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#1 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I honestly didn't know where to put this post so I chose parenting. If it belongs elsewhere I am sorry

This morning my oldest daughter (8) started crying as we were getting ready for school. She does this often but I've been trying to get her to talk through her feelings instead of automatically crying. She said that she thinks her stomach is getting huge and she is fat. She went on to say that her stomach hurts every night before bed. The backstory on this is that she is an extremely picky eater, and lately we have not been catering to her tastes. We make a dinner, she tries it and either eats a small portion of it or eats a pb sandwich. I always add something she will eat-for example last night I made chicken parm, a huge salad and cut up cantaloupe. She was reluctant to try the chicken but I gave her a small piece and she gave it thumbs up. She ended up eating like 1/4 a cantaloupe and maybe 4 tiny bites of the chicken. I don't know if she ate any salad.

Ok, back to this morning. She told me her stomach hurts every night and I tell her it's because you don't eat enough at dinner! Then I asked her "do you not eat very much because you don't like the food or because you think you'll get fat?" Her answer was "I don't know!" I asked if someone was saying something to her at school, she said no. Her best friend is overweight, so I asked if people were making fun of her, she said no. I was crying along with her at this point, so I asked her if she's afraid that she'll look like me. I am overweight but trying to lose, she said no again. I told her she was beautiful and smart and funny but she went to school very sad.

What I am supposed to do about this? I don't want her to start internalizing negative body image crap already, for god sakes she's only 8!! I feel like it's my fault because she has a fat mom. I try to model good eating habits and she knows I exercise to try to become healthier. I never say negative things about myself and told the girls I was exercising to stay healthy so I can live a long time, not neccessarily to lose weight. I'm afraid that this is the start of an eating disorder if I don't deal with this the right way.

For reference she is 53" and about 62lbs. Here is a picture of her from the first day of school

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#2 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 12:10 PM
 
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I think the good news is that you're catching this as it's just starting if it is indeed the start of an eating disorder. She's young enough not to have been completely bombarded with all of the "anorexic success stories" that seem to get popular around middle school, and you have the chance to lay a really good foundation for the future. This may also just be the fluke of the week. DS is 7 and it's SO hard sometimes to tell what's a legitimate long-term concern for him vs. something that has him worried for *today*, kwim? Personally I would probably approach this very matter of factly, and arm myself with a lot of knowledge and information to go over with her - things that contribute to a healthy body, the importance of maintaining a minimum level of body fat, basically the info that concerns how to eat to be healthy while subtly emphasizing that if you exercise and eat right then especially at her age weight issues generally aren't a problem and don't crop up. I'd probably also slide a message in there about how people come in all shapes and sizes and there's no "right" size. I also think if you waited a couple weeks to see if this were an actual on-going concern, you're at a point where that would be all right too.
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#3 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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The best thing to do is to model a healthy relationship with food and body image, which it seems like you are doing. If you are dieting and trying to lose weight, don't talk about it in front of her, but are you also eating a healthy diet with her? Sometimes it what we are not doing that can effect them. Kids as young as 4 and 5 are developing poor body image and being bombarded by what society thinks is acceptable. I think back to age 8 and I did not have an accurate perception of my own body. I wonder if doing a body trace on paper would give her an accurate perception of her own body? I developed an eating disorder at 12. I had friends and media tell me how I should look and nobody at home that modeled healthy eating habits. If her food refusal gets worse along with a negative body image, maybe take her to a nutritionist or her ped to discuss the reasons eating healthy and choosing the right foods is important. Keep the conversation on the importance of good eating habits and exercise open.

Good luck, Mama!

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#4 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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The best thing to do is to model a healthy relationship with food and body image, which it seems like you are doing.
Actually the best thing for the OP to do is to gently seek age appropriate targeted professional help for both her and her DD.

Obviously modeling isn't working right now, and that's OK. Parents don't always have all the answers. But there are people who help children work through these things every day who have alot of tools and skills.
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#5 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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She was reluctant to try the chicken but I gave her a small piece and she gave it thumbs up. She ended up eating like 1/4 a cantaloupe and maybe 4 tiny bites of the chicken. I don't know if she ate any salad.

