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Old 09-23-2009, 01:12 PM   #16  
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JayEll and Ubergirl, I completely agree. I don't want to put her "on a diet". I want to change her day to day diet.

I suppose in my perfect world, I wouldn't have to restrict her. It wouldn't be "don't have the chocolate, have the orange." It would be a simple matter of the chocolate not being there.

In our house, we kept a small container of single pieces of chocolate. If she wanted a piece, she would open the fridge and take just one piece. She knew that we only bought it once per month, so she would want to keep a piece for tomorrow.

I don't know what to do. My dad won't eat my cooking, and my kids will feel deprived if I make them separate dinners.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:10 PM   #17  
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JayEll and Ubergirl, I completely agree. I don't want to put her "on a diet". I want to change her day to day diet.

I suppose in my perfect world, I wouldn't have to restrict her. It wouldn't be "don't have the chocolate, have the orange." It would be a simple matter of the chocolate not being there.

In our house, we kept a small container of single pieces of chocolate. If she wanted a piece, she would open the fridge and take just one piece. She knew that we only bought it once per month, so she would want to keep a piece for tomorrow.

I don't know what to do. My dad won't eat my cooking, and my kids will feel deprived if I make them separate dinners.
It is super hard. One of my daughter's is a carb fiend and I worry about her constantly. It's easier said than done.

The only thing I can say is keep trying to provide healthy food, and I like the idea of doing fun active activities, liking walking or biking with your daughter.

It's SUCH a hard balance. On the one hand, we don't want them to suffer obesity like we did-- on the other hand, we don't want to do something that will screw them up.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:27 PM   #18  
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That is a tough situation. It sounds like if it weren't for living in a place where you can't control what's in the house, things would be fine. Perhaps you should do what I am doing with my son right now? (he is 8) He is not on a diet, but what I did was switch out a lot of his favorites for lower fat versions. My goal with him is to just maintain the weight he is at now and let him grow into it. So for example, he loves hot dogs.. so now we buy the 98% fat free turkey ones. He likes them just as well. Whole milk is now 1% milk, etc. This has worked for the past 8 months or so.. he has not gained anything. So maybe a good goal right now while you are living with your parents.. is just for her not to gain anything more. Perhaps your parents would be willing to switch a few things out for healthier versions? That way they would not be giving things up, really. I think also, as others have stated, the key might be just to add a little bit of extra exercise for her while you are living there. Bike rides, etc. When you get to living in your own house again, then maybe you can try to focus her on the fruits/veggies when she is feeling blue - like you were talking about.

Good luck to you I think at the very least you are going to have to ask for help from your parents - would be a tough issue for me with my parents also.
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:23 PM   #19  
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I agree about the "diet buddy" being inappropriate. I was my mom's dieting buddy from the age of 5, and all it taught me was to becmoe food/weight obsessed and to treat my body like crap. Also telling her you want her to "keep you in check," puts some of the responsibility of YOUR success or failure on HER shoulders (that's how she'll interpret it - because it's what kids do - blame themselves for all sources of stress in their lives. It didn't matter whether I was struggling or my mother, lack of progress by either of us was always somehow my fault (she didn't say this, it's just what I "knew") I felt like I was letting her down.

When you say "... my kids will feel deprived if I make them separate dinners," you're assuming that foods prepared in a healthy way are inherently less rewarding than less healthy choices. Why would your children feel deprived if you make them and you "a special dinner just for us," and let them help out in the shopping and preparing of that special dinner.

Even very young children are able to learn that healthy food tastes good and can be fun to shop for and prepare. There are alot of "healthy food" cookbooks written for children. Go to the library and let each girl pick out one or two cookbooks, make shopping lists, shop and prepare dinner. This can be done in small time increments (you don't have to do everything in one day).

