Weight Loss Support - Daughter gaining weight, what to say?

10-25-2006, 04:21 PM
Hi all. As I've been dropping pounds since January, it seems like my younger daughter is putting them on. She's just turned 16, and has had a gorgeous figure since she hit puberty. Big busted, slim body- and dresses to make guys eyes pop out.

I haven't said anything at all about it. She used to call herself fat when she wasn't, and we'd vehemently deny it- and now she's got a definite gut on her and had to buy bigger clothes. I don't want her to have to lose a bunch of weight --we all know how hard that is-- but I also don't want to damage her self esteem by breaking her state of denial and forcing her to confront the fact that she's inching up there in pounds.

I don't know what to say, or if I should just continue to ignore the matter. She's a completely different physique than me- a true hourglass figure- the kind that gets really fat, pretty fast. I was the small busted, big hipped type before I got fat- and it went on really slowly. She's going to balloon out to an unhealthy weight fairly quickly, if she doesn't watch it. But I feel like I can't warn her.

I point out when she's eating something that's bad for her -- the same sort of food nagging I've been doing all her life. When she was younger, I had more control over junk food- but now that she's in high school and got a job, she can buy herself whatever she wants without consulting me.

Should I just watch and wait? Surely she'll ask me for advice before things get too bad- since she knows I'm successfully losing weight for the first time.

I just don't know. Advice would be appreciated.

10-25-2006, 04:38 PM
I know when I was younger I hate when my mom, gramma, whatever told me I was fat... HATED IT!

But it would of been nice to hear from another young person that had been fat and lost weight. When I was 16 if someone told me that when I got older I was going to have strech marks and loose skin... I might of done something differently.....

is there anyone else that can talk to her?

someone needs to, but dont tell her she is fat... just say you notice she is getting bigger and tell her what can happen to her body for the rest of her life even if she does lose it!

10-25-2006, 04:45 PM
I really don't have any advice, but will say that I'm in the same position with my 14 yr. old daughter. It is very difficult. I don't want to push her and make her feel bad about herself, but I also hate to watch it getting so out of hand. My DD comes home heartbroken when kids at school tease her and call her fat. She is thin everywhere but through the tummy and is very self-conscious of it. I do my best to just encourage her to exercise with me and provide her with healthy foods.

10-25-2006, 04:47 PM
I think it DEFINATLY makes a difference with what is happening at home.

I could never lose weight at home because my family didnt eat that healthy. As soon as I moved out on my own I had my own choices and started losing weight no problem

Make sure their are healthy meals, with an approtiate portiion size on the plate (my mom was bad for giving me too much food and our rule was eat what is put in front of you).

Herself The Elf
10-25-2006, 04:49 PM
say nothing tastes as good as thing feels... and ask her why shes eating.. because im guessing as we all know.. When we start packing on the pounds its not about food tasteing good, its always about something more.
tell her if she wants to get really ->healthy<- that you will do it with her and it can be a mother daughter thing and you guys can talk about your weight and what you ate that day, be careful of compition but its more encourageing to have someone doing it with you .. and mother daughter team will be great for both of you
im 21 years old 225 and 5"5 ... my mother on the other hand is 5"3 100 pounds and well.. haha older then 40 .. She looks great has a great body and loves to nag on me about my weight and how fat ive gotten,.. and how can i eat so much blah blah blah.. I would love to have a mom that understands and supports...
Good luck to you.. and be patient with her and yourself

10-25-2006, 05:12 PM
When I was your daughter's age, my mother and I shared our clothes - about a size 10 - until she went on a big diet, lost a bunch of weight and dropped in size to about a 6. At that point, she signed me up for Diet Center (like Jenny Craig) and comments regarding what I ate started to fly at me. I wasn't even that big - maybe 15 pounds too heavy.

Suddenly my wardrobe had shrunk and shame from my mother's comments - and shame and frustration from trying on her clothes that wouldn't fit me anymore - started to pile on and I gained more weight. It was awful.

I've been extremely careful to keep my comments to myself with my two daughters and so far - at 17 and 11 - they have had no food or weight issues. They're both slim and fit.

My advice is to leave her alone and stop commenting on what she's eating. Maybe even apologize for doing it.

Also, I wouldn't offer to help unless she asks. To a child's ears, coming from a mother, that sounds like "you're not good enough as you are" and it usually backfires and makes things worse.

Just my opinion... :)

10-25-2006, 05:13 PM
Don't comment on what she's eating! My parents used to do that (I was never overweight as a child, and didn't start gaining weight until after I left home, so there wasn't even a reason for them to do that) and it completely ticked me off - mostly it made me want to eat more junk food, rather than less. I think the best thing you can do is cook healthy meals, have healthy foods in the house, and maybe encourage her to exercise. Maybe you could get her a gym membership, and suggest that you two go to the gym together a few times a week, or see if she wants to sign up for an exercise class with you - the key is to make it seem more like something you'd like to do with her, rather than trying to tell her she needs to change her habits. Hopefully she'll realize how much better she feels once she's started eating better and exercising, and it'll stick - without any hard feelings between you two.

10-25-2006, 05:27 PM
- the kind that gets really fat, pretty fast.

Just please don't ever say that to her! :eek: She's a teenager, she doesn't need to hear (from her Mother, of all people!) that having an hourglass figure means she's gonna get "really fat" somehow faster than someone else. I'm not even sure what that means or how you came to that conclusion!

Anyway, I suggest taking a good look at everyone's comments here, especially BeezKnees and sierra_ttw. Good advice, IMO.

Beach Patrol
10-25-2006, 05:39 PM
Tell her you love her, no matter what, and that IF SHE ever wants to talk about her weight (or anything else!) you will BE THERE to listen, offer advice WHEN ASKED, and DO NOT JUDGE HER.