Ok, back to this morning. She told me her stomach hurts every night and I tell her it's because you don't eat enough at dinner! <snip>

What I am supposed to do about this? I don't want her to start internalizing negative body image crap already, for god sakes she's only 8!! I feel like it's my fault because she has a fat mom. I try to model good eating habits and she knows I exercise to try to become healthier. I never say negative things about myself and told the girls I was exercising to stay healthy so I can live a long time, not neccessarily to lose weight. I'm afraid that this is the start of an eating disorder if I don't deal with this the right way.

For reference she is 53" and about 62lbs. Here is a picture of her from the first day of school
Given a choice, does she normally eat mostly fruit--or has she for the past several days? Because if I ate 1/4 cantaloupe with a tiny bit of protein for dinner, I'd probably be seriously gassy, which would indeed make my tummy hurt.

As for the rest, my dd is only 5, a bit of a picky eater. We talk about food in terms of nutrition (i.e. carbs=fast energy and protein=slow energy; fruits and veggies keep you really healthy), and we encourage her natural tendency toward being really active. The picky eating thing is tricky. I don't want to get in the habit ever of making entirely separate meals for dd, but I do make a point, as you are, of having things on the table that she'll eat. I'm also perfectly happy for her to eat yogurt instead of whatever meat I've fixed, if that's the way she'll get something other than carbs into her system.

I think that in your place I'd keep an eye on things; try to see the whole picture (what she's eating at school, snacks, etc.) and continue to model healthy behavior.

Mom of two girls.
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#6 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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First, there might be other causes for her stomach hurting. Possibilities off the top of my head:
  • Anxiety - our ds went through a period of time last spring where he was anxious about school and some of the kids in class, and he frequently complained of his stomach hurting. The school dealt with it well, but it took a few weeks to find out what exactly was bothering him (a couple kids were making fun of him).
  • Heartburn - our dd frequently complains that her stomach hurts, and she finally described last night what I think is heart burn. I"m going to buy some Tums this afternoon and see if that helps. I think dd has some food issues and possibly reflux, and I'm going to keep a food diary to see if we can find a pattern.
  • Constipation and/or Gas - our dd always complains about her stomach hurting when she's got gas.
  • Hunger - she could truly not be eating enough
Second, don't take too much of the responsibility for this on yourself. You haven't caused this. I too am an overweight mom. That doesn't necessarily mean that my kids have issues with weight. A year ago I was 100 lbs. overweight and I'm down to "just" 50 lbs overweight right now. My kids (a) do not see me as fat (I'm just their mom) and (b) see no relationship between my weight and theirs. Since I've been doing Weight Watchers for a year now, it's impossible for me not to let my kids know (they see me going to meetings and measuring portions, for example). But I don't dwell on the 'losing weight' part -- I tell them that I'm trying to eat more healthily and exercise more. It's possible to be a mom working on weight loss without having a 'diet' mentality.

Third, I think it's helpful to assume that picky eaters cannot eat like other people do. That doesn't mean that you cater to their tastes, but it does remove some of the power struggle. I would provide at least one thing at each meal that I know my child will eat (some days that's noodles or rice), and ask them to take a bite of something they're not sure about. If she then cannot eat what is being served, a pb sandwich is a reasonable option. At 8, she should be able to make that herself and rejoin you at the table.

I would also encourage a healthy snack before bedtime. A bowl of cereal or some yogurt & fruit might well tide her over and prevent tummy aches.

Finally, if she really thinks that her stomach is 'huge' and she's fat, then it is time for professional help. I think you're right to be concerned, but I wonder if it's more general anxiety than specifically about body image at this time. From my reading here on MDC, anxiety in 8 year olds is relatively common.

Oh, and good books to look at:
Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter
Just Take a Bite
Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems and Expand Your Child's Diet

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#7 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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I have a fat mom, who got bigger and smaller over the years, and I am of average weight and have no body image issues at all. I've been thinking about this issue as my in-laws and dh have huge body image issues and trying to figure out what my mom did right.

I've come up with this: I have never ever known how much my mom weighs, or if she's on a diet or not or if she feels fat or not. Weight was never even mentioned in my house ever. We owned a scale, but I think it usually lived in the back of the closet as far as I can remember. Looking back, I was a pretty chubby kid for a while pre-adolescence, but again, it was just a non-issue.