It can be just as fun to shop for fruit and vegetables as a candy bar, and it's not something most people think of with kids. Children are more likely to eat healthy food that they helped choose and prepare. "Special" treats don't have to be high fat, sugary junk. Shopping can be an adventure for your children AND you. Take them on a special trip to the grocery store to pick out veggies that can be eaten raw, and the ingredients for a healthy dip.

You need to change your thoughts on foods, before you can change your children's because they'll know when you're being insincere if you try to convince them that healthy food is "special and wonderful" if YOU don't believe it. When my mom tried to convince me that salted cauliflower was "just as good as popcorn," I knew she was lying to me. Yet watermelon was just about the most heavenly thing on the planet (even as a kid, I'd choose watermelon over candy or cookies), but it's because watermelon was treated as a special treat.

Given how stressful things are right now, I don't think that focusing on her eating is going to be helpful. She'll be more likely to feel that all that's going on right now is her fault. It'll also be very tempting and easy for the adults to focus on "fixing" her (or arguing about the need to fix her) rather than dealing with all the other stresses. It sounds like that's starting to happen already.

But that doesn't mean you can't make healthier foods and activity more attractive (not only to your kids, but to you). Find ways to make good foods and activities MORE fun, and sugar and white carbs less interesting. In front of the kids, model a new and improved way to look at food by saying something like "I don't want a boring old candybar - I want something special - hey girls do you want to go with me to the store to pick out some fruit." Then let them pick out a few pieces of fruit themselves, teach them how to pick good fruit, and try something new if possible - even if you think they may not like it.

I used to do that with my sisters (14 and 16 years younger), and we'd come home with some pretty crazy things. My mom wasn't an adventurous eater, so she had a harder time "pulling it off," than I did, because if it was something she hadn't tried before, she was hesitant to buy it for fear of waste. But really, there wasn't much waste, because the whole family would get in on the adventure of trying something new (even if it was something everyone decided they didn't like).

I remember we had the most fun with "ugli fruit" one of my favorite fruits. It looks like an unripe yet "gone-bad" grapefruit, because it's splotchy and wrinkled. We laughed about how ugly (which is how you pronounce ugli) the ugli fruit was. And after we tried it, I encouraged my sisters (4 and 6 at the time) to give it a better name, and we decided on "lemonade fruit," because that's what it tasted like.

Kiwi were another grand adventure. I taught them how to cut the fruit in half and eat with a spoon. A couple years later, my youngest sister at 5 or 6decided to try "shaving" a kiwi with a disposable razor (at least it was a new razor."

We also made food "art projects." I would do all the sharp knife work, and as they got older let them help as much as they could safely. For example, we made veggie forests several time. I'd let them spread cream cheese on a plate and covered it with dried chives for grass, and broccoli and cauliflower florets for trees. And we'd make trees, bushes, and animals out of the fruits and vegetables. I'd let them use food coloring as paint and a clean food-only paint brush (bough from cake decorating aisle of Michael's), and they'd paint "eyes" on their "critters." The we'd "surprise" mom and dad and our grandparents with the fancy "horse's doovers" tray.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:24 AM   #20  
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This issue is very near and dear to my heart, so forgive me if I sound harsh.
I am coming from a good place here, but am unable to soften myself on this topic.
No problem. I know it's touchy, which is why I'm at a standstill. Like a PP said. Don't want her to go through what I did but don't want to screw her up. I have to get this right, and if reading some border-line nasty posts is how to get there...so be it. :P

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your daughter is already VERY aware of body image issues. She has ALREADY picked up on the fact that her slimmer sister gets treated differently. She has already considered herself fat.
I agree with the first part, but not with the last. I know my daughter and I do know that she DOES NOT consider herself fat. However, she does have body image issues. That much is true.

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For me, I think the gloves should come off and tell your mom to completely back off with the weight comments...
We've had the conversation. Then had it again. Then involved my Dad. I've yelled, I've begged, I've cried. She seems to think that telling her she's a "sturdy girl" or "just really muscular" or "big for her age" is going to help the situation.

