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Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Posted by deee (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 8:17

Back in March we gave our 17 yo use of a car and shortly thereafter she got a part time job. The extra money, the easy access to fast food and eating out with friends at all hours has caused her to steadily gain weight. I see fast food wrappers in her car almost every day. She was not a thin person to start and now most of her clothes are too small.

I know she isn't happy about it. We went school clothes shopping and I told her that a few options weren't flattering (never mentioned that they were too small). She said "nothing is flattering on me anymore".

We are a sit down dinner family, have a fridge and pantry filled with fruits and vegetables and non processed food. We eat treats in moderation. When DD talks about being bored or hungry or mentions going to eat with friends, I casually mention healthy suggestions. Other than that, I have no idea what to do.

Has anyone had a similar experience? What did you do?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

"We are a sit down dinner family, have a fridge and pantry filled with fruits and vegetables and non processed food. We eat treats in moderation."

My children are younger, so it's a bit different. We run our house pretty much as you do (above). Maybe even more strictly because I struggle with my weight. My general rule is that there is no reason treats need to be inventoried; they can have treats in moderation but they won't find much just waltzing into the kitchen.

In any event, despite a very consistent focus on portion control and healthy, mindful eating, one of my three children is overweight. She has not yet hit puberty so my Dr. says, in her case, to hold off on weight reduction efforst, and continue to emphasize our good habits.

The Dr. has also said that many people simply have a predisposition to being overweight, and it is much harder for them to be "thin". But he feels that only they can to decide how hard they want to work to control it, and what combination of effort/restrictions and size makes them happiest. No one can do it for them, at least not with lasting success.

In that vein, your daughter needs to decide if she wants to give up fast food excursions to fit back into her old clothes. Or if she wants to start eating lean proteins and veggies, and work out every day, if she wants to be thinner than she was. I would ask her, very gently, and in private, if she wants to try to work on her weight, and then suggest some resources to do so (your Dr. might have ideas beyond things like WW). I would try to, in a non-judgmental way, help her see it as a choice. She has to decide what she is willing to change about her lifestyle in order to feel more comfortable in her body. At her age, I would want the decisions to come from her as much as possible, with the family's help to facilitate them.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I can tell how worried you are.

Sometimes teens can resist advice from parents as they develop their independence, so you have to tread carefully. You want to help her but not let it develop into an issue between you two, and I like the above poster's idea to ask gently and in private if she would like to work on losing some weight. Believe me, she does not have to start heavy daily workouts and a strict diet. The best way is just to cut down a little here and there, maybe walk with you after dinner or whatever 2-3 days a week. I have become a disbeliever in weight loss diet programs because the transition from the diet to regular eating is very, very difficult. It seems the faster you take it off, the faster it comes back.

Any chance you need to lose a couple pounds? You could make it a project for you two to work on.

You don't have sodas or sugary drinks around do you? If so, give that up!

I wish you well. You can only do your best to suggest, but the hard work has to come from her.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

In trying to empower her, it will also help for her to understand calories. That way, she can pick and choose what she wants to eat and nobody is telling her what to do.
The thing about all that healthy eating is that you can still be overweight if eating too much of it and then you don't have any calories left for something fun or something you really want.

So if she knows she is going out with her friends say Friday night, she can eat very lightly Thursday with Friday in mind.

But if she sits down at the dinner table, it should be fine it she only eats an apple, or drinks some broth, etc. without anyone encouraging her to eat more.
This has worked for me, for the most part.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I think the shopping trip made the perfect opening for you to have a discussion with your daughter. I would start the conversation with something like this, "When we went shopping, I noticed that you seemed bothered by the way clothes were fitting you. Do you want to talk about it?" She may say no and in that case I would just leave it for a while and bring it up again in the near future. I have a 15 year old, and I am learning that delicate discussions have to be when she is ready for them.

If she says yes, just listen. If she suggests that her weight is bothering her, suggest you research healthy eating strategies together. Ask her leading questions about when she noticed a change, what she thinks might be responsible for it, what she thinks might be reasonable solutions (taking a lunch from home, making healthier choices of take out - subway maybe? salads?). But you have to let her take the lead. If you try to impose a change of eating on her or lecture her about what is healthy what is not, she will eat to get back at you and then she can tell herself it is all your fault. It doesn't sound like this is the sort of parent you are, but it is such an easy trap to tall into.

I hope you check back and let us know how it goes. I have a 10 year old who has steadily gained weight ever since I went back to work 3 years ago and I know there are no easy solutions.

What mtn and I are both saying is that she has to feel it is her decision and be in charge of herself - with your help of course.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I can tell you what not to do: talk to her about it.

Don't talk to her about it. Don't criticize. Don't offer suggestions. Don't criticize her in your head, even. Don't even worry about it.

When I was about 12, I gained 10 lbs rapidly. My mom made a comment about it, and told me I should stop eating at 6:30 p.m. I remember that time rolling around and hearing my stomach. I was so hungry! She told me to eat a slice of bread. I hated that feeling, of being "deprived," and I hated even more that my mom thought that's what I should do.

Well, the reason I gained that weight is because I was going through puberty. No one reassured me. I didn't change my eating habits, but the seeds of disliking my body were planted. By the time I got to HS, things had evened out for me, and I was 85 lbs at 5' 1". I thought I was too fat.

My mom didn't say much to me directly growing up, but I saw her martyr-ish attitude toward food, the guilt involved, the good/bad mentality (healthy/unhealthy).

I didn't really "do" anything about it for a few more years. I then struggled with an eating disorder for 10 years. The cure for me? Living with my husband. He didn't care AT ALL what I ate, or what he ate. We always had plenty of junk food, and the fact that we did made me realize I didn't want it all the time. Whenever I wanted it, it was there, so it wasn't a Thing. My eating disorder just went away . . .my weight completely stabilized. My destructive habits never returned.

Your job as a mom isn't to criticize her or tell her what looks unflattering. Tell her she looks beautiful. Trust me. The WORLD will criticize her. SHE will criticize herself more harshly than you could ever imagine. You have plenty of people doing "that" job. You be the one to tell her she looks amazing no matter what.

My sister has always been just a little heavier than I, and while neither of has been overweight, she's had times (college!) where her weight went up more than mine. But she didn't care . . .guys didn't care . . .she had a high self-esteem (my mother's attitude toward eating/body never got to her). I was so envious.

I have not been overweight-- I wear a size 4. Well, now that I am working out I wear a 2. And guess what? My mom comments on it a lot. She is so happy. She tells me, "Oh, you look like you did in high school!" It makes my skin crawl. I tell her I am not doing it to lose weight but to be STRONG.

For me, giving birth the first time (without meds, despite the mean residents wanting me to have some, haha!) made me actually love my body. I had stopped hurting it, but I finally appreciated it. I told it, thank you . . .thank you for helping me to carry a baby, thank you for giving birth . . .that is what you want for your daughter. You want her to love her body, and to see it as STRONG.

I'm sorry if any of this came off harsh, because I don't mean it to be. As you can see, I've had a long history, which why I sound passionate on this . . .


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I appreciate the passion, Anele, and I agree this area is fraught with missteps.

But if one has a child struggling with anything, I think you need to at least recognize it and talk to them about it. If she thought she looked great as she was and was happy, I would just continue to model and practice good nutrition, as the OP is. But if the daughter is unhappy,as it seems she is, I think a conversation is warranted.

That said, I totally agree that you do not want to do anything that makes the child feel worse or feel pressured. I would hope to get across to the child in a neutral and non-judgmental way that she has some control over this, but it is her decision. But you really have to mean that, and accept what she decides, too. You just want her to know you are there for her.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I disagree completely, Mtn. Teens have tremendous access to resources. She has the knowledge now, I am sure, to lose weight. Who doesn't? It's rarely a mystery, unless there is some unknown, underlying condition. Everyone knows HOW to lose weight.

You are completely missing the point when you say that "if she looked great." This isn't about appearance. If she doesn't feel emotionally great, it's because she's already doing a fantastic job criticizing herself. If she feels uncomfortable physically, I am guessing she is smart enough, on her own, to eventually (on her timeline), figure out how to eat so she feels good.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Some families are genetically predisposed to carrying more weight. Welcome to our world. I was an average size child then puberty HIT HARD. I will spare the rest of the story..Fast Forward to my own daughters. All were "off the charts" for length and weight from birth on. DD #1 is most like me. Being a licensed educator, summers I kept mine reading,math facts, exercising, scheduled out each morning. I always emphasized health and wellness for the mandatory bike rides vs weight control. When clothes shopping I always told them "size" doesn't matter--finding something flattering is all that is important. As puberty hit I showed them pictures pictures and shared my life experience. They are teens they chose to follow their friends...Now DD is 20, very heavy. I recently tripped upon a video blog she made. She was saying a MOM/parent can say NOTHING about their daughter's looks that the daughter won't turn around and HEAR a negative. No matter how PC or positive mom tries to spin it--they KNOW and they hear out of mom's mouth all the negative self talk they engage in. So what can you do? Respond to her lead. When asked give council, SPARINGLY. This isn't your deal to FIX. Bottom line let her know you love her always.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

My DD is only 10 but starting puberty and just had a growth spurt. She's not happy about what's happening to her body (except for growing taller) since she wants to stay a little girl. It's tough to talk to her and say "this is just what happens" I'm dreading any future self-esteem/body image issues - I know in our society they're pretty much inevitable.

