My Very Overweight 11yo - At A Loss! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hate even posting this - I am so sad and frustrated and heartbroken for her. I feel like a failure and a horrible parent. But this really shouldn't be about how I feel...

 

My oldest dd is very overweight. She was always thin when she was little. She began bulking up around age 7, and it has just slowly escalated since. I don't understand it. She has the same diet as everyone else in the family. None of the rest of us are even slightly overweight. She is active (mind you, she is not in any organized sports per se, but runs her butt off with the neighbourhood kids and her siblings).  At first, I just thought it was a phase, and that she'd grow out of it. I know I definitely got bigger just before puberty, and then went on to lose most of it throughout my teen years.

 

But this is different...she wears a size 5 women's pants for the waistband. They are at least 6 inches too large in the leg length. My tops are tight on her (I am 5 ft 9 and 150 lbs). Her tummy actually has a flap now. I haven't addressed the weight issue with a physician specifically, but she has been to see a couple in the past year for other issues, and none of them even mentioned her weight, and I wasn't sure how to bring it up. I have only talked about this to my mother, my sister in law and my husband. My husband thinks we should restrict her, and push her to work out, but I don't think that is healthy for a preteen. My mother just keeps telling me that she'll grow out of it, and my sister in law ( a very large woman herself) shames me and tells me that dd isn't overweight.  About a month ago, she was changing into her bathing suit and I noticed that she has started to get large stretch marks on her upper thighs. I seriously felt like somebody had kicked me in the gut when I saw them. Scars are forever. Just two days ago, I saw that she has large red ones on her chest now too.

 

Please understand, I am not ashamed or embarassed. I think she is beautiful, and I am proud of her in every way.  I am devastated for HER. She knows she is big. It upets her greatly, but she doesn't know how to change it, and I don't know what to tell her. I try to tell her that it's just a little puppy fat and that it's normal, but she just gives me the, "oh, please" look.  I am crying as I write this, because part of me feels like I am betraying her when I talk about it. 

 

I sincerely don't know where to turn.  Has anyone else gone through this with their child? Does anyone have any advice for us? A magic wand perhaps? How can I help her drop the extra weight while still being healthy with her changing body? How can I talk to a doctor with her when she is mortified even discussing it with her own momma? And how can I book an appointment without making her feel like something is wrong with the way she looks? Probably most importantly: How can I get my daughter to feel good about herself when  we live in such a visual world?


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#2 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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Assuming you are talking about your almost 12 yr old, I can say that most of my 11yr old dd's friends can wear some of their mother's clothes, so not that unusual. My fairly trim 11yr old wears a size 3. Size 9 shoe!
My dd and I both have a 28inch inseam, so the average length pant is easily 4 inches too long.

I agree the stretch marks are alarming, but sudden growth does that. Def at her next physical make sure her weight/height is checked out

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#3 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply. I don't have to have her weight/height checked out to know that she is overweight. She is. I was just looking for a little advice on how to handle it. If it was just an extra couple of lbs, it would not be an issue. I am worried for her emotional and physical well being. 


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#4 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 11:49 AM
 
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If you look through old threads on this board, you'll find several old threads on teens/preteens and weight.

 

Some of the things you list as concerning are meaningless. A size 5 is a junior size, not a women's size. And there's nothing wrong with a 12 year old wearing one. If you listed your DD's height and weight, it would have more meaning.

 

Stretch marks are caused by a combination of genetics and sudden weight gain. Breast development can be a sudden enough change that *if a girl has the right DNA,*  she'll get stretch marks. They generally fade over time.

 

Because you feel her weight/body shape doesn't reflect her diet and activity, I would recommend talking to her doctor and having some blood work done.

 

I think it's great that she love running around with her friends, but helping her find an organized activity that she enjoys may be gift that would last her a life time. She may always tend toward carrying around extra weight, and she's at an age when kids tend to stop running with the friends and transition to just talking to their friends. One of my children is passionate about swimming and I believe she'll swim laps her whole life. I think helping your DD find an activity she has that kind of passion for would help her now in the teen years and going forward.

 

I am fundamentally opposed to punishing people for their bodies. I think it's wrong. Even though the rest of the family is slim, if you are at the point that your husband wants to restrict her, then there shouldn't be any sugar, crackers, full fat cheese, etc in your home. You should be family that never goes out to ice cream. For your family to act one way but tell her that her body is wrong because she can't do the exact same things and look the same way *could* have a very deep impact on her for many, many years. For these messages to come from dad could set her up for relationship problems with men -- because right now her daddy is bordering on teaching her that she isn't lovable if she has curves.

 

Right now she feels bad about her weight -- how exactly is making her feel worse supposed to help? It just gives the message that not only is her body not OK, it's her fault. If she just tried harder, she would look like the rest of you.


