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#1 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cross posted in nutrition...

Dsd is 13 & recently moved in with us & doing well better emotionally than before living with us. her doc supposedly said she could lose 10 lbs. She is not active. She is Carb addicted & has food issues.


She wanted Luna bars but we said no due to soy. Now she wants Lara bars for an after school snack. Doesn't want any of the fruit or veggie + humus that she picked out. Wants lasts Lara bars or some other pre packaged snack. Ignoring the cost factor, would you give them? I worry 1 about calories/fat & 2 about her using them as meal replacement. I don't know nutrition requirement for teen girls.


advice appreciated!


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#2 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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Well, we really like Lara bars here.  I guess my advice is the same as in your last post about the lunch boxes, lol.  Do not make a big deal about things you don't want to become a big deal.  Food is not a place to start to struggle with an adolescent about, honestly. She may end up taking control in a way that is very unhealthy if the issue is forced on her.

 

She's just made a big move to be with you, right?  I would, in as many places as you can, let her be with the choices she needs to make for herself right now.  Maybe they're about lunch bags, or Lara bars, but really, is it possible it's also about being 13, needing to have some say over aspects of her life, learning and making mistakes?

 

It is not easy to parent this age.  It sounds like you've jumped in with both feet, and I'm sure it's a huge challenge.  Teens can, and do, eat enormous amounts of food.  My 13 y/o can out eat her father, although she is very active.

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#3 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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Homemade Lara bars are actually really easy to make and much less expensive:

 

http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2008/02/home-made-lara-bars-energy-bars-part-3.html


Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#4 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks both! Dp is gonna try to make them. Yeah, it is a very hard age. she's actually 12. I think I've heard "almost 13" so many times I forgot! I do pick funny issues to get stuck on don't I? (Off topic, she asked for a lunch box yesterday LOL).

The food issues are a big deal & we are trying (and probably failing) to find a balance between helping her & not making things worse. We try to direct as little as possible other than making sure dinner is mostly healthy but tasty, and a decent breakfast. We acknowledge no true control over lunch at school. She has asked for help with her emotional eating & carb issue but it's impossible to help without making it worse. The unfortunate alternative to that is the recurring "I'm fat " meltdown. From what she says her mom was always telling her she was fat, her hair style made her look fat, buying clothes in huge sizes, etc. How accurate her recounting of those conversations is I don't know. but I think it is telling that she told dp she wishes I were her real mom. greensad.gif

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#5 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 10:01 PM
 
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(this is really choppy, random thoughts)

 

How is she doing on stress? I eat lots of carbs when stressed -- I CRAVE them. Starting a new Jr. High wouldn't really be the best time *for me* to try to make a big diet switch.

 

I think that the way we've been eating becomes what our body is hungry for, so if you guys eat a lot different than her mom, she's already making a big switch.

 

I'd keep the healthy food handy and keep modeling healthy eating, but also have a few (very few) snacks around she likes.

 

One of the things that helps me with carb cravings is eating healthy carbs -- oatmeal, potatoes, and other grains and root vegies. It really helps me not crave the crappy processed carbs when I eat the good carbs.

 

The calorie requirements for teen girls are HUGE. I used to do Weight Watchers and saw the system for teen girls. It was based on age, not weight, and the minimum amount they could eat each day and still loose weight was insane to me -- I would have gained on that much food. After seeing it, I think that one of the reason there is sometimes conflict between parents and teens is that the teen is truly hungry -- physically needs more food, but since they've already eaten more than the parent, the parent feels they've had more than enough.

 

Rather than focusing on amounts of food, help her learn to tune into her bodies signals -- check in with her self to see if she is still actually hungry, or continuing to eat for other reasons. Also help her find activities she finds relaxing. one of my DDs has an anxiety disorder and for a while, she really liked coloring mandalas.