But since you have had an emphasis on healthy eating in your house, and your DD seemed unhappy with the way clothes fit and look on her, I'd say yes, you can use that as an opportunity to reinforce the healthy eating habits. If she says she wants to get her figure back (not "lose weight"), then just tell her she already knows how to do that - food is fuel, eat what you need. An occasional treat is fine, but if she's going out to eat with friends, just ask her to think about what she's eating and whether it's really worth the calories. If they like fast food places, maybe she can have a salad or yogurt or something small, not a double-decker cheeseburger or something fried. Suggest that maybe they try to do an activity together rather than eating - a dance class or indoor rock climbing or even bowling if they're not into the great outdoors. Or meet for coffee (warn her away from the lattes and milkshake type drinks) and socialize instead.

Do not tell her she's overweight. I matured very early, and when I was 13 I was wearing a size 16 (pants at least) and looked age 16 with an hourglass figure. My mom always made a big deal about it, and how my rib cage was bigger than hers though her bust was bigger so I couldn't fit into one of her dresses for my junior prom when I was 16. Now that my DD (who is petite, about 4.5ft tall) has started to develop and is into size 10-12 clothes I realize that a size 14-16 GIRLS is not HUGE like my mother made it sound (DD needs the 10-12 in the hips, not in the bust since she's just starting to wear a training bra, but I expect in the next year or 2 she will be in size 14-16 tops and bottoms). They were probably even smaller 35-40 years ago if size inflation has made its way down to preteen sizes like they have misses.

But since I was already "fat", I just kept eating from age 13-15 and did get over 100 lbs (I don't remember what size clothes I was wearing at age 15). I lost weight when I was 16 by just stopping 2nds at dinner, taking up tennis (until my dr told me I couldn't play on concrete due to arthritis) and then golf (lots of walking)! It was my decision, not b/c my mom told me I was fat (she'd been telling me for years), but b/c I didn't like the way I looked and felt. I kept it off through college but even at just over 100 lbs in my 20's I still wore a size 5 jean (hips) and 10 blouse (large busted). When I was lifting weights I had a hard time finding clothes to fit my thighs and upper arms (and it was already hard to find clothes that fit in the bust and weren't huge in the shoulders and everywhere else). Forget dresses - 5'3" with a long torso. But even when others called me "skinny" and men found me attractive I couldn't shake that self-image as "the fat girl". Don't do that to your DD.

This post was edited by ajsmama on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 11:37


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Anele,

You misread my post. Most importantly, i did not say "if she looked great". I said "if she thought she looked great". In other words, if she is happy with her body, I would let things be. The conversation should not be because Mom is unhappy with her body, but only if the teen herself is.

Oh and I so disagree about the information being out there. Kids are naive and gullible. Next thing she will be taking green tea pills or somesuch. If she decides she wants to do something you want to be sure she is doing something very sane and rational and not being duped. Teens are uniquely susceptible to fad diets because they tend to want instant results; being notoriously bad at deferred gratification.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I was that teen girl. I had an operation when I was 8 and gained 30 lbs in a year and have struggled with weight since. Both sides of the family are predisposed to being heavy as well.

Do NOT talk to your daughter about her weight, clothes, etc. She already knows she is overweight, has trouble finding clothes and doesn't have a cute figure like her girlfriends.

You are doing the right thing by having healthy foods at home with a minimum of junk food/sweets. Just be supportive if/when she comes to you and wants to join WW or a gym, etc.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

If a mother has a good relationship already with a daughter, then things can be talked about without the daughter feeling judged but if not, then it's too late and pointless.

The issue is not how the daughter looks but how she feels and what the mother can do to make her feel better without putting a band aid on the problem but helping identify the root issues and giving the daughter all the support she wants. if she doesn't want any she can at least know as the mother you are her number one fan.

Better to be involved if she allows it, then to let her go web searching for all the craziness out there.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

If or when the timing is right any chance you could buy her four months of a personal trainer instruction at a local gym? Although most teens may think they know how to lose weight the problem usually lies in actually getting started. It’s the initial hump and commitment. A good personal trainer will have some background in healthy eating and what the body needs for workouts and will be able to say things to your teen that you cannot. The combination of extra endorphins from working out at this age will be a plus as well. At the end of four months she should have the confidence and motivation to keep on an exercise regime of her own.
Or, do dual fitness training with an instructor if your teen will go for that. There is really nothing greater than setting an exercise example for children.
Usually once the positive changes start in appearance from the exercise the better eating habits just sort of happen. It makes them more mindful. A good instructor will have many pointers to make it easier.
In fact sometimes we all need a jump start even when we know what to do as an adult.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Mtn, I apologize for misreading. However, I still stand by what I said.

You said: "Maybe even more strictly because I struggle with my weight."

You struggle with your weight because ___? Certainly you have access to resources, inc. a personal trainer, chef, etc. if you would choose (and maybe you do). What is it that keeps you in this struggle? It isn't because you don't know what to do. So, it's either because it's out of your control (genetics), or you are unable/unwilling to make changes. And, that's all OK. But you used the word "struggle." Why? I would not want to set my daughter up to struggle with something for the rest of her life, because, at the end of the day, this all comes down to perspective.

I am passionate about this but I don't feel what I say should be dismissed as a result. I've read about this extensively for years and lived it. I've seen it from many perspectives. I also do not struggle. I am pushing myself to get stronger and healthier, I don't love my cellulite, but I don't struggle. So, I do think this is working for me, and I don't see how your way results in as positive an outcome.

Regarding getting into fads-- well, that is a given. Of course she should be monitored, just like I am sure her mom is monitoring her for everything.

IF her daughter comes to her on her own-- only then-- only then would I offer a third party to help (like a trainer as suggested above).


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Yes Anel, I do agree the timing has to be right. When that happens I would jump on it though. It’s all about giving them the tools. I do believe there is a wrong way even within these parameters though. First, careful consideration on choosing the right instructor. I think the goal here would be to offer a lifestyle that’s workable. Most teens are not going to stick with going to the gym four times a week. It would be better to have two one and a half hour workouts a week at the gym. The other part could be incorporated to fit into a teen’s schedule. Once a week either swim or do an upper body workout video and once a week do a fast walk with lunges. Every day, sit-ups!
I would not focus on the weight problem I would focus on giving the teen the tools to make healthier lifestyle changes.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Anele.

No, I don't think anyone's views here should be dismissed, and certainly not because they are passionate. I just wanted to clarify a very important point germane to the original poster's issue.

No one wants to "set (someone) up to struggle", but they may struggle anyway. If the child is struggling, with anything, the parent will naturally want to be both supportive and non judgmental. Only the OP will know exactly how to handle that with her own daughter.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I do have experience with this. I do not have a weight problem, but we do have it in our family, and my daughter was overweight as a teen.

She was and is a beautiful, talented, and popular girl. But any teen girl who is in anyway different than the teen ideal will "struggle", some. Ignoring the reality does nothing.

We always were our daughter's biggest fans, not because we are supposed to be but because it was heartfelt. We never felt that her size diminished her or disappointed us; sadly, I certainly know Moms who do feel that way. It sounds like maybe Anele's mom (do not mean to pick on anyone!) did too, and maybe projected her own concern on her daughter.

One thing no one mentioned was that our pediatrician, who i felt was misguided, started pointing out her being overweight when she was 8 or 9, in front of her. To give some idea, while she was large she never wore plus sizes, for example. So we are not talking morbidly obese, which perhaps a Dr. would be duty bound to point out (although, duh!). It always made her cry.

My daughter and I always talked, and still do, about everything. To artificially exclude weight as a topic would be odd and maybe even make it seem more awful/taboo!
When she was upset about her weight, I would tell her that she was beautiful, and that everyone is different. We are not all cookie cutter and certainly very very few of us are super models. Super models are blessed, and so are Nobel Prize winners. You can't beat yourself up because you didn't win a Nobel, but you should be the best student you can be. You can't beat yourself up that you aren't a supermodel, but you should be the best person you can be. Only you can decide what you want out of life, what is important to you, and what you will do to make your goals.

Our daughter, now in college, is still heavier than the ideal, but she is happy and confident and active and has no shortage of boyfriends. I do think her generation is more tolerant of all sorts of differences than we were, and that is a good thing. We don't get to know in parenting whether we did it right, or if there was a better choice. I wish you and your daughter well!


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

''When DD talks about being bored or hungry or mentions going to eat with friends.''

How about suggesting alternatives to eating?

Is she involved in any sport/hobbies? Perhaps, encourage a hobby, volunteering, or an activity like biking, running, tennis, golf, etc. At that age my DS started horseback riding (despite living in Chgo, she drove to a nearby suburb), 30 yrs later she is still riding and in great shape.

Would not focus on the weight or food.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I will respectfully disagree with Anele on a couple of points. First of all, I am a Nurse Practitioner in Student Health at a college. Many of the kids I see have no idea about food or how to eat. It's a huge mystery. Just look at everything they are bombarded with from low carb to gluten free to cleanses to pills. How can they sort out what is best when even in the health care world there is no clear cut answer to "what is the best way to eat" when it isn't a cookie cutter answer that works for everyone. Second, it is OK to struggle with weight. As has been mentioned here, some people are predisposed to hold more weight. That person can do the exact same things (food and exercise) as their friends and not get the same results. To discount this can be very frustrating to that person. As somebody who has "struggled" with weight, there is nothing worse then my naturally skinny friends telling me that all they did was walk around their neighborhood for 20 minutes once a week before going out for mexican food and drop 10 pounds when I am already running 5 days a week watching my intake just to stay the same. It doesn't change my worth as a person, it doesn't make me less beautiful, intelligent, important, etc. People with eczema struggle with dry skin, people with migraines struggle with headaches. I think it is OK to acknowledge that. Kitschykitch brings up a good point, some people aren't made to be supermodels. That certainly doesn't affect their worth. Sorry anele - didn't mean to pick on you but in this area I can meet your passion with my own!

deee- here is my recommendation. It sounds as if the door has been opened by her comments about herself. I think mentioning that you noticed that she seems unhappy based on what she said about nothing being flattering and then seeing where she takes the conversation would be appropriate. Address it from the standpoint of health, both mental and physical and see how she feels about that. I agree that weight can be a very sensitive subject but if it is affecting how she feels about herself it SHOULD be addressed. Albeit sensitively.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Are you in an area that offers Zumba or Jazzercise or Barre classes? Perhaps that could be a good mother/daughter activity that would both empower her and set her on the right track?

