My Daughter Is Having Issues with Weight and Her Self Esteem...

Updated on June 14, 2009
L.T. asks from Vancouver, WA
30 answers

I have posted on here before and it was very helpful, so thought I'd give it a try again.
My 10 year old (going on 11 next month) is so concerned with her weight and I am very worried about her self esteem. She complains to me EVERY day about "how fat she is". She has always had a little round figure, but I would never describe her as "Fat". This is the first year that she has really been upset about it. She'll say things like "look at how fat I am, you know it's true Mom.." and " I'm not swimming this summer, because I'm not wearing a swim suit!" which just breaks my heart. I have recently joined the weight watchers online..partly for myself but also partly to be able to help her to make better eating choices. We have started to be more active together..playing tennis & walking. The hard part is even though she complains about her weight...she fights me on eating good and complains during activities..(I guess that would describe most of us who are trying to diet...) I am so worried about putting to much emphasis on "dieting". Instead I am saying "All of us need to eat healthier and be more active." I am in a constant battle with her over what she is eating...mostly it is the amounts she is eating. I have been buying healthier foods, but she will still eat too much of it
at one sitting.. She fights me on eating fruits and vegetables almost always. I'll send fruit in her lunch and it almost always comes home. So as you can see..we have having some control issues!!

Anyways, any helpful advice would be appreciated. I want to express again that I am mainly concerned about this because of her own self esteem and how she is feeling about herself. I continue to tell her how beautiful she is!

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

I first of all want to say a big thank you to all who replied! I also have to apologize for taking this long to respond back. I wrote this at the beginning of summer and then with all the summer activities, time has flown by! I appreciate all of the advice and suggestions. This summer both of my daughters were very active with swimming, tennis and walks. We read the "Dove" ads, which my daughter really liked! I have been purchasing more healthier foods and trying to stay away from the boxed foods. I have taken the struggle out between us in regards to trying to control everything she eats. I have made an appt. with my daughter's doctor to discuss talking with a dietician or nutrionalist. My daughter has still been making the remarks about being "fat", so I am hoping that by her learning what is good and what's not and portion sizes will be good for her to learn at this early age. I wanted to thank those of you that gave me good book choices to read also. Thank you all again for all the great suggetions and for all the thoughtful comments! It so nice to have a place like Mamasource to get such great advice from wonderful & caring moms and grandma'S!!!

Featured Answers



answers from Springfield on

IF you can, get her involved in some kind of high intensity activity that she'd enjoy. I know that I really enjoyed dance classes at her age and I was able to slim down quite a bit that way.



answers from Portland on

you are right to be concerned. She is very sensitive and how you react is important. Cutting calories and taking food away will only slow her metabolism down. is she interested in learning about new foods or cooking right? is she interestee in attending a class to learn about how food affects her? I could give you my class schedule if you are interested.
That is great that you are exercising with her. There are tons of activities to do in the summer. I would be happy to talk about some options that I am using that have been helpful to me.



answers from Portland on

I read most of the responses but not all so I don't know if this is a repeat. Have you thought about having her make decisions about things like what she packs in her lunch. Or having her pick out one snack a week and you pick out the others. Sometimes when a child is feeling controlled, they becoming more controlling and a great way to break this is to allow them some choice.

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answers from Seattle on

Hi L.,
Boy, do I understand what you are going through. My twin daughters just turned 13 in May and they have always had those cute "little round figures" as well. Of course I have always been aware of that....complimentary bathing suits aren't the easiest for them to find, and they can't always wear the same clothes their friends do. So, inside I've had the SAME daily battle as you are having. We see those shows on TV that say "parent's are responsible for their kids diet and weight" but aren't parents also responsible for their kid's "self-esteem and self-worth?" What to say? I struggled with how to talk to girls about making "good choices" without making them feel that it's all about their weight. We are a semi- active family but we also live in the NW which can sometimes make it hard to get some good old fashion exercise.

So, this is what I did two years ago. At about 11 (same age as your daughter), they started noticing that they were bigger kids. Not really fat.....but TALL and SOLID (they did have some extra around the middle that could go) you know what I mean? Well, they thought they were fat. So, I just said,"I don't think you're FAT....but if you would like to feel better about your body, I'd be glad to help". I also added in that I needed THEIR help to make ME a healthier mom. I asked them what they thought would make us feel better. What healthy foods they liked and what their favorite exercise (activity playing outside/inside) was. We hit the grocery store together and each picked out one thing new. A new vegetable, fruit, lower calorie snack or salad dressing to try. We started finding things we liked. Dill Pickles, Cucumbers, Frozen Grapes & lower calorie puddings & JELLOs were our big hits!!