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#5 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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I think if you are concerned (especially since you feel she is active and eats similar foods as the rest of the family) that maybe you should talk to her ped about it. What's important is that she is healthy and it's possible there is a medical reason as to why she is overweight.  

 

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#6 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"I am fundamentally opposed to punishing people for their bodies. I think it's wrong. Even though the rest of the family is slim, if you are at the point that your husband wants to restrict her, then there shouldn't be any sugar, crackers, full fat cheese, etc in your home. You should be family that never goes out to ice cream. For your family to act one way but tell her that her body is wrong because she can't do the exact same things and look the same way *could* have a very deep impact on her for many, many years. For these messages to come from dad could set her up for relationship problems with men -- because right now her daddy is bordering on teaching her that she isn't lovable if she has curves.

 

Right now she feels bad about her weight -- how exactly is making her feel worse supposed to help? It just gives the message that not only is her body not OK, it's her fault. If she just tried harder, she would look like the rest of you."

 

 

 

Oh dear. I am not asking for validation that she is overweight. She is. There is no debating it. In retrospect, I guess I shouldn't have tried to give a mental picture with her clothing size, as the size of the person in relation to the size of the clothing can vary drastically anyway.

 

I am confused by why you feel that I am making her feel worse about herself. I have never told her that she was overweight, nor has her father. Dh and I have discussed this only in private, not in front of dd. She will never have the occasion to read this thread. We have never told her that she couldn't have something that the rest of the family is eating. Actually, I have never mentioned food or food restrictions to her, except in the normal motherly way that I do with all of my kids.  I am not sure where you came to this conclusion.  I was sincerely only asking for help or suggestions from other mothers that may have found themselves in a similar situation, and maybe for some emotional support  to go along with it.

 

I will search to find the older threads that you mentioned. Thank you for letting me know.

 

 


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#7 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Can you consult her pediatricians nurse or the pediatrician by phone?  If they haven't brought it up it is probably not something they think of as a big deal and they may be able to explain the reasoning behind why it isn't a concern to you over the phone.  My dd's pediatrician explains it very well and really put my mind at ease when I was worried about my dd for no reason.  They may also realize that it is starting to be a concern when you talk to them and they may have more resources for you.  Some insurance companies cover a referal to a registered dietition and they often have even more resources to help families as a whole so that might be something to ask the doctor about.

 

Since she is so active and that isn't making a difference I really do think you need to call the pediatrician and bring it up with them or ask to talk to them without your dd present.  They see so many patients a day and don't always look back on their files so they may be viewing what is going on as an isolated thing.  If she is truly packing on the weight heavily with a lot of activity and a very healthy diet then they probably need to look for a physical cause. 

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#8 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 01:41 PM
 
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I'd go to her doctor and ask about it. She doesn't have to be in the room. If her diet is healthy and she's reasonably active, this shouldn't be happening. Girls often "plump up" before puberty but you said this has been going on for 3 years now right? Stretch marks usually mean too fast of growth and she shouldn't be gaining that fast. I don't know that a size 5 is unusual for an 11-year-old these days but having to cut 6 inches off the bottom is so you can get the right waist size is. 

 

You said she doesn't have organized active activities, maybe it's time for some. How about a hip-hop class (the clothing, style and attitude are often more accepting and forgiving to being over-weight than other forms of dance.) You could up the family activity like have a regular walk after dinner or something. Stuff she might enjoy but doesn't smack of "you have to lose weight" KWIM?


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#9 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by April*autmaiajude* View Post
Oh dear. I am not asking for validation that she is overweight. She is. There is no debating it. In retrospect, I guess I shouldn't have tried to give a mental picture with her clothing size, as the size of the person in relation to the size of the clothing can vary drastically anyway.

 

I am confused by why you feel that I am making her feel worse about herself. I have never told her that she was overweight, nor has her father. Dh and I have discussed this only in private, not in front of dd.

 

 

A size 5 doesn't equal "overweight."   I'm not saying your DD isn't overweight, just that the information you provided in your post doesn't *prove* anything.
 

The reason I think your family is risking making her feel bad is this:

Quote:

Originally Posted by April*autmaiajude* View Post

 

My husband thinks we should restrict her, and push her to work out, but I don't think that is healthy for a preteen.  About a month ago, she was changing into her bathing suit and I noticed that she has started to get large stretch marks on her upper thighs. I seriously felt like somebody had kicked me in the gut when I saw them. Scars are forever. Just two days ago, I saw that she has large red ones on her chest now too.


What ever you guys say to her, she will pick up on how you feel. You don't feel that your DH's ideas are good, but I would add that if you feel like you are getting kicked in the stomach when you look at her body, she will pick up on that.
 

Our feelings about our children are not as much of a secret from them as we would like to think.

 

At the same time, an honest conversation about foods and how they tend to effect us and the importance of finding ways we love to be active seems very positive.