I struggled with weight as a high school student, became anorexic in college and have remained at the low end of normal weight since. My food issues related to feeling like life was out of control with so many life changes taking place. Food was my crutch. When my daughter started to have weight issues with freshman 15 in college I didn't say much. When she asked why I didn't comment on her weight gain I told her that it was a case of being "damned if I do" and "damned if I don't". Instead of weight I'd rather talk about healthy choices and good habits. We're in a rural area so exercise classes aren't available; however we always had exercise DVD's, hand weights, jump ropes, etc. available. Plus we encouraged our kids to get outside and do something constructive. Fortunately we also didn't have access to fast food.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Having grown up in a health food guru environment where weight was all important.

I would ask if your daughter emotional health and your relationship or her pants size are the most important?

There is no doubt she is absolutely aware she has gained weight. If she asks for ideas, i would suggest that you discuss foods to avoid when eating out with friends. It may be as simple as suggesting the plain ice tea, hold the mayo and skipping the fries. Not skipping the friends or the invites out. Or making the gain an issue.

If you love your daughter at any size, use words that encourage clothing items that she feels good about. Not that it would look better on a skinnier her


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

The only person who can help you manage your own weight is yourself and only when you are ready.

When my youngest was an over weight teen, we were very worried about diabetes, which runs in both sides of our family. We took her to a nutritionist specializing in children.

She also had the emotional moments in the store dressing rooms, when nothing fit. In her junior year, everything came together and she began losing weight. All the positive comments encouraged her to keep going. I remember how excited she was trying on two piece bathing suits and not knowing which one to buy. (We bought both!)

Interesting too, that she had become a mentor to two over weight friends. Putting them on fitness pal and going to the gym together.
I am a lifetime WW member. Maybe in is just NY but I have never seen teenagers in the meetings.

Whether you want to call it a struggle or just something that needs constant work, maintaining ones weight is on the top of most people's list.

I was very thin as a child, but am average now. I work consciously every day to stay this way. Yet if I talk my over weight relative, I am looked at as someone who has it easy. As if you have to be over weight yourself to understand how difficult weight loss is.

I think as a mom you can express your concern about the comments that your daughter has made to you. She might very well be eating the same food her friends are or she might be turning to food for other reasons.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I have discovered that talking about "weight" has become both too abstract and too emotionally laden to hit the home target. "Weight" is shorthand for "health". And "health" tends to be shorthand for a judgment about the conditions of our organs and systems, something that is measured only vaguely and indirectly, and that many of us never learn about in depth. Weight is really a side effect of harmful events happening inside the body. Young people don't feel that harm accumulating. As an emotional, social young being, I thought of my excess fat in psychological terms for a long time.

What I needed was to talk about the specific effects and hazards of carrying extra fat. It's hard to buy into slimness just because it's right. It's easier to do a thing like eating lightly if you have concrete information about the benefits of doing so .

For example, I was able to quit smoking a hundred years ago after I saw a model (or were they pickled in a jar?) of lungs corrupted by cigarettes. That kind of thing works.

If you don't have a background in biology or physiology, and are everywhere surrounded by junk food, you might feel like you're in a "take it on faith", or "just do as I say" situation. What teen likes that?

For a while, it worked for me to image the omentum, the apron of fat intended to protect our organs, but that stifles and disrupts them when it is too big.

I would try discussing the science with her, and remove the angst from the conversation. Maybe the conversation could start with the health problem of someone you both know. Gallstones form from too much fat and salt, and can lead to surgery, scarring, and possible lifelong diarrhea. This happens to 40-year-old women whom your teen might perceive as still viable and not ready for the grave anyway. Adult onset diabetics, whose poor pancreas has been abused until it can't work any longer, must eat in a regimented manner and test their blood. Heart problems are life-limiting.

A conversation like this would stimulate thought and not emotion. That could be helpful in forming a motivation. "You on a Diet" by Dr. Oz is light and funny, and it has silly illustrations, but it also contains science to sink your teeth into.

In general, I get the sense that carrying extra fat is MUCH more socially acceptable today than it once was. This is not helpful to those of us who are motivated by social mores or to "fit in". ("All the other girls are fat, too." But this depends on whether your group is fat or thin, I suppose. My world is at least half fat, maybe more. It didn't used to be that way.)

I envy anyone who gets a handle on self-nutrition.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

"Our daughter, now in college, is still heavier than the ideal, but she is happy and confident and active and has no shortage of boyfriends."

Are you defining "ideal" by societies definition or a healthy definition. Unfortunately these days there is a big difference. And that is something that can be discussed with everyone struggling with weight, especially teen-age girls.

The biggest thing that I learned when deciding that I needed to lose weight was that 1 pound was 3500 calories. So, if you want to loose a pound a week you need to find 3500 calories a week or 500 calories a day, from your food that you really don't need. A side of fries, or a milkshake, or a coffee shop muffin - any one of those will do it.

Your daughter has already opened the discussion so I would walk through that door. But do it based on a life-long healthy lifestyle basis not on the basis of being able to wear the latest fashion or attracting that great guy. Those are false reasons for living a life.

I don't have daughters but I have niece whose mother constantly criticized her for her weight ( and her nose and her intelligence and her.... but that's for another thread). She got married about 3 years ago and moved about 10 minutes away from me. We were always close and started to hang out even more. She broached the subject of her weight and we had some really frank and honest discussions - without my being critical. She wanted to be educated without being belittled and that I could do.

Dee - I'm not saying that you're belittling your daughter that's for sure! but my point is that your daughter may be looking for some food education and that you can do. Don't talk "diet" because that brings to mind "doing without" but instead talk about healthy choices when it comes to food, talk about you controlling food rather than food controlling you (that was another Ha-Ha moment for me - I am NOT going to let food control me).

This is a journey that must be taken softly but it is such an important one.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Wow! I knew everyone would be helpful but I am overwhelmed by the responses.

I think I may try to broach the subject by framing it within a larger discussion about preparing for college life. Being a SAHM I have fallen into the trap of providing too much structure and support for my children. My oldest struggled with the "life" part of school. Younger DD starts college next year I'd like her to become more independent and mindful of things that help make life run smoothly. I plan on having a talk with her about healthy eating, exercise, keeping track of responsibilities, managing laundry, budgeting,etc.

It won't be a "you must be unhappy about your weight" conversation. Just an ongoing dialog about how to be successful at school and take care of yourself.

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses. i will let you know how it goes ...


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I just spoke to my neighbor last week about this very subject.

Her daughter started gaining weight when she was 15. She started eating a bunch of junk and her portion sizes were getting bigger. She talked to her daughter *after* she made a comment much like Deee's daughter did. She didn't lecture but had a frank back and forth discussion. She made sure to not say the word "diet" but instead talked about "choices."

She found that her daughter (with access to media and online resources) was completely clueless about food and nutrition. She set her up with an appt with an adolescent nutritionist, which was the turning point to this girls health.

Today, she's a healthy (yet curvy) 17 yo who's a life guard. She lost 30 pounds in two years.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

This is so hard and such a touchy subject as so many of us had issues of our own with the subject when we were growing up. This is only my opinion, but I feel it is sometimes hard to see an alternatives to our parents' way of doing things that isn't just permissiveness or doing nothing. I have to believe that their are other options for parents rather than letting children/teens struggle alone with these tough issues. Like I say, just MHO.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

My best on your conversation with your daughter Dee!

We all had all the junk food available when we were kids and the obesity level is nowhere near what it is today. I think each generation suffers a whole new set of stresses. Overall today’s kids are not as active as there is more time sitting on the commuter or playing video games. There is not the availability of other kids do outside actives because of this. It is a whole different mindset than we were faced with. Yes, some people are predisposed to carry more weight, same as when we were young. However, now it’s blossomed into full obesity which is not healthy. You can still be fat while eating healthy if you eat too much or do not incorporate exercise. The exercise is key IMO. If the parent does not exercise it will be harder to get the teen or child to exercise. It’s all a viscous cycle. The other thing is that in many low income families there is not the money to eat very healthy. In some of these families the diets are high in carbs with bits of veggies and bits of meat thrown in. Exercise here is very important. They go hand in hand.

I just wish for a new slogan to go along with the recent drive for better eating habits for children.

Keep Your Family Happy & Do a Lap-y
Be it walk, swim, bike or run…get outside and have some fun!

Ok I know I'm goofy...but still, it's kinda catchy.

