Hi. My name is Tracy. I am 29, I have a 10 year old daughter. My daughter is a beautiful little girl.
I have been struggling with weight issues my whole life... in January re-joined WW. I have lost 15 pounds and still going strong, so I am happy. I eat my points... and I get very excited when I go down a pound or two! I am a SAHM, so mostly I talk to my husband about this and share with him my ups and downs.
Recently, I overheard my daughter tell a friend that she thought she was fat. (my daughter). Of course, I was like "You are NOT fat!" and she complained about her belly, and her thighs. Her belly is non-existent... truly. Yes, she has thighs. Daddy tried convincing her that EVERYONE's thighs spread out when they sit down, but she is very upset over it.
In first grade she had a friend who counted calories so she tried to do the same and I wouldn't let her... explained that you NEED calories to survive and as long as you're active you're fine.
My daughter plays quite a few sports and is extremely active. She is NOT fat.
Today, she excitedly came into the kitchen and said, "Mom! I lost 4 pounds!" and of course I got mad and told her to stop worrying about it. But I'm sure I shouldn't have gotten mad.
I don't know what to say to her... or what to do about it. How does someone who really wants to lose weight try and tell her daughter she doesn't need to???
Please, any advice appreciated. I don't want this to go too far.
05-31-2007, 08:47 AM
I dont' have children so I am far far far from being an expert.
I think kids tend to mimic their parents at that age. Weightloss is important to you, so she thinks it should be important to her. Maybe you could set up some healthy goals for the both of you that aren't weight related. Celebrate those victories instead of pounds lost. Like I ate 4 servings of fruits and vegetables today!!! WooHoo! We went out and played for an hour today!!! WooHOO! Set up a goal with her like: Let's run a 5k together in October! Then you can celebrate your miles ran for the day/week instead celebrating pounds lost.
Also, not saying that you do this, but any negative self talk about yourself must stop. To her (at this age), you're darn near perfect, and if she hears complaining or self depricating yourself over not losing a couple pounds, she going to mimic that negative self talk.
You deserve to celebrate and brag to your husband about the weight you lost, but it seems that for the time being it should be done behind closed doors.
Just my very uneducated 2 cents.
05-31-2007, 08:58 AM
I completely agree -- it's VERY important that your efforts are not discussed in front of your daughter. My mother had weight issues which she passed on to me. She included me in all her diets, ups and downs, etc. Unfortunately I walked away with an eating disorder, but I am making every effort not to pass any of this on to my kids. I was terrified that if I had girls, they would also have these problems passed on to them.
I think the most important thing is that you and her discuss making good food choices and getting exercise, not how much you eat. Unfortunately girls are in the "diet mind set" at such a young age and other girls can be more of an influence than a girl's parents. My son plumps up every winter and then thins out over the summer -- I just try to cut back his junk food intake over the winter (without him noticing) and then relax a little when he's more active. I don't want him to be concerned with body image issues. My most important goal, over losing weight myself, is to make sure my kids are healthy and happy -- but I don't want them to be overweight either, because I know what a struggle it is. But food should also not be an issue if you are active.
05-31-2007, 09:03 AM
Perhaps she sees/hears your excitement on your weight management journey and wants to participate? Maybe involve her in menu planning, preparation, and shopping for healthy foods. Let her count the calories and keep a journal. Maybe she will build a life long GOOD habit. If you monitor this activity you will know if she is slipping into not eating enough, or purging or other dangerous behaviors with regard to food/eating. Try to turn her interest into a controlled interest with your involvement? Maybe find pictures of healthy children and their different body shapes so that she can see she is in the ball park and no two frames are the same? Adolescence is a bear...I've taught 8th grade for 20+ years, and body image is so ALL CONSUMING for many of the girls. My DD is very slim, athletic, wears a size 1 for God's sake and has a body fat of 11% AND SHE THINKS HER THIGHS ARE TOO BIG. This is a problem with many adolescents--their reality is skewed! And it doesn't help that Lindsay Lohan and the rest of the magazine toothpicks are bone racks...unhealthy boneracks. ! Nevertheless, if that IS HER REALITY, then you have to help her see herself in a new light, so that her reality changes--typical adolescent. Arg!!!
It helped my daughter's self image to buy flattering clothes during the 12 to 15 years...it cost me too much money, but it was worth it in the long run...if she felt somewhat pretty on the "outside" (the clothes), it seemed to help her self confidence about her body. It worked for us, maybe it will work for you.
And also, 10.12 to 15 is the DRAMA TIME for girls...everything is a BIG DEAL. Try to remain calm (no easy task!!!) when she flips about her thighs or the next big deal..."so and so said this, I hate this teacher, etc.! I found those years to be mentally exhausting with my daughter, but hang in there. The rewards will come. When presented with whatever my daughter's NEXT BIG DEAL is, I try to stay calm and ask, Why do you think/say that? Show me. We've practiced good posture while looking in the mirror and then slouching while standing and sitting and the difference in the belly/shoulders/arms is amazing--slouching adds pounds. I've tried to take her concerns (however trivial and stupid I think they are) and listen and try to address them. Some days I want to scream into a pillow with the neediness of young girls!!!!!!!!