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#10 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are right - wearing a size 5 does not mean that you are overweight, if you are a teenager or an adult. She is not. She is girl, and prepubescent, which means that she has not begun to approach her adult height.

 

I am honestly wondering how you would suggest that that I cover up my sadness from her? I do not grimace to look at her when she is undressed. When I noticed the stretch marks, I turned away and kept talking. I am telling the mothers here on this forum how I felt inside, because as I said before, I need or desire some emotional support and suggestions. I have since received some good suggestions, and I do appreciate that.

 

 

 

Look, I really don't want to get picky about this, but I can't imagine how you read that I was punishing her, or was at risk for the perception of punishing her for how she looks. When you said that my husband is letting her know that she is not loveable in her own body, or that I want her to look like the rest of us, you were somehow putting blame on a mother who is just sad for her child and looking for support. I guess I am kind of shocked that my post came across as my wanting my child to be something that she is not, or that I don't accept her. I think that I was clear in my original post that I did not think that dh's suggestion was the right one. He just tends to look at practicality over emotion sometimes. Again, he has never mentioned weight to dd. As I said in my original post, I am proud of my daughter and love and accept her no matter her shape or anything else - my concern is her self image, her health and the permanent physical changes (large, thick stretch marks) that are going on with her body at such a young age. I do not expect or even necessarily want a slim daughter. This is of no importance to me.  

 

 

 

 


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#11 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 04:12 PM
 
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I would get her involved in a sport, or some sort of more rigorous regular exercise program.  It might not be easy, but I would work towards that.  I don't buy into the whole "everyone should love their body as is" nonsense.  It's a health issue when someone is overweight.  One has an increased risk of many different things, from high blood pressure, heart disease etc...  I don't espouse that everyone has to be slim but everyone needs to exercise.  It sounds like what she's doing for exercise isn't enough for her body.  And some of us may need to exercise more than others to keep our  weight and health under control.  

 

I have a 12 yr old dd.  Starting around 9, she got very anti-exercise, and over the next two years despite eating relatively healthfully she gained a lot of weight.  It's not like she didn't do anything, but no extracurricular sports, and we don't live on a street that's conducive for running around outside.  So she had PE at school, but it wasn't enough. At her 11 yr checkup her ped talked to me about it.  My dd was overweight, and if she exercised her doctor wouldn't be concerned, but my dd told her she didn't.  I knew she was heavy but getting her to do anything physical was hell. She acted like exercise was torture. Fortunately middle school was coming up, and she knew she would have to run the mile at school.  She realized she wouldn't be able to do it, and I suggested that we start training for it so it wouldn't be so tough when she actually had to do it at school.  For my dd, PE is hell.  But she didn't want to be the worst, or worse, fail to complete the mile and look bad (in her mind) at her new school.  So I ran with her.  When we started she could not run 1/8 of a mile.  It took a month but she got to where she could slowly run a mile.  Took her about 14 min.  And she was able to do it at school.  

 

Then I told her she had to keep running.  That she needed regular exercise, and she wasn't as healthy as she could be.  The recommended amount of exercise is an hour a day.  I knew that was unrealistic, but figured we could use that as a guideline.  She balked, but I made her go to the track.  And I continued to run with her. I tried to make it fun, and we ran/walked, not pure running.  Much easier, and we expanded our route so we didn't always go to the track.  t stuck to the health aspect as to why I was making her run.  That everyone needs to exercise for health.  That exercise keeps your heart and lungs healthy.  Since she didn't want to take up a team sport, or any other physical activity, running was what she had to do.  And I pushed the fact that it didn't take much time.  Unlike a bike ride or a class of some sort, we could go to the track, run and be home in under an hour.  She complained.  A lot.  But she did it.  And a lot of it was b/c I did it with her.  And finally it got easier, and last spring we trained for a 5K.  Now she goes to a gym a couple of times a week, and on the weekends we hike, bike or run.  She still doesn't like it, and she still complains. but she likes how strong her body feels, and that she can do stuff she couldn't do before, like climb trees easily, run on the soccer field w/o being out of breath (during PE) and she had no trouble running the mile this year w/o really staying on top of the running as much.  

 

Her weight has stabilized, her body is strong, and she feels good.  I don't think she's damaged or messed up about weight and looks b/c I forced the exercise issue.  In fact she wants to run another 5K soon.  She sees the benefit even if she hates what it takes to get there. I think pushing her helped her to realize what she can do with her body.  Good luck, I do get it.  

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#12 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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I just want to clarify something about stretch marks. They arent always forever. When I was 10, my breasts grew from a cup size a to a cup size large c in a period of about 4 months. They hurt all the time and they were covered with dark purple stretch marks, especially on the sides. They lasted about 4 years, and by the time I hit high school, I had a great rack, no signs of stretch marks anywhere. (Now that Im almost 30, that is no longer the case...but they arent the same stretch marks).

