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Daughter is starting to get over weight

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 

My daughter is 14 years old.  She is 5'5", 147 pounds.  I am concerned about her weight.  I looked at some online charts and for her height and weight she should be between 105 and 125 lbs.  While she is only a few pounds over weight, I don't want to wait until it's out of control before doing something about it.


I feel I'm at a disadvantage to help my daughter because I've never had a weight problem and have never had to watch what I eat.  I'm 5'4" and weigh 110 lbs.  The most I've ever weighed (besides my two pregnancies) was 120 lbs. 


I've encouraged my daughter to ride her bike, which she does about twice a week for 20 minutes. 


I've tried to watch what she eats, we don't eat fast food a lot, maybe once a week.  For snacks I keep things like pop corn, Cheeze its, crackers, ramon noodles and Chef Boyardee.  At one point I notice she was eating Cheeze its right from the box and I told her not to do that because she won't realize how much she's eating. 


I also have to deal with my exH's side of the family, they are mostly overweight and give her a hard time if she doesn't want to eat.  


Any suggestions on how to help her with healthy eating and/or exercise?  And how to help her with weight loss without ruining her self esteem?

post #2 of 102
I would disagree that 5'5" and 147 is reason enough to make an issue about her weight. Girls at this age are so super sensitive about their bodies, and while that puts her BMI right on the cusp of healthy/overweight, the psychological implications of being told you're fat by a relative, especially your mother, at 14 will do nothing but guarantee a weight problem. Cheez it's and Chef Boyardee are not good snacks for a child with such a sedentary lifestyle, however. I suggest you either get her involved with a 1-2x per week dance class/sport/teen fitness group (which my DD 15 loves, most Y's or big gyms have them, teaches teens 13-17 to use gym/circuit equipment with guided work out) or have family exercise time. We do yoga, go swim, or play Wii fit or Just Dance (those dancing video games really are a decent work out) at least once a week as a family, aiming for 2 or 3 if we can that week. Both of our girls are underweight if anything, but emphasizing the importance of staying active at every age is important. In addition to, or if you really can't get her to do more than the bike 40 min a week, I would limit the amount of empty carbs available to her at snack time. Instead, offer to make a smoothie or buy those little cups of yogurt that are overpriced, but any kid will eat when the Cheez It's are no more. At our house, each kid gets to pick one container of junky food for the week, and when it runs out, that's it. You can either pace yourself or gorge and then eat healthy the rest of the week, but they still get to choose what they put in their bodies, and hopefully learn to moderate a little. No one's going to lay off snack crackers if the supply is bottomless, but realistically, you can't eat what you want all the time, and your body needs more healthy than junk.
post #3 of 102
According to weight watchers the ideal rang for that height is 120 to 150. Unless her pediatrician says otherwise I wouldn't say anything to her. My mother tried to say some things about my weight to me as a teen and it really caused a lot of bad feelings between us. I do think limiting the junk is a good idea no matter what her weight is. Skinny people can still have bad cholesterol, blood pressure, etc... from eating a junk food diet.
post #4 of 102

Originally Posted by amber3902 View Post


 For snacks I keep things like pop corn, Cheeze its, crackers, ramon noodles and Chef Boyardee.  At one point I notice she was eating Cheeze its right from the box and I told her not to do that because she won't realize how much she's eating. 



These are all pretty crappy snacks (except may be popcorn -- depending on how its made and what it is topped with).


You are super focused on refined carbs, and for many people (including me and I'm guessing your daughter) the blood sugar spikes from such simple carbs leave them feeling hungrier than when they first started eating. The more I eat of certain foods (primarily white flour and white sugar), the hungrier I feel. For me, a snack has NO simple carbs. Instead, it includes a little protein, a little healthy oil, and some fiber. So hummus with baby carrots, or cottage cheese and fruit. 


Rather than approaching this as something that you want her to change about herself, I gently suggest that you start learning about nutrition. Buy a new cook book that is focused on healthy foods, and make things with your daughter. Have fun together in the kitchen learning about preparing and then enjoying a more balanced diet.