 

One of the kindest things we can teach our daughters (and step daughters) is how to listen to themselves.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 20 Old 09-08-2011, 05:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ragana View Post

Homemade Lara bars are actually really easy to make and much less expensive:

 

http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2008/02/home-made-lara-bars-energy-bars-part-3.html



This was going to be my suggestion, and I'd invite her to help make them, as well as helping with other meal preparations. She's more likely to be committed and accepting if she's involved in cooking the food she's eating, and cooking together is a good way to bond as a family.

 

Ragana, thanks so much for the recipe link. I've been searching for a homemade Lara bar recipe. DH eats at least a box a week.

 

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#7 of 20 Old 09-08-2011, 06:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

Thanks both! Dp is gonna try to make them. Yeah, it is a very hard age. she's actually 12. I think I've heard "almost 13" so many times I forgot! I do pick funny issues to get stuck on don't I? (Off topic, she asked for a lunch box yesterday LOL).

The food issues are a big deal & we are trying (and probably failing) to find a balance between helping her & not making things worse. We try to direct as little as possible other than making sure dinner is mostly healthy but tasty, and a decent breakfast. We acknowledge no true control over lunch at school. She has asked for help with her emotional eating & carb issue but it's impossible to help without making it worse. The unfortunate alternative to that is the recurring "I'm fat " meltdown. From what she says her mom was always telling her she was fat, her hair style made her look fat, buying clothes in huge sizes, etc. How accurate her recounting of those conversations is I don't know. but I think it is telling that she told dp she wishes I were her real mom. greensad.gif

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She asked for a lunch box?  How funny, and sweet.  My guess is that she's watching, and listening, to you very closely, and taking in what's important to you.

 

On the eating piece:  you might want to search this forum-we have had many, many threads about teens and food (and at 12, she is almost a teen!), and lots of wisdom about both actual food neeeds, junk food, concerns, etc.  I know that I have found it helpful.  Linda's post about seeing the calorie needs of teens is very illuminating.

 

I'm also wondering if instead of having the suggestions, or help, come from you, would working with a dietician, or another such professional, on her own, be helpful?  I ask because what I've found is that there are adults in my dd's life who are enormously positive influences, wise and caring.  I seek this out for her because I think it's so important to have a network of caring adults.  I know that there are issues my dd would be more open to talking about, or more open to different suggestions,if the conversation happened with a different adult than her dad and I.  Just a thought.

 

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#8 of 20 Old 09-10-2011, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for the additional thoughts. I'm on my phone so I can't reference them to reply but I've read each one and will take the advice to heart. I do ww too, have made lifetime twice now & nursing DS is really helping with that too. We did think she should be eating less than us, so I will look into that more. I did tell dp that if she expressed an interest in ww I wanted to take her to her new doc & see what he says. I think the meetings would be great reinforcement for her, but she would have to get doc approval first. And I wont be the one to suggest it. Honestly I don't think she weighs enough to be allowed to join.

We do plan to get her involved in meal prep once she is settled with current responsibilities (clearing dinner dishes nightly & keeping her room & bathroom relatively clean, so much! LOL) these are a lot of changed for her so she is stressed for sure. But she is also less stressed in ways & happier too thankfully.



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#9 of 20 Old 09-10-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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Oooh, gonna try the homemade bars...

 

My kids watch my eating much more closely than I know, even though they don't seem to be.  They know which days I don't eat breakfast at home (I have stuff at my job, including oatmeal, which I recently showed them as "proof" that I don't skip breakfast).  So in addition to all the great things it sounds like you are doing, keep modeling.  As I recall, it is hard being 12.  Particularly with lots of changes.  

 


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#10 of 20 Old 09-10-2011, 09:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by neonalee View Post
I did tell dp that if she expressed an interest in ww I wanted to take her to her new doc & see what he says. I think the meetings would be great reinforcement for her, but she would have to get doc approval first. And I wont be the one to suggest it. Honestly I don't think she weighs enough to be allowed to join.
 

 

She isn't old enough yet, and then it would be at the discretion of your doctor. I, personally, don't think that dieting is a good idea for children and teens unless they are truly overweight. I think there is a greater likely hood that it will CAUSE long term problems than prevent them. And even though I am I lifetime member, I think there is an over-emphasis on Frankenfoods in WW.

