Weight Loss for Stubborn Teen

Updated on June 04, 2009
S.K. asks from Johnston, IA
26 answers

Any help that any of you can give me would be greatly appreciated. My daughter is 15 years old and we are struggling with her weight. She is gaining leaps and bounds and I do not know how to help her. I have tried to fix and cook healthy things but it seems that is not working. She will choose to fix something else or eat too much of what I have fixed which defeats the purpose of cooking healthy. She says that she wants to lose weight but I do not see that in her choices she makes. She is starved all the time and seems obsessed with food. She is always wanting to go out to eat or asking what I am fixing for Lunch/dinner etc. I personally know how hard it is too lose weight and ultimately know that it has to be a choice that she has to make but I need some direction on how to help her get to that point. Last summer she went to a weight management camp for two weeks and she lost 10 pounds and was so excited but has gradually gotten back to her old habits and gained that back plus more. As for exercise she always has an excuse as to why she can not exercise or if she does she does not even break a sweat or it is not even long enough to get herself warmed up. So I have thought of weight watchers etc but ultimately that comes down to her making the right choice and that has not worked in the past. Just need any help that you can give me to get us going in the right direction.

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answers from Duluth on

see if you can talk with her doctor about it. maybe she has a health condition like a thyroid problem or something thats causing her to feel ravashing? diabetes? first and foremost rule out any medical issues.
after ruling that out, talk with her doctor about emotional issues. perhaps she might need to see a trusted counselor.

good luck.
one thing i know works for me is not buying any form of junk, or making VERY small servings or 100 calorie packs of them. controlling portions. try drinking a full one cup of water before eating.



answers from Minneapolis on

Lots of responses, so I'll be brief.
1. Treat this issue like an addiction - most likely she's not being stubborn but has no control of this.
2. Have her drink water when she's hungry - could be she's really thirsty, possibly dehydrated, and feels like she's craving food when it's really water. Cut out ALL soda pop completely. Fruit juice occasionally.
3. Get her involved in food prep. Go to the farmers market, have her help pick things at the store (stick to the perimeters and spend lots of time in fruits and veggies)
4. Find an exercise she'll enjoy - there's something out there for everyone. Tennis, golf, walking, biking?
5. Watch The Biggest Loser with her - it's very inspiring.
6. Help her to understand that being thin isn't about looks but about her health - heart disease, diabetes, etc. all come with being overweight.
7. Allow some falling off the wagon, but don't let it be a reason to stop eating healthy. Try to get the bad stuff farther apart and fewer.
8. Take vitamins - cravings may be due to a lack of something her body needs.
9. See a doctor.
10. Focus on her good points and try not to talk about being fat or point out how much food she eats.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Like you said, ultimately it has to be her choice. As someone who struggles with weight (but am an adult), just having positive support is helpful, any negative support will make things worse. Have only healthy foods in the house, if there is no junk there, she cannot eat it. And if she over eats healthy food, it isn't as big of a deal. Have her help with meal planning and prepping, so you know you are serving healthy choices that she will eat. Avoid going out to eat, especially fast food, there are too many poor choices and it will be too hard for her to make a good choice. Encourage your whole family to get active. Take everyone hiking, biking, swimming, bowling, horseback riding, mini-golfing, go-carting, etc. Let her help make a list of fun activities (that get the body moving). Have the family go for a walk together every night after dinner, things like that, that are focused on the family, not just on her. Has she had a good medical check, to be sure there is nothing medically going on with her to cause weight gain or constant hunger? Is she stressed about something, and food is her release? Good luck. I have struggled with weight for most of my adult life and it is not fun. I would try to help her as much as possible now, before it becomes a life-long battle.
S., mom of 3

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Hi S.,

I would say help her follow a healthy lifestyle, and the weight loss will naturally come. I would not spend anymore time talking directly about her weight loss or exercise needs. Psychologically, this can be very damaging. It already sounds like she is obsessed with her weight and food. I was this way as a teen. I ballooned out and then people commented so then I basically became anorexic. Everyone commented on how "good" I looked when I was starving myself.

If she is hungry all the time then she needs to eat. Teenagers have higher caloric needs than adults. She should be eating something every 2-3 hours (can't stress this enough), and every time she eats she should be having a "good" fat, protein, and/or fiber. Many "snack" foods do not help you feel full, but fats, proteins, and fiber will.