Like most everyone, weight issues are personal. Even if she IS your daughter. I'm sure it IS very personal TO HER. Just remember - nothing you can say or do will make her lose the weight. It can only come from her; inside her. When people lose weight for someone else (spouse, parent, etc.) it doesn't last & usually piles on more. Just let her know that YOU ARE THERE FOR HER.

No matter what.

10-25-2006, 06:24 PM
My advice is to empower her. She needs to know that she is strong and capable of being whoever she wants to be. At the age she is, what she looks like and eats like is mostly up to her (although you do still have some input and control for a couple more years). If you will just empower her to feel good about herself and to know that she can do whatever she wants to do with her life, she will eventually want to make good nutrition choices and she will do that. You are setting a good example by the choices you've made for yourself, so she must know it is possible!

I also think there are three things that are never really adequately taught to children these days: finances, good manners, and NUTRITION. Make sure that she is armed with the info she needs (not by nagging, though!) for when she wants to make good nutritional choices.

And I can't emphasize enough--BELIEVE IN HER ABILITY TO SUCCEED. I am SURE she does not want to be fat. All teenagers go through stages of testing out their food freedom. She will figure this out if you just encourage her that she is capable and powerful and give her the information to make good choices for herself when she is ready.

My daughters (12 and 6 yrs old) find nutrition fascinating and talk about which foods have more fiber or protein, what fruit has potassium, etc. The older daughter knows how to read nutrition labels and has an understanding of how much her body needs to fuel itself. She understands food is nourishment and fuel, and also knows it can be fun and social. She knows that she can pig out and eat junk but that it affects her body. Even at 12 she knows if she eats lots of pizza one evening, she'll eat lighter for breakfast the next day, for example. Both my kids are also very active and athletic. Someday, they will probably struggle with some food issues because I think all women go through this at some point. But I will know that I armed them with as much information as possible and that I was an imperfect but hard-working example of fitness and health.

Good luck!

10-25-2006, 06:25 PM
It is sooo very hard to keep your mouth shut while you see your daughter's weight gain occuring - but you absolutely must! I know it is so difficult because you just want to nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand. I have 3 teenage daughters myself. My oldest has actually told me that "the more you mention my weight the more I wanna eat". The best thing you can do is have healthy food at home and make healthy meals. And everyone has pretty much said all the right things already. Good luck.

10-25-2006, 06:34 PM
I have friends whose moms criticized them over their weight and it really really damaged their relationship. Weightloss is something you have to decide you are going to do for yourself, no one can force you into it. This rule applies no matter how old you are. So I think you should continue to leave her alone about it unless she asks you for assistance. As much as you want to protect your children, sometimes they have to figure things out for themselves. I also agree with a few others here that commenting about what she is eating probably isn't helping. It most likely just makes her feel guilty and resent you. In fact, her eating and weight gain could be a rebellion against you.

You can serve as a good example by continuing to eat right and exercise yourself. You can also make sure that there are healthy foods in the house (for the entire family, you can't buy bad food for other family members and expect her not to eat it) and prepare healthy meals for the family, also maybe encourage the entire family (not just her) to exercise together. I think singling her out for exercise might feel like a punishment (it definitely would have felt that way for me when I was her age). The last thing you want is for her to associate exercise with punishment. But if it's something the whole family is doing, it might not feel that way (and it would probably be good for the whole family). But it has to be a family activity, you can't tell the family that your doing it for your daughter. If you can somehow make it special mother-daughter time that might also work but I think it could be hard to do this without making her feel singled out.

10-25-2006, 06:41 PM
I know that you know you need to be. My Mom would say things about my appearance, even when I was 135.

My Mother decided to bring up weight loss by taking me out to a steakhouse. (texas roadhouse) Keep in mind, this is when I was 22. I was overweight at the time, but maybe 170 on my 5'7" frame. Anyway, when the waiter came with the basket of rolls, she made him take them away. I thought she had just wanted to take me out to lunch, so I was a bit flustered at first. But then, we started looking at the menu. I decided to order the smallest sirloin they had. I was going to get it with a salad and a sweet potato. She REFUSED to let me order a sweet potato. Then she said I had to get vegetables, stating, "I'm buying, so you have to order what I say." The whole event was humiliating and as you may be able to tell, I still feel resentful over it.

A couple months later, my Mother took my brother and I to Disney World. During the ride to Florida, Mom let me eat nothing but low-carb bars. She would stop and get my brother Whoppers. (not like I would have even wanted a whopper, but those low carb bars were just yuck) In the park, she decided to go on a big rant about how I couldn't even wear the shorts I was wearing, since my legs rubbed together so badly. She went on a long rant about how fat I was and needed to lose weight. THe three of us sat, on a bench in the middle of Disney World, as my mother berated me.

I do love my Mom, but I think that she is horrible about trying to approach me with this. Even now, when I have chosen that I want to eat more healthily, I do my best to just avoid her as far as the subject is concerned. It might have been neat to exchange tips with her, etc, but right now I just have too much resentment about the whole thing.