This post was edited by jterrilynn on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 15:48


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Skipping the philosophical and psychological, I'll add my second hand experience , seeing my cousin handle this issue with her dd. She signed herself and DD up at a really nice gym, and dd for a six week series with a personal trainer. There was no discussion of weight. Mom is slim, but in need of exercise, so the focus was on health. The trainer discussed nutrition as well.
As she began to grow stronger, tighter and toned ( and weights can reward with rapid results), her new found pride just naturally extended to eating healthier. She's not willowy, like many of her friends, but looks and feels great. Her self esteem rocks! It was a financial sacrifice her parents are so glad they made.
And, her mom did insist she make the twice a week appointments, and pushed her to take walks or bike with her when dd was " bored" .
No different than insisting on piano practice, IMO.
She's one happy girl.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Definitely if she's getting ready to go to college next year talk to her about healthy eating (and drinking, smoking, budget, etc.). She'll have to learn to make good choices when you aren't there. I think all colleges require resident freshmen to be on their meal plans - and my "freshman 15" (or rather 10) was the weight I LOST, b/c I couldn't stand the cafeteria food and lived on PBJ sandwiches. When I came home for the holidays my parents were shocked b/c I was less than 100 lbs - skin and bones and a respiratory infection from 2nd hand smoke.

2nd semester I started to gain a little more, got healthier, but it wasn't until I moved out of the dorm and into apartment, started cooking for myself and roommate that I got back to normal weight/health.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Dee, I would tread lightly on the subject of weight. When your daughter goes for her yearly physical the subject will most likely come up, and she can discuss it with her doctor or nurse practitioner.

Does she play sports at school or do dancing/any physical activity outside of school? That is a healthy way to engage in activity and at the same time learn about healthy eating.

Another option to encourage physical activity is to do family activities that involve movement! Bike rides, hiking, tennis, swimming, walking trails. It may not be easy to get her to join at her age, but might be worth a try.

We have three grown daughters, all of whom were active throughout school. However, when puberty hits, it is common for girls to gain weight temporarily. Our pedi was extremely good at explaining this to the girls. It helps to hear it from a professional. Our midle DD was chubby at that stage, but kept active the weight came off.

I have friend whose daughters battled anorexia and bulimia. Our daughters had roomies in college who suffered from both. In one case, the roommates had to to an intervention and call the girl's mother. They then found out that it had gone on starting in HS and she had been in and out of treatment for it.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

The irony of all of this is that last May she quit a demanding sport because of medical reasons. We actually had a conversation in December marveling at the fact that she was able to maintain her weight without too much effort.

Then came the car and the extra $ and the freedom. And the extra weight.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I have already raised two girls. I am also a retired health care provider. I am not an expert but I would not even bring this subject up. Every girl her age is unhappy with their body even if it's "perfect".

Even if she comes to you...tell her she is beautiful and perfect in your eyes. Tell her how little those few extra pounds really mean and how beautiful her eyes are. It is your job to be her #1 cheerleader..her soft place to land.

When she is ready she will lose the weight. And if she doesn't...so what. Would it really be so bad to be a happy, self confident size 14?

Let someone else be the bad guy...if there has to be one.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I believe understanding nutrition and diet is quite an extensive learning process, and although we are bombarded with info and tv shows, your daughter has not had to learn all this yet so whatever you might teach her will empower her in her choices. She might possibly realize that a weight loss might not be so difficult over a period of a few months.

Keep us posted on your mission, and good luck. She's lucky you are willing to work with her on this.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Good night.

This post was edited by melsouth on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 4:01


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

That is sad Mel that you want to help her and she is not willing. My only surviving aunt on my mom’s side has to take three shots of insulin a day now and blood pressure pills due to her weight gain. She is not that much older than me as she was within the second group of babies my grandmother had when older. This past year two of the last of her sisters died and her marriage is a shambles. She wants to come and stay and as soon as I get my remodels done I’ll have her over. She may never want to come again by the time I’m done with her lol. I will not have deserts in the house (I have watched her eat two big pieces of cake or pie in one sitting); I plan on walking with her along the beach or biking and maybe even short kayaking trips. I’ll have lots of roasted veggies, fish or lean meats. I will make it fun. Heck, our mall is huge so that’s a workout to; I’ll keep her moving but do so moderately as she is in very poor condition. My aunt has told me she is very unhappy with herself, health and appearance but I know she needs a kick start. I just don’t want her to die.

This post was edited by jterrilynn on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 20:36


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

RE: "Many of the kids I see have no idea about food or how to eat. It's a huge mystery. Just look at everything they are bombarded with from low carb to gluten free to cleanses to pills. How can they sort out what is best when even in the health care world there is no clear cut answer to "what is the best way to eat" when it isn't a cookie cutter answer that works for everyone."

I agree with you on this in general-- everything I read contradicts everything else, for sure. I find it very frustrating myself to say that I want to eat so that I may live a long life but find contradictory info in order to implement this. However, in this case, I think we can ALL agree that fast food (on the whole-- there are exceptions) is generally not nutrient dense per calorie. Period. The OP said her daughter's weight gain was due to fast food . . .so it is pretty clear that if she cut that out, she wouldn't be gaining. I am also surprised that you are meeting so many uneducated teens. Children I know, as young as 8, are full of knowledge about food choices (again, we can agree that more veggies and fruits are key). It is taught at all the local schools, if they don't get it at home. It's not that much of a mystery to know the basics . . .and there are basics everyone agrees with, right?

RE: Second, it is OK to struggle with weight. As has been mentioned here, some people are predisposed to hold more weight.

I want to clarify what I meant here. In NO WAY did I mean "struggle with weight" to = be heavy. Not at all. In fact, I did not tie the word "struggle" it to any body type/size/weight at all. People of all shapes and sizes struggle with weight, and that's because the "struggle" largely comes from perspective (unless there is an underlying medical condition). As I said originally, it all comes down to perspective. A size 0 might say she struggles, while a size 16 does not. The difference? One may feel depressed, upset, angry, frustrated with her size. The other feels good, feels happy, and knows it's the right size given all of the factors, and moves on with life. Doesn't struggle. I would not wish this life of "struggle" on anyone, ever. I struggled for a decade and was my own enemy. Why would I ever, for a second, risk sending my own children down that same horrible path? Playing with fire, IMO.

However, now that I started exercising regularly for the first time ever (I have made it to 15 weeks so far!), I think everyone should do it . . .it's one of the few things I think "everyone" should do in life. It's best if it's built into practical things, but if not, we have to make it a priority. It helps us be more in tune with ourselves on so many levels. What a gift! Making time regularly for the whole family to have fun and exercise (hiking!) is great, and if not, it can be mother-daughter bonding time to do it together. It is such a good message, I think, to help us encourage our daughters to see us (the parents) and themselves as strong people. I tell my daughters I want to get to the point where I can lift 50 lbs. What a difference that is vs. saying I want to lose weight.

RE: The biggest thing that I learned when deciding that I needed to lose weight was that 1 pound was 3500 calories. So, if you want to loose a pound a week you need to find 3500 calories a week or 500 calories a day, from your food that you really don't need. A side of fries, or a milkshake, or a coffee shop muffin - any one of those will do it.
Again, while I don't like talking about losing weight, I'll add in here that this is also up for debate. Some professionals say that it's better to focus on 1000 calories a week, not 3500. You should cut 500 from diet and 500 by exercising. In this way, you don't mess with your metabolism and you don't lose muscle mass. It takes longer, for sure, but slow and steady is always best.

This post was edited by anele on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 18:16


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Deee, she had to give up a demanding sport due to an injury. She's probably missing that activity and connection on many levels. This may help to explain why she gained the weight. Her inability to engage in rigorous exercise was taken away from her at the same point that she starting working and driving, which afforded her access to the junk food that many teens thrive on.

Give her space. This is recent and she is probably sad over losing her ability to play her sport. Let her process this. Be there for her and continue to provide family meals with healthy foods.

With time, and on her own terms, she will figure this out.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I noticed one thing you said, that you might reflect on.

You said that the car, spending money, and freedom caused this.

That is not necessarily true. Not saying that DD isn't literally eating things she may not have before due to increases access. But if you have always strongly controlled all food choices, then she is, maybe for the first time ever, getting to make her own choices.

Be careful this isn't really about that.

Not meaning to say it is or isn't, just want to point out that she may take it really hard if you bring it up, basically implying she is not competent to run her own life.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

This article in Well magazine is very interesting. I think it helps explain why some people turn to food or sugar instead of exercise or vise versa...and the "runners high".

Here is a link that might be useful: the endocannabinoid system


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

deee, these thoughts are not directed at you personally, just general thoughts.

I didn't read all the responses. I have a 20 & 18 year olds. For the fast food I would focus on the money. Do you know how much money you are spending on fast food? What could you buy with that money? My kids are very motivated by money. My son wants to save every dollar to be a millionaire and my daughter just wants money to spend on whatever. They are also very focused on how unhealthy fast food is. We have never talked about their weight directly. Just about the cost of food and eating healthy and exercising.

My 18 yo and her friend were just here asking for ideas of what to do that doesn't cost money. This comes up a lot with our kids. What is there to do that doesn't cost money or is unhealthy? Often they tell me they go out to eat because they don't know what else to do.

Today I suggested a walk along the bike path in our area and to bring along a basketball or tennis rackets as there are courts on the path. They liked the basketball idea.

In the past my job was helping people with weight loss. I used to get so mad when parents would bring in their kids. The parents would want the kids to have good eating habits and to exercise regularly but the parents did not do this themselves and they did not help the kids do it.

