or if she's getting teased at school (like I was at that age), then working together and being healthy is a great way to go. It will boost her self-esteem to know that she is doing everything she can to be fit and healthy and who cares what those kids at school say! In fact, get the whole family involved. It won't be long until you'll be picking up an apple instead of a Big Mac.

One more important thing - don't nag her if you don't see her doing what she's supposed to do to be healthy. Just set a good example and be strong for her. She'll follow your example when she's ready to.

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L.M.

answers from Amarillo on

if she's thinking she's heavy maybe it's what she see's. Don't diet. Change eating habits. This way she's not hearing DIET. Better eating habits help with weight consious teens. Work with her to help her understand the difference. We all fight with this cause it's programed into us by the media and tabloits. This will also keep her from having an eating disorder later in life...I've been down that road too. That hard to over come alone but it's doable.. Just talk to her about healthy eating and not dieting.

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

Dear R.,
Don't lose weight, get healthy!
You are already so far ahead of the game being active. You don't need scales, use calipers or some other body mass index calculator, if anything at all. And go for the high side of all charts for women, especially since you all are busty. (She has the best of all "flaws" a woman can have!) She needs to "grow into" her body. Growth itself will act as an exercise if she doesn't mess up her metabolism with fad diets. She WILL regret dieting at her age if that happens! By the way, what is her height and expected height? (Most girls grow taller than their moms with each generation.) Remember to stay on the high sides of all those arbitrary/antiquated charts. They are proving to be inaccurate as far as health and longevity go. This includes other "health" scales also such as cholesterol. There is a reason wide ranges are needed to cover all humanity and individuality. She must never lose her health and well being at any age, much less thirteen while she is still "morphing." In the meantime, help her out by going organic, especially to get away from growth hormones. (I still can't help but wonder what that does to boys. I'm surprised they don't end up with breasts.) You might also expose her to old movies and shows to let her see beautiful people before the modern "age of ugly and disease" became the fad. That is changing of course. There are numerous examples from Tyra Banks to the ill-fated Anna Nicole. She shouldn't follow their life examples but she can notice that men are more attracted to them than to "Twiggies." If your daughter doesn't become body obsessed and ruin herself, some young man will count himself very blessed to be her husband someday. I've seen old WWII movies where the hero was ga-ga over a girl and wanted more than anything to buy her a dress, size 14. Marilyn Monroe was stunning. I heard Rita Moreno, a thin actress, try to put her down on a modern talk show for her size, but no, her status as a "sex symbol" could not be shaken for a moment, the lady was seen as jealous. Victoria Principal of "Dallas" fame was actually more beautiful before she tried to modernize her body type and "drained/deflated" her neck and chest area. She's still lovely at her age but she was stunning before the harsh exercise to re-type her body. Your daughter will be stunning too, if she allows herself to grow from a girl to a woman. But true BEAUTY will come fom within.
God bless your whole family,
K.

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

I just wouldn't even talk about the word "diet" to your daughter. Just tell her you're trying to develop healthier eating habits. And, I would recommend to work especially hard and plan carefully such that what you eat for dinner is something you can serve to the entire family. I don't eat alot of carbs, but I don't restrict those for my kids. So, for example, if we have salmon for dinner, I just eat the salmon and steamed vegetables and my boys will have a serving a rice or potatoes. For other meals, I eat entirely different food (veggies and salmon for breakfast and salad for lunch). Also, just watching your portions can make a huge difference. For most folks, it's not the main meals that are the culprits, it's the snacks. If you have baby carrots and fruit in your house for snacktime rather than cookies and chips that's what you and your kids can all eat. You are right that the scale doesn't matter, but eating healthy absolutely does because it makes your insides better, with a bonus of usually improving your outer appearance. As well as the exercise you do at home yourself, you might consider a family exercise like bike riding. It is really important that we help our kids find exercises that they to can do for a lifetime. Our kids are the first generation that has a lower life expectancy than we do.

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D.C.

answers from Dallas on

The first and most important thing you can tell her and yourself is - muscle weighs more than fat. I have lost inches and sizes, but remain the same weight. Weight is a number and only a number - like age. Its a state of mind. Maybe you can focus on BMI or something else. I would talk to her doctor or maybe a nutritionist or trainer. Even if the trainer is just a friend to explain the differences.

Good luck!

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