10-25-2006, 06:53 PM
I'm happy to say my Mom never ranted about my weight, but she was never subtle. Always when growing up and we were shopping, I'd pick out something that all the girls were wearing and her comment was "you'd have to be skinny to be able to wear that." It hurt. Plain and simple.
So, now, 30+ years later and my second round of losing weight and feeling really good about myself, does she comment? Sometimes, but NEVER says that I look good. In fact, she boasted that she weighs only 127, as if to say, "see, I still weigh less than you do."
It was the same with my hair. She always wanted me to wear it short. I liked it long, but a few years ago I did cut it short and go MANY, MANY compliments, even from complete strangers, but not from her. I'm growing it longer again.
And this is all very weird because she is not a negative person. She's survived breast cancer (didn't even want to tell friends about it because she didn't want them feeling sorry for her) and survived two open heart surgeries.
My own DD is trying to lose weight along with me. She joined a gym on her own and worked with a trainer. She has stopped going because of her school and work schedules, but she still wants to get down to 135 like me. She has perhaps 10 pounds to go (she was not as heavy as I was, but is a bit shorter). She still wants to, but has some troubles eating the right foods, so I try to offer only healthy foods for meals and keep the snack foods out of the house. That way, she has to buy it herself and she's saving for a car and college, so she ends up not buying junk to eat (most of the time).
My advice to you is to serve healthy food. Do you serve meals family style or do you give everyone their plates pre-loaded? If you do it pre-loaded, you can be sure she doesn't eat too much at meals.

10-25-2006, 07:08 PM
I agree completely with Beez. It doesn't matter what you say. Your daughter will hear, "You are fat and I'll love you more if you'd lose weight". It would be especially annoying to me to hear preaching from you considering you obviously haven't engaged healthy eating habits for very long.

My mother didn't know anything about nutrition and just tried provide economical and filling meals. Most of it was fried in Crisco. There were few green vegetables and lots of white bread. I didn't start learning about nutrition until I started feeding my own children. If you didn't teach her nutrition when she was younger, she'll hear your attempts now as more ridicule.

I agree with "leave her alone". You decided what you needed to do about your weight. She deserves that same opportunity.

Or, did your mother describe your body style to you and warn you that you would fatten up really fast if you weren't careful?

10-25-2006, 07:17 PM
On rereading my response, I think it might sound a little harsh. The original post kind of got under my skin. I've bolded the verbiage that sounds like it comes with sneers. If you've been nagging her about her food choices all her life, how can you be surprised that she's put on some weight during a time of high stress and increased peer pressure (for most young people)? Some girls who experience this kind of focus on their external lives turn to bulimia or anorexia when they get to this age. Others of us get fat.

Hi all. As I've been dropping pounds since January, it seems like my younger daughter is putting them on. She's just turned 16, and has had a gorgeous figure since she hit puberty. Big busted, slim body- and dresses to make guys eyes pop out.

I haven't said anything at all about it. She used to call herself fat when she wasn't, and we'd vehemently deny it- and now she's got a definite gut on her and had to buy bigger clothes. I don't want her to have to lose a bunch of weight --we all know how hard that is-- but I also don't want to damage her self esteem by breaking her state of denial and forcing her to confront the fact that she's inching up there in pounds.

I don't know what to say, or if I should just continue to ignore the matter. She's a completely different physique than me- a true hourglass figure- the kind that gets really fat, pretty fast. I was the small busted, big hipped type before I got fat- and it went on really slowly. She's going to balloon out to an unhealthy weight fairly quickly, if she doesn't watch it. But I feel like I can't warn her.

I point out when she's eating something that's bad for her -- the same sort of food nagging I've been doing all her life. When she was younger, I had more control over junk food- but now that she's in high school and got a job, she can buy herself whatever she wants without consulting me.

Should I just watch and wait? Surely she'll ask me for advice before things get too bad- since she knows I'm successfully losing weight for the first time.

I just don't know. Advice would be appreciated.

10-25-2006, 07:39 PM
Hmmm, I don't mean to offend anyone, really I don't but I don't think any teenager should diet unless directed by a doctor to do so. There are so many things that happen to a teenage body (especially girls) that there may be a reason hormonally that she is gaining weight. Maybe there is something more to it, if you are truly concerned take her to the doctor, but If she is still in the "normal" weight range I would leave it be.

(again please don't be offended, I was told by an aunt when I was 17 that I was "thick and fat, at 135; after that I went on a diet ate once a day and ran my butt off I dropped to about 105. When I got my senior pictures I looked like death, so I started eating again, I went from 105 to 145 in about 3 months, but I had such a poor relationship with that aunt and food after that.)

10-25-2006, 08:21 PM
I want to say that I agree with Kateful 100000000%-and I have to say, that before I offer help and advice to you MariaOfColumbia, that I have to say as well, that the tone of your original post made me cringe.
I am not trying to get harsh with you-it is not my intent. My intent is that maybe you need to think about HOW you say or word things to people...because it makes ALL the difference. If you speak to your daughter about her weight in the same manner that you typed about it to us-you are going to have nothing but problems, and you are going to seriously hurt her feelings. I would like to make some points about your original post:

Hi all. As I've been dropping pounds since January, it seems like my younger daughter is putting them on. She's just turned 16, and has had a gorgeous figure since she hit puberty. Big busted, slim body- and dresses to make guys eyes pop out.

There is something about this that just doesn't sit well with me. First of all, she is not "done" with puberty yet. She JUST turned 16. If she started puberty at 11, 12, or 13 and looked great the first couple of years-keep in mind that it wasn't her true adult figure. She will still go through some body changes for the next year or two. I went through puberty in junior high and was an A cup...when I was a junior in high school, I went through another "spurt" of growth and ended up being a C/D cup at that time-I also went from a size 7/8, which I had been from puberty to about age 16-to a size 10 or 12 as well. I wasn't getting FAT...I was getting chestier and more hippy...and I was changing from a young teenager into a woman, with more womanly curves. At her sixteenth birthday, she still has some body changes happening.

She's a completely different physique than me- a true hourglass figure- the kind that gets really fat, pretty fast. I was the small busted, big hipped type before I got fat- and it went on really slowly. She's going to balloon out to an unhealthy weight fairly quickly, if she doesn't watch it. But I feel like I can't warn her.

