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8 yr old daughter gaining too much weight

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I wanted to post here and get some ideas. My 8 yr old daughter is starting to put on too much weight. In her toddler years, she was pretty thin, and ages 4-6 were pretty average. However over the last couple of years, and especially this year, she is really starting to gain weight -in her stomach especially.

We don't have soda in the house at all, nor do I keep snacks/sweets in the house, though we do have chips with sandwiches. What I really notice with her is that she likes to eat until she is stuffed. Breakfast seems ok, but at lunch sometimes she will ask for two sandwiches or whaterver (she usually asks for more than I am eating) or at supper, she will have three helpings at times.

I've not made a blatant point, but I'm trying to teach her good eating habits, as I don't want this trend to continue. When she seems to start getting too much food, I may say "are you still hungry?" often times, she will tell me "no, it just tastes so good!". I try to tell her, that our tummy's will hurt and not feel well if we put too much food in them, and that we need to make healthy choices to help our body grow well.

Sometimes she will say "look at my fat tummy", but she doesn't seem to have a bad image of that at all, and she isn't self consious (though I am beginning to be for her).

She does tend to be rather sedentary and easily bored, but for the last several months I have really made a point to get outside and run/play alot as well as ride bikes, etc. I haven't noticed it making a difference at all.

Any thought or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
post #2 of 16
I'll preface this by saying I don't have a child your age... BUT I remember BEING a child that age. My weight problem didn't start until I was older but my story might be helpful for you.

When I was little my parents were VERY health-conscious and we ate all whole grains, game meats, organic veggies, etc. No sweets, "junk food" usually consisted of home-made peanut butter cookies etc. I don't think I ever over-ate and I was a thin, healthy child. Then my mom went back to school when I was in junior high, and more convenience food started creeping into the house. Still no sweets, but my mom bought bread (made from white flour), we had perogies for dinner sometimes, and we started eating pasta once in a while. Generally, a lot more refined carbohydrates. And I DID pig out on those. I couldn't get enough. I ate white bread whenever I could, I started buying more sweet things for myself, just generally eating MORE. And I started putting on weight.

I am POSITIVE that the increase in refined carbohydrates in my diet is what led to my weight gain. For me, and for many other people, refined carbohydrates are almost addictive. Once I start eating them, it takes a LOT of willpower to stop. It's not like this for everyone - I know lots of people who can have white bread or pasta as a staple in their diet and not overeat it. But I know lots of people who can't, too.

So the point (sorry it took so long ) to my post is that it might be worth it to examine your daughter's diet to see if it's possible she's mildly addicted to refined carbs (including sugar). Do you eat white bread? Pasta? Skinned potatoes? Breakfast cereal? If so, try cutting them out completely for a couple weeks and see what happens.

Hope this helps. It sounds like you're doing a lot of good things for her, especially encouraging exercise. Can you get her into some sort of organized sport a few times a week?
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your story, I'll definitely start paying attention to her carbs. She can't wait to go swimming, so we will definitley have to do alot of that! Thanks!
post #4 of 16
Many children "chub up" at that age. It's normal - they're getting ready for a big upward growth spurt. Focusing on being healthy and active is fine, but I wouldn't worry if she gains some weight right now...

dar
post #5 of 16
I would say to make sure she is active. When I was a kid, we ate relatively healthy diets. There were refined flours and sugars, but not a lot of "junk" food. And the meals were pretty well balanced. I also don't think that I overate very much. But, there was no emphasis (and maybe a slight discouragement) on physical activity. There were some other factors, but I think the lack of exercise made the single biggest difference in my weight problem as a kid.

Also, I would be VERY leary in restricting her intake right now (to be sure, make sure the food choices are healthy ones). I would be cautious about giving her a diet mentality. But, focusing on fun games and activities. Maybe cutting out tv entirely for a while?
post #6 of 16
Lurking.