 

Back in your first post, you wrote that she isn't active. One thing you could do that would help her in lots of ways is to help her find an activity she likes. Anything. A dance class once a week, a beginners gymnastics class. Anything. She could try one session of something and if it isn't a hit, try something totally different the next session.
 

Besides being good for her body, finding something she enjoys would be very good for her emotionally and might help her develop of sense of belonging.

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#11 of 20 Old 09-11-2011, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Totally agree about the activity. We just got a dog that she will be responsible for walking once trained & she rides her bike 1.5 mile home from school (dp often drives her there to avoid arriving sweaty, it's hot here). Dance classes are actually next on the list, but she had been begging me to teach her to sew for 2 years (I don't really know how took 1 class only) so we signed her up for a class at Joanne fabric when they were half off this weekend. She loves to swim but wont go because of the body image issues. Dp is going to practice volleyball with her to so she can try out for the team.

My ww did say 12 was old enough with doc approval but I doubt he would ok it, she's just not that heavy. And while I agree with you about diets at her age, she will attempt it without my help anyway so I feel it's better to be involved. Agree about the "frankenfoods" too LOL but their cookbooks are mostly good. Her favorite shows are biggest loser & bachelorette. At 12. Yuck. And favorite mags are people & style something. This has been going on far to long for us to change it sadly.

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#12 of 20 Old 09-11-2011, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by neonalee View Post
She loves to swim but wont go because of the body image issues. Dp is going to practice volleyball with her to so she can try out for the team.

My ww did say 12 was old enough with doc approval but I doubt he would ok it, she's just not that heavy. And while I agree with you about diets at her age, she will attempt it without my help anyway so I feel it's better to be involved. Agree about the "frankenfoods" too LOL but their cookbooks are mostly good. Her favorite shows are biggest loser & bachelorette. At 12. Yuck. And favorite mags are people & style something. This has been going on far to long for us to change it sadly.
 


Not wanting to swim is completely and totally normal for a girl her age, even for girls who are in awesome shape and have grown up swimming competitively. Although she may think it is about her weight, it most likely isn't. It doesn't sound like from your post she is heavy, she just thinks she is. Because of that, I think that your attitude will have a massive impact on her relationship with food for a long time to come.

 

If you listen to her and say back to her what she is saying, she will most likely feel understood. For example, if she says something like "no way I'm going swimming -- my thighs look fat in my swim suit" you could respond by saying, "So you don't want to go swimming because you aren't feeling comfortable being in your suit right now?" 

 

However, if you respond, even in your unspoken attitude, that the answer is skipping the after school snack, working out, etc., she could easily interpret that as validation that she is too fat, that her body really really is hideous.

 

At the same time, if you contradict her and tell her she looks just fine,  other people look worse, etc., she most likely will feel that you don't understand or don't listen.
 

One of the things I find different about parenting kids this age than parenting younger children is that they don't learn well by us telling them things. They need us to support them in finding the answers inside themselves. Ironically, the more you support your DSD in finding the greatest that is already inside her, the sooner she'll be happy to jump back into the pool!

 

As far as the mags, you might check out Seventeen sometime when she isn't with you and see what you think. Every issue now has healthy recipes and simple at home workout routines. I wouldn't normally recommend it to a parent of a 12 year old, but I think it might be a step in the right direction for her, better than the stuff she is currently reading.

 

______________________

 

back to WW -- I dug out my old stuff and on the OLD points system, a 12 year old girl would get 27 points per day plus 35 weeklies plus activity points. With even moderately healthy food choices, it's a lot of food. And when she turned 13, she would go up to 29 daily points. And this is to loose. And boys get even more.

 

To put this in perspective, when I was within 10 pounds of my goal weight, I had 19 points a day. Realizing that our kids may need 50% or even more food per day than we do was eye opening for me. I really think a lot of the drama between parents and teens about food are because parents don't realize how much food their kids need.