One example was an obese teenager who had a house full of family. The parents gave her too much money to spend at lunch so of course she bought snacks. No one in the house would walk with her. She had access to great walking paths but NO ONE in her family would go with her. They were all too busy. She was afraid and uncomfortable to walk alone even though it was a safe community. The mother really needed exercise herself but she said she was too busy! Really???

And those BMI and weight charts, I hate them! My son is 20, runs and lifts weights regularly, eats very healthy, and has only 5% body. A recent physical has him at being very healthy but based on his weight and height he is near being overweight??? Most people look at him and think he could stand to gain a few pounds. I think those charts set unrealistic goals that are unattainable. In fact in a health class last year the class and teacher did a project on how/why those charts are wrong and are not helping people be healthy.

My rant is over. Again perhaps show your daughter how much she is spending and how that food is garbage. Such as how a french fry under your car seat will not rot but last forever. Tell her YOU want to start walking, dancing, etc. Ask her to join you.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Remember too, that eating a very high caloric diet can't be evened out with exercise. Unless you are training for marathons, you will take in more than you can exercise to lose the weight.

In fact, losing weight should not be a reason to exercise. Just my honest opinion and what works for me.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Dee, thank you for posting this. I am walking this sensitive ground with my 13 year old right now. It looks like her build is much different than mine, much curvier and quite solid. Since my daughter is active, practices good portion control (in our family they measure exactly 1/2 cup of ice cream, etc) and because of her diabetes has extensive knowledge about food choices, there really is not much that I can say. She will always have to be cognizant of what goes into her mouth but we are trying to work on strategies to help make healthier choices. I ask her what fruits or vegetables she would like me to keep on hand for snacks, etc. This way I can support her but it is still up to her to utilize what is available to her.

The other tricky area I am working through is educating her on what cuts of clothing are most flattering to her body type. She made an unauthorized acquisition of boobs (not something i had to deal with) plus hips and backside, so I am trying to help her to see what works with this. Honestly though it is a long, long, delicate process and I just try to find those teachable moments and then duck for cover.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I am really struck by how many people think a parent should say nothing to a child whose behavior is clearly self destructive--- particularly if a person is gaining 50 pounds in a single year! Let's substitute "eating" with "smoking"....how many would tiptoe around that issue?

Surely there is something one can think of to say that falls somewhere in between fake declarations of "you are perfect just the way you are" and hurtful, obvious statements like "you are fat."

Deee's daughter has expressed unhappiness with her weight to her mother. It is her mother's responsibility to offer help and guidance in any way that will not be hurtful but will show her daughter she cares enough to offer help. Maybe all the unhappy, overweight kids whose parents are afraid to help them think, "My parents don't care if I am fat, they must think I like to be this way, or somehow deserve to be."


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Well, Deee, with all the conflicting advice here you should not feel bad about being uncertain what to do! Your approach certainly sounds reasonable to me.

I find the strongest opinions here seem to come from those who have had an issue themselves. As someone who has not, I think I fall in the middle of "slim the darn kid up now" and "this is an unspeakable affliction, deny its existence at all costs".

P.S.
And, Anele, FWIW, I was holding my tongue, but I think you are backtracking with your post:

"I want to clarify what I meant here. In NO WAY did I mean "struggle with weight" to = be heavy. Not at all."

The why would you have directed this to another poster:
"You struggle with your weight because ___? Certainly you have access to resources, inc. a personal trainer, chef, etc. if you would choose (and maybe you do). What is it that keeps you in this struggle? It isn't because you don't know what to do. So, it's either because it's out of your control (genetics), or you are unable/unwilling to make changes. "

And that you added a half hearted. "And, that's all OK."

Methinks ...


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I so agree kitsy! Particularly the whole, never ever talk about weight thing. If it were drugs, sex, sex texting, gee, even acne, piercings or tattoos, most mothers would be all over it.
It seems weird to never talk about weight.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

As the mother of 2 college aged daughters and a RN, I have some input into this topic. My one daughter is over six feet tall and lanky, athletic, eats a not very well balanced diet, blessed with "good" genes. I was much like her as a young adult. My other daughter is 5'10" (the runt of the family as she says!) and carries a little extra weight. She does not have the best self esteem and the added weight (size 16-18) doesn't help with her body image.

I have addressed it with her as it not being so much of a problem now, but setting you up for a much bigger problem in the future. We have talked about weight I have gained as a adult and how I am not the tall lanky person I was at her age. Have also talked about how much easier it is to maintain control versus battling to lose weight gained. We have recently made dietary changes and each lost 25 pounds. It is amazing to see the change in her. Smiling, willing to go shopping, holding her head up high.

As a OB RN, it concerns me that the new norm for weight gain in pregnancy is 70 pounds. The extra weight is not lost and then they get pregnant again. Many of our patients are over 300# and we consider 225# as thin at work. How sad is this?


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

"I am really struck by how many people think a parent should say nothing to a child whose behavior is clearly self destructive--- particularly if a person is gaining 50 pounds in a single year! Let's substitute "eating" with "smoking"....how many would tiptoe around that issue?
Surely there is something one can think of to say that falls somewhere in between fake declarations of "you are perfect just the way you are" and hurtful, obvious statements like "you are fat."

Amen to what kwsl says. This is why many of the college age students I see are so clueless about how to eat. I don't know why the topic is taboo. Yes, eating disorders are very serious, but even if you don't say a word about "healthy eating" to your kids don't you think they feel the pressure from their friends and classmates. In fact, I think (purely anecdotal) arming them with knowledge about healthy habits can help protect them against outside pressures. I agree that any talk needs to be "health" focused and not "weight loss" focused.

I'll also agree with ellendi, you can't exercise away a bad diet, it catches up with you. I tell people to focus on exercise for all of the great benefits it offers, but weight loss shouldn't be one of them. Especially as you get older, exercise for your heart, your muscles, your bones, your mood, your stress level, etc. Don't exercise to lose weight or you will quickly get frustrated and stop if that is the only reason you are doing it.

(kitschyKitch - I feel you).

Deeee - I love your idea of tying the discussion into all of the things that she will need to know as she branches out on her own. I am sure she saw the things that her sibling struggled with and would like to leave your house armed and ready!


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Go to the center for science in the public interest web site and order their nutrition action letter. Leave it in places she will most likely read it, like the bathroom.

I especially enjoy their back cover which includes a panel on the right stuff and another on food porn.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nutrition action


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

If my daughter would smoke legally, I would absolutely not allow it in my house or enable, but ultimately she would do what she wants to do. We can't control anyone (I've tried!). In cases of the 1000 lb people, someone is enabling this, but it doesn't sound like the case of the OP.

kitschy, you can tell me I'm wrong, but I don't appreciate the implication that I'm being dishonest. I am not backtracking. My point in bringing up access to resources like a trainer, info, and genetics, etc. was that those were part of suggestions given to the OP. In other words, just because we have tools and knowledge (some suggested that is what her daughter needs), the real issue, as I originally said, is the word "struggle." When I said "that's OK," I only meant, if you have this info and have genetics you don't like, so what. It's better to just accept yourself vs live a life of a perceived struggle since I doubt it is a medical issue with Mtn (health not affected). Gosh, even if her health were in jeopardy, only she can choose. I still wouldn't judge.

This morning, I went to an outdoor festival. Thinking about the convo, I was struck by the sheer absurdity of the idea of everyone looking a certain way. It is physically impossible, and in my view, undesireable. There is such tremendous variation, and thank goodness. I certainly am no super model so I am thankful my DH likes how I look.

Sorry if any of this sounds hasty or rude. Not meant to be, just have my little ones here and am distracted.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Thanks, Bumble and Kellie.

Anele, I just find your own response to appear very judgmental, yet you are so worried about being judgmental you think Moms should totally ignore a problem. It is a problem if it makes your kid unhappy and or may make them unhealthy. I cannot ignore problems.

"It's better to just accept yourself vs live a life of a perceived struggle."

I think a life well lived, with challenges and aspirations and defeats, involves some struggles. We can't shirk away from them, yet as parents we need to show (and feel!) unconditional love. These things are not mutually exclusive.

PS Melsouth, I do want to point out that I am glad you shared your experience and many of us can identify with your concerns and the desire to be helpful and not hurtful. It is especially hard with teens.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Deleted and done.

This post was edited by red_lover on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 1:17


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Unfortunately, most of our nation's food sources (and their marketing) have been so compromised that it's nearly impossible to trust our physiological responses to food anymore. Our youth will not learn healthy eating habits on their own.

When my kids smell, I talk to them about good hygiene. When they struggle with organization, I help them identify ways to improve. When they experience difficulties with friends, we discuss choosing friends with values they share. When they make poor food choices, I talk with them about how that food really makes them feel, the ingredients, where it came from, and what might be better choices to make. When I point out the need to exercise, I explain that it's as important to take care of their bodies with exercise, as it is to take care of their brains with school (we're still on that fundamental basis).

Good habits, and especially good eating habits, require guidance by parents. Personally, I didn't learn how to listen to my body and its nutritional needs until I was in my 30s. I guarantee our kids aren't learning this intuitively given our nation's current food culture. I have an obligation to discuss eating habits and exercise with my kids. Who else is going to teach them?


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I'm the one who mentioned about the "3500 calories being in a pound...". That was meant to be an example of being educated NOT a dictate of what to do.