My daughter is also 8. She was always very skinny and tall for her age. Didn't hit 20 pound till she was 18 month. Was only 30 pounds at 3 etc. And tall. And like your dd caught up and was 'just average for awhile. Just the last 6 months she has plumped up. Still average I think but on the higher size of average. I have noticed belly fat on her too. hum....just checked the weight charts for her age and she is just above 50 %. I guess that isn't big at all. But I just have noticed the belly fat going on. My guess is that her body is gearing up for pre-puberty and then puberty.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Many children "chub up" at that age. It's normal - they're getting ready for a big upward growth spurt. Focusing on being healthy and active is fine, but I wouldn't worry if she gains some weight right now...
: It is very normal for 8-9 year-olds to gain some extra weight. I wouldn't stress about it.

I do think it's important to talk to kids about listening to their body, they should know that over-eating is not healthy. And we encourage an active lifestyle by regularly doing active things together as a family--bike rides, hikes, swimming. When we are going somewhere within walking distance, we walk.
post #8 of 16
It doesn't worry me that she's chunking up a bit at age 8. My girls chunked up around age 10-11, right before puberty. So age 8 might be the beginnings of pre-puberty growth, or it could be too early for that and it could just be the beginnings of being overweight.

What DOES worry me is that your child is continuing to eat after she is full. That's a very unhealthy habit for her to get into. If she's truly hungry and growing and NEEDS double or triple helpings, then that's fine. But if she's eating more than her body needs just because it tastes good, she could be setting herself up for a lifetime of emotional eating and weight problems. You don't want to limit her portions, as she's a growing girl and you don't want her to feel deprived. You want to teach her to listen to her body, and forcing her to eat less than she thinks she needs will undo that lesson. I would make sure to have plenty of veggies and proteins available, so if she wants second helpings, she can reach for more than just starches.

If it were my child, I'd teach her all about nutrition and portion control and weight gain- from a scientific perspective, not a "you're getting too fat" perspective. Just teach her about how people get too fat or too thin and the kinds of eating habits that are healthy, and which kinds of habits are unhealthy.
post #9 of 16
How much does she weigh? As the others said it is normal and depending on her weight she may not be gaining too much. She should not be losing weight or slimmng down at her age. Keep the activities up but don't watch her body to see if it is losing that pouch, she will notice and start to become self conscious about her body.

I have an 8yo and she often outeats us, especially when we have tacos. They all outeat us adults.lol Same if we have a roast with yorkshire pudding. IE) I"ll have 1 taco, the girls(5, 6 & 8) will have 4 or 5 though the youngest is cheese & sour cream only.

Other times they barely touch their food.

the 8 & 6yo will want a 2nd or 3rd helping of something saying it tastes good. Then they eat a couple of bites and are done leaving the rest because the message from their stomach to the brain kicked in. I do ask them if they're still hungry, especially if it's their 3rd plate. If they finish their first plate I'll also ask them then if they're still hungry. I don't point out overeating.

At this age I'd take it as a compliment that she likes your food, in 6-7 years she may not just because she's a teenager who can complain.lol

When I was 10/11 it was nothing for me to eat 6-7 pieces of fried chicken(a rarity) or pizza(even rarer than the chicken) and still want more. My grandpa was so happy that I was "a good eater". Then when I was 13/14 I would only eat 2 or 3 pieces, except when I had my braces tightened then I"d eat a whole 8 piece pizza because I knew I wouldn't be eating the next day.lol Grandpa used to push me to eat more because now I wasn't eating enough. I was 5ft 4, 130lbs & an athlete. Yeah I"m a touch over what I should be now, but that has nothing to do with what my choices were when I was 10.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
What DOES worry me is that your child is continuing to eat after she is full.
I'm wondering if she's really full, or just saying that because she feels ashamed that she's still hungry. If I was getting a second helping and someone said to me "Are you still hungry?" I might easily start to feel that I'd eaten too much and be embarrassed... and complimenting the food is the socially sanctioned way to excuse oneself from wanting more than one "should".

