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Old 01-18-2011, 01:52 PM   #1
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Default Your Children's Weight

One of my biggest fears since having children, particularly my second child who is a girl, is that they will face the same weight issues I have faced. In fact, she is largely why it is so important to me that I am successful in losing weight. I know that her (and my son's as well) best indicator for being a healthy person is dependent upon what they see me doing.

So, for now I am doing everything I know to do to make them have a healthy relationship with food. I feed them nutritious meals and snacks(I have always fed them much healthy foods), limit their screen time, and try to keep them physically active for a good portion of the day.

My daughter is only 2, but I worry particularly that she will have weight issues. Since birth she has had a very pudgy build. She has very sturdy legs and a very round little belly. A lot of it is still obviously "baby fat". But, one of my concerns is that she seems to never (ever) become full. She can, if allowed, eat more in a sitting that I can.

I really struggle with this because I know, as a lifelong overweight person, that weight is very largely seeded in emotional health. So, in addition to wanting to set her up with providing a healthy eating practices and exercise, I want her to not have the same emotional baggage that I have revolving around weight and body image.

So, I guess that is what my question boils down to... how can I make her feel good about herself and celebrate her body, but at the same time encourage her to make good choices? I know that this will become more of an issue the older she gets, but I believe that the foundation of that is already being laid.

Thank you!
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:12 PM   #2
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Hi,

I too was worried about my kids having the same weight issues that I have battled with, but I also didnt want them to see food as an 'enemy' either. I wanted them to enjoy food, but know when they were full, and be able to stop eating.

My kids are now 15 and 17 and are both very slim. I have to admit I have been a bit of a food **** over the years, and I dont allow grazing behaviour ( all food had to be eaten at the table - not in front of the TV ). I have allowed them to fill up on their main meals. Snacks ( or extras if they are still hungry ) is fruit. We dont have crisps ( chips ) in the house, and cookies/cake/candies are special occasion treats not a daily or even weekly event. I also only allow coke at the weekends ( and with meals ). All of the above goes out of the window when they go to friends houses , and for birthdays or vacations - but thats OK. It means that these things are a treat and not part of their every day diet. We also try and do an activity/sport event every week as a family. This has resulted in both teams having BMI's in the teens, and my husband in the low 20's - its just me up at 39 ! The up side is that my kids also have good teeth and good general health.

You have a great chance to set new habits with your kids as a way of life ( not a 'diet') . If her diet is good 90% of the time the odd treat can be accommodated. Also if shes 2 she is meant to be a bit chubby, they tend to loose it at 3/4 when they can start really running around outside. Let her fill up on 'good' stuff and then she will find her own way.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:24 PM   #3
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No kids for me, I"m 31 and childfree, but I did want to commend you ladies for this attitude and the things you're doing to instill good habits. It's really great.

My mom was kind of crazy with diet/exercise cuz her husband would comment on other women (bodybuilder types, not huge but built) and she started to go a little nuts trying to be that way and that filtered down into bad body image issues for me.

Anyhow, bravo. We need more of this to stop the obesity epidemic. I was watching a docu called Killer at Large (it's streaming on netflix) and it was saying that the very young kids who have diabetes II now, will be losing toes and feet in their 30's and be unable to move before middle age.

So sad.

I know a lot of people diet and then make separate food for their fams as if it would kill their husbands/wives/kids to eat healthy.

So, good on you.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:06 PM   #4
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Like you Momto2Ms, this has been a huge fear for me since I had my daughter. My daughter is now seven and although she is very tall an skinny I worry all the time that she will battle the same weight issues I have had all my life. Right now she is my biggest motivation and it's funny in the last couple of weeks that I have been at this she has noticed the choices that I have been making as far as food and exercise and has started to follow. I would say continue to set a good example and they will follow.
Best of luck to you!
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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I have been very anxious about what the future holds for my daughters. I have one daughter who is very petite, and then my youngest is at 90th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference. I've had the same food philosophy with both, and fed them nearly the same foods - the only difference was that my older daughter loved milk and drank a lot of it, while my younger only drinks milk when she's ready for bed. She eats more though.

I do try to avoid the super carb based snacks - if I'm offering a carb snack (goldfish, crackers, etc) I try to offer a protein snack as well. Now both of my kids think that yogurt is dessert - and I'm not telling them any different!
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:13 PM   #6
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I swear I did everything right. My children never had snacks to quiet them, ever. I was not a "Cheerios" mom. We limited screen time severely and my oldest didn't play any video games at all until he was seven. I fed them healthier than I fed myself. I breast fed. I did homemade baby food only.