(If I had the kind of snack food in my home that you have in yours, I would weigh 300 pounds).


Make being active a togetherness activity. We have a family membership to the Y, and a regular schedule for going. Health isn't just about weight -- every one really is better off with regular exercise -- even if they don't "need" it to control their weight.  We also hike together as a family -- but that is harder to work into our schedule than our regular Y visits.


I think that saying anything to your DD about her weight is a mistake. It will only make her feel bad about herself and drive a wedge between the two of you. But there are things you could start changing for your own sake, your other child's, and her sake. Healthy food and finding ways you all enjoying being active are the cornerstones.

post #5 of 102
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  I'll see if I can find some kind of activity she can get involved in.  The problem is she is always hungry.  I used to let her eat yogurt, but she'd eat three of them and still be hungry.


What are empty/simple carbs?  I've never had to watch anything I eat so this is all so hard to understand.


Any suggestions for healthy snacks?

post #6 of 102

Nuts, cheese, fruit. You need to get bulk and protein into her body. Veggies and fruit provide physical bulk to help you feel full and things like nuts and cheese provide you with longer lasting energy. Get the empty carbs out of the house--they don't do anyone any good. Jerky is often quite lovely.


I am 5'5" and I hit 145 lbs in high school. I wasn't fat. Not even slightly. If you go through and actually evaluate mortality data you will find that people in the "overweight" or first "obese" classification tend to be overall healthier and live longer than people who are "normal" weight. Please keep your judgments about your daughter's body to yourself. She needs to love herself without reservation. She can't stop being in the body she has. She has to learn how to be kind and loving towards that body without feeling shame for not being skinny enough for her mom. That's a harsh load to carry.


I have had to become far more active as a parent than I ever was before. I need to model healthy living and sitting on my butt is not healthy living. I had to learn how to exercise. I had to get up and run around with my kids. Children learn through modeling.

post #7 of 102
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

Please keep your judgments about your daughter's body to yourself.


Trust me, I've received MORE than my fair share of judgments from women who assume since I am skinny I must strave myself.  I was constantly teased in school because I was so skinny.  I KNOW not to make my daughter feel bad about her weight.  I don't like it when people make comments about my weight so I would never do that to her.


My daughter is a beautiful, smart young lady.  She isn't fat, but she isn't skinny either.  The problem is all of her weight goes straight to her belly, her chest is 38", her waist is 37" and her hips are 41".  I'd rather start helping her now when it's only a few pounds instead of waiting until she a 100 pounds over weight and say, Gee, we'd better do something.  So many times you see obese kids on TV and people say,WHY did her parents wait so long?  To me it's stupid to wait until your kid is so overweight that something drastic has to be done.

post #8 of 102

I'm extremely hostile towards skinny-bashing so I'm sorry you have been on the receiving end.


I'm going to say something slightly judgey. How about if you stop worrying about weight at all. It's not about how much you or your daughter weigh. But if you put crap in your body you won't be healthy regardless of size. Get the crap out of your house and things will be ok.


Maybe she will always have a belly bigger than you like. Maybe she will hit the dreaded oh no 100 pounds over weight!!!!!!! If she is eating healthy food and exercising it's ok. Truly.

post #9 of 102

Sorry mom but what you're providing her is crap.  And telling her not to eat straight from the box you provided her because she won't know how much she's eating... yeah you are telling her she needs to watch it.


Just buy better snacks.  More fruit more veggies.  You don't need to watch her every move she's 15.  She's riding her bike already and you don't need to breath down her neck over her weight.  She's sound perfectly healthy to me.  My own mother was a size one while I was a size 5.  AND OH MY GOD!!! She was never that size!  NEVER!  I weight 140 and am 5' 6 when I'm not pregnant.  People think I look very very thin.  I carry my weight different.  But my moms constant eye and remarks about how much of what SHE provided I ate caused my anorexia.  Mom's can screw a kid up big time. 


