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plus sized children

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Is anyone else sort of in a quandary with how to deal with this?  My older daughter always seemed to have a bit of chub on her once she hit about 3ish, but she's never really been fat.  Although she weighed more at 10 than I weighed at 10, but I wasn't sure if she was taller or not.  I just knew I didn't want to freak out and act the way my mother did and force her into diet pills and dieting, which I believes makes you fatter.  Now she's almost 13 and she's lost weight.  People who haven't seen her in awhile have commented on it, and I keep trying to ask them not to phrase it that way.  So I have been asked why, and I explained that I feel it's more that she's grown into her weight, she's gotten taller and slimmed down some.  She wasn't dieting or anything.  I guess part of me feels like if they compliment her for losing weight, she'll see losing weight as a thing to be admired on its own, and she'll think that she really was fat and needed to diet.  She's pretty fat accepting in theory, as in she says she thinks you can be healthy and still be fat, there's nothing wrong with being fat, etc.  


But she doesn't want to be fat, I know.  She's complained about it.  So she makes a conscious effort now to eat healthfully, which is great, because this is a lifestyle behavior, not a temporary thing as I see it.  A year or so ago she was full of, "It's not fair she is so skinny and can eat X and I don't eat X and I'm not that skinny."  I kept telling her that her not eating X was more about being healthy, not skinny, and if she wants to eat X, go ahead, as long as it's only an occasional thing.  I also may have told her that eating sorts of processed foods, like things with artificial flavors, trans fats and HCFS can shape her palate for unhealthy foods and make her want to eat more of it.  So now she usually only drinks water with her meals.  She has even given up juice.  We took a plane trip, and she turned down drinks every time the flight attendant came by, except for the last time on the last leg, she asked if she could have a diet Coke.  I'm not really into diet sodas, but I told her she could have one every now and again, which is basically how I deal with this thing. 


So my 8 year old daughter was kind of slim as a toddler, but she's definitely has some fat on her now.  She was over 11 lbs at birth and never a small kid, but she's big, her BMI is really high for her age.  She will eat vegetables and more unusual foods.  Like she'll eat seaweed, sushi and greens.  She still loves avocado.  But she also looooooooves sugar, she looooooooves potatoes.  Those are like the only foods she wants to eat.  I'm getting to the point now where, since my husband doesn't eat carbs, my older daughter is really invested in not eating a lot of sugar, and I'm starting to develop a sweet tooth where I never had one before, I'm thinking a sugar free diet for our house is warranted.  I try to provide vegetables, lean proteins in addition to carbs, but my younger one ignores the meat and my older one ignores the vegetables, although she tries, bless her, she does try.  She's just always hated vegetables and doesn't eat them.  


My older daughter kind of picks on my younger daughter for many things, being fat is one of them.  Mostly saying things like, "You want soda?  No wonder you're fat." Usually this is in the context of them fighting and the younger one being really rude about other things. The younger one is all Eff You about the topic of fat or really anything that's her sister trying to goad her.  Referring to people as fat is not a bad thing in our house, I call myself fat all the time.  But using it as a negative is not something I want happening, so I have had discussions about that with my kids.  At the same time, I kind of feel like DD1 has a point, because I feel like my younger daughter almost has an addiction to certain foods.  I don't buy soda much at all, mostly just 4 packs of Virgil's rootbeer here and there, which will be around for a month or so.  But we often are in eating out situations where soda is an option.  I try and steer her to other choices, but really, water is the only good one since if she gets tea, she will want to sweeten it.  I still think that's better than soda, however.  I grew up really enjoying soda when I was allowed to have it, but I don't like it now and rarely drink it.  My husband drinks like 6 cans of Splenda based soda a day.  He thinks artificial sweeteners are fine, I don't, but we do have them in the house.  So my younger daughter drinks more soda than I really want her to, and I'm now at the point where I've cut it off, because letting her decide when to eat sugar didn't work as well as it did with my older daughter who doesn't really have a sweet tooth in the same way.