To further explain however as my comment was so misconstrued which was perhaps my fault for not being more clear.... In 2009 I did lose 42 pounds in 9 months and have kept them off and that was by analyzing my calories - empty ones and otherwise. I already ran 3 days a week and went/go to a strength gym 3 days a week and at the age of 55 (at the time) I was certainly not going to start adding more exercise to my week. My exercise program is still in effect as is my weight loss. My opinion is that weight loss only works in the longterm if you are educated about nutrition and food. And certainly exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

kitschy, re: "Anele, I just find your own response to appear very judgmental, yet you are so worried about being judgmental you think Moms should totally ignore a problem. It is a problem if it makes your kid unhappy and or may make them unhealthy. I cannot ignore problems."

"It's better to just accept yourself vs live a life of a perceived struggle."

I think a life well lived, with challenges and aspirations and defeats, involves some struggles. We can't shirk away from them, yet as parents we need to show (and feel!) unconditional love. These things are not mutually exclusive.

Of course, a life well-lived includes challenges, struggles, etc. That's a given. I don't understand, however, for the life of me . . .why a parent would go out of their way to create a struggle for their child. Life will bring them plenty of disappointments, sadness, and pain all on its own. In fact, the OP's daughter is already frustrated with this situation; we don't know to what degree.

That's why I said that, if she approaches the mother, then yes-- offer her a resource and help from an objective, neutral party. This isn't ignoring a problem at all. It's about being responsive and supportive according to what her teenage daughter needs, and what she is ready for.

It isn't judgmental, in my opinion, to say that we are better off accepting ourselves vs. feeling like we are letting ourselves down repeatedly when we are genuinely doing the best we can do, especially when our "best" is hurting absolutely no one. Our best may not fit into society's standards, but why should we allow society to rob us of joy? (I am not suggesting that Mtn or anyone here feels this way, but I know it is true for some in this situation.)

Peony, I agree that truly listening to our bodies is key. We encourage our children to do this on a regular basis. We talk about eating a wide variety of foods, eating without distraction, that no food is off-limits (no allergies here!), etc. We don't do things like eat in the car except in rare cases and never in front of the TV. I don't refer to food as good or bad. Instead, we help guide them making food choices by saying things like, "You have carbohydrates on your plate; now choose a protein." When they serve themselves a snack, they have to get a dish and put what they want in it vs engage in mindless eating. We never suggest they clean their plates, only that they need to eat when hungry/stop when full. They know their bodies' needs pretty well now, and my oldest is only 12. In fact, I think children are born knowing what they need to eat, but adults often get in the way . . .I have repeatedly witnessed toddlers and young children pushing away a plate with unfinished dessert on it when they've had enough. They know.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Pleasant dreams!

This post was edited by melsouth on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 3:58


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Melsouth, I don't think any of this is simple. But I fear that many parents are avoiding talking with their children about eating habits, exercise and weight for fear of hurting their feelings over body image.

You noted your fears about high blood pressure and diabetes regarding your daughter's weight gain. These are legitimate health concerns. It doesn't matter what your impression of your skinny aunt is... for goodness sake, get past that, and don't tiptoe around a health issue with your daughter because of something so superficial.

Or, do you want to wait until your daughter actually receives a diagnosis, and support her then?

You seem a thoughtful, sensitive person who's capable of supporting her now in taking preventive measures, rather than later when she has to backtrack and deal with bad habits. No one's suggesting that simply talking about it will cure everything. But avoiding the issue isn't the answer, either.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Deee,

How is your weight? I ask this because it matters as how to approach your daughter. I have a 12 yo dd who hit puberty and became "uncomfortable" with herself. Part of the reason for that was she was now the same size as her mother-heaven forbid. I think it will be an uphill climb for you if she has never seen you struggle with your weight. I have always been a small but strong woman and I want nothing more for my dd. We as a family have always done activities centered around a healthy lifestyle. We go to the Y together, play bball, hike, 5ks, etc. and also eat ice cream,make cookies, etc. but you can never out train a bad diet-never. I am grateful that we experienced this so young. I think the seeds for your daughter have already been sown at this point, she is 17. You say that you eat relatively clean and have established good habits as a family so trust that. You can always learn new things though so knowledge is power.

It goes without saying to let her know that you are there for her in any way she needs but I would have her watch "Supersize Me" and that should cure her of her want for fast food-it's disgusting.

Go to the gym with her then she won't think that this is all about her, make it about you too. Set a goal-sign up for a 5k color run or a tough mudder, have her friends join too. You don't have to be an elite athlete you just make a commitment and do it. Remember you're always beating the person on the couch. It's amazing how you can bond through sweat! Even if you are thin you can always be stronger :)

Good luck!


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

It's absolutely stunning how fast foods/prepared meals can impact your diet.

Re nutrition action letter, this month's food porn: Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino which has 600 calories. (When I was calorie conscious, I was eating 1200 calories a day, so one drink is 1/2 day's calories!) It includes 12 g saturated fat and 21 teaspoons of sugar. Of course, being a drink, it doesn't stick with you and you will still need a meal...especially if you think of this as just a coffee drink!

They also have an article on Xtreme Eating Awards where they review restaurant foods for calorie and other contents. For example Cheesecake Factory's French Toast Napoleon comes in at 2,900 calories or the equivalent of 2 days worth of food. Sure this looks like it's rich, but 2 days of food? Nuh-uh.

So education about nutrition, IMHO, is an ongoing, lifelong task, from childhood to old age, as they keep coming up with new foods, new extremes, new ways of hiding calories and sweets in ever more tempting packages, designed and marketed in ways that are absolutely geared toward making you want more.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Seeing as, IMO, weight control and nutrition education are lifelong, I think it would be something for mom and daughter to work on together. Most people can certainly improve their fitness and their diet, even if it's already pretty good. And doing things together where you can encourage each other is always more powerful than going solo.

I also think, if you are going to have that conversation, it's important to discuss the emotional aspects of eating. Are there other things going on in her life now that make her feel especially insecure, socially or otherwise, that are pushing her to find comfort in food? Certainly, she's at that stage of life where lots of changes are going on, not all are easy to deal with. It's far easier to push down our emotions and seek comfort with food, but it's far more healthy to deal with the emotional aspects directly, physically, mentally and spiritually.

And of course there's that common vicious cycle...I feel bad so I eat...I eat, I gain weight which makes me feel worse...so I eat more.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

One more thing-have her checkout "My Fitness Pal" app. Super cool, you input your weight, desired weight, activity, all food. It's a great visual aid to "see" how many calories the food you are putting in your mouth has. Best of all she can do it in complete privacy. It's a great motivator to keep you on your path to health.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

My daughter became ill near the point of death with anorexia at the age of 12. We are a family of thin, active people who never, ever talked about dieting, calories, or "bad" foods. She was slightly pudgy and (unbeknownst to us) decided to go on a diet; her anxiety over her weight blossomed into a full disorder.

As part of her illness, our daughter developed a very unhealthy fixation with calories, compulsively exercised and calculated calories burnt, avidly studied food labels, and refused to be weighed. During her years of recovery (after a month in the hospital with a feeding tube), we were told by psychiatrists, therapists, nutritionists, pediatrician, and the anorexia specialist to NEVER make it about the numbers--not her size, not her weight, not her calorie intake. We were to focus on "being healthy" and wean her from her obsession with the numbers. Today she is healthy, active, and has no fear of food. She's actually leaving home today to start a DVM/PhD program at Penn.

My niece (the same age as my daughter) is a "chronic anorexic," as is my SIL who, when my niece was 12 years old, put on her daughter's jeans to show off how slim and trim she was. In their household, there is constant talk about BMI, how unattractive "fat" people are, and every bathroom in every house has medical scales. They sneak and hide food, agonize about clothing sizes and appearances, and criticize each other about portion sizes and unhealthy foods. They fired a housekeeper because she was too large. Their lives are dominated by food--avoiding it, fearing it, desiring it. My SIL has been in and out of eating disorder treatments all her adult life.

I think that we Americans have a very, very complicated relationship with food--it's the enemy, it's the solace, it's even medicinal (paleo diet, gluten, vegan, etc.). I think it's important to be armed with basic nutritional information, but I also think our culture places way too much importance on appearance. Good health should be the goal, not a dress size.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Unfortunately the health and food industry makes it all about numbers. Weight watchers with their points system, the food industry with so many grams of fat or sugar or fiber in this or that product, follow this diet and lose 10 lbs in 10 days, and on it goes.

Nutrition education is a lifelong undertaking because each decade or perhaps pregnancy or illness requires an adjustment in nutrition knowledge. If we don't take care of ourselves and our health I'm not sure that the medical system (for me it's Canadian but my impression is that the American system is similar in this manner) just isn't going to be there to take care of the results of our lack of exercise and our poor eating habits. Both systems are overtaxed as it is. And aging baby-boomers are just beginning to hit the system. (Ok, off my soapbox).

The daughter of one of my running buddies was diagnosed with anorexia at 17 and was hospitalized several times. She is now 24 and seems to have survived as a very strong woman. But, I remember running one day with my friend and her daughters birthday was coming up. She just broke down in the middle of the trail because she didn't know if she would be buying her daughter a birthday present or burying her.


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I actually like Weight Watchers. They emphacise an adequate amount of nutrition based on your needs (age, sex, current weight, acitivity level, etc). If you follow the plan, you have daily goals for healthy oils, fruits and veggies, water, dairy products so you are sure to get the nutrients that you need. They stress eating all of the points that are allotted to you. It helps teach portion size and "budgeting" of food. There are no "bad" or "off limits" foods. I always compare it to a bank account. If you have $1000 and need to buy a pair of shoes, you can either purchase a pair of Louboutins only or you can purchase a lower cost pair AND a dress to go with it AND a new coat, etc. It as a good way to make you accountable to the choices that you make. It is easily adaptable for any type of dietary restrictions. There has been lots of talk about making healthy lifestyle changes and I do think that is the focus of Weight Watchers. If it is in the budget for patients, it is certainly one that I recommend. If you aren't a "meeting" person, they have an online version.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Hi deee;

I hope you will take my post in the spirit it is meant.