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 20 Old 09-11-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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10lbs at age 12 & having body issues already.  I wouldn't worry about it at all.  Those 10lbs can easily go away if she hasn't hit her major growth yet.  I would focus on family nutrition & finding activities she likes to do.  Even if they aren't physical activities getting out is better than sitting on the couch.  you can slowly make changes to the family diet if it is bad.  If it is good then that'll be enough.  A teen is going to crave more carbs because they need more nutrition.  If you get her into physical activities she's going to need even more calories.  helping her change her body image is going to take time.  There may be some local teen girl groups around that she may like to become involved in, many of them have some sort of focus on body image.

 

Having a few "bad" snacks around that she likes isn't a bad idea as long as she isn't eating them all at once.

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#14 of 20 Old 09-11-2011, 09:51 PM
 
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What Linda said, especially re: the inability of kids this age to learn by being told, the importance of active listening and reflecting back what she's said, and the swimming thing.

 

My 13 year old is a former competitive swimmer who's happy with her weight, but she still likes to wear board shorts and a rash guard when swimming these days. There might be some good deals on them at this time of year, and more and more girls are wearing them. Also, for physical activities, sometimes it's about finding something she can be active doing that doesn't "feel" like a sport. If I tell dd to go ride her bike around or shoot some hoops, she says no. But if I go out with her on a hike, a long walk around the city to window shop, roller skating, or to the climbing wall, she's all over it. Of course, I have to do those things with her, which I think is part of what she likes about it.

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#15 of 20 Old 09-12-2011, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Did I already say how awesome all you mamas are?  I keep rereading this thread, there's so much good advice here.  Especially this weekend, which was particularly rough due to the excitement of the new dog, and the rules due to the new dog needing training.

 

CarrieMF - I wish it were "already".  In reality she already had them when I met her.  At 7.  It's very sad.

 

Linda, wow!  Really?!  Yeah, I remember the 18/19 points.  Ugh.  DP and I really need to reevaulate this then.  Maybe I will look into seeing what a nutritionist costs.  Or maybe I'll add it to my never ending to-do list to figure out myself.  She actually did request (and we consented) to get Seventeen.

 

To clarify (sorta) ... she's not fat, she's not skinny (this has always been true).  She's wearing an adult small, some of her tops are bigger than mine but ... I've always been small on top.  She wears the same or 1 size up from me.  I truly think all needs is more activity and she'll be fine, but she'll never be Kate Moss (or whoever it is these days) so her view of herself is way off.  We try to do mostly healthy eating, not dieting.  I'll try reflecting back her feelings and see how she responds to that.  So if she says "I look fat" or "I am fat" would this look like ... what?  I'm having trouble with this.  Do I say "the outfit you are wearing makes you feel uncomfortable?"  to which she replies "yeah..." and then what?  I already know that asking her why ends up in her grabbing a handful of belly, etc. so that's bad.  I see your point about the disagreeing...


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#16 of 20 Old 09-12-2011, 04:03 PM
 
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To clarify (sorta) ... she's not fat, she's not skinny (this has always been true).  She's wearing an adult small, some of her tops are bigger than mine but ... I've always been small on top.  ....She wears the same or 1 size up from me.
I don't see what that has to do with anything. One of my DDs was a 36C in 7th grade. She was NEVER an adult small. You sound like a tiny person if you are smaller than a small. It's really nothing to judge her by. 
  I truly think all needs is more activity and she'll be fine, but she'll never be Kate Moss (or whoever it is these days) so her view of herself is way off.  We try to do mostly healthy eating, not dieting.  I'll try reflecting back her feelings and see how she responds to that.  So if she says "I look fat" or "I am fat" would this look like ... what?  I'm having trouble with this.  Do I say "the outfit you are wearing makes you feel uncomfortable?"  to which she replies "yeah..." and then what?  I already know that asking her why ends up in her grabbing a handful of belly, etc. so that's bad.  I see your point about the disagreeing...

Hopefully, she'll say more than just "yeah."  Hopefully, she'll give you a little more to work with so you can continue active listening. There are books on "non-violent communication" and you might find one helpful. May be just staying quiet for a few minutes and giving her time to say something else would help.