This part really rubbed me the wrong way when I read it the first time. I know it wasn't your intent, but this is what I mean about thinking about how you word things before you say, or type them. I am only saying this because I don't want you to hurt your daughter's feelings. If you speak to her about her weight in this manner, then that is what is going to happen.

I am a true hourglass figure. Apparently from what you said, you are a pear. My body type doesn't "get really fat" any faster than a pear shape, or an apple shape (bigger on top, small on bottom). Weight gain is calories in vs. calories out. One body type isn't destined to be "fat". The rate of someone's weight gain, or loss-has nothing to do with their shape. It is their lifestyle.
The only thing that differentiates the body types is where we carry our extra pounds...whether it be all over, our upper bodies, or our lower bodies.

I point out when she's eating something that's bad for her -- the same sort of food nagging I've been doing all her life.

Stop nagging her-and don't use your successful weight loss as an example. It will only tick her off-trust me. The last thing you want to hear when you have gained a few pounds, is someone telling you that you have gained a few pounds-especially when that person is losing weight. Just trust me on this one. ;) If you want to do something for her-cook healthful meals. Serve fruit as dessert. Serve salad as a side dish. invite her to do something active with you. Lead by EXAMPLE, not by nagging.

Should I just watch and wait? Surely she'll ask me for advice before things get too bad- since she knows I'm successfully losing weight for the first time.
Not necessarily, especially if you have been nagging her. If someone had been nagging me about something, I would never ask them for advice about it just on principle. :rofl: I am stubborn, though. Live a healthy lifestyle, offer healthy food for meals-keep junk out of the house. Don't nag her though. It will only hurt your relationship with her, make you seem "high and mighty" because of your weight loss (to her it will), and make her feel like her appearance is the only thing that matters to you.

Love and support her if she is 100 pounds, or 300 pounds. If she wants to lose weight, then she has to decide to do it for herself...not for you.

10-25-2006, 08:26 PM
This is a topic that is bleeping loud on my radar screen at the moment. I am consumed with food and food facts. I know the caloric and fat and fiber content of every single thing that goes into my mouth. My brain is constantly juggling the statistics. Food is always front and center. Always has been.

In a way, right now that's a good thing, since I am in this stage of my life where I need to control it to lose some weight. But in another way, its really sorta sad that food is such a major issue.

My opinion right now is that nutrition needs to be taught to children in an intuitive manner, by repeated, everday observance of the grownups in their lives eating in a healthy manner. Not by talking about it all the time.

My former boss was raised in Scotland. His mother fed him three healthy meals a day with no snacks. Everyone around him ate that way too. And to this day - at the age of 70, he does not snack. He is very fit and healthy and eats good food. The moral of that little story is that children learn what they live. And once we've trained them the wrong way to do things over many years, we can't just say "Oops! My bad. No more Cheetos. Here's a carrot" and expect it to work. IMO, what we need to do is do things the right way and let them observe us and remain silent.

Again, JMO.:)

10-26-2006, 12:28 AM
Sadly I think the only right thing to do is to not mention it to her. I know that it will be difficult for you, but I remember being your daughters age and whatever my parents said, I did the opposite. My Dad used to tell me all the time that I was going to get fat. Well he was right. Here I am 30 years old and I am fat. Point being I didn't stop my bad habits just because he warned me. It took 15 years for me to decide that I needed to lose the weight for myself. I know that it's gotta be hard because I know you don't want your daughter to struggle as we all have, but she has to want to change her own habits.

One suggestion though is to make sure that when she is home that she has healthy food options and maybe try a bonding thing. Taking walks together or something to get her active but without telling her that she needs to lose the weight. Doing that would only backfire on you.

10-26-2006, 12:52 AM
I grew up with relatives always saying things about my weight - cousins, aunts, uncles, and my MOTHER. And get this, most of them are overweight! They are always saying, "You are going to end up fat." I was home for the entire summer and my mother would say, "You are getting heavy...You shouldn't be eating that...If you eat that, just have a little...You don't want to end up fat and alone."

The result? I'm fixated on my appearance, especially my weight. I'll even go as far to say that I am fixated on EVERYONE'S weight. I can honestly say that I would do anything to not be fat. It is my number one fear. I say that I had an eating disorder, but it never goes away.

This summer I got back up to 165, I'm not going back there ever again. The compliments stopped, the dates stopped, and my mother started with her comments again.

I was in the grocery store the other day and when I saw cookies all I saw was the word FAT. When I saw fruits and vegetables I saw the word SAFE.

Look, don't ruin this poor girl's life. I will admit that I'm all messed up. I cannot leave the house without taking photos to see exactly how I look in an outfit. I cannot eat without feeling guilty.

Life is too short

10-26-2006, 09:04 AM

As others have already pointed out, making comments about her food choices is not nearly as subtle or innocent as you might believe. Your daugher is probably well aware of her weight problem and resents your helpful suggestions.

I agree with other the other posters who recommended preparing healthy meals for everyone in the house, as well as keeping junk off the premises. Since you're in the process of losing weight, you're probably already doing this.

Empowering your daughter was another good idea. One thing you could do is ask her to join a fitness class with you as moral support. You could ask her to train for a marathon with you or participate in a martial arts class. Tell her you want to use this time to bond with her, even if she thinks it lame.

10-26-2006, 09:21 AM
As with so many others of you with body/weight issues, I had ( have) a mom who is so critical and opinionated about my weight. I do know she thought that she was doing it in my best interest. It has REALLY affected me and our relationship. Please be so careful with your daughter. Love her and she will know that she is loveable. Kids are critical enough, and trust me, she knows that she is gaining. Examples are the best teachers.
I admire all you moms with daughters who are working so hard at good foundations for body awareness.