Hope this is somewhat encouraging! Girls are just tough to guide I think! I have two girls and two boys and the girls by far have more trouble with self image...And they are both gorgeous--really. Inside and out. I guess I'm saying, you are not alone. I think all moms go through this with their daughters. I wish you success; we are THEIR role models and I hope I have been a calm and caring one--at least most of the time......!!!!!!!!!!!
05-31-2007, 09:17 AM
Thank you so much!! I love that I am not alone in this.
I think you are right... I know I have made negative comments and I'm sure she's heard me... heck, she's even gone to WW with me so she definitely sees it. There's no way around it sometimes.
I like the idea of setting up healthy goals. And showing her about slouching and all that.
I have a big fear that she will either 1. truly get fat (I was a very fat kid, and I remember at 10 my mom pointed out my "rolls" and it's been a battle ever since) or 2. have some sort of eating disorder. It's so hard and scary.
05-31-2007, 10:16 AM
I don't think going to WW, watching you count, etc. is detrimental at all to your daughter -- I think it teaches her that it's important to take care of yourself. My kid's know I'm trying to eat healthier and lose weight -- but I try not to make the issue a diet, but more that it's healthier -- not about the weight, body shape, etc. but being able to do the things you enjoy, etc. My mom/dad were alot like yours -- they constantly pointed out that I was overweight, monitored closely what I ate, which caused me to sneak A LOT and in the long run their "help" caused me numerous problems. I think all you need to do is make sure she knows you are happy with her -- no matter what her apperance -- unconditional love is very important. No one wants their children overweight, but we also need to let them know it's okay -- it doesn't make them less of a person. I never knew all the things there were to worry about until I had kids!
05-31-2007, 10:48 AM
I would let her count calories. (this will be good for math skills, too ) First determine how many calories would be appropriate for her age and height,let her keep track of them and give her some rules, only healthy foods and she must keep to a healthy amount of calories per day.She probably will get tired of it after while.
05-31-2007, 01:30 PM
I agree with most everything said here, you are getting some great advice. It may be a daily battle with her, trying to keep her focused on her nutrition in a good way...but...how much better than the alternative! Prayers for your success!
05-31-2007, 02:11 PM
I think it is very important to teach our youngsters about proper nutrition. In doing this it instills the importance of a good diet on our health and well being. Does your DD have PE in school? I found that my kids' PE teachers were better at teaching the kids about proper nutrition and exercise that I was. Neither of my kids are very good at listening to their parents but worship their teachers and literally eat up what they hear from those sources! My DS had a PE teacher 2 years ago that taught the importance of good nutrition and the difference between whole foods and processed foods. DS to this day is much more conscientious about eating more vegetables! If you don't have a source at school, you might contact your doctor to ask about a reliable nutritionist that would be willing to work with your daughter.
I do caution (like the others) that discussing weight loss (whether it be yours or hers) needs to be minimal at the most. I learned the hard way that my DD doesn't like to shop with me because I said something at some time about how something looked on her. I don't remember it but she obviously does. I certainly didn't mean to say anything harsh. In any case, although she does need to lose a few pounds, I NEVER say a word to my DD about it. I don't even discuss my own weight loss attempts. She knows, she goes to the gym, she tries to eat well (but being a teenager with a car and friends who like to go out for burgers this is difficult).
05-31-2007, 07:16 PM
Set up a goal with her like: Let's run a 5k together in October!
Goals, yes, agreed entirely. Distance running for a 9-year-old, not an appropriate goal. Racing, even less appropriate.
Also, at 137 and 5'4, you yourself aren't actually fat, you know. Is your daughter seeing more slightly disordered eating on your part than maybe she should?
05-31-2007, 08:05 PM
I don't think it is your fault. I think that it is harder in your situation since you are a person who doesn't have much weight to lose but is clearly trying to lose the weight. If you were 100 pounds heavier, your daughter would probably see a big difference between her body and yours. She would probably think that mom needs to lose weight because she's a lot heavier, and she might not be as quick to apply the same thoughts to herself. Instead, she probably sees you as a normal-sized person (like she may see herself), and sees that weight loss is important to you. As a result, she might think it might be a good thing for her, too.
It's a tough situation. I would try to focus on healthy eating, and try not to mention calories or points. If she doesn't get reinforced and doesn't get attention for this, she's young enough that she just might get bored of it and drop it. If you have a scale she has access to, maybe get rid of it? The scale might be a reinforcer itself.
You know your daughter best, so you're the best judge of what to do. Maybe just start off with a sit-down conversation about how she feels about her eating and her body so that you can see where you're starting from.