For exercise, we bought a trampoline and they use it EVERYDAY. We also bought them an IPOD and a little portable speaker so they could get lost in their music out there. If it rains, they take a towel out as soon as it stops raining and dry it off. Bikes & scooters are an EASY one too. As soon as it stops raining.....go take a ride. We are also members of the YMCA. We found fun ways to exercise together. Walking the track, playing racket ball (just having fun hitting balls around) and even walking on the treadmill while watching TV. Our Y has a TV screen on each machine which is helpful.....go to the Y when their favorite show is on. It keeps their mind off the boring exercise. When they get down about the exercise (and they do), I try to be understanding. We sometimes just go home and relax together. But if I think they need a little push, I remind them that they are helping me keep going when they exercise. Just 5 minutes more? It usually turns into 15 and they are lost in a show again. LOL!

For diet, we talk about calories and we look at nutritional guides eating out together. They were blown away at the calories on that chart..."Wow mom, guess how many calories are in THAT?" It was almost a game. I explained how much a pound calories and how much you have to do to burn off THAT MANY calories. They love the information.

When we eat out, I ask them to "help me" make a good decision about what to eat. At Red Robin we all look over the menu and they helped me figure a good but still yummy way to eat out for 500 calories. After looking at those charts, we usually share a meal. Portion size is a key. We rarely eat out anymore but when we's not just dry salad. A big part of us getting and staying trim was NOT EATING OUT anymore which is HARD when you're a busy family....I know!!

Start with the small stuff: Better snacks for them when they get they don't go searching. Popcorn & cut up veggies & fruits. At first, I put out cheddar cheese with the apples and a little low cal ranch with the cucumbers and carrots. Now they sometimes just grab an apple on their own. We also cut out milk (except at meals) because my girl's loved it. Instead, I encouraged them to drink water (add some lemon and a splenda or a little sugar) or have fruity iced tea in the fridge, instead of juices or pop.

I hope that is a little help. Just know that you are NOT alone. Many GOOD moms are going through this same battle. Especially up here in the NW. And this year was a tough one.

At girls are now playing softball and have slimmed down. They are still tall and solid girls but they don't notice that much....they feel confident in their bodies. I couldn't be happier. The road ahead is still a long one I know!!! I can't wait to see what's next......well, maybe I can wait!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Wow! It sounds to me that there are many issues going on here.

Maybe you could talk less to her about how much she eats and even less about what she eats. You can't make her choose the right foods. What you can do is provide the correct food choices. Most of America eats junk, junk, junk! The problem is that they think they're eating well. Are you providing fruits and veggies for her and crackers and cookies for the rest of the family?

When my older girls were 10 and 13 years old and concerned about their weight, we bought the book "The Stop Light Diet". Your daughter can be an active part of making the right choices. In the book, the Green foods can be eaten anytime, Yellow means eat with caution, and red foods are big NO-NO's. Both of my girls are adults now with slim healthy bodies. My oldest walks every day on her lunch hour. But....I used to walk with them every day. We did things together. And I never never never shook my finger at them when they would have a "red" food. We all need our treats.

When I read your post, the first thing that came to my mind is: "Where is this girl getting her ideas of a beautiful body image"? Is she watching Hannah Montana, iCarly, or any other "kid show" that is really throwing seductive images and teenage issues in her brain the entire time? We refuse to allow our 9 year old to watch shows that focus on the outside when what really makes you beautiful is who you are on the inside.

We live in a world that has images coming at us all the time that project thin hips, big ta-ta's, and sexy hair, while at the same time we can't drive for 2 miles without running into a McDonald's or some other fast food restaurant with 2500 calorie meals.

Good luck to you and your daughter. I wish you both the best. Keep telling her she's beautiful and work on molding her character - not her body.

~P. G.
Portland Preschool Directory

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Not an easy subject. But it could be a wonderful thing that your daughter is noticing her discomfort with her own body image BEFORE she's awash in teen hormones. She'll have a couple of years to make adjustments and learn new patterns before becoming totally obsessed. But she'll need your help and more mature perspective to work through this.

