Weight Loss Support - Need Advice w/ 13 year-old daughter




Lovestorun
04-25-2007, 11:17 AM
Hi everyone-

I was hoping to get a little advice from some of you who have pre/teen aged young ladies. My daughter and I are very close. I have noticed lately her concern about her own weight. I have lost enough weight that as of now we can share some of our clothes. Today she was going to wear a pair of my jeans that she has worn before and they were to tight. I thought she was about to cry and I was had to think fast about what to say to her. I know this is a slippery slop being her age and I don't want to damage her emotions and mental well being with saying the wrong thing. This is so hard. I guess what I am asking is has anyone had this same issue and do you have any suggestions.

Thanks in advance!


KnitALisa
04-25-2007, 11:37 AM
Hi Stacey! I think a lot of us here have been in both your place and your daughter's place. Personally, I've only been in your daughter's. My mother is tall and very thin and athletic. My weight has been a battlefield between us; she wants me to be healthy because she loves me, I hear she doesn't love me because I'm not healthy. So, it's hard. And our relationship has been difficult because of our mis-communication.

I guess the two biggest pieces of advice I could offer are 1) To make sure she hears what you are trying to say, and 2) Don't nag! I know every time Mom brought up my weight, it made me resent her a little. And it sent me right back to the kitchen for comfort food.

Good luck! It sounds like you love your girl tons, so I'm sure you two will be fine.

aphil
04-25-2007, 11:38 AM
You currently weigh 123 pounds by your ticker, so I have a few questions:

How old is your daughter? What size were the pants? About how tall are you, and how tall is she? Is she built like you, or more like another woman in the family-a grandmother, etc.?

For instance, my mother is about 5'3"-5'4" and is more of a cylindar body shape-she carries her weight in her torso (chest, belly, and hips) while her arms and legs stay pretty lean. I am an hourglass, and my height is 5'7" and I am more hourglass shaped. My mother wears a size 6 shoe, and I wear a 9. I take after my two grandmothers more, and my mother takes after her aunts instead.

It is not uncommon at all for a daughter to be shorter/taller than her mother, or larger or smaller framed, or even have a different body shape, if she takes after another woman in the family rather than her mother. I wore the same clothes as my mother in junior high and my freshman year, but from then on I was larger than her-taller, larger cup size in my bra, larger shoe size, etc.

That would be the first thing that I would say to her. If you have a sister, for instance, or another mother/daughter that you know well-you could use them as examples. "Charlotte is only 16, and already she is taller than her mother, etc."

This is what I would say if your daughter isn't "overweight" for her size, but maybe she is just going to be larger or taller overall than you are.

My young stepsister was depressed going through puberty, etc. because all of her friends were wearing size 3 and 5, and she wore size 7's instead. Her mother (my stepmother) is 5'11" tall, and my sis was shaped/sized more like her mother. She didn't get quite as tall as her, but at 5'8", she is going to be thin and healthy at a size or two larger than her short, petite friends.

On the other hand, if she is beginning to become overweight-I wouldn't preach to her. Do small things, like ask her to go for a walk with you, or take a dance class together. Do something for the two of you that incorporates activity, and fun/togetherness. I have 3 sets of teen daughters/their mothers in my dance classes currently-and I think that it is wonderful.


Nikaia
04-25-2007, 11:43 AM
All I can say is, tread carefully. The biggest thing is, you don't want to make her feel like you don't love her because of her weight. My dad was that way, and it certainly didn't HELP any.

I'd say, instead of telling her you think she needs to lose weight, say something about how you've noticed she seems unhappy with herself, and you want her to be happy with herself, so _________. (Fill in the blank with strategies, suggestions, etc.) The point is not to let her feel that YOU'RE judging her, but to show her that you want to help her with what SHE wants. And if she says she doesn't want your help, or doesn't want to lose weight, etc...don't push. That's probably the most harmful thing you could possibly do.

Good luck - as Lisa said, you seem to have a close relationship. I'm sure you'll weather this fine.