The flip side of this is helping her to get in touch with when she is full. So many of us eat until the food is gone, no matter how full we get. I grew up in "clean plate" household where we had to finish what we took. I don't agree with wasting food left and right, but what is better--making your kids overeat or throwing out a little food?

She needs to make peace with food. Food is not the enemy. Help her learn to appreciate good, healthy food. She should only eat what she likes. So many people force themselves to eat yogurt or carrot sticks or whatever because they're "healthy". There are lots of healthy food options out there--don't choke down something you hate.

I totally agree with having her help you plan meals. Have her help plan menus, grocery shop, and do meal prep. This will put her "in control" and help her learn to make good choices.

As for exercise, she needs to find something she likes, or at least can tolerate. Not everyone likes to exercise for the sake of exercising--that includes me! Doing chores around the house like vacuuming or even washing the floors on your hands and knees burns calories AND you get something accomplished. She may be interested in "low impact" activities like yoga or Tai Chi (not sure if I'm spelling that right). Maybe you or a friend could take a class with her and have it be a social outing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Just one little thing popped out about what you said: she eats "too much of what I have fixed which defeats the purpose of cooking healthy." I don't quite agree with that. I mean, yes, to a point, but if she's going to get "full" on junk food, she might as well get full on healthy food.

I once tried this food combining diet (see an old book called Food Combining Really Works by Lee Dubelle) and the premise was that you could eat as much as you want as long as it's combined in the right order with the right amount of rest time in between. I thought it was awesome that I was able to eat a whole pineapple in one sitting if I wanted to.

Also, never underestimate the power of exercise. It's a double-edged sword because it helps you burn fat AND it curbs your appetite. I personally hate "working out" or going to the gym. I feel like a hamster on a wheel. On the other hand, I LOVE biking, inline skating, kayaking, hiking in the woods, etc. Perhaps a nice pair of inline skates or something similar would beat a new techno-gadget for the next birthday.

There's also a fun online "show" that I watch once in awhile. It's called the Renegade Health Show with Kevin Gianni. She could even become "friends" with him on Facebook. He has lots of great raw food recipes and gives occasional talks on exercise and weight management goals.

Good luck!



answers from Madison on

Instead of trying to get her to exercise, which can be pretty boring on its own, decide with her on a physical activity that she might enjoy and sign her up for a class. Dance, karate, swimming, etc...something that is active and also fun at the same time. Also do active things as a family. Go for a daily walk or bike ride.



answers from Madison on

The key words: "She is starved all the time."

Sounds exactly like my 9 year old daughter. She, too, is big for her age. In her defense, she is built like her Daddy (think Scottish Highlander build; she'll be almost 6 feet when she's grown, and she will never be a "skinny Minny.") At the moment she is 4'8" tall and weighs 125 lbs.

First, she has Sensory Processing Disorder, which is on the Autism Spectrum, and she also suffers from hypotonia and spatial awareness problems, so like your daughter, getting her to do exercise or learn how to ride a bike without training wheels (yep, still there) is a constant challenge.

She does like to swim, so in the summer I buy a family summer pass at the pool by her school, where I've been trying to teach her to swim, float, etc. (she was in swimming lessons but the noise and the other kids kept distracting her, plus the teachers wouldn't/couldn't take the time to coax her to do something. It had to be RIGHT NOW, whereas my daugher needs time to calm herself and work up her courage. Just since last summer she can dog paddle and pick up items off the pool floor. For her, these are big milestones.) We're doing swimming again this summer. I went as far as a certified Jr. Lifeguard, so I know all the swim strokes. I haven't necessarily seen her lose any weight from swimming, but she's getting physical exercise and activity, which is just as vital, if not more so.

I started going to an Integration Doctor for my own health reasons in Aug 2009, and I have been having my daughter tested as well. She has heavy metal toxicity; she is on her 3rd chelation. Heavy metal toxicity causes the body to not be able to absorb vitally needed nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, water, enzymes, amino acids, etc., etc. When the body suffers from malabsorption, even though you're eating and in many cases, eating a lot of food, because the body is unable to absorb what it needs from the food eaten, the body will always register "I'm hungry" when in fact, you've eaten more than enough.

