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Old 12-29-2008, 10:36 AM   #1
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Unhappy What did I get myself into?

My 19 year old stepdaughter just moved back home after being out for a year and a half. She brought with her an extra 40 pounds of baggage, right around her midsection (and not from being pg either).

Prior to her moving back home we discussed my weight loss nearly every night when we talked. She complained a lot about the weight she had gained, but i knew with the situation she was in that there was no way she would be able to change her diet to eat healthier, she was just trying to eat as cheap as possible, so i didnt give her any lectures about what she NEEDED to do. But then of course...she moves back home...

She sees the weight I lost and hears about the weight her dad lost and she wants to lose too...but...she doesnt want to do the work...

I got her a job that came with a free membership to Curves and she is great with working out. She almost tried to back out the second day but thought better about it. She still told me that she had considered canceling that second morning and I gave her a small lecture about not starting off that way.

Shes been great with logging her food into caloriecount.com, but the problem comes with WHAT she eats. She asks about EVERYTHING...I understand how hard it is to figure somethings out but my goodness THINK for yourself. Its always how much can I have of this or that. I tell her to read the label. i do help her when necessary like when we make the yogurt parfaits, cause the strawberries and blueberries dont have labels. But the problem starts when she comes to me and says "I'm hungry, what can I have to eat?" I tell her she can have anything she wants as long as she has the calories for it but that she needs to THINK about what shes eating and try to choose healthy options and then I give her a few examples of things she might want for a snack and she always comes back with something fatty or starchy. Her protein is almost always in the low teens and the rest of her intake is split between fat and carbs. I'm no expert but to eat over 40% of your intake in fat just doesnt sound right. Plus the fatty foods are higher in calories so she isnt getting very much bang for her buck so shes hungry more often... Shes not even listening...I told DH I cant do the work for all 3 of us. I cant MAKE her do this, if shes not ready then wait until she is. I finally told her to stop worrying about what she eats and maybe take a week and just eat like she wants and log it and maybe see where her problem is. She said she didnt really want to do that. If she was going to eat what she wants then she didnt WANT to log it to see how bad it is. Then later she told me maybe she would wait until after new years to worry about it, that it was too hard right now with all the food. I told her I wasnt really going to worry about it for Christmas dinner and New years Eve ( I was barely over on Christmas dinner). Well, i guess in her mind not worrying about it meant not logging cause she couldnt believe i still logged all my food. I just told her i was obsessed. I may not sit down and figure out exactly what and how much i am having before hand but i would still log it to see how bad I was so if i dont lose I at least know why.

I'm just venting and i thank anyone who cares to listen. I have just finally adapted to keeping track of my own food and helping DH keep track of his, now how do I add in a third person? If you want to do it then "just do it" if not then dont sit around pouting cause I said have a piece of fruit instead of cheese and crackers. Dont make me feel like I am MAKING you do this. Dont make me into the food police. Its taking all my patience...Rant finished

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Old 12-29-2008, 10:44 AM   #2
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I know you want to help her, but she will have to learn to do it herself. If she doesn't feel motivated to lose weight, she probably won't. Sad but true. Continue to set a good example and she may get motivated by what you and your husband are doing. You might remind her that losing it now now is much easier than when she gets older. Otherwise leave her alone, but only have healthy foods in the house.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:45 AM   #3
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Hmmm, that is a toughie. Maybe it would help your step daughter to plan out her food in advance. So, instead of coming to you and saying "what should I eat for a snack?" she would already have a planned, healthy snack ready to go. I do meal planning on a weekly basis - I generally know what I'm going to eat for every meal/snack by Sunday afternoon for the following week.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:59 AM   #4
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Dont make me into the food police.
I think that's pretty key right there and I think that's what you should tell your daughter. That you want to help her, but she's making you be her food police and that's not fair to either of you.

Offer to sit down with her and make a list of healthy snacks and meals that she can fix and know the calorie value of ... and spend some time showing her things like macro values (protein vs. carbs vs. fat) and so forth. Then tell her that it's up to HER to manage these things for herself.

I know it will be hard but this all goes back to something that we all know - you included - that she has to want it badly enough to do something about it. And right now she doesn't want it that badly.

Be supportive, but draw a line and don't get pulled over it. And good luck!!

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Old 12-29-2008, 11:00 AM   #5
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I agree with Glory. Maybe for the first couple of weeks you could help her plan her meals/snacks so she can get a good idea of what to eat and how much. Then let her do it on her own after that?? HTH
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:10 AM   #6
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i think she is not really ready to do it yet. But that being said, maybe sit her down and ask if she wants your help for a week or two. Give her the help. But after that...she needs to make decisions for herself. She's a grown women. If she wines and complains afterwards about not being able to lose weight...be a supportive but firm mom and tell her...i love you and would love to help you, but you have to make the decision to do it yourself. I can't hold your hand the whole way, otherwise you would never know how to do it on your own. If you want to loose the weight...then you need to make the effort to do it..i'm here to support you and work with you, but i can't police everything you do. Maybe help her come up with some menu and snack ideas (like glory) stated for a week or two and then go from there. give her the initial knowledge to help her out. Maybe you guys can also make a habit of sitting down weekly and planning a week menu together and working on an exercise schedule together (if possible). If she is eating dinner with you then great...maybe you guys can go shopping together to get the food after planning the week menu. Then place it in a food journal with her...and after that...it really is up to you. I think helping her is great if she really wants it....but it sounds like she's not 100% ready to lose weight ...and as we all know...until she's ready, it won't happen no matter how much help she gets

good luck..i know its probably very tough to have this going on. Just keep going with what you are doing...good luck!