 

Sometimes I close conversations with my kids by saying "I love you and I see how beautiful you are, even though you can't see it right now" and giving them a hug.
 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#17 of 20 Old 09-13-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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Interesting. Our little DD was overweight. Very overweight. And our older DD was a stick. Due to my food issues, anorexia I decided never to bring up food unless it was too late to eat (tummy aches) or they had already had too much sugar. And instead of limiting any food, DH and I got them bikes and went out every night. We hiked all spring and took a break this summer due to the heat but we've been playing music at night and dancing. Both love it and when I took them to get clothes, for the first time ever DD2 had a smaller waist than DD1. I didn't say a word. She hasn't even noticed because she doesn't even know she was quite pudgy. I also noticed her tummy was flat and you could see muscle tone. Again I didn't say anything about it. Nor do I ever tell them that we're exercising. I want it to be a way of life not a means to a skinnier body. I know she will possibly struggle with weight her whole life as DH and most of his family has so we're not talking about weight, but instead all working out as a family in a fun way.

At her age, let her have some control but make sure she knows she's beautiful. Both my sister and I struggled with weight issues. My mom didn't call us fat but told us we were on our way to being fat and if we didn't do something about it now we'd be enormous. Uh... at that time both of us were size 0s... I was taller and she was short. But it was drilled into our heads. Instead of taking us out to be active she used guilt.
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#18 of 20 Old 09-14-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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My dss would live on marshmallows and Pop Tarts if we let him. We do tell him he needs to balance his sweet snacks with produce because it's good for his digestive system. The only way we can get him to exercise is by exercising with him. He definitely watches the way we live/eat (which is far from perfect) and takes more from that than anything we tell him. It's a hard transition time, and I wouldn't push too hard with anything right now. Good luck!


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#19 of 20 Old 09-18-2011, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been wanting to get back and comment but seems like the only time I have lately is while nursing. DS and the touch screen typing has been super annoying. So for now just popping in to say, no I definitely don't judge her based on her clothing size. I do wear a size small on top except when my nursing boobs get in the way. wink1.gif I was just trying to give an idea of her size/shape, not being concerned about it.

We've started making Lara bars. I think it makes her feel good that we do this. Unfortunately we've ended the honeymoon stage of living together & now she's trying to adjust. Every day is multiple tantrums along the lines of the 12 year old vent thread. Dp buys into her emotional swings more than I do (meaning he argues more ) but it's still exhausting.

OK my arm is tired from holding my phone above me to type now LOL

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#20 of 20 Old 09-19-2011, 11:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

She has asked for help with her emotional eating & carb issue but it's impossible to help without making it worse. The unfortunate alternative to that is the recurring "I'm fat " meltdown. From what she says her mom was always telling her she was fat, her hair style made her look fat, buying clothes in huge sizes, etc. How accurate her recounting of those conversations is I don't know. but I think it is telling that she told dp she wishes I were her real mom. greensad.gif

I have a 12-y-o step-son who lives with us.  He also has carb-loading/couch potato issues that become pretty intense when he's with his Mom.  (He routinely gains 2+ pounds/week and 2-3 pants sizes, in the 7 weeks he spends with Mom each summer.  This is exacerbated by the fact that he's very short for his age.)  So, I understand the tightrope:  

#1- You don't want to hurt the child, by making him/her feel you disapprove of how he/she looks; and you don't want to make him/her crave unhealthy food, by being too stringent/controlling;

#2- You want to help him/her learn how to be healthy, and to feel good about his/her own body, instead of self-conscious!

 

I think your step-daughter asking for help is important and shouldn't be ignored.  My step-son is not the type to come out and say he wants to lose weight.  But, when he's heavy, he's reluctant to do things he likes, like swim (esp. without a shirt); or be active outside with his friends.  He's less social.  He will take the initiative to mention how much he weighs (but claim to weigh much less than he really does).  He'll also continue to wear pants he's clearly outgrown; or he'll wear the larger sizes that actually fit him, but roll the waistband way down under his belly and complain that they're too big.  So, he either hopes these things will confuse others into thinking he's not heavy; or he hopes to confuse himself?  But the bottom line is, the weight bothers him and affects his happiness and comfort in his own skin.  So I view all his behavior as a cry for help similar to your step-daughter's more direct one.

