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Old 04-25-2007, 12:35 PM   #10
Rock Chalk Chick
New mom, aspiring DVM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ames, IA
Posts: 167

S/C/G: 280/ticker/135

Height: 5'7"


I don't have a lot of advice, other than what's already been said - tread carefully. It's hard to know what message kids get from the trying-to-be-supportive comments people make (especially parents). Most girls this age get a little chubby and round from the normal puberty changes, and this will shift after a year or two back to what's more typical for her "new" body. It's hard to get it through to girls, though, that this is normal, that variation is normal, that just because she doesn't look like X friend that she's not healthy and normal.

My mother tried her best to make me feel better about what she thought was my "fat" body. I weighed between 150 and 160 pounds through high school, which was on the high end of healthy but I was also incredibly active and a 3-sport athlete - the last thing I needed to learn was how to starve myself. The only thing I ever heard from my mother was how lucky I was that "SHE didn't pick on me about my weight they way HER parents had, even though I weighed 20 pounds MORE than she did at the same age" - while trying to tell me how good I had it (and still dwelling over her crappy childhood), all she managed to convey was how she had been soooo fat at 130 lbs and I weighed so much more. (Nevermind that I've got almost 4 inches in height over her, and a totally different build!)

These memories linger with me now, not so much a comment on my experiences, but an example of how my mother was unable to put my mental health above her own weight issues. She simply couldn't see how her comments would strike me - she was too busy dwelling on how she was called fat at 130 and 5'3" (and was about 230 at the time... and probably able 330 now - a great person to get weight advice from!)

My aunt, on the other hand, has one daughter who took after her father - aunt is a tall, thin runner, while her daughter is 5 inches shorter and with a much rounder build. Even though my aunt tried to make "supportive" comments when my cousin made healthy choices or lost some weight, it still gave a very clear message that the girl was too fat and needed to lose weight (and is still obsessing over her "chubby" shape in college). She never criticized her or told her she was too heavy, but by praising her for turning down a cookie or asking "isn't it time for your run?" it still seemed to drill in the fact that she wasn't good enough.

Granted, teenagers can be so touchy that there's not a thing we could say that won't be taken poorly, especially if the girl in question is already feeling unhappy with her body. I don't know the answer, but the best thing to do seems to be to encourage self-esteem and let the girl talk, rather than trying to speak for her. If she asks for help, by all means do so - but only in a way that works for her, instead of "your" way.

Initial Goal: Post-pregnancy weight: 240.
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