I have had stretch marks on my sides fade and come back over and over again from losing/gaining weight. I had dark purple stretch marks for the first three months after having DD, and then they disappeared completely with only two or three faint white lines.

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#13 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 04:35 PM
 
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I think if she seems overweight having a check-up with blood work in order to rule out potentially health threatening medical problems is a good plan.  I am not arguing with you about whether she is or isn't overweight, but I do want to point out with you why some people might not get what you are saying about the size 5 and the stretch marks.  Many of us have not overweight daughters who may be at that size at that age.  My slim nearly 10 year old wears a size 3, which, incidentally, equals a children's size 14 in equivalent waist size.  Size 5 is analogous to a size 16, which would also not be shocking. My daughter, like myself, is developing wide pelvic bones as she is entering puberty, and that's why she wears a larger clothing size. I myself, as a teenager, and incidentally, a national class athlete in cross country running, had stretch marks over my thighs and hips due to the pelvic bones widening rapidly, and I have lots of (faded) stretch marks on my chest due to rapid breast development once that started (post slowing down with the athletics in my case).  Even when slimmer than average, oncoming puberty can bring on stretch marks, and it's not the end of the world, they fade!  11 is certainly old enough that puberty may be coming sooner than you think.  Anywhere from around age 10 to age 16 is still within normal range for a first period, and changes with weight and shape regularly happen starting about two years before menstruation.  Your assessment of her being overweight could be quite right, but do keep in mind that your assessment of being prepubescent may not be with stretch marks in the areas that correlate to curves, not on the stomach which would be the usual prepubescent weight gain area.  Also, even if you are sure she is overweight, what would it hurt for you to check out her BMI on line, just to get some perspective.  It could let you know why her weight hasn't been mentioned by her pediatrician, yet, or, conversely, give you information to alert your pediatrician to for her health and safety.  And the rest of us would be able to see your perspective a lot more clearly with an idea of height and weight, as, for the above reasons, stretch marks and clothing size don't say much. 


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#14 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by April*autmaiajude* View Post

You are right - wearing a size 5 does not mean that you are overweight, if you are a teenager or an adult. She is not. She is girl, and prepubescent, which means that she has not begun to approach her adult height.

 

I me.  

 

 

 

 


Have you checked what other girls her age wear? My dd is almost a year younger and a size 3. She's trim. She bikes daily to school and is moderately active. She's average for her age from what I've seen in a school of 1500.
Pant length is tricky. She needs a petite or short length. Unless you don't mind having to hem her stuff you might try to shop in stores with different length. Target, walmart, penneys, Delilah(sp) in the mall.
Normally at this age, a healthy diet should keep kid at a decent weight. Most can eat a lot of junk with moderate exercise and stay a normal weight. Many recommend a doctor because there are medical issues that cause weight gain despite all the good you do.

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#15 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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I don't think that you should feel badly for being concerned about your daughter.  Based on your description, I'd probably feel some measure of concern as well.  The advice that you've been given to seek information/consultation with your dd's pediatrician is appropriate.  There is a thread on the boards at MDC about issues with BMI and young kids, but still, I think seeking professional support is a wise step. You could also consult with a nutritionist on your own as well.

 

It's probably not possible to hide your concern entirely from your dd because kids are sensitive.  As she comes into adolescence she'll be even more sensitive.  However, if she truly needs some help, not talking about it could have the opposite effect of making her feel fine about herself.  She may be worried, or confused, and need her parent's help, and silence may only serve to make her feel isolated or confused.  I don't know-I don't know your dd, and your relationship.  What I do know is that the changes that come with adolescence, and pre-adolescence can come quickly, and sometimes feel a little alarming.  I can assure you that in my experience, my dd was slightly alarmed as well!  Open discussion was very helpful.  

 

 

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#16 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for the reassurance and helpful advice. I actually have entered her height and weight into a child BMI calculator, and her weight is in the 95th percentile, which on some sites makes her obese, while others say she isn't. Regarding the clothing sizes, DD deffo doesn't fit into any children's sizes - not even a 16. I do understand better now though that this was not an accurate portrait that I was painting.

 

I love to hear the positive things about the stretch marks. I am SO relieved, Adaline'sMama to hear about how yours have gone or faded to that degree. I think about how difficult it is to get her into a swimsuit now, and wonder how hard it will be now that she's noticed them on her thighs. I appreciate the story about your daughter too, neptunemama, as this is kind of where we are at regarding "exercise". I was thinking I might like to try Zumba with her too!

 

Here where we live, we have a telephone health referral service which encompasses all kinds of health related issues, and tomorrow while she's gone I will be making a call.