I'm struck by two things in your request. The first is that food has become a battle between you and your daughter. If you are fighting her for control of her food choices, rather than simply supporting her in identifying her own needs and strategies for success, you will almost certainly lose. Fighting for control, in fact, is the foundation for many, if not most, eating disorders.

The second is that If you use prepared, prepackaged, or processed foods with any regularity in your household, of if your daughter has access to these during or after school, you might wish to investigate the possibility that her brain circuitry has been "hijacked" by the food industry.

Modern food products are loaded with fats, sugars, flavors and textures that are carefully designed to make us want more. Like addicts, we may have to spend time away from those foods for our natural appetites for healthy, natural foods to become available to us.

There's a great new book on this subject called THE END OF OVEREATING, by David Kessler. I heard him interviewed, and am purchasing this book. You can read reviews and see a video by this author at

Good luck. This is not an easy problem you and your daughter are facing. But if the ingredients in the foods she's eating are part of the problem, it is possible to "reset" her biological brain responses for more natural eating.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Bellingham on

This is such a hard issue and it is great that you reached out for advice. And a lot of great advice has been given. I totally agree with Emily and her advice is right on the money and I will tell you from a biochemical point of view why.

Weight loss and being healthy is completely related to insulin. I don't know what you know about insulin, so I will just tell you what I have learned. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by your pancreas in reaction to blood sugar that is produced by what we eat.

Insulin tells your body to store fat. On top of that, it keeps your body from burning fat, and it also makes your body crave carbohydrates, so more will be produced. It is like our body's very own heroine. And it also suppresses the hormone leptin, which controls our appetite. So we have a harder time telling when we are full. So you can see insulin is a very bad thing for any of us, but especially those with weight issues. Now you may be thinking that addressing insulin is just for diabetics, but this isn't about being a diabetic or not, this is about how our bodies process the food we eat, and how it affects us, and specifically weight loss.

Now as any "dieter" can tell you, diets don't work. And the reason they don't work is because you can's sustain them indefinitely. That is why real weight loss comes from a change in lifestyle. And you can't just change your daughter's, everyone has to change. There is no way you can give one of your children fruit snacks (all sugar btw) and your 10 year old celery, as I'm sure you know. And changing your lifestyle will benefit everyone just as much as it benefits your daughter's weight. This may be hard medicine to swallow, but your daughter will only be willing to eat right, if all of you do. And even then it may take some time.

So what to eat? Well to control insulin, you have to control the amount of sugar and starches (your body turns them to sugar immediately) that you eat. And sugary foods, include fruits believe it or not. Now I know fruits have vitamins and antioxidants that are good for us, but eating a lot of fruit will just spike insulin, and shoot yourself in the foot against what you are trying to accomplish. So don't push too many fruits on her. Instead, push proteins and vegetables. Now most kids aren't that big on vegetables I know. But your diet starts at the grocery store. If you don't buy it, you won't eat it. So that means no more soda's, fruit juices, processed sugary foods, even cereals are just mostly process sugary grains. Instead, start serving high protein foods, drinking water, eating fresh local vegetables, and seek out local meats. A local meat cutter will have the names and numbers of local livestock farmers. Just remember to look for grass fed.

Breakfast is a tough one because our society has made breakfast into a sweet starchy meal. But humans are the only animals that differentiate our diet between different meals. Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and can be made so many different ways. Just don't overdo them or they can quickly become allergic (this happened to me). But a yummy omelet for breakfast, with some of last night's meat chopped into it, with a few pieces of celery or spinach mixed in, would be a wonderful alternative to cereal. Even leftovers from dinner the night before can make a wonderful breakfast. Pretty much, if it comes in a box, it's bad. If there are ingredients you can't pronounce or understand what they are, it's bad. High fructose corn syrup is something to really watch for and avoid. Like Emily said, if it can be pulled from the ground, it is good. With a few exceptions. Vegetables that grow underground are starchy. So potatoes, carrots, beets, any roots, use in moderation, or avoid altogether. I know carrots are high in beta carotene, but use them with moderations, because they cause a high insulin spike. Familiarize yourself with the low glycemic index. That will become your bible.