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You may say this, but think about whether you truly believe your household is food neutral and body image neutral
*My* household - the household that existed with my husband - was food neutral. We explained early on to all our girls that the food you eat determines your health and activity. When I was actively trying to lose weight, I modeled the best I could, but my husband was always there to reassure the girls if I slipped up. We told them my weight problems were a result of not eating right for a very long time, and because of that I had to work very hard to solve it. We linked foot intake to energy output. If you ate a lot, you had given your body a lot of energy so you needed to use it to keep your body healthy.

I could go on at length, but, yes, I do feel that our household was food neutral. However, our household doesn't exist right now. My parents household is NOT. If my mother eats something she shouldn't, she bemoans her weight fate as she digs in. If my daughter asks if something is healthy [the way we taught her to view food, more or less healthy] my mother will respond by talking about how a little bit won't cause her to gain weight.

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She is most certainly picking up on family tensions. Please deal directly with these issues---Not the food-its never about the food. This is hard for an adult to handle no less a child.
While I agree with this, and have been discussing her feelings and thoughts on the issue openly, the food is an issue. Just because her overeating isn't about the food doesn't mean she's going to stop overeating because she has an open channel.

I'm sorry but...at the end of the day, her daddy still isn't here, we're still living at grandma's house, she's at a brand new school with new people, her stay-at-home-mommy is now busy working, her little sisters are scared and coming to her for support [like little sisters do] and her entire world is completely upside down. No, it's not about the food, but she can control the food when everything else is out of her hands.

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imo, this is entirely inappropriate. the world of diets is no place for a child. Heck its no place for an adult. She is only 7 years old. She will carry these messages (however subtle you think you are being) for LIFE.
You're 100% correct. I hadn't thought of it that way. For a while last year, she was my "exercise buddy". Part of her job was to make sure that she and I walked for at least 1 hour every day. I thought that maybe this would be the same thing, but, thinking about it now, walking to the park and library is so completely different than dieting that I feel like an idiot.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:45 AM   #21  
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I agree about the "diet buddy" being inappropriate. I was my mom's dieting buddy from the age of 5, and all it taught me was to becmoe food/weight obsessed and to treat my body like crap. Also telling her you want her to "keep you in check," puts some of the responsibility of YOUR success or failure on HER shoulders (that's how she'll interpret it - because it's what kids do - blame themselves for all sources of stress in their lives. It didn't matter whether I was struggling or my mother, lack of progress by either of us was always somehow my fault (she didn't say this, it's just what I "knew") I felt like I was letting her down.
Another good point on this. Plan = scrapped.

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When you say "... my kids will feel deprived if I make them separate dinners," you're assuming that foods prepared in a healthy way are inherently less rewarding than less healthy choices. Why would your children feel deprived if you make them and you "a special dinner just for us," and let them help out in the shopping and preparing of that special dinner.
Because Grandma makes "their favorites". For the last few years, Grandma's house has been the Saturday night haven. Grandma makes their favorite foods, lets them do and eat whatever they want and never scolds them. While us adults can recognize that that needs to change RIGHT F'ING NOW, the kids take longer to adjust.

On this front, my mom and I came to an agreement this afternoon that, if the girls and I would be home, I will cook dinner. My mom will eat just about anything I make, and if my dad doesn't like it, he can make himself a hot dog. :P

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Even very young children are able to learn that healthy food tastes good and can be fun to shop for and prepare...
Right here, I feel like you missed a HUGE point in my initial post. My daughters love healthy food. For the majority of her life, 7 y/o would whiz past the candy and grab an apple. A very recent example [last month, before this all exploded], we went to the grocery store with my mom. She asked if the girls wanted her to buy them a "treat". Of course, they said yes, and she told them to go pick out whatever they wanted. My 7 y/o ran off and returned with a gigantic shiny green apple. My mom even PUSHED her to get candy [against my protests] and she refused. She said the apple was sweeter than candy and didn't have that "funny chemical taste".