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#17 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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I have a 10 year old dd who, around 7 years old, started gaining weight.  At first I thought it was just the natual plumpness that precedes puberty (because she had precocious puberty) but she kept getting bigger despite me keeping her on the move and limiting what was brought into the house.  This summer when she tipped the scales at 136lbs at 5 feet even, I took her to the doctor. Turns out, she has severe hypothyroidism.  Now that she's on proper medication she's not gaining anymore and I hope she slowly starts losing until she gets to where the doctor wants her to be, which is 120lbs.  In the meantime, I signed her up for a fairly intense diving class at the local gymnastics place which meets on Friday and lasts 90 minutes. I also try to take walks with her around the neighborhood as well as nudging the kids outside to play in the yard.

 

Do see a doctor just to get things checked out and good luck!


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I have a couple of questions.  First, how tall is she?  Has she gotten her period yet?  I got mine and stopped growing at age 10 so there is a chance she might be at her adult height.  

 

However that isn't the point.  As someone who suffered from eating disorders starting at that age, I want to beg you to tread lightly.  Ask her doctor (not in front of her) about it.  See if they have any suggestions.

 

I wasn't overweight until AFTER I recovered from my eating disorder, but I can tell you a few things.  I would eat way less than normal people and still gain weight.  Then I became a vegetarian and the weight started falling off nicely, even though I was eating more.  Some people don't tolerate certain things well and it can cause them to gain weight (or lose it).  

 

Perhaps try cutting down on the meat you eat and see if that helps.  Also, try going for walks as a family.  Just because the rest of you are slim doesn't mean you're physically fit.  Even if you are, a little extra exercise as a family can be a great bonding experience for all of you.  Hiking is our family favorite, but any kind of cardiovascular activity helps.  Whatever you all enjoy as a family.

 

If she hasn't gotten her period yet, there is a good chance she might shoot up a few inches and even out.  If she has, and she's at her adult height (yes 5'1" can technically be an adult height- unfortunately for those of us who stopped there) a size 5 in juniors is a good size honestly.

 

If you wouldn't mind posting her height and weight the rest of us could get a good idea of what you're talking about.  I believe you that she is overweight but I guess my suggestions would changed based on how much.

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#19 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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I was also going to suggest hypothyroidism (low thyroid) as a possible cause of weight gain. I think diabetes can also cause weight gain and various other health conditions as well. I also agree that you should call your health line/doctor/nurse and ask for their advice.

 

Beyond that, I would just focus on getting healthy and fit and not on weight. Going to the doctor for a check up is part of getting healthy and fit, and then eating a balanced diet high in fruits and veggies and low in carbs (you don't have to eliminate carbs entirely, but concentrating on fruits and veggies first and cookies and chips and bread last) and getting plenty of exercise. Everyone in your family should do this. Everyone in the world should! It's not about her weight, but about her fitness and health, and it should be about the whole family. How is everybody else's fitness level? What is her diet like?

 

 


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#20 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 08:51 PM
 
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Oh my... well you're obviously trying to find a way without trying to insult or hurt her.  You need to be able to talk to her about a healthy body.  Size doesn't always equate health though.  My little DD has a belly and the older one is a rack of muscle.  Without us voicing an opinion (both DH and I are hypersensitive about body talk)  Little DD has pointed out her belly.  However it doesn't bother her and it shouldn't.  Since she brought up the topic, I had the opportunity to assure her she was just right.  And she is.  You really need to open up the communication with her.  Are you worried she may become big like your SIL?  My mom's family is obese and when I say obese I mean I have Aunts who are 5 feet and 250 to 300 lbs.  It's a lovely family trait.  And so my mom hounded me about my weight.  She was a twig herself but she gave me all her eating issues. 

 

Ask her if she would like to have blood work done.  Tell her you think she may be "growing" too fast and you just want to make sure everything is right on schedule.  When you make her appointment you can talk to the nurses and Dr. before hand to push not making it a weight issue.  However since you say she's been to a Dr. and they haven't said anything, maybe they are seeing it differently than you are.  Either way good luck to you mama. 

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#21 of 42 Old 10-05-2011, 09:00 PM
 
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When I was 11 I was 105 lbs (4'11) and wore a womans size 5.   I was certainly on the larger size but not considered overweight. i had gained 30 lbs that summer so I was covered in stretch marks. they did fade away over time


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#22 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 04:54 AM
 
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I want to reiterate what pp said about stretch marks. Some of us are just prone to them. I got terrible, terrible ones on my breasts in puberty. I get them if I gain or lose weight but they most definitely do fade & the ones I got when I was young especially you really cannot see anymore.

 

If you yourself are 5'9" there is a good likelihood your dd is going to be tall as well. How tall is she now? Does she have a lot of inches to grow potentially? I wouldn't dismiss your concerns but it can be pretty incredible how much some girls gain just before their big growth spurt & then slim right out.