I know that school lunches are a tough one, because we have to pack them something, and the food most schools serve is terrible. But I found a barbeque that smokes food called a Treager, and I make my own beef jerky, and my kids love that. The love nuts, cheese, etc. Avoid soy products as they are most likely genetically modified, and high in estrogen. Lunch has kind of become a snacky meal with lots of good packable things tossed in. If you have to send a sandwich, use a sprouted grain bread, it is lower on the glycemic index.

Dinners at our house have become a meat dish and a huge yummy salad chock full of lots of different greens and veggies and a tiny bit of fruit and topped with nuts. There is no limit to the variety you can put in a big salad. Use your imagination and put what they like in there. And it is so important to find grass fed beef. The beef in the store is grain fed, so high in insulin to begin with, and it is also high in Omega 6 fats, and low in Omega 3, the opposite of what grass fed beef is, and what you want. I get my pork from a local farmer and make my own bacon on my smoker so it doesn't have nitrates, same with my hams and I am more than happy to share those recipes. We eat organic whenever we can as well. Just do what you can is what I always say.

The other side of weight loss of course is exercise. Exercise burns insulin! We all slip up and eat things we aren't supposed to all the time. But exercise is our savior. Find something she likes to do and do it as a family if you can. The wii sports are great! Bike rides, walks, swimming, playing outdoor games, just keeping her moving and motivated. TV is a health sucker and not as hard to go without as you think. I haven't had cable in 10 years and don't miss it! We love to play board games, read popular book series, rent a select few movies instead. But especially in the warmer months, get them outside as much as possible!

Well I hope something that I said makes sense to you and helps even a little bit. Just follow your Mother's intuition and you can't go wrong. Good luck and good health to you all.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

This is just a thought.. I had weight issues growing up.. I was a little older 13 or so.. my mom paid for visits to a registered dietician that worked with children.. what difference it made in my life.. She paid out of pocket b/c they were self employed and didn't have very good insurance.. but I would put a call or visit into her doctor and maybe there is a way that your medical insurance would cover the visits and they could work hand and hand with her regular doctor.. For me growing up it was hard listening to my mom about portion control ect.. but having an expert help me and me once a month made me want to learn good eating habits and have goals.. The dietician really made me feel good about myself and food.
Best of luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Girls and young women are the target of many toxic messages in our culture. Appearance and body image are only part of the damaging belief system being thrust upon our daughters. You are doing the right think by stressing the importance of eating healthy foods and being active. Still, you will have a difficult time overcoming the messages she receives from her peers, others in her life, and the media. One thing that seems to help is for girls to have an interest or activity that they do regularly which gives them a sense of accomplishment. Sports and dance are particularly good, because the teacher or coach will likely emphasize healthy eating and exercise. But really, the value is in the feelings of self worth and accomplishment, so music, art writing and many other similar activities can help.

I encourage you to read a book called "Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls" by Mary Pipher. She is a clinical psychologist. Her book is very insightful and readable. It's good information to know as a parent to help your daughter navigate adolescence. It was written about 15 years ago, but I think it remains very timely.

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answers from Seattle on

Hi L.,

Have you heard about Dove's campaign for real beauty? Basically, it's a program designed to alter our views of who is beautiful which is not the stereotypical skinny, airbrushed supermodels. They also work with younger girls so they can overcome society's negative effects on their self-esteem. I don't know much about it personally but a friend of mine had just mentioned this to me because she's worried about her 9y/o.

Here's a link to the website so you can check it out:

Here's an interesting video that you can show her to see an idea of how what we see in magazines is not what the model really looks like:[cp-docu...

Good luck. If you're really concerned, you can speak with her pediatrician about referring her to a psychologist because they do work with girls that young to prevent any potential self-esteem issues or eating disorders from developing. Most insurances should cover that as well.


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answers from Medford on

Dear L.,

Something that worked with my daughter, Dotty, was to fix 2 choices of lunch... one was healthy, the other was not. I would place them on the table and say "This lunch has fruit and healthy food, and that lunch does not. You choose." Then I would walk away and not say another word. At first she took part of each, but eventually started taking the healthier one. She was 11 and by the time she was 13 she was slimmer and healthier.

Also I let her help fix meals in the kitchen and explained why somethings would make you fat and others would not.
You might like to try this with your daughter.