 

We never "put him on a diet" or directly tell him he "needs to lose weight".  We just can't see how that would help, if he's already self-conscious about how he looks.  We do these things:

 

* Make sure he's enrolled in an organized sport, in fall and winter.  He can choose the sport, but he can't choose to opt out.  It makes it easier that the other kids in our home are athletic, so we can say sports are just something we promote, as parents.  It's never portrayed as something meant to "fix" him.  Spring, for some reason, always seems busy and never a convenient time for sports.  But by then, he has always slimmed down and doesn't hesitate to get outside and ride his bike, or run around with the neighborhood kids.

 

* We work out at the Y, take hikes, etc. as a family.  And, when appropriate, we say, "Enough electronics.  Go do something outside."  If there aren't other kids in your home or neighborhood, then it's even more incumbent on you and your husband to get outside and do things with your step-daughter.

 

* We make healthy, balanced meals (which you said you also do).  We send DSS a healthy lunch every day, although - as you pointed out - we recognize we have no control over what he actually eats then.  

 

* We openly discuss ideas about food, as generalities, not lessons specifically aimed at DSS.  For example, one of our kids might suggest serving garlic bread with our pasta; and that provides a nice opportunity to discuss that cultural stereotypes make that seem normal, but it's really not healthy to add bread to all the carbs we're already getting in the pasta.  Likewise, we talk about how juice is marketed as super-healthy, but we wouldn't snarf down 6 pieces of fruit in one sitting and that's basically what we're doing if we pour a tall glass of juice - getting all that sugar and all those calories, at once.  Yes, it's better than a tall glass of Coke - because of the vitamins - but not nearly as healthy as taking a vitamin and eating one apple or orange.  Plus, you have to watch it, because many juices are inexplicably sweetened with corn syrup!  I try to remember to phrase things not always like a nutrition lecture, but from one carb-lover to another:  "Boy, I'd love three servings of that carbonara, too!  But I suspect I want it because it tastes so good, not because my body really needs more of it.  I think if we're still hungry, we'd better have more salad."

 

* Sometimes we just say no.  "Hold on.  You just had a breakfast burrito.  A bowl of cereal isn't a good chaser.  Try some fruit."

 

* As a general rule, we don't keep junk food in the house.  It's as much for me, as anyone else!  If it's not there, no one's going to snack on it.  If you really need a snack, there's fruit...and carrots...and cucumbers...and yogurt...  However, we do go out for the occasional ice cream; and after Mass, we have donuts with everyone else, in the church basement - stuff like that.  If the kids NEVER get treats, then sugar might be all they think about!

 

As far as your original question - Lara bars - I don't know how they compare to Clif bars nutritionally.  But here, Clif bars are only for when you feel starving after a serious workout and meal-time is a long way off.  They're like 350 calories and high in fat.  They're small and feel like a snack, but nutritionally they're more like a meal - not something to nosh on when you get home from school, two hours before dinner.  My older sons are long-distance runners and go through a lot of Clif bars.  I know this makes DSS feel a little left out, because I don't really offer them to him, when he's playing sports like baseball (which is active and valuable, just not an intense workout).  So I buy him Clif "Z" bars.  Personally, I think they taste better; and nutritionally they're more akin to a chewy granola bar, with protein.  

 

I think a 12-y-o girl who wants help with her diet is old enough to discuss avoiding processed foods like snack bars that pack fat, carbs, sugar and calories into a package so small that it doesn't always feel satisfying and substantial, when you're eating it.  You should also tell her you love her and think she's beautiful, regardless what she weighs; and that you're not discussing her diet because you need her to be different, but because she asked for help and you want her to feel good about her body and to be healthy!

 

 


One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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