 

A focus on physical activity for everyone in the family is a great idea. I agree with pp that size does NOT by any stretch of the imagination indicate physical fitness so focusing on strength, flexibility, endurance is a much better way to approach fitness for everyone.

 

Checking in with the doctor is certainly not a bad idea. But what about also talking to your daughter. I find it hard to believe that at 12 she has not noticed a difference in her body from the rest of the family's or her friends. You don't need to come at it as "I think you are overweight" but rather "how do you feel about your body".


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#23 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by April*autmaiajude* View Post

You are right - wearing a size 5 does not mean that you are overweight, if you are a teenager or an adult. She is not. She is girl, and prepubescent, which means that she has not begun to approach her adult height.

 

 

It's sounds like her breast are growing (hence the stretch marks). I looked around on line for some size charts because my assumption was that a person wearing a Junior 5 would be more curvy than a person wearing a girls 16, but I found that size charts are a bit all over the place and pretty meaningless. Wearing a size 5 doesn't even mean the same thing in different stores, or in different pants in the same store. 

 

I'm not totally buying that your DD is "prepubescent". She sounds "pubescent" to me. shrug.gif 


I am honestly wondering how you would suggest that that I cover up my sadness from her?

 

After reading your responses, I went back and reread your first post to see why I thought what I did because it seemed like I was really off on what was going on. The first paragraph of your first post is intense. Here's what you started with:

 

I am so sad and frustrated and heartbroken for her. I feel like a failure and a horrible parent.

 

I really don't believe you when you say that her weight isn't important to you. You wouldn't be heartbroken for her and feel like a failure as a parent if that were true.

 

Rather than hiding it from her, I suggest you find other ways to think about it to take the emotional sting out. Yes, you have cause for concern. Yes, there are actions you can take to help. None the less, changing the way you think about the situation can change the way you feel about the situation, and that I think would be helpful to your DD. In the scope of human problems, weight is pretty small issue. She's healthy, she's happy, she's loved. So yes, talk to your doctor and get some blood work done, help her find activities that she loves, review the kinds of foods your family eats. 
 

You can let your sadness go completely because it's an unhelpful emotion. You can take a different perspective of the situation and see it as an issue that needs some attention.  It sounds like you've let your sadness and shame stop you from doing thing that would be helpful for her, such as talking to the doctor, of even speaking honestly to her about the fact that it would be to find a sport/dance class/ something. If you let the sadness go away, you might find it easier to take the actions that might be helpful.  


 


 


 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#24 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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I agree with you OP.  I dislike the "well, all bodies are beautiful no matter what the size".   Of course, that's true, but in reality, out in the real world, life tells us differently.  Especially at that age.

 

Women who have lost weight after being a heavy child, teen, or young adult will all say they feel like they wasted those years.   There is a reason that there are so many gimiky sayings out there "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels".  Or "Earn your Body".  It's because it's important to us.  At one time, I lost 30lbs.  It became the most important thin in my life!  It felt WONDERFUL.  I never wanted to gain that weight back.  Ever.  I loved the feeling of sitting on the floor with my knees up and, my stomach didn't get in the way.  I could tie my shoes without holding my breath.

 

As a Mom, I'd want everything for my daughter!  I'd want the best possible body, the best possible health...everything.  But, it's hard to figure out how to change something for one person in the family, when the others don't need the same changes.

 

I would learn weight watchers for yourself.  Make those changes for the whole family.  

 

http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Clean-Diet-Family-Kids-Strategies/dp/B004J8HW1Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317912326&sr=8-1  Tosca Reno's books are very good.

 

We are all different.  I can't eat carbs without gaining tons of weight.  My body just doesn't process the carbs very well.  I obviously eat fruit, and some grains, like Oatmeal, but I don't eat anything with sugar or processed flour.  It's not because i'm all conscious of those things, it's just because I don't feel good when I eat it... but, it took me a long time to figure it out.

 

I also think that running and playing with friends outside is the best fitness any kid can have.  Walking home from school, playing outside, jumping on a trampoline, all those things that naturally make kids fit are awesome.  

 

I personally think Americans are overweight because of the last half of the 80s.  In the 80s it became obvious that our kids weren't safe playing outside...so, we started watching them closely, which meant they couldn't do all the things they were always doing.  It truly just wasn't safe.  Nothing can ever change that.  We can't even let our kids walk to school alone.   Then, Atari was born.  Then Kid's products started making sippy cups and little snack cups.  Then Costco started carrying Goldfish crackers in 4lb boxes, so our kids are never, ever without a snack and a drink.  

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#25 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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This is such a loaded subject.  I just want to support you Op, in your feelings of concern about your dd.  I really don't think it's unusual to feel some heartbreak for our kids when they have a difficult issue in their lives.  It's a first step, often before we mobilize to acknowledge an issue, seek help, and make a plan.  Your emotions indicate compassion, worry and concern.  Is it helpful to put those emotions on our kids?  No, but that doesn't seem to be the situation here.