Just a thought, but I wouldn't ask that question, especially of someone who for 8 years has done quite well with listening to her own body to find out when she was full.

Dar
post #11 of 16
I chubbed up at that age, ready for a growth spurt as well. The crummy thing was , everyone in my family started to tease me about my appetite and I ended up struggling with eating disorders through the rest of my childhood/ adolescence.
Since you are eating well, I would just focus on everyone being more active... without putting any emphasis on it being" her" that needs to be more active. Its OK if you don't see any results.... being fit underneath is what really counts.
post #12 of 16
What about snacks? Maybe try giving her some fruits/veggies between meals. I don't have kids, but DH and I eat late most nights. I usually eat a piece of fruit and DH will sometimes eat carrots and that helps us from eating several helpings of the main course. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it also helps us eat more fruits/veggies.)
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Many children "chub up" at that age. It's normal - they're getting ready for a big upward growth spurt. Focusing on being healthy and active is fine, but I wouldn't worry if she gains some weight right now...

dar
I was one of those kids. During 4th/5th grade (and into 6th a bit) my body kind of "compressed." I was growing out, but not growing up yet. We had horses, I was active, we ate well-balanced meals... but I was getting chunky, confused, and sad. One of the worst worst worst things that happened was my mom telling me I was "too fat." It's still a bad memory. Anyway... during the summer after 6th grade, all of that stored energy in my body converted into a massive growth spurt. I grew 6 inches over the next school year and was 5'9" by the time I graduated from high school. I've maintained healthy weights as an adult (except when I overcompensated for this lingering body image horror in high school and starved myself down to 128).

All that to say... don't say anything that you're going to regret or your daughter is going to resent down the road when she shoots up into a swan. I have a 10-month-old beautiful baby girl now, and I can tell already that her body type will be similar to mine. I hope that when her "compression" age comes along, I can keep this same perspective.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Village Mama View Post
I chubbed up at that age, ready for a growth spurt as well. The crummy thing was , everyone in my family started to tease me about my appetite and I ended up struggling with eating disorders through the rest of my childhood/ adolescence.
Since you are eating well, I would just focus on everyone being more active... without putting any emphasis on it being" her" that needs to be more active. Its OK if you don't see any results.... being fit underneath is what really counts.
I just wanted to give you a retroactive hug of prepubescent chubby girl solidarity. I'm sorry this happened to you! It was so much the same with me... ugh. I remember happily dishing up more food at summer camp during my major growth spurt (that painful age between 6th & 7th grade when everyone is horrible anyway) and this other girl said, very snarkily, "Wow, YOU sure eat a lot." The ironic thing? She ended up being the fat one and me... not so much.
post #15 of 16
Gosh, I remember going clothes shopping with my mom before 7th grade, and absolutely NOTHING fitting. I was in absolute tears by the end of the shopping trip. There was nothing wrong with me, but I wasn't in the little girl's clothes, nor was I able to fit into the young miss clothes yet. It was the worst experience in my life. My mom, thankfully, was very sympathetic and supportive, telling me that she went through the same thing, etc. It was actually a good conversation about clothes manufacturers, body perceptions, and the reality of what shape bodies have. It made me feel better. She remembered with a large amount of pain when she was going through that period that the larger (read: wider) boys' clothes were called "huskies" and the girls clothes were called "chubbies".
post #16 of 16
I eat fast. Way too fast. Always have.
Barely even tasting my food--just eating it to eat it.

Which meant I was often reaching for seconds before my first plate had hit my stomach

I've made a conscious effort, as an adult, to slow down--which is harder than one would think

anyhow...when ds1 started inhaling food like we might never feed him again, we instituted a 15 minute wait policy.
After his first dish of food, he has to have at least one glass of water and wait 15 minutes.
although, 15 minutes usually ends up being 7-10 minutes

It seems to have really helped him to slow down and listen to his body.

He was probably 9 when we started this--he's 11 now and definitely growing into his weight
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