Lovestorun
04-25-2007, 11:58 AM
Thanks to everyone for some great advice!

aphil- I know that at 13 she is still growing I am 5'5 she is about 5'3/4 now and we currently both are in a size 7 1/2 shoe (which is great more shoes ;) )
The pair of jeans she was trying on were size 5 levis button fly. It apprears that we have about the same build or very close to it.

She has yet to get her menstrual cycle so I have a feeling that should be just around the corner. Alot will change when that happens too. :dizzy:

I have been getting her in our pool more and we do alot of swimming as of late. I think I will sweetly suggest a walk tonight. Great ideas.

I care and love her so so much and all I want for her is to love and be happy with herself no matter what size so I will do my best to "tread lightly"

Thanks so much.

lilybelle
04-25-2007, 12:01 PM
Stacey, Hugs. I've had the same situation going on here with my 14 yr. old daughter. We share some of the same clothes now. 2 weeks ago we had a funeral to attend and she wanted to wear a black skirt of mine. She couldn't get it zipped at all. She started crying. I really didn't know what to say. She took it on her own to try to lose about 10 lbs. now. I have been being very supportive and walking with her. Plus, praising her for all the sit-ups that she is doing. Technically she isn't overweight by the charts but her waist size is bigger than she wants. We weigh pretty much the same but she is 1.5 inches shorter than me. It is so hard on these young girls. I know my DD has several 90 lbs. friends that wear size 0 and she wants to be like them.

The main thing I'm doing with my DD is 1) being positive and supportive of her efforts 2) not mentioning her weight EVER 3) not mentioning my own wt. EVER 4) keeping lots of fresh fruit, whole grains, fresh veggies available for us to eat.

MariaMaria
04-25-2007, 12:11 PM
I mean this with all respect and I'm having trouble with wording.

This is a 13-year-old girl, hasn't menstruated yet, body not fully changed and likely to get bigger. And you're sharing clothes with her? It must be a great feeling for you to be able to share clothes with the kid, but how good is it for the kid's body image?

Lovestorun
04-25-2007, 12:16 PM
lilybelle- Wow that sounds exactly like my situation..

I really try not to mention my weight in front of her too. After that incident this morning at breakfast (sometimes just her and I go out to breakfast on the way to school) she ordered the same as me (on her own) 2 egg beaters,wheat toast (no butter) fruit and a slice of ham. I just said nothing I did not want to make it a big deal-but I was proud of her. :smug:

Thanks ladies!

Lovestorun
04-25-2007, 12:26 PM
I mean this with all respect and I'm having trouble with wording.

This is a 13-year-old girl, hasn't menstruated yet, body not fully changed and likely to get bigger. And you're sharing clothes with her? It must be a great feeling for you to be able to share clothes with the kid, but how good is it for the kid's body image?

I totally understand what your saying- It never really occured to me that there was anything wrong with her barrowing some of my clothes. She is becoming more developed (looks almost fully) I suspect that she will start menstruating anyday now. (moody and all)

Rock Chalk Chick
04-25-2007, 12:35 PM
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.

Slashnl
04-25-2007, 12:59 PM
I have a 13 year old daughter too (my sympathies to you for the extra moodiness they have!). She has already started her period, so we've made it into that arena. She is a healthy, fit, athletic girl, but she has also had her moments of thinking she is fat. While I do think it is a fine line to walk, I think that if you don't say anything, you aren't helping her. I know that my parents were wonderful and never mentioned my weight as I was growing up. That was fine until I was in college and I really started putting on the weight. I don't know how they would have said it, but I look back and wish that someone would have taken me by the hand and at least said something about how I could fix the problem, how I needed to exercise or find other outlets for stress, other than food/alcohol. I don't blame them for where I ended up because it should have been obvious to me what was happening to me.

What I have told my daughter is that she is still growing and I don't want her to "diet". What she can do, however, is eat healthy meals and snacks, cut out the sodas (her downfall!), and just get out and be active. I love that she has so much athletic ability, and she can always work on her skills!!