Good luck,
C. M. Hamlin

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My first reaction would be that she is repeating what she is hearing from girls at school, from the culture she is exposed to (media) and that she is wanting to exert a little control.

A lot of times for kids and adults, the more emphasis put on food and weight, the more it becomes an obsession.

I would sit her down and talk about why she thinks she is fat, what is a healthy weight for her age and more importantly what are healthy food and lifestyle choices for her age. Don't talk about it in terms of fat and skinny but in the light of overall health- energy levels, skin and hair health, future health, etc- the weight issue is just a side benefit of a healthy lifestyle. Focus also on healthy lifestyle rather than 'dieting'

In the future, when she talks about being fat, instead of telling her what to do about it, ask her what she thinks she can do about it, ask her what she is doing about it- if she is not willing to have self control and make healthy choices then she dos not have the right to complain about the results of the choices she is making.

At the same time, you are the parent- you control what you can as far as what kind of food and snacks are brought into the house in the fist place, what kind of example is being set - in the home, when eating out, etc.

Also, keep an eye on any other behavior issues that might indicate a deeper problem - is she isolating herself from her friends, making poor choices in other areas of her life, how are her grades, and what kind of entertainment choices is she making (garbage in, garbage out )

Figureo ut if there is a sports or physical activity (dancing , martial arts, etc) that she might be interested in learning or doing and get her enrolled.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I didn't get a chance to read all the responses so I'm sorry if this is a repeat.
I've been over weight most of my life. Now I have a 2 year old daughter and I've changed my ways. I don't necessarily believe in a diet. Eating healthy and making good choices should be the norm for everyone. If you change things in your home for everyone, it will eventually become the norm. My husband fought it when I told him no more white flour products in the house, only whole grains. Now, when I ask him to pick up a loaf of bread he knows whole grain and doesn't try to bring Wonder Bread into the house. Every meal has fruit with it, lunch and dinner have a veggie and snacks are a fruit/veggies and some other food (crackers, etc). If you and your husband change your ways she will catch on too.
Like someone else suggested, find an exercise she will like. Kickboxing, working out at a gym, walking, running, dodge ball, etc. So many fun things out there to try.
I do think you should take her to the doctor, like one of the other woman said. She if she is really over weight and see what her doctor recommends. Maybe a little counseling, or an appointment with a nutritionist.
I hope you can nip this in the bud. Like I said, I've been over weight most of my life and regardless of how much weight I lose (with the process of changing my eating and exercise habits, I'm losing weight) I still feel like I'm a fat pig that people will laugh at if I'm in a bathing suit, or just walking around. I don't want my daughter to see that level of self esteem from me, and I'm sure your daughters won't want her kids to see her that way some day too.
best of luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Take her to the doctor so you can get an objective opinion on whether she is overweight. If officially she is NOT overweight but is just larger than society seems to think girls or women should be, THEN your job is to be that lone voice that tells her a different message than society at large: It's okay to be different. Not everyone has to be stick thin. God seems to get pleasure out of making people different sizes, so we should too. You look great! I think you're adorable! Lots of successful people are curvy! Remind her of the healthy range and that she's in that range. Tell her it's much wiser to accept who she is and expect other people to accept and love her the way she is than to change to please them. that can lead to lots of trouble.

If she IS overweight, a dietician might be helpful so that you can elimitate the mother/daughter challenges and stress. Then it's just between her and the dietician and you can back off.

In either case, probably the best thing you can do is provide healthy foods and compliment her for who she is.

Maybe you need to pay more attention to who she's hanging around. some girls can be very unhealthy influences.

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answers from Portland on

At almost 11 I wonder where she is getting the message that she's overweight? Is it from her fellow classmates, TV, movies... I would concentrate strongly on getting her comfortable with who she is. Her body is still growing and will change from a child to a young woman. Being round is not fat and that everyone has different bodies and their all beautiful. That Dove programs sounds good.
Keep up the good work of telling her how perfectly beautiful she looks. Don't tell her she needs to diet or loss weight to look different or better. Take the focus away from dieting, but healthy living for all. Don't get in a struggle with her over portion size. Make less starch for the overall family dinner and plan family activities during the summer for after dinner together like biking, hiking, tennis...
You want to make sure she concentrates on food that will keep her healthy so she won't get sick, that give her energy, and help her continue to grow. I would do some shopping trips to the grocery store with her. Give her a guideline of what healthy people need and have her pick what she will eat: like fruits she likes, vegies she likes (salad, carrots...), proteins like chicken, cheese,..., Find recipes that include them (pasta salads, fruit salad, casseroles etc.. ) Pick them out and cook them with her and her sister.