So I think your attitude toward your own body makes a huge difference in how your kids see themselves. After my second kid when I was trying to lose weight and feeling crappy it was really hard for me not to talk about it all the time (I love to talk! and talk...) but I tried my best just to never even mention it. I was trying to lose weight, and thinking about it constantly, but really had to make a conscious decision not to say anything out loud.

Also, when complimenting my DD, I make a point of noting how strong she is, how far she can run, how hard she is trying when she bikes or swims or skates, but I rarely ever comment on her appearance. She is only 5 though, so the jury is still out...

ETA: my DS is also 8yo, and he is about 53 inches and 75 pounds. The kid is really strong and muscular, and you can see his spine and ribs and muscular definition. At his 8yo appointment they were trying to tell me his BMI falls in the overweight category and I was like, have you looked at the kid? He looks like a little mini-lifeguard, huge shoulders and leg muscles...so I wouldn't go by weight for kids.

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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#8 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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Has she ever been tested for food allergies? Often times, kids are picky because they listen to those intuitive feelings of "this food isn't good for me" and don't eat food that makes them feel bad, but they can't always articulate that. It just comes across as "I don't like this" and the parents think the child is just being picky. That post-dinner stomacheache could be from "bad for her" foods, and not just from hunger. Also, allergic reactions can lead to a bloated belly, which she could be mistaking for fat.

Have you tried getting her involved in meal preparation? Kids tend to eat vegetables that they helped to prepare. Also, many kids prefer their veggies raw, and may happily snack on veggies that you're preparing to cook, even if they won't touch the cooked dish.

I would also teach her about healthy eating- lots of veggies and fruits, and modest portions of more concentrated foods (meats, grains, nuts.) Explain to her that it's not healthy for her to eat too little- it can actually slow weight loss if it messes up metabolism, plus it has many other negative health consequences in growing children. Try to focus on "healthy foods TO eat" rather than "unhealthy foods to avoid." That's the approach I'm taking with my own diet and that of my teens (all 3 of us need to lose some excess body fat.)

If you really can't get through to her, she may need professional help. She's awfully young to be internalizing such a negative body image, and you want to turn that around as soon as possible.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#9 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Given a choice, does she normally eat mostly fruit--or has she for the past several days?
Definitely. She will mostly eat fruit, carbs, and little else. She has a short list of veggies she will eat, and she will eat overly processed "meat" all day long but I really try to limit that at home. The only reliable way I can get protein in her is pb or yogurt. She doesn't even like cheese unless it's the gross individually wrapped kind.

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We talk about food in terms of nutrition
So do I. Not quite like you do but when they say they are hungry and then ask for a piece of candy (leftovers from Halloween) I ask them are they really hungry or do they just want candy? Nine times out of 10 my oldest will happily eat a piece of fruit or some crackers in place of candy. I remind them that candy is not food and will not give you what your body needs.

Quote:
Anxiety - our ds went through a period of time last spring where he was anxious about school and some of the kids in class, and he frequently complained of his stomach hurting. The school dealt with it well, but it took a few weeks to find out what exactly was bothering him (a couple kids were making fun of him).
Heartburn - our dd frequently complains that her stomach hurts, and she finally described last night what I think is heart burn. I"m going to buy some Tums this afternoon and see if that helps. I think dd has some food issues and possibly reflux, and I'm going to keep a food diary to see if we can find a pattern.
Constipation and/or Gas - our dd always complains about her stomach hurting when she's got gas.
Hunger - she could truly not be eating enough
She is a very anxious child and always has been. She is high strung. I will have to ask her tonight exactly where her tummy hurts and what sort of pain it is. She does get constipated easily and she takes Miralax as needed for that.