10-26-2006, 10:36 AM
One thing you could do is ask her to join a fitness class with you as moral support. You could ask her to train for a marathon with you or participate in a martial arts class. Tell her you want to use this time to bond with her, even if she thinks it lame.

I think that's a great idea, as long as its presented as "Will you help me?" rather than "Come on - you need to do this too." :)

10-26-2006, 11:31 AM
I wanted to add that in the dance classes that I teach, and have taught-that I currently have a mother in law/daughter in law pair who come to class together, and I have had numerous mothers/daughters who take belly dance classes together. They love it, are being active, and having a great time doing it. :)

10-26-2006, 11:47 AM
If there's one thing that this thread has confirmed, it is this:

WORDS ARE POWERFUL.So we should choose them carefully....

10-26-2006, 12:01 PM
I agree with the posters who suggested the best strategy is getting the junk food out of the house and preparing healthy meals for the whole family. But I would challenge take it one step further--If you know her problem is that she's choosing junk food over healthy food, then the way you can make the most difference is to figure out how to cook healthy food so that it's more attractive to her than junk food. Believe me, it can be done.

Also, why not suggest a mother/daughter day at a spa? The weight loss topic may come up naturally in that environment, and if not, at the very least she will see that you are concerned about her appearance in a positive way, not just picking on her to lose weight.

10-26-2006, 12:17 PM
:ziplip: Don't say a darned thing!

My mother had me on a diet aged 7!!!! :eek: I think that was what made me fat! She was constantly dieting - I used to think Complan bars were COOL for chrissakes!!! I learned from her never to be satisfied with my body, to sit on my butt and moan about what I eat and to use chocolate to numb the pain, pass the time, treat yourself with. When she berated me I wanted to "sneak" food more. I'd steal money from her purse to buy sweets, then eat them when she couldn't see me. She knew though, "You're only cheating yourself" I was 8 years OLD!!!! I didn't know the first thing about nutrition, weight, salads being good, hydrogenated vegetable oil, HFCS, that exercising would make me feel good, that I had to consistently exercise to reap benefits. And you know what, now I've learned stuff - I'm the one helping her be healthy. I am her example and she now wants to be like me!

So yeah, say nothing, lead by example.

10-26-2006, 12:26 PM
My mom never commented on my weight or body, thankfully, but she did stress healthy eating. My father, on the other hand (parents were divorced or Mom would have put a kibosh on this), made comments about needing to trim down from the time I was eleven until about ten years ago and I completely resented it.

I have a 16-y-o son who is height-weight proportionate. I've always stressed conscious knowledge of nutritional content, asking him regularly how many vegetables he ate today. My point is, say to her about nutrition and healthy living what you would say to any child.

I love the idea of taking a dance class with her! If I had a daughter I'd do belly dancing or hula classes. I always try to incorporate exercise into family time - frisbee golf, bike rides, swimming, walks, etc. This year I am thinking it would be nice to include physical activity on the holidays - a nice walk Christmas morning, sledding on Thanksgiving, etc.

I, too, have an hourglass figure and I don't think that I get really fat really quickly. If anything, extra weight is proportional and never centered in one area.

10-26-2006, 12:38 PM
OK, obviously I was far too blunt for most people's taste in this thread! Thanks for the input, but I think I need to mention a few things.

I've always served healthy food. The only reason I got overweight was because I was simply eating too much of the healthy, often homegrown, mostly organic, homecooked low fat meals.

What bothers me about what she eats is the fact that she gets home from school before I get home from work, and often I find that she's made cream cheese icing (from scratch) to put on the *healthy* graham crackers I keep around for snacks. Or she buys sodas at work. Or if I've bought some ice cream, she eats a big bowl of that and then has no appetite for supper. She takes small portions and picks at them. The only comments I make about it is that she should fill up at supper, not on snacks when she gets home. I don't think that's excessive. I've never taught my kids to clean their plates- I'm fighting that conditioning myself and have never tried to inflict it on my kids.

I've never called her fat. My assumptions about the hour glass figure were based on my memories of high school and college and the army, where my friends who where shaped like that got big much faster than I did. I assumed it was a universal physiological difference- that maybe extra hormones made packing on fat easier or something- but I've never read anything like that. I apologize to those of you with that sort of figure. I didn't mean to step on your toes.

She's taking a "body-sculpting" class at her high school for a physical ed credit, so she's getting adequate exercise. She had judo lessons for years as a child, and rejected it at about age 10, so there's not much chance of getting her back into martial arts again.

Despite the fact that I've said nothing about her weight gain, I feel like it's my fault that she's gaining so fast. I've never dieted before where the kids would know- but they have noticed this time, since I'm definitely losing weight. It looks like, to me, that she's doing a stupid, ineffectual diet of her own- where she's eating small meals and feeling like she's accomplishing something, and then getting hungry, losing control and eating sweets to make herself feel better.

It's this sort of idiotic "diet" that I really don't want her to do, but I can't bring up the subject without- in effect- calling her fat. She's not, yet, but if she keeps going like she is she soon will be. You've all convinced me that I should continue not noticing what she weighs... and it doesn't really matter to me how eyepoppingly beautiful she is or isn't-- it's just that I know how much it means to her, and I worry that she'll become terribly depressed if people start calling her fat- and it's just so preventable!

That's what gets me the most. She's a good cook, and loves to eat and is considering being a chef. However, she needs to learn some self control in her eating.

But I can't teach her that now, not even by example, because my example seems to be what set her off- without me even saying a word.

*sigh* I'll just watch and wait, and love her no matter what shape she's in. I can't forbid her to buy candy, when it's her own money and she can drive herself to the store, or drop by one on the way home from work. I have to let her make her own mistakes.

10-26-2006, 12:57 PM
Marie, just curious ... is there any chance she's emotionally stressed out about something and not saying it? That would cause me to eat.