I'm not trying to be rude, and it may just be that I just got back from "dinner" with my husband so he could see his children and I'm an emotional wreck, but I feel like this part of your post was filled with character assumptions and attacks. I really don't appreciate it.

Unless I'm just grabbing a gallon of milk, my girls always shop with me. They know how to pick out good fruits and veggies and what ingredients we need for our mainstay dishes. What we eat has been central in our household, as hubby and I firmly believe that what goes in determines so much of your life, from fitness to mood to sleep. My daughters learned to count, do basic math and read at the grocery store. They judge a food's worth by how good it makes them feel physically and how hard they can play after they eat it.

My husband and I have raised our children to have healthy food attitudes. That is part of the problem. We never taught them that there are "good" and "bad" foods. All foods were "good" in the right amount. This led to a lot of conversations where my husband and I would say "you can never have too many veggies".

Nothing, aside from extremely processed foods and those that contain artificial sweeteners, has ever been off limits to my children. We strived to empower them to make good food choices. 7 y/o knows that certain foods provide more energy and that the body needs to burn that off. So, it stands to reason that when she's feeling tired and lethargic [ie, emotionally distraught] she's going to turn to foods that make her feel up and full of energy - bagels, chocolate and sugar filled candy.

Unfortunately, we hadn't yet gotten to the part about not using food as an emotional crutch. We had assumed that we would have time and that it wouldn't be an issue until she entered puberty. And since the problem has NEVER come up before, there was no reason to force the issue.

Sorry, if I come off as rude or mean or overly defensive or anything like that...I'm just having a really really bad day. I don't want to step on toes or burn bridges. Life just sucks right now and remembering how things "were" before this whole mess is just making it worse.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:03 AM   #22  
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I deleted my post because Kaplods posts are exactly how I feel--just not able to articulate it as well as she has.

Altari, please also remember that many of us grew up with family members (especially moms) that didn't handle weight situations well. This is a touchy subject for many of us. I think Kaplods makes some very good points. Try to read her posts again. There is a lot of knowledge there and maybe something that will help your daughter.

My daughters are the same age as yours. You know what? At the end of the day I will always, always encourage health and appropriate eating patterns and what not. But at the end of the day they will both know I love them AND be proud of them 110% through the THICK and THIN and there is simply no arguing that.

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Old 09-24-2009, 02:37 AM   #23  
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I'm sorry you felt I was being rude or mean, I was just throwing out suggestions based on what I read in your initial post and my own experiences (which were EXTREMELY negative regarding dieting, when I was growing up).

Some of that has to leak through, no matter how neutral I try to keep my tone. There's absolutely no way NOT to make assumptions when you read someone's post, ther's just no way to get enough background information without making some guesses (most of which are going to be wrong). We get at most a few pragraphs to try to assess the situation described in order to give (hopefully) helpful advice. What you say, what you don't say, but mostly OUR OWN experiences are going to drive what we say. You've got to expect that we don't know you, and MOST of our guesses are going to be wrong - but none of us can get enough background information (at least not without living with you and your family for a couple months) to get MUCH right. You've got to expect that 90% of the advice you get here will not apply to your situation, and only half of the remaining 10% is going to be something you want or can incorporate into your life. 5% doesn't seem like much, but even though 95% of the advice I've been given over the years here doesn't (at least immediately) apply to me, the remaining 5% has made a huge difference (and the rest of the stuff, I may be able to use for myself or offer someone else at some point).

Also, I wasn't assuming that you were NOT doing many (or even every last one) of the things I suggested. Neither was I assuming that you would or should value or agree with anything I said (for all I knew you would think every single idea I had was bonehead-stupid, and that's ok - for both of us). They were just my ideas I was throwing out there to try to be helpful (and if they weren't, I'm sorry - but maybe some will help someone else in a similar situation).