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answers from Seattle on

Perhaps if you two went shopping and she was able to pick out things, healthy things of course, that she would eat? It might help to make a day of it and have it be something that is about finding new ways to fit healthy foods into your daily diet. It is great that you are being very affirmative and up-beat about everyone doing things together.

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answers from Seattle on

Hi, L..

I really think that you should go with the advice of working with a dietician who works with children. Most of the advice you've been given here is about what works for *adult women*. Your daughters body is *very* different right now.

I agree that processed foods can be very damaging to your body's health. I've noticed a huge change in my kids (4 and 2) since I cut out our major processed food: cold cereal. Nearly everything we eat is made from scratch. They eat a more solid breakfast now and their temprement is better.

Good luck.

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answers from Portland on

Let her know she has the power to change how she feels about herself, it is her choice and the conscious choices she has been making are what make her feel the way she does. She needs to know you can't do it for her she will have to do it herself, no one else but her can.
If you reach the end of your rope tell her you are going to stop trying to help her if she won't try to help herself, you are tired of hearing the complaints & she can keep them to herself. You are her mother a person in your own right not some fabled saint. If she truly wants to change her appearance she will make all the little choices along the way that will make it happen. She is old enough to be responsible for herself.
all the previous advise sounds great but, ultimatley the choice must be hers.
Best of luck,



answers from Seattle on

I know it is hard to get your daughter to understand what is health and what is not. I am a single mother of a boy who is 2 years old and I always give him some kind of vegetable. Sometimes I think it starts when they are young. My advice to you is to get her friends involved and make fun out of losing weight with your daughter. I am trying to lose 30lbs by December and my son is part of my weight lose program. We walk 3 miles a day and talk to other people on the trail as will who are trying to lose weight or just working the dog. I think if you invited her friends to come along and be involved. Alot time parents force their children to be in sports, it should be your child's choice but introduce her to different things like dance, karate or some kind of sport that she wants to do. My son is small at this time and just likes to play and run but I can tell he likes to sing and run. So my plans are to put him in track and drama class when he gets older. Sit down and talk to her and show her why some food good for you and others are not like McDonald's, every kids favorite. One thing that I have always been told is to tell your child to taste before you say that is nasty. As a kid, I would only eat green beans and a neighbor had me try kale, which is some kind of green, that I made faces at. I try it and now I love it. And now I always taste before I say no. If it doesn't taste good to me, then I try something else. Weight loss starts at home and everybody in the house has to be involved even your husband and younger daughter who is not worry about her weight but it can be fun for the whole family. Family walks are the best and even if her friends come along with the family. Tell your daughter that most star loss their weight by starving themselves like Brad Pitts' baby momma. Now I have heard using a colon cleaner is good too, but I don't know if it is good for children. I would check with a doctor and see what else is out there for your daughter.



answers from Portland on

I have teen girls and I would not say anything to her I would just buy healthier foods and then start to walk yourself and ask her to join you. this way you and her can have some one on one time and you guys can talk about your day and stuff. It is a win win. And with summer coming I it will be easier with all the fruit and fresh veggies that are out. And you can still buy ice cream once in awhile.



answers from Portland on

My niece is having the same problem, but she has never had any real weight on her until the last four or five months, instead she has always been extremely skinny. She is getting better about her body because she is starting to develop and so she is seeing where the extra weight is going. You might have to wait until your daughter starts to develop and then she will see that having some weight will go to the right places.

Another suggestion would be to find some books for her to read about self image. I just read "what are you afraid of" by Don Gallo and its a collection of short stories. There is one about a girl who is obsessed with her weight and she exercises to extremes. Maybe you could find some more young adult lit in the library and see if that helps.