You sound like a good, caring mother. I understand feeling responsible for her choices (I feel this way about my son), but you're not. Hang in there and keep it positive! Teaching by example is the best!

10-26-2006, 03:12 PM
What might be helpful... tell your daughter you love her and show her that you love her, try to create (from your end) a relationship between you two so that if she wants to talk about anything including weight, she will be able to come to you and feel comfortable doing it.

Teach her to love herself and respect herself. When we love and respect ourselves, we treat ourselves kindly, we take care of ourselves and that includes our bodies. Nourishing ourselves, keeping ourselves physically active becomes part of that.

Set an example for her
establish an environment that supports what you are trying to do - if this means a healthy lifestyle, then as someone said, get the whole family involved in it.

When I was growing up I translated my weight and appearance to my self-worth... and as I believed I was fat and unattractive, I also believed I was worthless. That was painful... that whole time I felt pressured to look a certain way, and I wished someone would have told me that I am beautiful, that they love me unconditionally, I wish someone would have been able to reflect back to me the joy and radiance of my personality and my worth and shown me how that shapes who I am more than my body ever will.

About nagging, I've found that people tend to point out "less-positive" traits in other people. This is a bit strange because those tend to be the things we're most insecure about... and if we're already insecure about them, then surely we don't need them pointed out! We might need or want support in dealing with them, but it's like some people think that they're helping by pointing things out. It's like telling someone who smokes, "cigarettes destroy your health" - well surely, 99.9% of people know that but so many still have a hard time quitting. If changing a habit was as simple as being aware of it, then what an easy world that would be! I imagine she probably knows that she's gained weight if she's gone up a size in clothes, and I wonder how she feels about it..

Good luck! And kudos to you for asking for advice/opinions!!

10-26-2006, 04:32 PM
Phantastica, I think she's actually less stressed out right now than she was at 14. She used to be very uptight about her appearance, and had to dress just so, and worried a lot about her appearance. She really is a beautiful girl, and I told her so repeatedly. "No, you are NOT fat. You are one of the prettiest girls I know. You shouldn't dress like that, you'll cause some poor guy to have a heart attack. No, you don't need to highlight your hair, your hair is naturally the beautiful shade of honey blonde that other people dye their hair to acheive! If you really want to straighten your hair, go ahead, but it's a shame to iron out those glorious waves. Why are you putting on so much makeup, you are perfectly beautiful without it!"

There's been plenty of positive reinforcement from me, and it's been sincere. Lately, she's been more relaxed about everything. She doesn't seem down, just not as obsessive about her body and her face and hair and clothes.

That's actually healthier, I think. I just hate to see her go too far the other direction.

And, you know what? I mentioned this thread to my husband and we were talking about it- he never mentions anything to her about her appearance either, except to object to too revealing clothing-- and I had a sudden epiphany.

I told you guys that I've never said anything about my dismay at her sudden weight gain-- however I forgot how emotionally sensitive everyone in my family is. We frequently pick up on each other's emotions without any words being passed.

She might literally be feeling some of my feelings, without me saying it! I've noticed a tendancy for me to feel sorry for obviously overweight people, the smaller I get. "I can tell you how to get rid of that!" I think- but keep quiet, of course. If I've been hitting my own daughter with emotional radiation like that- it could well have been triggering an unconscious rebellion just as if I'd been saying it out loud!

I told my husband, that we can't help the occasional thought of "Oh, dear, she's getting fat, should I say anything?" -- but if we have one, we should immediately follow up with an "I LOVE YOU!" thought. Or maybe even an outloud one, and a hug.

That ought to undo any unsaid negativity that might be influencing her.

I tend to forget about things like that- even though we have ample evidence of unusual emotional sensitivity in our family. It's just not *real* enough to keep in the forefront of my mind, when dealing with real life problems.

I'll not forget again, and will watch my thoughts more carefully and distribute more hugs. :) It's not good to get so wrapped up in my own weight loss obsession that I disturb my daughter.

10-26-2006, 04:53 PM

I agree that you should not say anything. And I love that you are going to try to even change some of the thoughts/energy you have when you are around her.

Love her thin, love her fat. One of the things I appreciate MOST about my DH, my MIL, my family in general is that not one of them, not ONCE, made a comment about my wt or appearance. They love me the same, fat, thinner, or thin, and they celebrate my achievements with me.

Judgments slay the heart and you can never take them back.

10-26-2006, 05:27 PM
It's actually easier to love her when she's not so obsessed about her appearance. I've realized for a long time that she will never be like me. I was a "tom boy" and never cared a whit for my appearance, and was a quiet and shy introvert. My older daughter and my son AND my husband are all also quiet, thoughtful introverts. My youngest daughter is a rampant extrovert. She's doesn't like to be alone, and always wants people to notice her. She's a stereotypical girly girl, wanting makeup and to paint her nails and we have almost nothing in common. I've accepted this, and I try to interact with her in a fashion she'll appreciate-- but it's hard. I can't get interested in superficial appearances, and she can't get interested in the abstract nerdy concepts that interest me.

I've seen, though, how much her appearance matters to her. That's why it alarms me that she's heading down the *fat* road so much sooner than I did in life. I didn't start putting on weight until my first pregnancy, when I was 24. She already can't fit into the army uniform I wore when I was 23, although we are the same height.

She used to set so much store on her appearance that I tried very hard to get her to see that beauty is transitory and that it's what's inside that matters. I worried then (as I am now) that when she no longer turns heads, she'll be miserable, because she craves attention so much.

But her personality type is just set that way. For those of you familiar with MBTI types, she's an EFSP- http://www.keirsey.com/personality/spef.html and that means she will need to find some other way of being the center of attention, when her looks fade. I just hope it's a nice way. I've known others of her type that make absolute disasters of their lives as they move through adulthood, seeking constant attention by the constant drama and mess their lives are.