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Last edited by GatorgalstuckinGA; 12-29-2008 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by inspired by you
I have just finally adapted to keeping track of my own food and helping DH keep track of his, now how do I add in a third person?
You don't. Bow out of it. She's 19--that's old enough to do everything on her own. You can't drag her all the way to being normal weight, and obviously she's ambivalent about it. Tell her you will cheer her on, but she has to do the work herself.

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Old 12-29-2008, 02:40 PM   #8
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I'd probably point her to some books and websites - 3FC, the South Beach book, the Superfoods book - that would help her learn about healthy eating, and then I'd tell her directly and lovingly, "If you want to lose weight, you'll put in the effort to learn how to do it on your own. I'm not doing the work for you."

She IS an adult, and you can certainly be a mentor and friend and inspiration and resource, but you can't be her "mommy" in this.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:52 PM   #9
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I agree, you will set yourself up in the role of police if you don't stop now.
Keep the meals on track at home, ensure there are good snack and lunch things for her to have, tell her not to bring anything you and DH have decided to "ban" . What she does the rest of the time is up to her.
Keep yourself on track, that is the most important thing right now.
You can't do anything for anyone if you are not on top of things for yourself.
What a great mum you have been. You are giving her the tools, its up to her to pick them up, when she is ready.
(hardest part of parenting eh?)

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Old 12-29-2008, 03:11 PM   #10
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Since she does have a job and hopefully a few extra bucks, direct her to the nearest Weight Watchers, (or cheaper yet, TOPS) group. Maybe she can get her "plan" together with outside help for a few months. With New Years approaching quickly, there will be tons of reduced cost membership fees for awhile. Make it exciting and tell her how much she can learn from the group. I've been to WW many times in my life, and although I ultimately failed at keeping the weight off each time because I gave up, it did teach me an enormous amount about nutrition and I have used many of the principals I have learned on this "free ride" I'm on now.
Highest weight - 333 pounds. Lost 193 pounds by calorie counting in 2008/09. Regained 73 pounds in the last 7 years and am working on getting back to a normal BMI.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:21 PM   #11
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Give me the adress, I'll go knock some sense into her. LOL jk. I'm sorry you're going through this, and I hope she in the end figures out that she REALLY needs to smarten up and pay attention. Read some books and learn some stuff, with the support of you and her father.


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Old 12-29-2008, 04:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
You don't. Bow out of it. She's 19--that's old enough to do everything on her own. You can't drag her all the way to being normal weight, and obviously she's ambivalent about it. Tell her you will cheer her on, but she has to do the work herself.


I agree, she is old enough to realize what needs to be done. This is a great learning experience for her to find out about herself and to be independent and do all the work it takes to loose the weight.

I think she might be just like I was less then a year ago.... Complaining that I needed to lose weight, heck, complaining about everything, but not being able to realize that its no one else's fault that I was obese and its no one else's responsibility to loose the weight...

She needs to wake herself up and get out of these "bad habits."
- When she has her "epiphany" then she'll buckle down and do the work.
-Or at least thats what got me in the right direction...

Its great that your trying to support her, everyone needs that... But just tell her that you need to focus on you and not her anymore... She is old enough now to take care of herself, and its your time to take care of yourself without worrying about anyone else...

-Plus she'll never learn anything unless she does it on her own...
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:00 PM   #13
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You talk about doing it for the three of you, and if your stepdaughter sees you doing it FOR your husband, she may just be following in his footsteps and assuming you don't mind doing it FOR her as well.

It also seems you are comfortable taking charge for folks ("getting" her a job, rather than expecting her to do that for herself).

Many people will allow you to do things for them, if you're volunteering. My husband constantly asks me to spell words for him (because I let him) and when we were on Weight Watcher's together would constantly ask me for the points for everthing (for the same reason, though his excuse was that I had memorized a lot more point values for foods than he had - yeah, because I had already looked them up). If I didn't know a word's spelling or the point value on a food, I would look it up for him and give him the answers, until I noticed that the more help I gave, the more willing my husband was to be helped.

My husband is no longer counting WW points, but I leave his dieting up to him (and he is still losing, so my fears that he wouldn't do it UNLESS I helped, were unfounded). I still occasionally spell words for him, but if I'm busy, or don't know, I don't look it up, I tell him to do it, himself.

Only you can draw the line between helping, enabling, and controlling. She may be relying on you excessively, because she's fearful or insecure, or because you've been willing to do so in the past. If you don't want to do it anymore, then the simple solution is don't. Ultimately, the weight loss journey is made alone. We can learn from others, we can get help and support from others, but the path is ultimately our own.
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Old 12-29-2008, 05:42 PM   #14
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kaplods said everything I was going to say.

Seriously, I've been helping out my husband for a while, and I'm about to have to sign off and let him do his own thing because I'm starting to feel guilty when he gains weight. He isn't exercising, he doesn't watch his calories, he snacks after I go to bed, I have nothing to feel guilty about. I have to just let it go until he is ready. There isn't enough energy in me to keep track of both of us. I will schedule my workouts so we can share our home equipment, I will build the total calorie count of the meals I cook so I can figure out how much I'm eating, which will in turn let us easily know how much he is eating on those meals. I will bring healthy snacks into the house. I will set a good example. That is all I can do.

You are a good mom to try to help her out, but enabling will hurt in the long run. If your daughter achieves any significant weight with you as the driving force and knowledge base how will she maintain that loss when she moves back out? By calling you every ten minutes to ask what snacks she can have? I say set a good example, but make her, and DH actually, stand on their own feet.

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

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