I have to agree with Peg M that fighting for control over food type and portion control is a losing battle for both of you. My parents did that to me when I was a kid, even putting me on a liquid diet from the doctor. (It worked and I kept the weight off for about 2 years, but its back with a vengeance now 20 years later.) My husband is a chef and very into natural healthy foods. We have had several fights about him trying to control what I eat, and it almost broke us up. We have gotten counseling and are doing a lot better now, but you don't want to have the same thing happen with your daughter. I think that the best way to help her is to educate her and then let her make her own decisions about what she wants to eat. Maybe a food journal if you think it would help.
Good luck!



answers from Portland on

As a teen and now an adult that fought with self esteme issues I feel for you and your daughter. Just be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for new habits to form. It actually takes 21 days of un-interruppted activity for it to become a habit and only one day of not doing it to break it. It takes disipline that a 10 year old may not have. You are doing the right things just keep it up even if she sends home the fruit from lunch keep sending it and maybe she will eat it. You are making the right choices for your entire family by preparing healthier meals. Eventually she will come around. Just stick with it and GOOD LUCK!



answers from Portland on

My first advice is to eat Organic. Toxins (pesticides) are stored in fat cells and your body will actually make fat to store them in if your intake is high. Toxins are not only all over food but in normal tap water the air you breathe and even alot of plants such as grass at a school playground. Try to use natural cleaners and laundry detergents.

Second, eat as much raw foods as you can. Natural enzymes that help your body digest food are lost when food is cooked and brought to a level higher than 116 degrees. You should get a book on it. Add more and more to your diet everyday.

Third, get a colon cleansing or do a body cleanse. It is hard for your body to get ready of fat if the colon is clogged with lots of undigested food. Meats and dairy do not digest well and will clog the colon and or digestive track. You can have this done by a nuturpathic doctor. Which she should go and see.

Last but not least, all body types are different. Not every body was meant to be skinny. Teach your daughter to have compassion and love for herself and others. Show her how ugly people are successful, or how big people can be successful and loved in life as well. Find some people on t.v. or in magazines that have made great accomplishments in life that have ackward appearences. The ugly duckling.

I have to say that I love all types of people....big nose, big ears, ugly faces, too many rinkles, big women who love to eat, lot's of freckles, bald heads and etc. These are the people that making being a human so magickal and full of character. It's like a story book playing itself out in modern times.\

Self Love and Acceptance is the true source to all happiness.

Good Luck!



answers from Seattle on

Ow. Thats a tough one. Good luck.

I have three random ideas:

1. Work with her self-esteem in other areas. Maybe she doesn't like her body shape, but can you agree that she has beautiful eyes? Or is really good at math? Or is very generous and kind? Then try focusing on those things - maybe subtly, all summer. If she does make some good choices, focus on the smart choices she is making.

2. Maybe kids at school started picking on her this year. I think it might be worth talking to her about what other people say, and try to get at whether there is something in particular that is bugging her. Her weight may be an easy thing to be frustrated with, while there may be more complicated esteem issues that arose this year. It may be worth having her talk to a professional therapist if you can swing it - i think it would be better to 'over-react' to this now, than let the problem build through high school. If you can swing it!

3. Empower her to choose her own diet plan or strategy for making life better. Talk to her about how calories, nutritional balance, and exercise work together to make a healthy body. Then see if she has some suggestions for meal plans or exercise plans. Maybe if she plans dinner sometimes (following rules for nutritional balance and serving size), or chooses a sport to take up this summer she will be more motivated to follow through.



answers from Portland on

Hi L.,

Overweight is definitely something that needs to be addressed when it comes to our children. We keep hearing in the news about the importance of taching children proper eating habits and exercise to help them either lose weight or avoid excess fat so don't give up training and encouraging your daughter.

The responses you've received have had very good advice. I also know it's important to learn about low-glycemic eating as it's not only for improved health but to control insulin response and fat loss. Here's my favorite book "G.I. DIET EXPRESS FOR BUSY PEOPLE" by Rick Gallop.