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Third, I think it's helpful to assume that picky eaters cannot eat like other people do. That doesn't mean that you cater to their tastes, but it does remove some of the power struggle. I would provide at least one thing at each meal that I know my child will eat (some days that's noodles or rice), and ask them to take a bite of something they're not sure about. If she then cannot eat what is being served, a pb sandwich is a reasonable option. At 8, she should be able to make that herself and rejoin you at the table.
I totally get it because I was/am a picky eater. I have trained myself to expand my acceptable foods as I have gotten older. I used to totally cater to her but it was causing my other daughters to demand the same even though they are totally fine with 99% of what we serve. So, to combat this I have been serving oldest dd the same food as the rest of the family just in tiny amounts. If she tries each thing then she can make herself a sandwich, but it's usually after her sisters are well into their meal.


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I have a fat mom, who got bigger and smaller over the years, and I am of average weight and have no body image issues at all. I've been thinking about this issue as my in-laws and dh have huge body image issues and trying to figure out what my mom did right.

I've come up with this: I have never ever known how much my mom weighs, or if she's on a diet or not or if she feels fat or not. Weight was never even mentioned in my house ever. We owned a scale, but I think it usually lived in the back of the closet as far as I can remember. Looking back, I was a pretty chubby kid for a while pre-adolescence, but again, it was just a non-issue.

So I think your attitude toward your own body makes a huge difference in how your kids see themselves. After my second kid when I was trying to lose weight and feeling crappy it was really hard for me not to talk about it all the time (I love to talk! and talk...) but I tried my best just to never even mention it. I was trying to lose weight, and thinking about it constantly, but really had to make a conscious decision not to say anything out loud.

Also, when complimenting my DD, I make a point of noting how strong she is, how far she can run, how hard she is trying when she bikes or swims or skates, but I rarely ever comment on her appearance. She is only 5 though, so the jury is still out...
I also grew up with a fat mom-but unlike you she openly dieted and started me out on diets at age 8. I did Deal-a-Meal with her. I did workout videos with her as a child. I wasn't an overweight child until adolescence, and have been fat ever since. She really put some body issues into my head, and we ate pretty crappy growing up. I made a conscious effort as soon as oldest dd was born to change my eating habits so she wouldn't grow up a junk food kid like I did. Like your mom I have been bigger and smaller through the years. We own a scale but it currently is a stand for the basket of bath toys. I don't weight myself obsessively or talk about dieting. I have talked to them about being active and healthy eating. I'm deep down inside afraid that my daughters will turn and look at me with disgust some day because of my weight.

It's interesting to hear how you don't comment on your dd's appearance. I understand your point of view and it has given me something to think about, thank you. I guess I did that because she already feels self-conscious about her teeth, she won't smile open mouthed because she thinks they are too big and not white enough.

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#10 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has she ever been tested for food allergies? Often times, kids are picky because they listen to those intuitive feelings of "this food isn't good for me" and don't eat food that makes them feel bad, but they can't always articulate that. It just comes across as "I don't like this" and the parents think the child is just being picky. That post-dinner stomacheache could be from "bad for her" foods, and not just from hunger. Also, allergic reactions can lead to a bloated belly, which she could be mistaking for fat.

Have you tried getting her involved in meal preparation? Kids tend to eat vegetables that they helped to prepare. Also, many kids prefer their veggies raw, and may happily snack on veggies that you're preparing to cook, even if they won't touch the cooked dish.

I would also teach her about healthy eating- lots of veggies and fruits, and modest portions of more concentrated foods (meats, grains, nuts.) Explain to her that it's not healthy for her to eat too little- it can actually slow weight loss if it messes up metabolism, plus it has many other negative health consequences in growing children. Try to focus on "healthy foods TO eat" rather than "unhealthy foods to avoid." That's the approach I'm taking with my own diet and that of my teens (all 3 of us need to lose some excess body fat.)

If you really can't get through to her, she may need professional help. She's awfully young to be internalizing such a negative body image, and you want to turn that around as soon as possible.

She was tested as a toddler for several food allergies-nothing came back positive, the allergist said she had food sensitivities. When she was a toddler the list was quite long but she seems to have outgrown it all except milk. She does drink a carton at school for lunch but that's it.

She will eat raw broccoli, sometimes carrots, sometimes lettuce/greens dipped in dressing. She will eat corn and that's it.

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#11 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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Does she like her pediatrician? If so, maybe the doc can give her a lesson on healty eating. One that does not include any crazy fasting/skipping meals. And weigh her and reassure her that she is in line with other kids her age.