And my oldest is a 130 pound 10 year old and growing.

Fortunately just last week he finally decided it was time to take on this beast. And you know what he did? He came to me. He came to me because he knew I had just accomplished the "impossible" myself.

I struggle with this so much. He breaks my heart. I wonder often if the one thing I did wrong was perhaps lead by poor example. I don't know how his weight got so out of control with me trying so hard to prevent it! But it did. And really, there wasn't anything I think could have done differently...except get myself under control.

So really, I think that is the number one best thing you can do. And if you do that, they'll always have you to come to for advice.

So I just smother my little boy with kisses, because it won't be long before he won't let me do that anymore, and tell him often how handsome he is.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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I worry about this too. I don't have children as of yet, but hope to someday. I worry that they will have food issues. My DH says he doesn't but he has put on a lot of weight since our miscarriage. I don't know if that is my doing though, and if it is, it freaks me out that I could do that to our child one day.
I don't have any answers, but you aren't alone in your fear, and I think education is key here. Maybe see if you could check out/read some books on the subject?
I think leading by example is a good one though.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:58 PM   #8
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My son is on the 95th % but of course he is still very young. I think for me, the best strategy will be to involve him in sports to keep him active and surrounded by those with healthier relationships with food and exercise. He will always have a large stocky build like my husband, so rather than fight his genetics, I want to work with it.

Does your daughter enjoy any sports? I can imagine if she spent time playing soccer, baseball, etc. she would build friendships, meet girls who enjoy physical activity, etc.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:46 PM   #9
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Just wanted to say I'm in the same boat! My daughter, who will be 1 in a couple of weeks, was one of my main motivators for getting this under control. I don't want her to see me struggle. I want her to grow up watching me make good choices because I know I will be her role model. My son of course too, I want to model good choices for him as well...he's 3 and extremely active and at a great weight. He also has a great "off" switch for food - if he's full he stops, and he's been known to turn down cake for fruit at a party. I think he's wired like my husband, who stays at a good weight without much effort. Anyways because my daughter is so young, I don't know what it will be like with her, but I just want to do everything in my power to have a healthy household. I think offering healthy choices and modeling a healthy lifestyle, and encouraging lots of physical activity is the best thing we can do for our kids.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:17 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I guess it is a common shared concern among momma who have been/are overweight. There is just this fine line that I seem like I am walking. I am going to research to see if I can find any books on the subject. Thank you again!
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eliana View Post
I swear I did everything right. My children never had snacks to quiet them, ever. I was not a "Cheerios" mom. We limited screen time severely and my oldest didn't play any video games at all until he was seven. I fed them healthier than I fed myself. I breast fed. I did homemade baby food only.

And my oldest is a 130 pound 10 year old and growing.

Fortunately just last week he finally decided it was time to take on this beast. And you know what he did? He came to me. He came to me because he knew I had just accomplished the "impossible" myself.

I struggle with this so much. He breaks my heart. I wonder often if the one thing I did wrong was perhaps lead by poor example. I don't know how his weight got so out of control with me trying so hard to prevent it! But it did. And really, there wasn't anything I think could have done differently...except get myself under control.

So really, I think that is the number one best thing you can do. And if you do that, they'll always have you to come to for advice.

So I just smother my little boy with kisses, because it won't be long before he won't let me do that anymore, and tell him often how handsome he is.
Elaina, I am so sorry that you have had heartache over this, but so happy to hear your son was able to come to you about it. Best of luck to him and to you as you guide him through this hurdle.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sept15lija View Post
Just wanted to say I'm in the same boat! My daughter, who will be 1 in a couple of weeks, was one of my main motivators for getting this under control. I don't want her to see me struggle. I want her to grow up watching me make good choices because I know I will be her role model. My son of course too, I want to model good choices for him as well...he's 3 and extremely active and at a great weight. He also has a great "off" switch for food - if he's full he stops, and he's been known to turn down cake for fruit at a party. I think he's wired like my husband, who stays at a good weight without much effort. Anyways because my daughter is so young, I don't know what it will be like with her, but I just want to do everything in my power to have a healthy household. I think offering healthy choices and modeling a healthy lifestyle, and encouraging lots of physical activity is the best thing we can do for our kids.
That is my son as well. Though he is only 4, he already has a very athletic build and great weight for his height/age. Since he was born he has been long and skinny. He was something like in the 95% for length and 50% for weight. My daughter, on the other hand, was in the 25% for length and 75% for weight. She was born a beautiful, round ball with these wonderful (well, wonderful on an infant) chunky thighs and squishy cheeks. So, I know that genetically speaking she may already have some disadvantages. So, I know that I adds to the importance that I make the environmental factors as favorable for her to succeed as possible.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:57 PM   #13
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Ive been obese since childhood so yes this is a big issue for me. I have seen moms go crazy the other way and restrict foods for their kids or even babies. Bad news.