At the ripe old age of 17, you still have care, control and custody oi a minor. Your job is not to be her friend, it is to be her parent. We do not pander to our children. We set boundaries and rules.

As a former juvenile officer and a psychologist specializing in behavior modification with juveniles, I have dealt with MANY teenagers, as well as raising 4 children of my own.

Your post said you "gave" the daughter a car. Why isn't she earning it? A car is a huge responsibility. She needs to learn to pay for HER car and insurance.

Okay, you find fast food wrappers in her car. She is "eating out with friends at all hours". Why is she out at "all hours"? She is still in school. Set a curfew on school nights. Also tell her she cannot go out until her homework is done as well as any chores. In by 10, NO exceptions.

"Nothing is flattering on me anymore". Whose fault is that? Certainly not your fault. Don't assume guilt or responsibility for her actions. Let her know she needs to change her behavior. BE HONEST with her. We do not do our children any favors if we hedge with them or lie to them.

If she is constantly outgrowing her clothes, make her responsible for buying new clothes. You, as a parent, are responsible to dress your child decently for school. However, her eating habits are on her head. Ergo, if she continues to choose junk food, then she can replace her clothes with her paycheck. When kids have to start spending their own money, they tend to start dancing to a different tune.

If I had a magic wand, I would wipe 14 to 18 out of the life cycle. They are hard years. Kids are in the throes of hormone poisoning, peer pressure, and a lot of vacillating emotions. They need a LOT of guidance in addition to love. Your house, YOUR rules. Set parameters and stick to them. Tough love never hurt a kid if done with love.

Remember this deee, your daughter has to WANT to lose the weight. It will be HER CHOICE, not yours.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Ok, I think we've now got a representation of the other end of the spectrum. Needless to say, I believe it is a huge mistake to approach a situation like this as being the child's "fault."

This is just mean-spirited:
If she is constantly outgrowing her clothes, make her responsible for buying new clothes. You, as a parent, are responsible to dress your child decently for school. However, her eating habits are on her head. Ergo, if she continues to choose junk food, then she can replace her clothes with her paycheck. When kids have to start spending their own money, they tend to start dancing to a different tune.

And coming from a "former juvenile officer and a psychologist" this is frightening:
If I had a magic wand, I would wipe 14 to 18 out of the life cycle.

I wouldn't trade our kids' teenage years for anything---they were years of outstanding self-discovery and fun and learning. Those years are part of what has made them the adults they are today.

Whoa.

This post was edited by kswl on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 14:32


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Sargeant Bizzy,

WHOA!

Your post said you "gave" the daughter a car. Why isn't she earning it? A car is a huge responsibility. She needs to learn to pay for HER car and insurance.

GET REAL: DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THAT IS TODAY? SHE SEEMS LIKE A GOOD KID FOR GOING OUT AND GETTING A JOB, WHICH IS HARDER TO FIND THEN EVER FOR TEENS. NOT ONLY THAT, MOST OF US WANT OUR KIDS TO FOCUS ON EDUCATION AND EXTRA CURRICULARS TO ENHANCE THEIR COLLEGE PROSPECTS; IT LEAVES LITTLE TIME FOR THE KIND OF HOURS YOU NEED TO FUND A CAR.

Okay, you find fast food wrappers in her car. She is "eating out with friends at all hours". Why is she out at "all hours"? She is still in school. Set a curfew on school nights. Also tell her she cannot go out until her homework is done as well as any chores. In by 10, NO exceptions. WHERE ARE YOU? IT IS SUMMER! AND WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT CHORES.

YIKES. If no-nonsense KSWL thinks you are mean-spirited, you KNOW you are mean. LOL, love you KSWL.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Wow, some strong opinions out there! To Dee, your daughter has mentioned in your clothes shopping experience, that nothing looks good on her anymore. I would take this as your opportunity to ask her how you can help her achieve what she wants. You can locate some professionals, if needed, like a nutritionist or a gym membership. Let her guide this journey in her life, but you can be there to support her. Many young girls use extreme techniques to lose weight and obviously,that is NOT the way to educate yourself about nutrition. Good luck to you both.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Wow! Some very strong opinions here and way more than the OP asked for! I think she is quite capable of raising her own daughter, would just like a little support/suggestions on THIS ISSUE.

I wasn't even going to respond, since I am not a mother, but I will give you a daughter's perspective. My parents, especially my mom (who stayed home with us), blessed their daughters by being our best cheerleader. There wasn't a thing my mom (or dad, he just wasn't as expressive) didn't think we could do. She encouraged us to think for ourselves, to go after what ever we wanted, to believe that we COULD do ANYTHING we set our minds to. She did not put an emphasis on beauty/body image, etc. instead letting us know that she thought we were beautiful individuals with minds of our own. She was much more concerned with how we acted, that we developed healthy habits, etc. than how we looked. Of course she always thought we were beautiful! If I had a problem, she would be right there to listen and offer her support. It's because of her that I grew up with a healthy self image and outlook. I am a strong and confident woman because of the way I was raised.

I do agree that weight loss, etc. should be focused on being a healthy, strong individual rather than how one looks. We should teach our children how to eat healthy and I agree with Anele's thoughts on wanting to eat well to live a long and healthy life. I also agree with her on making sure our children have a positive self image. I do think that a mother can work with her child if the child comes to her with a problem. I think it would be better if the mother can educate the child on how to eat healthy (and lose weight if need be), making sure they don't rely on the wrong methods. I also like the suggestion(s) of joining a gym, etc. with the daughter. Just my two cents worth and I hope it works out for your daughter!


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I posted a long answer correcting Blzzy's misconceptions about my daughter and my parenting. After I posted, I realized Blzzzy just registered today. So ... never mind.

This post was edited by deee on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 17:13


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Mtnrd, I had a good laugh over your comment, which is SO true..... I am the mom who periodically gathered up all the clothes on the floor of a certain teenage girl's room, put them in an opaque trash bag and would only sell the bag (no looking to see what was inside) back to her for $10 or $20, depending on how annoyed I was. No nonsense is right :-)

Deee, you gave a more gracious response than was deserved.

This post was edited by kswl on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 17:20


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Chiming in as the (former) kid. Although my parents were very supportive, my mom has always had a "thing" about my weight (I am short and dumpy, my sister is tall and lean). To this day she mentions it and mentions being fit and/or healthy. I know she means well, but it's extremely grating and makes me feel compared to my sister in a negative way. Especially because my mom is unhealthy and doesn't get any exercise (I'm heavy but get 4-5 hours cardio a week and do yoga). By contrast my dad is very supportive, very fit, and invites me out to exercise with him. His approach suits me much better and our relationship is much better for it.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

As a person who has struggled with her weight all her life, I offer this suggestion: Talk to her--once. Tell her you've noticed a change in her eating habits which don't seem healthy, that learning to be an adult and juggle adult responsibilities and healthy eating is a struggle for everyone, and that you will work with her if she wants to make changes.

Once, only, and be gentle about it, because it will hurt. Any more than once is nagging and will make the problem worse. No one else can do anything about it unless she herself is ready and asks for help.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

The throw pillows in my room have to be perfect.
I need the perfect paint color.
is this the perfect fabric?
I need perfect flatware, white dishes, rugs....

perfect, perfect, perfect.

Go ahead. Make a child just like the next decorating project. Voila! perfect!

Dee, You have described yourself as a SAHM who has structured your children's lives. Nowyou want to have chats about how you can structure your daughter's college time. What else in her life should you structure?

Bizzyy has a lot right in her comments. Stop and reread them again slowly.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Also chiming in as the naturally thin 51 year old daughter of a critical mother (who I think has body dysmorphia and is unhealthily thin IMO) who still critiques my weight, my hairstyle, etc. I am also the mother of 3 kids (2 thin boys and a 21 yo girl who has become very overweight since going off to college and not playing sports anymore). If I have learned anything, it is to zip my lips when it comes to my daughter's weight and food choices. She knows what healthy choices are since she learned that growing up, but she chooses to eat crap. That is her choice, and I hope that some day she will figure it out because I do worry about her health.

It took me until my forties to stand up to my mother and explain to her that her critiques of me were not welcome. She has definitely reduced her comments, but began to comment on my daughter's weight recently and even offered to give her a large sum of money if she would lose weight. I can't tell you how outraged I became when my daughter shared that tidbit with me. Needless to say, I have repeatedly asked my mother to stop commenting on my daughter's weight as it is not helpful.

Sorry to ramble, but I do not ever think it is ever appropriate to make comments on another person's weight. If you have taught your daughter about healthy food choices (and I assume you have given her age), then you have done your job and the rest is hers to figure out.


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To me, there is a huge difference between criticizing and genuine concern and offers to help. I think Bizzy comes across influenced by her job, but in essence, is on track.
Every child is different, some can take help without feeling entitled, others need a little kick.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Oh, c'mon Bizzy is clearly fake and we were taken in! Deee pointed out they just registered.

It is someone who wants to say it but, even more anonymously than an anonymous Gardening forum! Wow, that's pretty wimpy.

Edited to add:
Can we please respond to these questions without attacking the original poster or directly attacking anyone's parenting? It's fine to say "I would ...." but inflammatory to say "you should not ...". I think it is counterproductive especially if it makes people wary of posting about problems where we can help each other.