We switched over to organic/whole foods, and I've noticed that since my daughter's been chelating and has been eating organic that the "I'm hungry/I'm starved" daily, hourly, minute sayings have almost (totally) gone away within the last 6 months. I also had her nutrient panel done, and she was delinquent in quite a few key vitamins and minerals. Since she's been taking supplements, things have been better.

I had myself tested for food intolerances (I have 22 of them) but haven't found the money yet to have my daughter tested. That is another thing you might want to consider. If your daughter's eating foods that her body isn't able to tolerate, that will also make her overeat (for some reason, even though a food is "harmful" to our body, it's that very food that our body hungers for and craves the most).

After both I and my daughter tested very high for heavy metals, I had both of us take a genetics test. We both are POOR METABOLIZERS, which means our bodies are unable to completely digest and use medications and cannot metabolize any and all toxins. That means we not only have to do body cleanses and toxin cleansings, but we have to also take daily preps of special natural meds or herbs so that we can help our bodies detoxify.

I don't know if I'd totally classify your teen as stubborn. Stubborn, maybe, in that she doesn't want to exercise. But when one doesn't feel good or doesn't feel energized, it's awfully hard to get motivated to exercise. Many people are unaware just how much food and food allergies and food intolerances impact our mental health and also our waist lines. I urge you, as her caring mom, to find out if underlying food problems aren't contributing to her weight gain. My Integration Doctor had me do the ALCAT Worldwide Optimal Wellness food intolerance panel; it cost me $199, which is why my daughter hasn't been tested yet.

Another very, very missed and undiagnosed condition is Celiac disease. One of my food intolerances is Gluten Intolerance (gliadin protein). I did go on a 5-month gluten-free diet (no wheat, barley, rye, oats, or anything made out of them or any of their derivatives), but was still having troubles. I am currently on my 5th week of a GLUTEN CHALLENGE; yesterday I went in and had the Celiac Panel redone (labs), and next week Weds I go to the hospital for a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, and a biopsy to see if I suffer from Celiac Disease. I am looking forward, big time, to being able to go gluten-free again. I have been watching my body slowly deteriorate, week after week, from eating gluten. I'm glad my husband and daughter have seen how sick I've been. They didn't take my "gluten-free diet" very seriously before; this time, there will be no cheating. I'm too damn sick to ever want to eat gluten again.

So in one week I'll know whether or not I have Celiac disease--or just a very, very severe case of gluten intolerance. If it is confirmed that I have Celiac, then my daughter will get a genetics test done. If it shows positive for the Celiac genes, I will also have her undergo the scopies and biopsy. Like me, she has way too many of the symptoms of Celiac.

I hope some of what I've written here is useful to you. I've been sick since my daughter's birth in 2000, and it's only been since Spring 2008 (after the PCP I'd been seeing for 10 years kicked me out of the clinic in Spring 2007, because he couldn't find out why I was getting so sick all the time and told me to go and find someone else who could help me) and specifically, Aug 2008, when I took my health into my own hands and began seeing an Integration Doctor, that I'm starting to see a rainbow at the end of all my trials and tribulations. And I wouldn't be this far without struggling for doctors to listen to me and pushing and pushing and pushing for answers.

Good luck to you and your daughter. Please, keep us informed as to how she's doing. I, especially, would be interested to hear if she's suffering from any of my above suggestions.



answers from Minneapolis on

Try to exercise with her, then she will not feel like you are singling her out for being fat because you are exercising too. There are summer boot camps for teens if she wants to try those.

I believe that if she wants to loose weight she is old enough to make the right decisions. If you take this battle on to help her loose weight then she will blame you if it goes wrong and she gains more weight.