Here are some things I think about:

Set a good example with food and activity. My son just turned three. I put veggies in front of him. I know he doesn't eat them half the time but he will grow up with them being on his plate. It will be the norm. Babies and toddler sometimes need to be exposed to a food a dozen times before warming up to it!

We don't have junk in the house. But I am fine with him having cake or ice cream on someone's birthday or whatever. We also bake together making cookies sometimes.

The big one: I never use food as a reward. And I never give the attitude that when he does get to have cake that it is a big special deal. I am not placing value on it or calling it a "treat"

Good luck moms! Keep fighting the good fight.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaMamma View Post
Ive been obese since childhood so yes this is a big issue for me. I have seen moms go crazy the other way and restrict foods for their kids or even babies. Bad news.

Here are some things I think about:

Set a good example with food and activity. My son just turned three. I put veggies in front of him. I know he doesn't eat them half the time but he will grow up with them being on his plate. It will be the norm. Babies and toddler sometimes need to be exposed to a food a dozen times before warming up to it!

We don't have junk in the house. But I am fine with him having cake or ice cream on someone's birthday or whatever. We also bake together making cookies sometimes.

The big one: I never use food as a reward. And I never give the attitude that when he does get to have cake that it is a big special deal. I am not placing value on it or calling it a "treat"

Good luck moms! Keep fighting the good fight.
Great tips! Mine ate an entire asparagus with garlic today!!
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:44 PM   #15
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Mine is six, and takes after me. Skinny like all get out like I was. I didn't have problems til puberty and the whole PCOS thing started showing up. I'm aware, so I just watch her for now for PCOS signs.

Sometimes she eats like a horse (growth spurt) and sometimes she eats like a bird. That's pretty normal for a little girl. She has active toys like balls, bikes, etc. I try to put her out to pasture as often as possible in the yard, but wish it could be more. We've recently been trying to bike as a family.

I don't really keep junk food around, and we make a distinction between "party food" being only for parties (soda, chips, etc) and "growing food" being for every day growing (whole grains, veggies, fruits, lean meats, etc). When we're at parties I make sure she isn't loaded up on crap, but she's allowed to have party food at a party. We don't use food as treats. It's just food. And some food is for dinner and some food is for parties. No biggie.

She helps to cook where possible. She seems to like that.

The main thing I try to focus on is to keep her range open. It was easier up to preschool because she was mainly at home with me. But since starting school and seeing other kids lunchboxes, her range has shrunk a bit because she wants to be like her friends. And frankly, her friends eat crap!

Where reasonable, I try to help her fit in with the crowd -- like Honest Kids juice pouches rather that koolaid, but it is pouch-like with a straw so close enough. But I still encourage a broad palate -- she's the only kid I know that will go for japanese, indian, chinese, mexican, etc. without batting an eye.

I don't watch TV or read fashion mags or talk about my body or anything like that. So she doesn't get much exposure to body image stuff that way. It's come up a few times and we've had the talk where people just come in many colors and shapes -- blond, brunette, tall, short, round, slim, etc.

I try to praise her skills as well as her looks. That's she's creative when she paints or draws, strong when she's being athletic, dressed nicely or creatively when she's doing the dress up thing, etc. I do tell her she's pretty but I tell her she is MORE than that too. YKWIM?

When she was really small like that, we used those Tupperware divided plates that someone gave us. I liked those -- nice and sturdy and with lids. Sometimes I'll still break them out for her lunchbox.

http://www.amazon.com/Tupperware-Tup...5408599&sr=8-4

I'm sure there are other brands of divided plate out there. Here's just one:

http://www.amazon.com/Kinderville-Bi...5408703&sr=8-5

I would do it like my own -- half veggies, 1/4 protein food, 1/4 starch food. Just to get her used to looking at it that way.

And she's more than welcome to have more food if she's hungry but we encourage getting all the variety in rather than only have one kind of food only. (ex: only potato and ignoring the brocc and fish)

HTH!
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