I hope that helps. It is really a tough thing to discuss!!

Janie Canuck
04-25-2007, 04:33 PM
A bit of personal background.... when I was a kid, my dad's nickname for me was "Porky". He didn't mean anything by it, he was only joking, as I wasn't an overweight kid (though I just have one of those builds with a robust bum). But I grew up thinking I was fat, when I wasn't.

Flash forward, I have 2 girls, 7 and 9. The younger is quite lean, the older is taller, solid and muscular, but not fat at all. Yet each once told me that she thinks she is fat, because of having a bit of a bum and a puppy belly. (It's really more related to a very pronounce lumbar curve in our spines.)

Of course I assured both of them that they are not fat in the slightest, and that seems to have reassured them for now. But rates of childhood obesity are skyrocketing, so it's an issue that can't just be ignored. We don't want to make kids overly sensitive about their weight, but neither do we want to turn a blind eye to this growing health concern. I think what's important is to approach it from an angle of health, not weight. For instance, I'll insist on fruit snack in every lunch "because it's healthy", not because the alternatives are fattening. We walk to school because exercise is good for our bones and muscles, not so we won't get fat.

But weight is a health issue, so it has entered our conversations. A good opportunity arose when my 9 year old was on the gymnastics team... She spontaneously told me that she felt sorry for her friend, who is quite overweight, because she was the only one who couldn't do a cartwheel. (I happen to know that this family eats a lot of processed junk, and this kid is looking for snacks every hour or 2 when she's here.) So I took that opportunity to illustrate that it's important to have healthy habits, because when people get too heavy, it sometimes stops them from being able to do things that they want to do, like cartwheels.

aphil
04-25-2007, 04:53 PM
I would like to add, that even though she IS 13, that she is 5'3" in height, and wearing a size 5 at her height is NOT in the slightest bit overweight.

That is why I asked specifically about her height-along with her age.

redlight
04-25-2007, 09:04 PM
My mom has always been thin. Even when pregnant, she was a stick with a baby belly. I wasn't heavy as a child, but I wasn't as thin as she. Fortunately, my mom was always supportive. The only time she commented on my weight was last year when I was at my heaviest, and I am thankful that she tactfully said something.

redlight
04-25-2007, 09:07 PM
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.



That sounds like my aunt, except mine is tall and overweight. Her daughter, my cousin is 20 and has a similar shape and my aunt is obessing over her shape.

midwife
04-26-2007, 08:30 AM
She is still growing. Kids outgrow their clothes all the time....my kids at least daily! So that is normal. The trick is how to reassure her she's normal without turning it into a big old ordeal. What does a "5" on a tag really mean? Nuttin'! You could find her a five that fits her well, I would wager.

I would take her to her favorite store and buy her a new pair of jeans...however she likes...with the sparkles or flowers or grunge or whatever her style is. She needs clothes that she loves and that she feels comfortable it. I agree with Aphil....your daughter is normal. But again, she needs to feel normal.

Also, is she involved in sports? Not for calorie control, but for general fitness and health and (most important!) for her to internalize that her body is a wonderful thing that she controls....that she can set and achieve physical goals and that she is healthy and marvelous and terrific...on the inside and the outside! My 14 year old daughter runs track and cross country and it has been wonderful for her goal-setting skills and social life, too. Kids who take care of their bodies and their grades. She is learning about nutrition (on her own initiative) and talks about protein, calcium, iron rich foods, carb loading for premeet days, etc.

Good luck!

aphil
04-26-2007, 08:56 AM
I agree with midwife about incorporating activity into her life. If she doesn't like team sports or track-then see if she wants to join gymnastics, or take dance classes, (there are not just tap/jazz/ballet classes-but you can look further and find hip hop, salsa, belly dance, African dance, all sorts of stuff out there if you really look.) or even martial arts. She might enjoy karate or something similar instead. It doesn't matter what she does, as long as she regularly does something. :)