I'm trying to give her a base to make some sort of constructive attention getting that will satisfy her personality's hardwired needs. I can't make her like me. I can't wish she was like my older daughter. I have to play the card I was dealt-- the stereotypical high school cheerleader type (even though she isn't a cheerleader)-- and hope she makes the best of her life. I try to help her acheive her goals, even if I don't share them.

I'm losing weight for health reasons. Attention from anyone makes me uncomfortable. She loves attention, but won't get it in the fashion she's become accustomed to, once she passes some undefinable fat percentage, where people stop thinking she's pretty. I wish I could spare her that, but perhaps it's something she has to learn for herself.

10-26-2006, 06:11 PM
My Mom and I have a long terribly history of things said "for my own good," and it's hard not to be reminded of all of them reading this thread.

Still, you seem to be very concerned over where you feel your daughter's weight is heading, but some of this is reflecting your worries, not what necessarily is even really happening.

Putting on a few pounds during the teen years can be a warning sign, but it doesn't have to be, and it doesn't mean that she is destined to be fat either.
Parents sometimes criticise because they want spare their children being criticised by others, but that's a weird logic because it's a lot more painful to be told you're fat or getting fat by your mom than by your peers.

Also you're more vulnerable to being overly critical right now, because of you're success - that you naturally want to share, but no one is more zealous than the recently converted, and this is true not only for religion, but for weight loss. It seems that when a person has had a little weight loss success, they feel compelled to convert and save everyone they love (and sometimes even strangers) from the demons they've escaped or are escaping.

Over the last few years, my mother has lost 60 lbs, and is maintaining the loss. While she was losing, she felt the need to constantly comment on my weight and what I ate. It only made my own struggle 100 times more difficult.

Well, now the roles are reversed. I am losing much more slowly than she did, but I am continuing to lose, and continuing to become more active. My mother is struggling to maintain her loss, and has plateued. I can see it is because she has stopped measuring her food, and keeping track of everything she is eating. I am SOOO tempted to mention this, every time she complains that she can't break her plateau, but I know it wouldn't be helpful (and she'd have a fit).

Even mentioning my progress to her seems to backfire, and while she tries to be happy for me, she also seems to feel that I am gloating or criticising, whether that is my intention or not. And that's certainly how I saw here when she made comments during the time she was being more successful than I.

10-26-2006, 06:25 PM
Also you're more vulnerable to being overly critical right now, because of you're success - that you naturally want to share, but no one is more zealous than the recently converted, and this is true not only for religion, but for weight loss.

Thank you for that, it's an excellent way to put it. I'll keep that in mind in tempering my thoughts and actions.

10-26-2006, 06:35 PM
Difficult one.

When I was 15 or so I was 162lbs at 5ft 5ins - pretty big. And it was one or two chance remarks that made me drop to 112 or so at 5ft 6ins (I grew!) within a year...so know the power your words have! Unless she is medically overweight, say nothing.

If she is medically overweight, I'd try the subtle route. As in, announce you are embarking on a Healthy Eating campaign. Make everyone in your house eat healthily etc, and this may help her indirectly.

If that's not an option, the Direct Discussion might work. But tread very, very carefully, lest you send her off into a bingeing spiral. Phrase it as though you wonder if everything's OK, because people tend to eat more when they are upset...something like that.

10-26-2006, 06:41 PM
Thanks for your clarifications. I have a better idea of where you are coming from. My momdar is going off because there are a number of assumptions in your posts--that certain body types get fat faster, that certain personality types will always behave in certain ways, that people who are the same height should wear the same size (!)and, if they don't, the person who can't fit is fat.

Frankly, I'm finding it a little hard to believe that none of these prejudices are coming out either verbally or non-verbally (heavy sighs, tsk-tsk, eye rolling, glaring, etc.). I don't know you, however, beyond what is written in this thread, so I can most certainly could be wrong about that.

I think your daughter is asserting her independence. She may even have already found some other way to get attention or has decided wearing revealing clothes and using her body that way is not what she wants to do anymore. Maybe she's acquired herself a secret boyfriend and is no longer driven to chase attention. Maybe she was harassed and became afraid and is covering up (with fat). Maybe she's just a teenager who knows that sodas and homemade icing gets on her mom's nerves.

If I were in your position, I'd sew my mouth shut in order not to cause harm. Then I would have only healthy foods in the house. She might have a hard time making cream cheese icing without cream cheese, for example. I'd invite her to participate in activities we both might enjoy but I would expect her to decline.

When she's ready she'll do what she wants to do.

10-26-2006, 06:45 PM
You could also buy the fat-free cream cheese. It's pretty good. ;)

10-27-2006, 01:25 PM
Oh boy, that's a hard situation to be in, and a very fine line to walk. My mom and I have butted heads for years about this. I can't tell you how many fights, how much we've both cried, gotten angry and said hateful things (ok, I was the only one doing this) over my weight. My mom is 50 years old, 5'8, 130 lbs and can still fit into her wedding dress. I'm 20, 5'3 and 220lbs. I hit puberty way early: bras in the 2nd grade, period in the 4th. And that's about the time the "subtle" remarks started up and the signing up for soccer camp. (To this day, I HAATE playing soccer. I won't even kick a ball around.) I was the only 5th grader in WW. Middle school brought eating out of rebellion, high school brought eating out of rebellion, anxiety, and to help with my panic attacks. (My whole family is prone to anxiety; thank God for medication!) I was testing her to see if she would still love me if I wasn't thin. And she did. Her way of showing her love was trying to make me healthier.