 

I've watched, in my extended family, a preadolescent child come to truly be affected by weight and body image issues.  For a very long time there was no acknowledgement of this child's eating or exercise needs for fear of damaging her self esteem.  Now that she's older, she can't wear the clothes she wants to, feels awkward, and is struggling to be physically active.  It is emotionally a very hard place to be, and it's taking a lot of effort to help the situation.

 

You have to balance this with an understanding of what happens to kids before and during puberty, which frankly challenged all of my notions about how much kids need to eat, sleep, and how they grow!

 

A low level organized sport may be helpful.  My dd is an athlete, and is very tall for her age, and very strong.  I have found, again and again, that sports offer a place to emphasize how a healthy body works, versus how a healthy body looks.  In my dd's sport, she needs to be strong, and her body can do everything she needs it to do.  It helps because her height and strength are assets.  In junior high, where many of her friends are petite, being able to have a place where what she's got works for her, has been invaluable.

 

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#26 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 03:08 PM
 
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Like MoonlessNightx, I am an eating disorder survivor and will respectfully disagree with the posters who believe that “health at any size” is a hoax.  An overweight teenager who eats a lot of fresh produce and whole grains and gets plenty of physical activity is MUCH healthier than the skinnier teenager who gorges herself after every binge-meal, smokes to keep her weight down, or is struggling through school while in cancer remission.  In other words, I side with the posters who say that size isn’t always an indicator of health.  Also, having been through my own personal hell with food and weight, I implore you to tread carefully with this topic. 

 

From the thread title describing a “very overweight” daughter, I imagined major clinical obesity. But it sounds from you subsequent posts (e.g. #16) that you no longer feel that way (??) 

 

 

 

Quote:

Please understand, I am not ashamed or embarassed. I think she is beautiful, and I am proud of her in every way.  I am devastated for HER. She knows she is big. It upets her greatly, but she doesn't know how to change it, and I don't know what to tell her. I try to tell her that it's just a little puppy fat and that it's normal, but she just gives me the, "oh, please" look.  I am crying as I write this, because part of me feels like I am betraying her when I talk about it. 

 

It sounds like if she is this upset, she is motivated to make some changes.  My humble opinion: Before you even *consider* Weight Watchers (and I agree with the PP that that’s the healthiest weight loss option, and that you should make her lifestyle changes a part of the whole family), I would STRONGLY recommend a visit to the nutritionist.  Contrary to popular belief, doctors get only minimal (if any!) training in nutrition during medical school, and a professional nutritionist or dietician can evaluate her diet and lifestyle and help her make changes that make her feel good and healthy.  This professional can also help you determine if weight loss is even necessary. 

 

I know, I know.  The assumption in most of this thread is that it is.  But respectfully, if your daughter has stretch marks on her breasts, she’s not prepubescent; she is an adolescent.  Early adolescence, for multiple complex reasons, is increasing rapidly in younger generations. A competent nutritionist or dietician (and your physician may provide a referral) can better assess whether this extra weight is innocuous (e.g. preceeding another adolescent growth spurt) or requires more aggressive intervention such as Weight Watchers.  And it’s win-win because you’ll be able to draft the healthies possible eating habits for her and the entire family.  (Yes, the whole family needs to get involved.  It's less isolating and ostracising for her and, frankly, good for everybody). 

 

As for physical activity, make sure that she gets involved in something as close as possible to her passions.  If she simply doesn’t *like* sports, she’ll just end up bench-warming, feeling resentful, and—you guessed it—not exercising.  If she enjoys Zumba, great.  If she doesn’t, encourage her to explore some other unique avenues—Martial arts?  Hiking?  Rock climbing?  Irish dancing (hellavu workout!  Lol!)?  Repeated experience has taught me that exercise never takes hold as a habit unless it’s something you love.

 

I’m not speaking as a mother to teenagers—I’m not there yet!—but I’m speaking as someone who went off the deep end with this issue.  What can I say?  It’s a sensitive topic for me.  But I can tell that you're committed to being a good mother and doing and saying the right thing.  Many hugs, and best of luck in your transition toward a new and healthy lifestyle!     hug2.gif

 


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#27 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Veering off-topic, but I have to disagree.  I just finished reading Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy.  She actually did the research, including interviews with statisticians, and found that crime rates have plummeted and stranger abductions are exceedingly rare.  (You'd have to leave your child in your front yard for 750,000 to wait for a stranger abduction).  Of course she advocates for common sense safety, but she also shows how out-of-proporation our parental fears have become.  This book completely changed my perspective...If you don't read her book, at least check out her blog: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

 

I do think that media-induced parental paranoia may be a contributing factor to overweight children... 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

 

I personally think Americans are overweight because of the last half of the 80s.  In the 80s it became obvious that our kids weren't safe playing outside...so, we started watching them closely, which meant they couldn't do all the things they were always doing.  It truly just wasn't safe.  Nothing can ever change that.  We can't even let our kids walk to school alone.  
 