In life we are all faced with having to make the right decisions and she has to want to make the right food and diet decision.



answers from Minneapolis on

I have no experience with this, but I have a few thoughts. I agree with you that it comes down to her making the choice to diet, so unless she agrees to weight watchers, you can't force it on her. But the summer is coming up, and since you're home with her, there's a lot more you can do. Even if you're not overweight, you can do weight watchers with her. If you're happy with your weight, you can just do the maintenance program, and you'll still be counting points just like her. The program is SO much more motivating when you have people close to you that are also doing it. My mom, sister, and I have all done it together, and even though I'm pregnant now, we still check in with one another on weight (I report my gains to make them feel better ;) and they always talk about how much that helps. Also, this program will help teach your daughter about all the low/no fat options she can have for snacks that will satisfy that craving to eat while not packing on the pounds. It's such a great program. Also, it's time to look at the items in your cupboard. As much as your family may love the sugary fatty stuff, it will be best for everyone if you start weeding it out. You could even have a "family meeting" - how cheesy is that - talking about your decision to buy healthier and the reasons for that (not mentioning the weight issue). Once the bad options are out of the house, your daughter won't have such ready access to them. Last thought - when it comes to exercise, it's so much better to make it a partnered or group effort. If you pledge to exercise with your daughter, this will make it so much more fun for you both, and will keep you both more motivated. You guys could sit down together and create an exercise goal, such as running/walking a 5K by the end of the summer. Then make an exercise schedule, actually writing it on the calendar, that lines out everything you'll do to reach that goal by the end of the summer. Having both of you do this provides so much more motivation than having her do it on her own. And if you're doing weight watchers at the same time, you get POINTS!!! There's no greater motivation than that!

So, long story short (too late) do it together!! This is going to help your daughter stay on track. As another mom said, this behavior is learned, and now is a better time than any to teach new healthy habits!!

Best of luck to you, S.,
Amy K



answers from Des Moines on

As others have suggested I would first make sure that she is fully committed to this and that she is open to your help. This is such a difficult issue, and to be a teen I'm sure compounds it greatly. I think just tell her that you know it's something she wants and you want to be able to help her, so here are some ideas that you can do together:

1. I greatly recommend a visit with a dietician or nutritionist. Many grocery stores have them on staff and will give you ideas for free. Or see if there is someone at your dr's clinic. Almost all nutritionists are going to recommend lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grain starches. No pre-packaged or processed foods. She may benefit from sessions with a counselor as well.

2. I can see how getting her to stick with something is going to be a lot of your struggle. I think it could be beneficial to have her write down some goals to start with. Not necessarily things like amount of weight, but healthy habits she wants to start or unhealthy ones to stop. Such as no more soda or energy drinks (not even diet). Exercise 3 times a week. Things that are realistic and achievable. Then write something like "These are the goals I have set for myself, I want my mom and family to help and support me in my commitment" and have her sign and date the document. Also, set some rewards that she'll get when she reaches her goals (either after a certain amount of time or at certain weight loss points or something). Not food treats, but new clothes, a movie night, manicure, etc.

3. If she is hungry all the time and looking for snacks, I recommend a plan where she eats several times throughout the day. Plan out her food with her for a day or two at a time, including snacks, so that she knows what to eat when and doesn't scrounge for something else. Get her involved in planning the menu and looking for new recipes for you to try together. Post it on the fridge or give her a notebook. Get rid of any unhealthy foods in your house so there's no temptation. If it seems too rigid to her you can build options into the plan, such as 10:00 Morning Snack: apple with string cheese or 1 pc toast with peanut butter.

4. Have her keep a food diary. She should write down everything she eats, what time and amounts as close as possible. It could be a notebook or there are online programs that have places you can enter food, or you could give her a digital camera and have her take pictures of everything before she eats it. This helps because she's more conscious of her choices, and you have an idea of where improvements can be made.

5. Exercise is so important. If you think she's not doing enough to be beneficial then you need to work out with her or find someone to motivate her while working out. One trick for interval training is to hit the cardio equipment when there is a show you like. You have to work out for the entire show, and during the commercial you have to pick up the pace to high exertion. Some gyms have introductory programs with trainers that are fairly reasonable and I know a lot of places have discounts now due to the economy. Find something she wants to do, but then make sure she's doing it correctly. A heart rate monitor and learning about zone training would be a great idea. Then she can see when she's working out hard enough.

6. Other random tips: Eat breakfast within half an hour. Find a diet plan with things she likes to eat and repeat those frequently. Teach her about portion sizes. Nuts are great for squashing hunger pangs. Look for a book aimed at teens regarding weight loss. More for motivation than for a diet plan itself. Emphasize just making good choices and remind her that messing up doesn't mean giving up. Some people benefit from having a "free" day or "treat" day where they can have anything or just one thing that they've been craving while being good. You'll have to decide whether that's a good idea for her or if it just creates a slippery slope.