It took us counselling and a lot of heartfelt talks to be able to repair our relationship. I think that now that I'm done testing her and she's done trying to "help" me, we're able to be a loving mother and daughter again and I'm finally ready to lose the weight. She supports me now by helping me grocery shop and cook healthy meals and cheering me on when I exercise. When I don't exercise or have something unhealthy, she doesn't say anything. Sometimes she tells me that I'm an adult now and I get to make my own decisions.

For me, this is the best form of support and a huge show of love, because I know how hard she's working to support me in the way I need it. I guess my only advice is to not say anything for now. If she comes to you, ask her how you can help. And then stick to it. If she doesn't want you to say anything, positive or negative, staple your mouth shut. If only positive, then do that, etc.

Good luck!

10-28-2006, 10:51 AM
I had a similar situation, but I was the daughter! I was always really thin in high school and when I went away to school I put on a lot of weight. I was really self concious about it although I gave off the impression I didn't care. My mom NEVER told me I was fat or that she had noticed I gained weight. She was supportive in telling me that no matter what I would always be beautiful. Eventually I came to the conclusion myself that I was ready to be the "old me" again and she was there supporting me all the way.
I know it must be so difficult to watch your daughter gain weight, but honestly, if my mom had said anything close to negative about my weight at that point I think it would still haunt me today. Eventually your daughter will want to be her old self again. Just give her some time and be as supportive as you can.

10-28-2006, 12:11 PM
I'm really rather confused by alot of the replies in this thread. It is a difficult situation, but, as a mother, I think it's the WORST thing you can do to stand by silently (if she is gaining weight as fast as you say!). This is about her health, more importantly than her self-esteem. If you saw her lighting up in your driveway would you not say anything to maintain her self-image? What if she stopped eating - would you let THAT slide?

My real, honest, gut feeling is that she feels unable to eat that openly in front of you. You say she does X before you get home, or does Y while she's at work. Maybe she wants these things, but feels shameful of eating them around her dieting mother. When we sneak foods, we tend to overeat them, as we feel that this might be the 'last time.'

I guess, what I'm trying to get at, is that as a mother, it's your job to keep her healthy. If she's packing on the pounds at an unhealthy rate, and you can see the changes not stopping, than you need to address it with her. Don't even mention her weight - that's totally anicillary. My guess, having been there, is that she sees these high fat foods as being the only thing that will keep her 'full' and satisfied. Maybe she's at a point where she just needs more fuel and she's doing it in the wrong way (and in secret)? Perhaps let her know in the morning that you'll be making her favorite dinner. If and/or when she eats ice cream or cookies beforehand, ask her why she had it before dinner.

10-28-2006, 01:22 PM
Maria, my 14 yr. old DD came to me yesterday and asked if we could start going for long walks together again. I told her sure, so we bundled up and went for a walk. We had done this a lot last summer and when winter hit, she totally quit. Said she hated using the treadmill. She asked if she could do the exercise tapes again with me, which we had a lot of fun laughing and doing them together. So, although I knew she had lost weight last summer,and gained some of it back, I tried not to say anything. I waited for her to come to me about it. I also know that she had a 14 yr. old friend that drowned this past yr. and it caused a lot of emotional distress for my DD. She did some emotional eating and yes it was hard for me to watch. But, she seems to have worked through this and is reaching out now for me to exercise with her. Last night I cooked dinner for extended family. She asked me to just put the steak and salad and green beans on her plate and leave off the Mac-n-cheese. I think she is now trying to eat healthier and I am going to let her tell me what she wants to eat. I normally cook healthy meals for the whole family. She likes to take sandwiches on whole wheat bread and a piece of fruit for her lunch at school. She usually asks for Oats for breakfast and I cook these often.

I mention all this because maybe your daughter has had a rough time with something and has consoled herself with food. Mine sure did, but she is now wanting to be healthier. Any amount of nagging her that I could have done, would have made it worse for her.

Also one thing I never do is compare my clothes to hers. I could wear her jeans but wouldn't dare. It would crush her. She does occasionally wear some of my things and I tell her that she looks great.

10-28-2006, 03:18 PM
I have an hour-glass figure and was in the same boat your daughter is in at age 16. I got a job, had my own money, and started gaining weight eating junk. My mother never said a word but she has weight issues herself.

Your daughter KNOWS she is gaining weight. You don't need to tell her! You said you have a bad attitude towards other people who are overweight... do you make comments about them? Are you contantly talking about losing weight, nutrition, etc.? Do you give her "a look" when you catch her eating unhealthy? Even if you are not saying things directly to your daughter, right or wrong she already has an innate sense that you have negative feelings toward overweight people ("feeling sorry").

This is about you. I would go to her and ask her if you have made her uncomfortable about weight, nutrition, or exercise... tell her you are sensing some tension and worried about how your own weight loss efforts and attitudes have affected the family. I would APOLOGIZE to her. If she wants to talk, she will talk to you about herself and open the door to discuss her own weight. DO NOT say anything to her that you wouldn't want to hear coming out of the mouth of your husband or own mother (e.g. you are gaining weight, I am worried about your weight, etc.). If you do go to talk about your OWN issues, you need to do it sincerely and NOT as a means to try and address her weight issues. She will see right through you if your intent is only to let her know your thoughts on her weight and it will damage her emotionally.

10-29-2006, 01:15 AM
My mom is thin, almost too thin at times. I was fairly thin growing up, and at one point when I was sick in high school, underweight, though usually heavier than my mom. I gained a lot while I've been at school and until recently my mom never said anything. A few months ago, she said that she had noticed I had gained more weight and that she was concerned. That was it, she hasn't harped on it.

One more thing... you haven't mentioned how much she's gained, Maria, but it doesn't sound like she's unhealthily overweight. I think it might be best to lay back, and help her by setting a good example