My kids had to be shown charts and textbooks a couple of times by doc/dentist in order to change certain behaviors. It doesn't have to be scary, just informative. "Here the way we take care of our body stuff" And it carries more weight with some kids if the doc says it instead of mom. I know a lot of MDC moms are anti-authority figure but in some cases, it has really helped my kids make better choices.
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#12 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Oh.. she's incredibly cute!!!

Does she look a little bloated? DOES her stomach look bigger to you? Is it possible that her stomach hurts because of something she's eating that is causing it? Her pain may be real, and maybe if she's having some kind of food intolerance, that she's really bloated, feeling full, and it really does hurt.

I never totally bought into that before. But, then one of my friends kept talking about how she always has stomach pain, and no matter what she tried, every night her stomach hurt. Eventually, she discovered that she can't eat wheat products. By the time she discovered it though, she had some very serious problems to go with it. (she is 45 yrs old though) WHen she changed to a gluten free diet, within a few weeks, her pain went away... soon most of her other problems went away too.

She's a huge pain in the butt to go out to dinner with... but, we still love her anyway.
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#13 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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She was tested as a toddler for several food allergies-nothing came back positive, the allergist said she had food sensitivities. When she was a toddler the list was quite long but she seems to have outgrown it all except milk. She does drink a carton at school for lunch but that's it.

She will eat raw broccoli, sometimes carrots, sometimes lettuce/greens dipped in dressing. She will eat corn and that's it.
She's got a sensitivity to milk but she drinks it every school day? That could definitely be causing problems- it might make her bloated while she's at school (making her think she's fat compared to her classmates) and it also could be causing long-term tummy troubles that affect what she eats the rest of the day.

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#14 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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On the weight topic, I was expecting her to look a bit chubby or to have a bit of a baby-fat belly--y'know like a kid getting ready for a growth spurt? Yeah, if she's got extra fat on her, it's hiding in her hair.

since I'm a numbers geek, I ran her stats in a kids BMI calculator and she's in the 44th percentile. So she's basically perfectly average.
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#15 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 05:25 PM
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I had horrible stomach problems with whole milk as a kid. Skim didn't bother me, it seemed to be the cream. I'd get bloated, swollen enough for loose jeans to not fit, and have gas cramps. Is there any way she can drink something else at school?
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#16 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's got a sensitivity to milk but she drinks it every school day? That could definitely be causing problems- it might make her bloated while she's at school (making her think she's fat compared to her classmates) and it also could be causing long-term tummy troubles that affect what she eats the rest of the day.
She drank juice or water for k and 1st, and wanted to drink milk this year. I will ask her if she has any bloating, etc after drinking the milk. Because she doesn't have an allergy I've had a hard time getting the school to substitute something else for her. I used to send pouches but they usually got left behind in the classroom during lunch. I know, it's all excuses for me slacking on this though

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On the weight topic, I was expecting her to look a bit chubby or to have a bit of a baby-fat belly--y'know like a kid getting ready for a growth spurt? Yeah, if she's got extra fat on her, it's hiding in her hair.

since I'm a numbers geek, I ran her stats in a kids BMI calculator and she's in the 44th percentile. So she's basically perfectly average
LOL you are right about the hair thing! She has very thick curly hair. And, I think I'm going to show her the BMI calculator. It may be an outside resource that she may accept more then just what I say.

She came home after school happy as ever, and even colored a picture for me during some free time to cheer me up. This girl is amazing

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#17 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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yes milk will make u feel bloated and hurt. i am allergic to dairy. even if dairy is in a product it can react to it.

my dd is skinny i dont know where she got im fat thing from talking to her helped but the only thing that helped 100% was to explain to her that if you dont eat enough your body will make you feel sick. that we need to eat so much a day to stay healthy. we found her bmi then found how much calories she should be eating a day. kept track of what she ate and how she was under what her body needed. i explained that our body need enough calories if we dont give it enough it will take from our muscules.
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#18 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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The more you say, OP, the more this sounds like something really is going on to make her gassy and bloated. Miserable thing to experience. So not so much an eating disorder in the making as a sensitivity or sensitivities to be addressed.