Best of luck to you both and keep us posted on what works!


answers from Davenport on

Have you taken her to a doctor? Just a suggestion.



answers from Rapid City on

This is a very sensitive topic, especially for a teenage girl. They go through so much at this age, and body image is just one aspect. Just a few thoughts (though I'm sure you've thought of many things): What can you do as a family to get more active? Maybe there are hiking trails nearby or a walking path/bike path in your town where you can all start going together to walk/bike/hike. Do you have a dog? He/she could use a walk everyday and this could be a great family activity. Maybe she would be interested in learning how to dance - many studios offer classes that a great for teens, like hip-hop, or other modern dances she might like to learn (think school dances/prom). Yoga? Maybe the 2 of you could sign up for a class together - or sign her up with a friend? Do you have a fitness video game or would you consider purchasing one (such as Wii Fit??)?
Ultimately, you lead your family by example, and she'll likely follow your lead, especially if it's activity during family time or introduced with the idea that we do fun things together (not so focused on loosing weight or even excersizing - we just like to have fun!).

As far as meal times go, I know it's difficult, but consider continuing to prepare healthy meals and only serving a certain portion. This can be good for the whole family. Measure the portions and serve only one plate of food. Stick the rest in the freezer before you even serve dinner so that 2nds aren't an option. Also, plan that she may still try to make her own meal or snack later, and purchase only foods that will be healthy for her to do that. Fewer chips, more fresh fruit and veggies. Again, take a look at yourself and make sure you're setting an example you want her to follow - you'll be amazed. Good luck and stick in there!



answers from Omaha on

Part of the problem is that it is too much of a focal point in your house. I know that when I diet, that's when I end up thinking about food the most. Plus at her age, you shouldn't be sending her the body type messages and having her actively trying to lose weight. You are doing well to switch your food you make to healthy food. And that is the best thing for you to do. Not only for her, but your whole family will benefit. Don't have the junk in the house, and if she wants something a little less healthy once in a while when you are out, don't make it a big deal. It is more desirable when it is forbidden. And if it isn't in the house, then the occassional splurge out will not harm her. If she is ravenous all the time she is probably going through a growth spurt and you should not hamper that. Also, including her in cooking and looking up healthy recipies could make healthy eating more fun for her and make some quality time for the two of you without making it a negative where she feels like she is failing you. Make sure she is feeling positive about herself and that she knows she is beautiful to you no matter what her weight. As far as activities go, that would be helpful if you could find out what would interest her. Maybe something you could do together like walking or biking, or a class you could sign her up for (if she seems interested) where it wouldn't be a focus of "getting active" but just something she would consider fun. Like dance, a team sport, or something like martial arts. That one you could also do together, I actually take Tae Kwon Do with my kids. Hope this was helpful...and remember...keep it fun and positive.



answers from Milwaukee on

Just an idea- don't focus on the weight anymore. Maybe there's an underlying cause for why she feels "hungry" all the time--if you keep putting pressure on her it could make it much, much worse. Is she happy? Teenage years can be really hard on girls, especially if they don't fit an image of what they think they should look like or be like. Maybe you could focus more on being happy with who you are and forging a relationship/bond with her. I'm not saying to abandon your healthy cooking, that's great that you do that for your family, just don't control how much she eats or when she eats. And don't sign her up for exercise--maybe take up tennis together or something, teach her that exercise is an important part of life, not just weight loss. Try to focus on all of the great things that you love about her and tell her about them, if she can build some self-confidence (if she needs it, although i don't know a teenage girl who doesn't) then she might not feel the need to focus so much on eating/her weight and nature will take it's course (the pounds will come off). Best of luck, I know this is a very difficult time!


answers from Davenport on

I have a 14 year old daughter who has a weight problem too. She has been formally diagnosed with an over eating disorder. Have you considered taking your daughter to a therapist to help get to the root of the problem? With my daughter, several factors contributed to her overeating, which we have since dealt with (and still are), both at home and through the therapist. My daughter is still overweight, but more determined then ever to control her portions (she overeats healthy foods). When I had some extra money, I bought her a Wi and Wi fit and she loves it! She lost 4 lbs in the first week :) It's a great way for her to monitor herself and set small goals for herself (the program won't allow for too big of a goal to be set so that you can actually achieve the goal). The trick is to get to the root of her problem and find something that she will find fun to do rather than a chore. No one wants to be forced to do something that isn't at least somewhat enjoyable, especially if they are going to be doing it on a daily/weekly basis.