 


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#28 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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I hit puberty well ahead of most of my peers.  I stopped growing at about grade 5, and had stretch marks all over my body throughout middle school as my hips and chest changed rapidly.  If my mother had been saddened by the fact that I had stretch marks I would have felt terrible.  I also would have picked up on it even if she hadn't said anything.

 

There is SO much pressure to fit the stereotypes at these ages, girls will feel the pressure to be slim throughout their lives, and girls who develop as I did, and as the OP describes her child to be developing are already in such a hard place.  They are at risk of eating disorders in an effort to look like their peers when their DNA is simply not letting that happen if they are healthy.  They can only get to that point of 'thin' by starving themselves.  What they need to hear is that they are ok, and that if it is important to them to try to look different, you can explore that with them, and that the family as a WHOLE will make changes in support of a healthy lifestyle.   They need to be advised that weight loss isn't a healthy goal for any developing body, but that certainly it is ok to make sure to remain active and eat healthy fuel for our bodies. They also need to know that hitting puberty and developing thighs and breasts and yes- even that annoying stomach bump every healthy woman has- is something that happens to all of us at different times, and that many of their friends envy the fact that while they look like little kids, she is beginning to look older. 

 

I looked 16 when I was 11.  I didn't need my parents worrying about my weight, I did that enough for all of us. 

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#29 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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I agree with the pp that you should avoid making her feel bad about her weight or think of "dieting." I also agree that a child should not be encouraged to have a different diet than her family, if there is too much sweets and fat for a healthy diet, they should be minimized for everyone's benefit regardless of everyone's body shape/size, if there is only a healthy quantity and choice of treats for everyone, everyone should be included in enjoying them.

For my dd who was historically very thin and then plumped up with puberty, I have chosen to take a position of ensuring her schedule has plenty of exercise.  She transitioned away from the "play" that had been so physically active as a little girl to more sedantary pasttimes which just didn't match her preferred caloric intake(which would be fine except if all she was doing is listening to music and reading). 

The way I do this is by scheduling alot of physical activity of her choice into her week (horseback riding, gymnastics and karate) and days like today with extra free time and nothing physical scheduled I recommend she go ride her bike or take a walk.  She knows I am always available to walk and talk with her, but more often than not she will jump on her bike.  She still has a bit of a tummy roll, but it is looking more balanced all the time.  I don't really think the exercise gets all of the credit... I think some of that roll was the onset of puberty and would have minimized anyway, but it may help to find out if there is anything physical she would like to be doing if you can swing  the cost and transportation to do it. 

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#30 of 42 Old 10-06-2011, 06:41 PM
 
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I hate to tell you this, but 12 is pubescent, so it's unclear how much of this really might be due to her being in a period of major growth.

 

There's a good book by Weight Watchers that's very reasonable about the subject: Weight Watchers Family Power: 5 Simple Rules for a Healthy-Weight Home. The thing I like about this book is that the "rules" are positive rules:

 

1. Focus on wholesome, nutritious foods.

2. Include treats.

3. Keep screen time to under 2 hours a day.

4. Try to be active an hour a day.

5. The rules apply to everyone.

 

I really like the fact that no one person is singled out. You can (without even telling your kids) take a look at what you're eating -- are they getting enough protein, 5 servings of fruits and veggies, complex carbs that will keep them full, and minimal refined sugar? If you are, then great. If not, you can work on improving the whole family's diet.

 

Treats are an important part of the plan because again, you don't want to develop eating disorders by ruling them out. I buy donuts about 2x a year. My kids would eat them constantly, but really, I think the concept of donut and nutritious are about polar opposites.

 

The 'active an hour a day' might be something that you do together. Where can you walk to as a family? Or as a mother-daughter pair? Could you set your sights on doing something like a 5K or 10 K walk, and 'train' for that together. (Something like the Race for the Cure, or whatever cause might be near and dear to her heart.) Don't do this to make her train, but as a bonding experience for the two of you. What does she like to do that's physical? My dd loves swimming and hates all other sports. She's in swim lessons now so that when she gets older, she and I can go lap swimming together, if she wants. She's never going to be a size 5, and I'm fine with that. But she has a beautiful body for swimming -- strong broad shoulders + a little buoyancy from a tiny bit of extra padding. Right now she's strong and healthy.

 

Don't limit food. If her portion sizes are too big, then get smaller plates for the whole family. Make sure that family meals are eaten together. Don't let anyone eat in front of the TV or computer. But remember, she's growing.

 

 


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