06-11-2007, 03:53 PM
I definitely had to agree with alinnell on this topic. I believe finding someone with an educated background to assist your daughter would be the best route. My advice would be for you to meet with the person first to make sure she is likeable, energetic, etc. You do not want your daughter to be turned off by her.
06-11-2007, 04:16 PM
There is some really good advice here.
I used to get really upset at my mom because I was never forced to exercise and we didn't necessarily have all healthy food in the house. I didn't have portions limited either, so it's been tough for me..times I've said "I wish my mom wouldn've MADE me be in sports and be active"....
I think it's great to "work out" with your DD. Go for walks, to the park....play tennis (this is a good one). Explain to her different things that are considered exercise...walking, bowling, skating, the sports she plays. All of these things are good for her. I wouldn't worry about the 4 lbs...it was probably water weight (which you don't need to tell her).
I also suggest that maybe joining a yoga class with her? This would help both of you to tone your muscles and maybe she wouldn't think of her thighs like she does. Yoga is GREAT for families.
Teaching her about nutrition is great, and settings goals is a GREAT idea. Such as "Eat this many fruits today and we'll do such and such..." I also think that counting calories is great...and she will probably get board of it....or she may teach her friends (which in turn may interest some girls and be a good thing).
Having been an overweight child all my life I wish I had been taught about healthy foods and known what EXACTLY was in the foods I was eating. I also wish I would have been made to exercise...even fun things! When kids don't know about proper nutrition, that is when they develop eating disorders and such..
06-11-2007, 11:46 PM
i have a 10 yo DD, and though i have often dieted, she does not seem too worried as she is being taught that Healthy, active and happy is the best way to be. That eating need not be about being on a diet but about getting some good healthy food, lots of veges, and just a little treat now and again. But i do not weigh myself of even talk about my weight in front of her. I do not want her to start doubting herself as i have all my life.
But i also have a 10 YO niece, who is very skinny (not through dieting just a good metabolism) and she had been told at school that she was anorexic and that it was great! but for 2 weeks after that she did stop eating, thinking if she was great when she was her normal self, she must be even better if she was anorexic.. GOSH! she lost a lot of weight very quickly. It took a lot of talking to her by a lot of people to get her to eat, but even now she aviods some foods, and it really shocked me at how easily she got such a bad message and took it to heart.
Treighsie, i would be a little concerned about your daughter, and make sure you do spend a lot of time talking to your daughter, general chat, so you can make sure she isn't taking it to heart that she must lose weight, kids do take things in so quickly and do not understand the big picture. And be active with her, do some things together, even going for a bike ride together. And let her know that healthy, acitve and happy are the best place to be.
Sometimes although we worry about our own weights we really have to hold it in, as kids do take in so much of what is going on around them. you are happy when you lose weight, maybe means to her, that you would be happy and love her more if she did.... LOT of hugs, love and lots of chit chat, keep her communication lines open and listen to what she is saying to you.
06-12-2007, 10:13 PM
*sigh* I don't have any kids....but I was once a fat kid. SO I think I can offer some insight. I was chuncky growing up and was teased. I didn't let it affect me- although somedays it did bother me. But for the most part I didn't have any self-esteem issues. which I think alot of it comes from. I carried myself well and was for the most part confident. So now in my adult life- I think the fat kid phase was a great character builder, and has made me a better person. I know that skinny doesn't = Beautiful!!! BUT- I think that it has made me more defiant when people (boyfriends) DO comment on my weight. And I let them know that!
My fiance, was also a fat kid. But his experience was a little different. He was the biggest of 7 brothers in his house. SO his size was always an attack point for them. He was an angry fat kid. And he admits it. But NOW he is the thinest of the older boys!! And he loves to flaunt it!! But even now that he is skinny, I see him as a fat kid stuck in a skinny person's body. Even though he is a size 34 waist he STILL obsesses about his weight. I think that comes from when he was picked on soo much as a kid. It annoys me that he obsesses- but I try to remember that it's a self esteem issue. And he doesn't try to impose that on me. So I am there to just give him a reality check and tell him how hottt he is to me!! The funny thing is in November when I went home with him to meet his family, His mom showed me pictures....AND HE WASN"T EVEN THAT BIG!!!! In my opinion he wasn't FAT. He wasn't skinny- but he's hardly as big as i thought he was. He did have a really chunky period- but no where near as bad as he made it out to seem. But I think it was the way he was teased and picked on tht distorted his body image. Even now, that he's thin.
My friend has a 9 yr old daughter that was picked on and she was called fat. And she makes comments about herself being FAT. UGH!!!!! She has great long legs that are really toned. She does have a little pot belly... But the rest of her is average. I talked to her about it, and told her her body will change as she gets older. And she will kind of grow into her self. I gave her a baby explaination about metabolism and all that good stuff. I'm sure that didn't cure her negativeness about her body- but I hope it planted a little seed of self worth.... But yes! she has friend who calorie count at such a young age!!! Ha! I don't even calorie count as an adult. It scares me to know that 10 yr olds are thinking like that!!