As for me, I don't say anything to her except when she goes back for seconds, just a gentle reminder to her to check herself but I don't deny her, I leave it to her to keep an eye on how much she eats. Sometimes she just doesn't think about it, but with my reminder she will remember. I try to do it in a way that won't make her feel panicked about food while leaving it totally in her hands and I never, never, never, deny her food so that she has no reason to feel panicked about it. Not an easy trick to do, but you know your daughter best and will find what works with her. One thing that we found worked is for her to eat ice. It gives her the feeling of eating (the crunching) without all the calories and what could be healthier than water? It also helps to fill her belly before dinner so that she isn't as hungry. I also buy the 100 calorie snacks for her to eat.

For a healthy woman, teen or full grown, we should be eating 2000 calories a day. 500 calories each should come at meal time, the rest in snacks. We learned this when my daughter went to Camp Jump Start a couple of summers ago (they teach moderation, not deprivation). She lost 18 lbs during her month stay and she learned how to properly eat no matter where she is (home, grocery store, friends, restaurants...). My goal is to help my daughter at least maintain her current weight so that it doesn't get so out of control that she feels defeated before she gets started. I let her worry about actually loosing it but when she comes to me for help, I help. Keeping myself active in things that I love to do shows her that something enjoyable to do can be found (I dance and mountain bike).

My daughter likes to go on walks and so will often walk to where she wants to go (if it's not raining or freezing cold!!) and often talks her friends into walking with her. She also goes on bike rides quite a bit. It's an uphill battle to help her loose weight (she was borderline obese), but as long as she's doing it in a healthy way, I stay out of her way. Oh, also have her sit and watch the movie, Super Size Me!, be sure to watch the extras at the end because the amount of time that it takes for their stuff to start degrading is disgustingly long! Can't believe I used to put that stuff into my body...gross! Limit the number of times you go out to eat too and pick up a diabetic cookbook. They have tons of great recipies, especially for things we normally eat, but are healthier for all of you. You'll be surprised on how good the recipies are, you won't even feel as if you are eating anything 'out of the ordinary'! Good luck to you hun, I know that this isn't easy to deal with....I've been dealing with it for years with my daughter. hugs.



answers from Minneapolis on

Can you do some exercise with her? Walking or biking? Or aerobics together. You both would benefit from this type of arrangement. It's easier to work out when you have a buddy to do it with and it might encourage some talking about issues that may bother her and may be contributing to the eating for comfort that may be going on. Good luck!



answers from Madison on

As a woman who's always struggled with weight I've got a few suggestions. One is try a GI diet. It's all about trading bad food for lower cal. good foods and lowering the amount of "bad" carbs by replacing them with high fiber ones. It also encourages to eat untill full just eat fresh fruits and veg. I was always full while on this and lost tons of weight.

My other suggestion is to take her in to have some testing done. Tyroid problems are much more wide spread than people know and can really play a part in weight. Not only that but weight it's self can cause problems. I only say this because for years I've struggles with weight and only recently was found to have tumors in my adrenal glands which produce too much aldosterone. Although my problems might be more on the rare side everything I've read indicates that a certain chunk of women with weight problems likely have som underlying condition. Just a thought.

Oh and I also suggest Wii Fit. It has some great features on it that make weight loss realistic.

Good luck to your daughter!



answers from Sheboygan on

I was always a chubby teenager and still am a chubby mom. What I have learned over the years is that eating habits are a LEARNED behavior and are very hard to break. Good Luck with your daughter!



answers from Minneapolis on

The previous posters have some great advice. One thing that stuck out to me was the "fat camp"...was that her idea or yours? If my parents had sent me to a camp I would have been mortified. It could even lead to more defiance and obsession over food. She knows that you don't approve of her weight. It's easy for a teen to think that means you don't approve of HER. She might not feel accepted by the family which will perpetuate the issue. I'm not saying it is your fault. It is a difficult situation and you are doing what you can.