My ideas and suggestions say far more about me than they do about you or anyone else, but I kind of expect everyone here to already know that. I can only throw out what I think I would do in your situation - and know that you may have already thought about them and are doing them (or you may have thought of and are doing something a whole lot better and smarter), but I have no way of knowing any of that and I figure it's better to throw out an idea that will make you say "does she think I'm an idiot, no blippin' duh Geez what a moron that Colleen is" than to fail to mention something you or someone else might find useful. Consider it the "throw everything at the wall, and see what sticks" method.

I don't care or mind if you think I'm a moron (I really don't, because I don't know you enough to care that much, and I don't mean that meanly. I hope that I don't matter enough to you to have offended you with my clumsy suggestions).

Almost everyone here (I can't think of any specific exceptions) is trying to be helpful while being helped. If we stick our foot in our mouths or say the wrong thing, or seem to be making assumptions, or spouting off on a subject we don't know enough about - well that's just one of the hazards of trying to communicate in a situation where most of us don't know much about each other's lives and only have a couple of paragraphs to "guess" by. We'd never discuss these subjects with each other in the "real" world, because it would be rude and obnoxious or stupid to stick our noses and necks out that far.

This is a strange (and mostly wonderful) place, but you do have to develop a bit of a thick skin and realize that most of us are really bad guessers at what you're going through, so if our advice stinks, doesn't apply to you or seems rude - by all means say so if you want to, but know that mostly it comes from good places. The last thing I intended was criticism. All of us have very difficult situations, and sometimes even stupid ideas can be helpful (if only to make us laugh that someone thought we'd want THAT advice).

Colleen

Last edited by kaplods; 09-24-2009 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:57 AM   #24  
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FWIW, Altari, I think your usual (in your own home) very healthy food environment came through loud and clear in the first place. You're obviously in a very difficult place no matter how you handle it.

I don't think anyone has the answer, although I think the more ideas the better chance you have of being able to pick a couple that are helpful, and leave the rest.

Personally, I get the impression that you will do the best you can; and based on how you come across in your posts, I think your personal best will be pretty darn good.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:11 PM   #25  
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Just curious but I guess joining a sport or dance team or something at her school isn't an option you are considering?

That would get her moving and doing something she likes and even help boost her self esteem.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:19 PM   #26  
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I think the best way you can handle this is by not mentioning it at all. My mom tried to encourage me to eat properly and discourage me from certain foods and it always made me feel a little bad. She was a single mom and just did the best she could and i'd never fault her for that, she's my best friend. However, she always told me she did the best she could to give me lots of self esteem. Exercise together, bond. *hugs*

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Old 09-24-2009, 04:57 PM   #27  
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Altari.

What a terribly difficult "place" you are in. Truly.

I'm glad you and your Mom were able to come to an agreement about cooking dinner: getting some control over your situation is important.

I've just finished reading a book called "Child Obesity." My son is obese and my daughter(9) is "sturdy" as your Mom would say.

One of the things we need to do is exercise more. And so we will, somehow.

As for your situation: control what you can and let go of the rest. That would be my advice. If you make a Big Deal over the food you will set up all those issues you were so careful to avoid in your own house. She's choosing what she's choosing because of how she feels.

You do not agree with her choices. But it sounds like the only "control" you have over them is to make much too big a deal over it--and that may set your daughter up for problems down the road. I really don't know enough about this issue myself to give you any advice: but I hope you can resolve it soon.

Remember this situation is temporary. Perhaps when it is behind you, you will be able to cope better with the whole issue--and whatever weight gain has happened. Gaining weight is NOT the end of the world. I know, I'm not supposed to say that here, probably--but it is the WORST THING EVER--only if you think it is. And if you don't (and more importantly, if your daughter doesn't) think it is THE WORST THING EVER it may be easier to take it off once your home life situation is better.

But that's just my 2 Cents. That may be all the advice is worth, too.

I'm sorry.
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