You might want to know about a new natural product that targets body fat, not lean muscle which is very important for children as well as adults. When lean is lost, that negatively effects the heart and organs. This product is a patented peptide extraction from whey which targets fat as I mentioned. Caseine free. It's safe and easy to use and so many people are getting into their swim suits and pants they couldn't get into last year. If you want more information, call me at ###-###-#### and leave a message if I'm not home.
PS I lost 4 inches from my waist, tummy and midrift very quickly. My 12 year old grand daughter just started on it so we'll see if she can give up her old lifestyle which is necessary also. J.



answers from Richland on

Have you had this discussion with her doctor. How many calories should she be eating in a day. How many grams of fat should she be having. Get a calorie book and keep a journal of everything and how much goes into the mouth. Maybe a talk to a nutritionist would help. If you kno how many calories per day to have have her help in the meal planning. Good Luck



answers from Seattle on

My heart goes out to you! I also have a ten year old daughter who is starting to go through puberty and she is no longer a tall slim little girl but a "healthy" muscular girl with wide hips, thick legs and ample hind end. She is starting to feel self conscious and unattractive comparing herself to a 60 lb blonde blue eyed fairy like eleven year old in her ballet class. We have had discussions and looked at pictures for years showing diversity of body types, skin color, hair texture, etc because my daughter also has very curly hair, caramel skin and is half Mexican. Luckily two of her good friends are very large African American girls her age who don't look like the ballet class type so she at least sees some differences and she doesn't have the same pressure she would if her friends were all Anglos in a public school. There is a wide variety of healthy body types and they DO vary with ethnic background. Show your daughter pictures of Queen Latifah (spokesmodel for Cover Girl and 200+ lbs) The Dove site also has a great pictures and material on "real" beauty. You also could discuss anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders that end up killing so many of their victims. It would also help to talk to your daughter about where the pressure to be thin comes from. I am a heavy set white woman with red hair who is an ex competitive weight lifter so I am built like an ox, naturally. It is not a conventionally beautiful body but it has served me well, producing two healthy daughters. My youngest daughter is only 4 years old but she hears the questions about if she is adopted (she's not) because she is about 4 shades darker than her sister with black eyes, black straight hair and a typical appearance of many people on Indian reservations. Some people think that my oldest daughter is Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, etc. but nobody identifies my younger daughter as any caucasian group so we have had the discussion what it means to "pass as white" and the racial implications of appearance. I think that she will also be a big girl. Eating healthy and the emphasis you have chosen is the right one but I would go a step further to find out where the pressure is coming from and try to build up your daughter's self esteem, hopefully with something other than emphasis on physical appearance.

Also, these kids eat like horses if they are going through growth spurts or puberty. That is pretty normal. Both of my daughters eat more than I do. We just try to minimize the junk habit but try not to fight or obsess about food, period. It's something to be enjoyed, fuel our bodies but not be abused. We eat when we are hungry. It is easier for us because we are homeschoolers and have less pressure to adhere to somebody else's schedule.

Good luck and I want to hear how it goes with you.




answers from Seattle on

Have you taken her to the store with you and asked her to pick out the fruit? With my son (four), control has always been an issue... but if he gets to pick something out, he is far more likely to eat it.

And it isn't a diet. I lost 45 lbs. doing WW, but it's a change in lifestyle--a permanent change, even after weight is lost. You are doing something SO healthy for yourself and your daughter, even if neither of you needs to lose much weight at all... and helping her find healthy foods she loves will make it easier for her to be healthy the rest of her life.

It sounds from your letter that she is eating emotionally, not because she's hungry (the eating larger portions suggests this). What do you say about yourself and your own body? Do you make comments about yourself like this? Do her friends?

I so feel for you. My daughter is eight and built more roundy in the middle (that's where my husband's family all puts on their weight), but so far she seems really happy with herself and how she looks. I fear what others might say to her someday, though... and it's extremely important for your daughter to value herself at any weight, for feeling down about her weight will only make food more of a comfort (I know from experience).

Keep trying, but let her make some of the choices--feel free to veto the cheesy broccoli, though ;)--but the more she loves herself as she is, the more she will feel in control, and this won't lead to anything else.

Good luck. My heart is with you, believe me!



answers from Portland on

I struggled with eating disorders in my youth also, but in the teen years. But, from what you have written here, it sounds like you are doing all the right things. Its gonna be hard to make a change in eating and exercise, but it will come around. The positive attitude and encouragement is great. Also, I think that deflecting the comments and concerns are good too. Try to take the emphasis away from the negative comments and thoughts. I really hope things get better. Its so hard being a girl these days!

Good Luck



answers from Eugene on

Family fitness is the best thing for you both. Also, when we criticize ourselves, we teach our daughters to criticize themselves. I never complain about my weight or pinch my fat in from of my daughter because I do not want her to have to worry about that in herself. By showing our daughters how to be confident, they can learn to be confident too.

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