Also... why do you know her measurements?  By knowing those she knows you're looking at her and are overly concerned about her weight. 

post #10 of 102

Also... skinny is not always healthy.  And not everyone wants to be 120 lbs.  Thankfully Hollywood has given us a new group of role models.  Now if only I could get my hips to expand some more... I kid!

post #11 of 102
Thread Starter 

You really shouldn't jump to the conclusion that I am "breathing down her neck" over her weight.  Like I said before, I KNOW what it's like being teased about your weight, I love my daughter and would NEVER try to make her feel bad about her size.


The reason I know her measurements is because when you order clothes online you need them in order to figure out what size to order.

It's hard to find age appropriate clothes for her in her size so I have to order a lot of her clothes online.

post #12 of 102

Ok... Then what do want?  For us to tell you to get her on a tread mill?  And why so cranky?  I'm speaking from the side of the a kid whose mother thought she wasn't doing anything wrong either.  Just giving you a different perspective.  Nothing wrong with that now is there?

post #13 of 102
Thread Starter 

What do I want?  Suggestions for healthy snacks which a couple of posters gave.


I'm not cranky.  I just wanted to respond to your comments that I "don't need to watch her every move" and I shouldn't be "breathing down her neck" about my daughter's weight.  I wanted to clarify that is not what I'm doing.

post #14 of 102

Would you like to know what it's like to have a mother who is thinner than you and thinks there is something wrong with you even if there really isn't?  You may not be saying it to her, but you're thinking it and it's worrying you enough to bring it here.  I'm not trying to bash you here I want you to see how hard it can be.  Her weigh height ratio is not obese.  She's just not going to be your size ever. 

post #15 of 102

Let's approach this gently.  This is a new member who came here for advice.  Please give it in a kind way. 


One of the healthiest snacks we love here are frozen berries, a banana, and some coconut milk blended into a smoothy.  It's delicious and you can add things like ground flax seed and greens to it.  Lots of yummy goodness and lots of nutrients!

post #16 of 102

Understood Mod, but I think she needs to see it's only a problem to her because she herself has never been that big EVER.  And I wasn't trying to hurt feelings but being the kid in the OP makes me a little upset.  That is all.

post #17 of 102

Another one we did before we found out our kids are allergic to casein (the protein found in milk) was sliced cheese with fruit.  We left out the crackers, because they really weren't necessary.

post #18 of 102
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Understood Mod, but I think she needs to see it's only a problem to her because she herself has never been that big EVER.  And I wasn't trying to hurt feelings but being the kid in the OP makes me a little upset.  That is all.

I was that kid, and I am that adult.  I understand where the frustration comes from, but again, please, be kind to a worried mother. 

post #19 of 102
I agree that the focus should be on health and not weight.

I would encourage you to do some additional research and perhaps talk to your doctor to get a better understanding of health and weight, particularly since you have never struggled with weight issues and also because the teenage body is very different than that of an adult. I will point out that your acceptable weight range is inaccurate: 5'5 and 111 pounds is considered underweight according to BMI, so a range between 105 and 125 is not a fair representation of what good health.

You might consider using the new year to start off a family-wide health kick. You didn't mention whether you worked out regularly or your own eating habits, but you may want to reflect a bit to see if they contribute to your overall health or if there is room for improvement that you never noticed thanks to a high metabolism. That way the focus in on everyone being healthier and not on helping a teen girl lose weight.
post #20 of 102

First thing first,  she is not actually overweight.


Telling her so would ruin her self esteem.


Ask yourself if she were your size or smaller would you be worried about her cheezit intake? 



The snack items you posted are not even good for you.  Let alone a growing kid.  Snacks you want to keep in the house for yourself as well would be fruits veggies and low carb low sodium snacks. 


I suggest you speak with her pediatrician as well.  That may alleviate your concerns a bit and he/she may be able to help you with a better diet for the WHOLE family.

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