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#19 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The more you say, OP, the more this sounds like something really is going on to make her gassy and bloated. Miserable thing to experience. So not so much an eating disorder in the making as a sensitivity or sensitivities to be addressed.
I asked her about the milk bothering her and she said it doesn't.

And, I don't want it to seem like I am looking for things that aren't there. She was sobbing because she thought she was fat. I just want to be able to deal with whatever comes my way on this parenting journey. I understand bloating can make your stomach swell and feel uncomfortable. I do not want her to think being overweight is bad or something to hate yourself over. I do appreciate the dialogue here, especially about food sensitivities or gastro-intestinal issues. At the moment it was not where my mind went, I reacted emotionally seeing my child having a moment. I welcome more comments, hints, and suggestions

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#20 of 39 Old 01-11-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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I will ask her if she has any bloating, etc after drinking the milk.
I'm allergic to dairy but I don't have IMMEDIATE symptoms. Asking her is she feels bad right after may not work. You might have to insist on an alternative for a week or two. Maybe you can discuss the possibility with her and help her choose an alternative beverage for a set amount of time. That might get you a better idea if dairy is a culprit here.
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#21 of 39 Old 01-12-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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And, I don't want it to seem like I am looking for things that aren't there. She was sobbing because she thought she was fat. I just want to be able to deal with whatever comes my way on this parenting journey. I understand bloating can make your stomach swell and feel uncomfortable. I do not want her to think being overweight is bad or something to hate yourself over. I do appreciate the dialogue here, especially about food sensitivities or gastro-intestinal issues. At the moment it was not where my mind went, I reacted emotionally seeing my child having a moment. I welcome more comments, hints, and suggestions
:

I think we've pretty much all been there--maybe not yet as parents, but as women. And I know that for me, bloating can be the worst of all. I don't think of myself as fat--though I'm certainly not thin--but bloating pushes all kinds of buttons.

I don't know if I'm making sense, and Big Girl needs some help with pjs and bed....

Mom of two girls.
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#22 of 39 Old 01-12-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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It's also very common for kids to get chubby right before a growth spurt, putting on a bit of weight and then gaining the height to go with it (another common pattern is to sprout up an inch and become super skinny and THEN put on more weight.) If she's gearing up for a growth spurt, she might be temporarily chubbier than normal.

I was also going to say that the GI problems from milk might not be immediate, and she may not recognize them for what they are. There are plenty of alternative "milks" out there, that aren't nutritionally equivilent to cow's milk but fill the social need to "drink milk at milk time". If it's only the one cup a day, I wouldn't worry too much about the nutritional quality of the milk substitute (such as rice milk, which is well tolerated but nutritionally more like juice than milk.)

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#23 of 39 Old 01-12-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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I haven't read all of the replies, so sorry if someone already mentioned this. But maybe (if she isn't already) you can involve her with preparing meals, dinner and such. Look for recipes she may like to try and make them with her. Just a thought, I hope this get's resolved.
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#24 of 39 Old 01-12-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Honestly, given her sobbing and her age (added with the fact that she is on the thinner side of average) I would consider talking to her pediatrician (without her there) to see if she/he considers it "normal." Then look into a pediatric psychiatrist/therapist. Eight just seems really young to me to be that concerned about body weight absent a major problem.


 

 

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#25 of 39 Old 01-12-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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Actually the best thing for the OP to do is to gently seek age appropriate targeted professional help for both her and her DD.

Obviously modeling isn't working right now, and that's OK. Parents don't always have all the answers. But there are people who help children work through these things every day who have alot of tools and skills.
I agree 100%. This can easily spiral OUT OF CONTROL in a split second. I would consult your pedi as soon as possible and from then on you can go down the list to eliminating or confirming any of the causes that pps have mentioned. If it is in fact the beginnings of an eating disorder- you need to get a hold of it quickly. Does she have any compulsive behaviors other than the eating thing?