As far as food goes, I would buy foods only that you would be okay with a toddler eating. My son is 16 months, and I only feed him healthy foods...meat, dairy, veggies, fruit, and bread/pasta/non-sugary cereal. Nothing else unless we are at someone else's house. Packaged/processed dinners are not included either. I don't even give him juice. If I ate the way I feed him, I would lose weight in no time! It's a LOT harder when you are an adult and have years and years of bad eating habits "under your belt".

Ask her what she wants to eat for dinner, and make it healthy. If she says macaroni, make it with whole wheat noodles and real cheese, and maybe put some broccoli in there. If she says pizza, make home-made pizzas with pita bread. If she wants a burger, buy some lean hamburger meat and make smaller than usual burger patties and whole grain buns. I totally agree to include her in the process because she needs to learn to eat healthy now. Also, she might not really know what is bad for her. Does she read food labels at all? I would show her how, and point out high calorie items and look at the ingredients to show her what is bad...high fructose corn syrup is a big one. Even Doritos have MSG in them. Artificial colors and flavors...we weren't meant to eat food like that. Thank god most foods no longer have trans fat in them. The longer the list, the worse it is... and if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Moderation is key. Those are some of the basics she might not know. See if she can tell you which veggies have which nutrients in them. What foods have a good amount of Iron? Where can you get vitamin D? Calcium?

Also teens drink way too many sugary drinks. Point out how many calories she is drinking a day in pop or juice which do not make you full and have no nutritional value. Look at some bottles of juice in the store and show her that some things that say "juice" in fact only have a small percentage of actual juice in them. If you take an "us against them" attitude, and instill the idea that she doesn't want to let these big companies trick her about their products it can actually be fun. Praise her when she shows you something that is misleading.

The way my mom lost weight was she would eat healthy, and only use the small plates...not the big dinner plates. And no second helpings. That is an easy way to control portions. Even if you stack it up, it is better than filling the big plate. She also drank more water, especially between bites because it filled her up quicker. It makes sense to eat smaller meals more often in the day to help with your metabolism. And if you simply like to eat, this way you are eating all day long.

Anyway, weight has been an issue for me too so I am a little bit more passionate about it. I hope this helps somewhat. Good luck!


answers from Wausau on

I think that there is far too much of a focus on weight between the two of you. When my mother suggested that I lose weight as a teen it hurt me and even though you say that she stated herself that she wanted to lose weight, it could be that she doesn't think you accept her the way she is.

The most important thing you can do is to change the family's lifestyle. If you want her to become more active then you can take the family on Hiking trips, for instance. Another idea would be to get her involved in a really fun exercise. For instance: you could buy her the video game 'Dance Dance Revolution' its fun and addictive! I'm 30 years old now and I play it myself! Getting her to play will go especially well if you can get her friends to join her. (2 people can play side by side when you have 2 controllers)

Teens will always eat a lot so I really think exercise is the best answer.



answers from Minneapolis on

Have you ruled out any medical conditions your daughter may have? Have you thought about bringing your daughter to a psychologist? I wonder if something happened or is happening to her that is causing her to "hide behind her weight."



answers from La Crosse on

Hi S.. My mother was an ol fashioned cook: butter, rolls, mashed potatos, pot roast, pie, etc. That's how I grew up. Captin Crunch. Grilled Cheese. Chocolate milk. Hot dogs. Cookies. Then my parents divorced and my father remarried a VEGAN (a vegetarian who doesn't eat dairy or eggs or anything animal). Living with the new stepmom was terrible. The new food was a shock to us all. Soy butter, tofu, whole grain bread, water. It took me about four years of eating her food before my siblings and I would no longer run to the Pizza parlor after dinner every night so that we could get something "real" to eat behind her back. My point is that eating healthy is a long transition. It is a lifestyle. Keep pushing the healthy foods/offering healthy foods and remember to realize that on some days, no matter who we are, a green salad just can't compare to homemade maccaroni and cheeze or a hamburger. Set small, attainable weightloss goals, like a .5 pound a week. And offer lots of praise and hugs. Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

When I was a teen, my mom signed me, my older sis, and herself up at a local gym for the summer. We three started a "spa" program for ourselves, we went to step aerobics classes, lifted weights, ate healthy, drank water with slices of cucumber in it... Having the team support helped me stay on track.