DD1 used to be pretty insistent that she didn't care about health, diabetes, heart disease, etc., and would specifically ask me to buy the stuff with the partially hydrogenated oils in it, because she said that meant it would taste good.  But now she reads labels and is all, "Yuck, this has high fructose corn syrup" and she will decline it. It's kind of funny now.  I don't know if DD2 will reach that stage, or if she'll always be more of a sugar/starch addict and not want to give it up.  I feel bad, because neither of my children are thin, and I don't think they ever will be, which isn't a problem by itself, but can often feel like one.  My husband is an overweight man who is still always dieting.  I've been fat since I was a child, and was a fat baby.  My grandfather abandoned his family when my dad was born, but there is one photo of him, and he was huge.  My aunt took after him, and was obese her whole life until she died at 91.  My mother has been overweight since her middle years, after having kids, and she was to the point of being morbidly obese in her 70s, but died this past month at 85, rather thin, as she had dementia and had not really been eating much for a year or more.  I kind of feel like there aren't any skinny people in my family, and whether that's from habits being passed down or genetics or both, I don't know.  I don't know how my grandfather or aunt ate, and I have made significant changes from how I ate as a kid, and my husband has a vastly different diet than I have, and seemed to grow up that way.  So I don't know.  I just feel kind of feel like I don't know what to say to my kids half the time.  There is so much baggage and it's so emotionally laden.

post #2 of 6

This must be really tough to navigate! I haven't been there yet, so I can't give any personal advice, but I have done some reading on this subject and I really think Ellyn Satter is a great source on feeding children. She has a website: http://www.ellynsatter.com/ and some books that might be helpful. I'm (slowly) reading Child of Mine to prepare for feeding my upcoming kid. 

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks, I'll check her out!

post #4 of 6

My daughter is only two, but I dread those days.  She was born huge, and is still built very large for her age.  She doesn't appear chubby, just very solid.  She's almost 36 inches tall, and 35 lbs.  And this could just be genetic too, my maternal grandmother's side is full of people who are over six feet tall and built like barrels.  I do my best to get her to eat healthy food, which hasn't been much of a problem so far (except green veggies), but my husband has a lot of bad habits and I'm still working on a few myself.  I'm so scared I'm going to mess her up one way or the other mentally when it comes to food.  I have serious mental issues with it, and I don't want to pass that on.

post #5 of 6

I have also struggled with emotional eating and eating disorders most of my life. One of my greatest fears is passing those on to my children. my DS was born big too, he was 9lbs 11oz and 22 inches at birth and was a beautifully chubby baby. I think i did really right by him by exclusively nursing him till he was 7 mons and then doing baby led weaning of whole healthy foods. He has a wonderfully varied palate and will munch of celery before fries and put down chocolate to eat some veggies and dip if that's what he feels like eating. He stayed big through his toddler years and was just over 30 lbs at 1 at 2 he was 35 lbs and 35.5" tall at 3 he was just over 40lbs and 39.5" and now at 4 he is 45lbs and 42" so his growth is slowing down a bit as he gets older. He no longer is chubby but he is strong and solid. 


The problem I am having now is that I am pregnant again and well it is a stressful time for both me and DH (DH is also an emotional eater and a compulsive over eater) Anyway we were doing really well before we got pregnant and had done a lot of emotional work and changed a lot of our eating habits but have slowly started to slip back into bad habits and using food to deal with the stress. This makes me feel guilty that I am being a poor example and offering more crappy food to DS and that I am putting stuff into my body and therefore exposing the baby to crappy food as well. The guilt just feeds into the cycle. Lat week we ate out or had delivered food almost every night and some lunches and breakfasts as it was a crazy week and I feel horrible about it. DS likes to order fries but he hardly eats any of them but he has had a few cheeseburgers and pizza over the week and some fried chicken fingers :(  My goal for this week is to do up a menu plan for the week and do groceries so we will have lots of whole healthy foods available to us. I figure as long as I keep trying I am not a complete failure.

post #6 of 6

Oh gosh - I have spent more time thinking on this subject than is probably necessary. Dh & I both have problems with our weight but for much different reasons with mine being much worse. I have very recently (like this week) discovered that I truly am a food addict with sugar & flour being my trouble substances. I really do not want my children to struggle with food issues like I have. I don't care one iota about actual size as long as they are healthy & able to be active in a way that pleases them - but let's face it that usually means being slimmer.


We approach food with as little pressure as possible. We NEVER push for a meal to be finished or try to push a certain food be eaten. We make a meal, put it on the table & clean up after - it's either eaten or not or somewhere in the middle. Ds is a very good eater & seems to be able to balance things in a way I have NEVER been able to.


My intention as our kids get older is to have frank &honest conversations about food & health. To give them a much better understanding of nutrition than we ever had (I have learned sooooo much over the past few years with the gestational diabetes & work with a couple different nutritionists) so they have that base to start with.


We do not have stuff in the house that we shouldn't eat daily. So we on occasion buy some juice or cookies or.... but it is not always there. I do not believe that children "need" a lot of this stuff that people buy "for the kids". I think that what is healthy for us is healthy for them (except that we do feed ds slightly more carbs than we eat because he is growing & we eat carb restricted).

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