This post was edited by kitschyKitch on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 20:45


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I certainly don't think whoever Bizzy is - is on track by telling another mother how they should be raising their child. She's also assuming quite a bit more than what Dee shared, as Dee explained in her response (before it was deleted).


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Precisely, TinaM.

Let's help each other without taking any cheap shots, especially about people we really know nothing about.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Dee is probably knocking herself upside her own head about now exclaiming sheesh I coulda had a V8.

Hopefully all these posts lead to the conclusion that women in general must be approached at all different angles on this subject, and according to their personality type and with the main plot being health (no wonder men don't get us). Dee is sensible and will handle it accordingly I’m sure. Sometimes we all just need to vocalize or write what’s bugging us.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

It's also an interesting insight into the different styles of parenting older teens and young adults, with some unmistakable undercurrents of 'I had to do it on my own and so will you,' regardless of how painful or unnecessary.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Not all conversations with teens about weight and healthy eating habits are destructive to the child's body image. We've read examples in this thread from members whose parents clearly took ineffective approaches.

If we don't talk with our kids about their eating habits, then General Mills, Pepsico, Nestle, and other food processing corporations will do it for us. Then Cosmo, Shape and Fitness magazines will make them feel self-conscious about it. And then our $20 billion weight-loss industry will encourage them to fix it.

No one is advising the OP to make her daughter feel badly for her choices. No one is advocating an approach that makes her daughter feel guilty or ugly or unhappy with her body. But if we sit back and do nothing, what if our kids one day ask us, "Why didn't you talk to me about this stuff?"


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Hi All,

I truly appreciate all of you that posted thoughtful and detailed responses. I would love to answer many of your specific questions but at this point I don't want to give the bad apples any more ammunition to nit pick and misquote out of context.

I promise I will update and let you know how things progress.

dee


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I will only add this to my original post because I lived it as a child, teen and adult. My parents never brought up my weight, loved me unconditionally, but supported any effort I (with a capital I) decided to make, like joining WW. This I think gave me the confidence to be in the school musicals, go to dances, football games etc. Yes, I would get bummed I couldn't wear mini-skirs or bikinis like my friends, but I didn't let it rule or ruin my life.

When other well-intentioned family members would bring it up it only got my back up, caused anxiety, hurt, shame and of course would just send me straight to the kitchen to binge.

Your daughter knows she's overweight, she doesn't need anyone---least of all a parent---to remind her. When she's ready, she will lose the weight. Just be supportive. The best thing you can do is to keep her trigger foods out of the house and set a good example and it sounds like you are doing this.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I have to say that I don’t completely agree with “she will get in shape or lose the weight when she’s ready” or she knows what to do so will figure it out” (in all respect to you all). It has been many years since I was a certified trainer and managed a women’s gym but in most cases like Dee’s the person just needed a structured kick start by a trainer. Rarely did the parent and daughter buy dual training sessions together. However, when it did happen the end results were great. I did observe a few things though and that lay in the amount of sessions a week. Sometimes people are overzealous and do four times a week. Most people will not stick to that as life gets in the way. You can still get into shape and lose weight with two sessions a week. Instead of three sets of 12 alternating upper and lower body days you do two days of full body with four sets each of say 14, 15 or 16. Two longer sessions! Leave a day of rest in-between. The rest of the days you do physical exercise you enjoy whether it is home exercise videos in yoga or Pilates or range of motion or balance, walking, biking or running ect… Do things that are convenient to your schedule on these days. Most people do not need more than a four month package to be able to continue on their own. You do have to watch that the trainer communicates on what muscles are being worked if they get overly creative with cross training. You need know. There are some trainers out there that seem to not communicate purposely on this so you rebuy in your confusion. If there is good communication you might be good to go on your own after two months.

I think it’s kind of sad that body image got in the way of many here in the event of full happiness as a teen. One doesn’t have to be a twiggy to have good body image but what does make a difference is that one feels they have some control over it, that they are doing something for themselves to look and feel better. To become more healthy! The effect on the self-esteem is phenomenal. One of the first things a good instructor will ask when you arrive is what you had to eat that day and how much water you have drank. A parent can’t always get away with those questions depending on the personality type. Set an example and bond, do it together starting with a trainer so there is no floundering around at the start.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I haven't dealt with weight, but my own daughter went through an intensely difficult period during her adolescence; she tells me now (she is 22) that she truly felt almost suicidal about the way she looked then including her very curly hair, a large nose etc.

And she has said to me MANY times how much it meant to her that I never, ever, ever criticized her appearance, that all I ever said or conveyed was that she was beautiful to me. In her case I tried to also listen to her feelings, and I supported her in some actions she wanted to take about her appearance. She did those things, and she grew and matured and today she is happy with herself including how she looks.

All of this is shared because I think if I understand what Anele was trying to say, it is that as a mother your impact on your daughter is profound in ways you might never realize. Several people have shared stories of how devastating it was to hear their mothers' criticism or 'helpful' suggestions about their weight or other issues, and how much it hurt them.

Put me in the group that feels as a mother the best and highest gift we can ever give our daughters is unconditional love and support for them, reflecting back that they are wonderful just as they are. Not to say it's not important to support them if and as they say they need it and if and as they want to change something that isn't working for them, be it weight, hair, etc or any other external issue. But in the end, our loving acceptance is, I think, the most important thing in the world we can and should do for our daughters.

Ann


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Running I'm happy to hear that your daughter did not commit suicide over her poor body image. I think there is an "In-between" on this topic though such as let's go get healthy together. Don't you wish you could have better helped her through her suicide thinking days? Do you think if you asked her if she would join you in some training classes (without personal attacks) that would be a bad thing?


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Probably not the best idea to say anything. I would assume, like much of life, she's on a pendulum, headed towards the extreme end of freedom, and will likely come back to what you taught her. In the meantime, saying/doing anything likely won't be effective to help her get to your goal.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

"Put me in the group that feels as a mother the best and highest gift we can ever give our daughters is unconditional love and support for them, reflecting back that they are wonderful just as they are. Not to say it's not important to support them if and as they say they need it and if and as they want to change something that isn't working for them, be it weight, hair, etc or any other external issue. But in the end, our loving acceptance is, I think, the most important thing in the world we can and should do for our daughters."

Love how you said this Ann. Much better than I did.


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Ditto Red - I so agree with you Ann. Very thankful I had that type mother - and I'm sure your daughter is also.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

I also agree with the unconditional love and support part and how helping our children through rough times isn't a bad thing.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Wondering what would happen if the child was failing a class and expressed verbal worry over it. I can't believe that offering to help, get a tutor, etc.---or even mentioning it--- would destroy the child's intellectual self image and be perceived as 'conditional' love.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight


Why can people Not see this as Not focusing on an attack of the child’s nose, hair or weight? Why is this also about unconditional love? Of course love should be unconditional. They are still children and are simply not worldly enough to handle everything on their own. Sometimes they need gentle guidance. Not personal attacks about their person. Just guidance and examples…unconditionally!

I just don’t get it. I agree with KSWL, when my son went through a “thing” in middle school and started failing science I drove him to science tutoring classes twice a week. It worked; he got back on top of his game. Why do some here have a problem giving the same courtesy to their girls?

I have my own pitiful story where I needed help and never got it.


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"Why do some here have a problem giving the same courtesy to their girls?"

Society is too focused on a girl's physical image. What does her weight matter? Does this help? Now if we told her not to take her to be tutored in science, that would be a really different idea. While I didn't say it would ruin her self image, I sure see how it could affect it. I said, she's testing the freedom waters. I might feel really differently if she was testing it by using drugs? Probably. Needing help in a school course is very very different than how a person's appearance matters. To whom does it matter? No one is against helping a daughter.

As to your last statement, I am truly sorry. I have parents that never helped me with a health issue, and it helps me understand what you're saying. She completely invalidated that I needed help or it didn't matter what I said, or she thought I was lying? Something like that. Sucks when parents don't listen or, possibly, in some instances, care. You should've gotten the help you needed.

This post was edited by rob333 on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 8:01


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Yes, being told " let's get you a tutor for science" is totally different than being told " let's get some help for your weight problem"....... No matter how nicely you word it.


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RE: Talking to a teen girl about her weight

Thank you for the kind words ROB33, but I guess our views on this are just different.

To me health and wellness (mentally and physically) are the responsibly of the parent and are of equal importance to all other parental care. You can set them up for a lifetime with good eating habits and exercise. It’s really not all that difficult. If you do not have the money for a trainer simply have small areas set up in a basement or extra bedroom or whatever and carefully choose age appropriate exercise cd’s. All you need is a matt and hand weights (weights after a certain age). If it is a young pre-teen they seem to enjoy martial arts type cardio workouts. Keep a variety as what one likes the other may not. My kids are adults now but you know what? They still use workout cd’s, one has added a gym to his room for cross train and the other alternates home workout cd’s with periodic health club visits. And, I never told them they were fat and ugly to get them to use the cd’s either. I simply told them I was ordering some workouts and asked if there was any type of workout they might be interested in. Then, I also did the workouts to set an example.

Edited to add…
I had times frames I gave the kids for my workouts so there were no run-ins on the space. I did not set their workout times. I gave them time to play around a bit with sampling different workouts. After a time I just came out and asked what their favorite was. After being told I sought out other similar type cd’s so they wouldn’t get bored…and, I was encouraging but not pushy.

This post was edited by jterrilynn on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 10:28


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