Also, teen girls should be lifting more weights to increase muscle mass, increase metabolism, improve overall body shape, strength, self-perception, etc... I strongly encourage you to sign her up with a personal trainer who can teach her how to work out correctly. Also, her high school may offer a weight lifting class; that's where I got started with weight lifting and is how I've always slimmed down.

On the flip side, my dad always pressured us girls to lose weight in those years, and it actually pushed me to eat MORE junk food just to spite him. So, don't push or nag too much, but help set up situations that she can be active, not so much sitting and eating.



answers from St. Cloud on

Hi S.! I think you should approach this as a heath issue instead of a weight issue. I recommend my friend's website www.jillsleanforlife.com . Jill teaches how to have a healthy lifestyle, not just be on a diet. It's based on the low glycemic program and is good for all body types. If she is hungry all the time I would suggest upping her protein intake. Eating a carb heavy diet is unsatisfying and causes fluctuation in bloodsugars.
The best snack of all is raw almonds. She can keep them with her all the time. Often, overeating is a direct result of a drop in blood sugar. When our blood sugar drops we feel desparate for something to regulate our bodies and end up overcompensating.
So, more protein, more fiber, 10,000 steps per day on a pedometer and 1/2 her body weight in water per day and she will be good to go.
Ask her what she wants. If she states that she is unhappy with her body then ask her to set 3 attainable goals for herself. Such as exercising 30 min. 3x per week, no sugar for a week, at least 64 oz water per day....etc...
If not then let her make her choice. That's all a mom can do. Let her know your struggle and that you are there to help if she wants.



answers from Des Moines on

Hi S.,

Your daughter's dilema sounds a lot like what I experienced as a kid/teen. My mom was very strict with food and I was often accused of "stealing" food, when I would sneak food behind her back. My weight yo-yo'd all through my teen years, and when I finally moved out I gained a lot of weight (highest was 430lbs) had gastric bypass, and am still dealing with emotional eating.

A few ideas from someone who has been there, quit fighting about food. If you don't have junk in the house, she should be able to eat until she is satisfied and there should be no issue. If you constantly moniter or nag her consumption it will be a power issue that SHE will lose.

You should definitely talk with a dietician about lifestyle changes for the whole family. She might be the one with the weight issues, but you can not have her doing one thing while everyone else does something else.

Exercise is the only way I ever keep my weight in check, even now, I still have to walk at least 4 miles a day to stay fit and keep my weight in balance. Find something she enjoys and excels at and again it will be a win/win, she will have a great time and want to work hard.

And please remember, feeling hungry all the time is not being stubborn, it could be a food addiction, chemical imbalance or even a medical issue. Do not punish her for something she has no control over.

I forgot to add, I don't know if you have a weight issue or not, but my mom constantly talked about how fat she was, and she is as skinny as a rail even too skinny, but you might want to watch how you discuss your weight, because she picks up on that too.

God bless you and your daughter, hopefully you will find some peace in this for both of you :)



answers from Rapid City on

Hi S.,
I have been heavy most of my life until late last year when I finally got weight loss surgery. I want to tell you that when you are large, you ARE hungry all the time because it takes a lot to fill up that big stomach. With exercise and being large, it hurts, it's painful, and a mirage of other uncomfortable things go on when exercising.

I would personally have her start seeing a counselor that specializes in weight issues. A few visits with a dietician and nutritionist would be a good idea also. My oldest girl who is in her 30's is over 300 lbs and it breaks my heart. SHE is the only one that can lose the weight. I do want you to know though that she was molested when she was a teenager - not saying that your daughter has any of that happening, but - as an adult, she feels "safe" at such a large because of her past. Fortunately, her doctor talked her into seeing a therapist for her issues with the molestation and her weight. She says she is the happiest she has been in years.

I guess what I'm getting at is your daughter is suffering from some sort of self-esteem issues for whatever reasons and it would be best to address them now before she gets any older. No one eats themself large because they like it - they eat to surpress something that is painfull to them emotionally.

Good luck - she is lucky to have such a caring mother!

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