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#26 of 39 Old 01-12-2010, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going to be watching her eating behaviors closely but not making a huge deal out of it. If I see an alarming pattern then I will definitely be seeing our family doctor and getting psychology referrals if/when needed. Thank you all for your wisdom

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#27 of 39 Old 01-12-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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you know something - this isnt anything about eating or food.

its all in her head. and really the thing to do is try and figure out her fat thing. i know because i have had to do it with my then 5 year old because her dad and gpa were calling her fat. i showed her yes how she grows sideways in summer - looks chubby and then shoots up after summer and no longer looks square but round.

so you should find out where this whole fat thing is coming from. why is she calling herself fat. what's wrong with being fat?

ex was a chubby boy till his teens. dd is going his way. i show her pictures of her dad who looks as round as she is - and yes she is round. she is 4' 2" and over 70 lbs at 7.

anyways i was able to speak her language and explain teh whole fat thing. and then sit with her and ask her if she IS indeed fat. it took time but she stopped fighting over food after that.

dd has anxiety and she always get stomach aches. sometimes the only way i know she is feeling stress is if she has a stomach ache.

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#28 of 39 Old 01-13-2010, 01:59 AM
 
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Sorry - this is long. I don't usually visit this section (yet) but your post caught my eye. My DSD is 11, I met her at 7/8 and she was exactly this way about her body image, and honestly this still crops up occasionally. At first I was concerned because I did not know about the growth spurts, and honestly we knew she didn't eat great at home or get nearly enough activity.

As we do not have custody and could not do some things, we did these:

1. Tried to get her active without exercising. Walks were common. She loves time with me, so I would "let" her LOL come for an early morning walk with me - but only if she kept up. Of course I had to walk slower then I normally would, however, it was not a leisurely pace. Her dad would walk with her to rent a movie and get an italian ice (we live in a big city). We got her a hula hoop. We gave her martial arts lessons (because she was interested). Now she is in swimming class at the park district and her school recently started yoga twice a week. Anything that helps her see herself in a strong, positive, 'look what I can do' light is good.

2. Whenever she would bring up eating (I am a Lifetime WW member, so the books are here) we would make sure to be clear that no food was off limits and moderation was the key. If you want a huge bowl of spaghetti - well, lets take a walk after dinner because *you will feel better* and it will help you digest. We also stressed that treats were best balanced with activity.

3. We explained the growth spurt thing (several times in fact). She also has an older cousin who was able to reinforce this (and the activity).

4. She loves helping her dad prepare meals, and I often get her input when I'm meal planning. She can have any fresh veggie or fruit almost any time she wants, though she does ask first.

I hate to say it, and I know this wasn't the best tactic, but sometimes you don't make the best decisions. When we had heard "I'm fat" way too often for a child that wasn't even close, DP showed her exactly what "fat" was. I don't know if that will come back to bite us one day, and it sure wasn't a nice way to deal, and I apologize if that offended anyone.

She also already had issues with "beauty". Even though I'm hoping for a girl myself this summer, these issues are just so much worse, and so much earlier then they were when I was growing up. Oh, I also have to say, I feel the girls mag "Discovery Girls" is really good for her. There's another called New Moon, I think, that was a little too ... crunchy? natural? for her, but seemed another good choice.

Last - another vote for bloating. Lactose intolerance can have immediate results or may take hours. It wouldn't be bad to rule it out by substituting that milk for a couple weeks as was suggested.

I hope some of this is helpful, and good luck!!

Loving mama to Aden (8/5/2010) and DSD (14).

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#29 of 39 Old 01-13-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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Make her aware of the ill effects & consequenses of not eating right. If that doesn't help seek experts' advice.
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#30 of 39 Old 01-13-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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Is it possible she is getting heavily bullied when she goes to school?

You said she frequently cries before going to school. That along with the stomach aches and the concerns about her weight (maybe other kids are calling her fat) would make me wonder. I was picked on horribly when I was 8-13 years old. I had a lot of anxiety, stomach aches and huge concerns over my appearance. When I tried talking to my parents about it, they minimized it and told me just to "ignore" the bulliers. Of course that never helped. It really wreaked havoc with my self esteem and ability to cope with life.

When I got older and my situation changed (went to a different school—one that had a very healthy variety of kids), all my physical "disorders" went away. Well, I'm still an anxious person, but I haven't had a stomach ache in years. If I ever saw signs of my DD getting picked on and it was confirmed, I would go as far as to remove her from the school—either to put her in a different school or home school her. Of course these would be last resorts, but I do take bullying very seriously.

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