Teen Weight Gain? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 04-16-2004, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm new here, but boy do I need some support/advice from some other parents of teenage girls. I feel like I've been thrown into this world of being a parent of a teen overnight! ;-)

I have a 14 year old step-daughter who lives with us full-time. She's become quite a handful (much moreso than my 5 and 2 year old sons...never thought I'd say that!). But that's a long, long story for some other time.

I basically just wanted to ask about weight gain. She has always been very slender, but over the past probably 4 months or so, she has put on close to 20lbs. I'm trying to figure out if this is just normal 14 year old stuff or if there's some deeper issues here. I am a stress eater, so I'm a little concerned that she may be using food as her pain reliever. It's really been a rough year around here.

We eat very healthily, but I have seen candy wrappers in her pant pockets that she's obviously getting from school. And when she sits down for dinner, she can eat the rest of us under the table. That's why I've assumed this is just a growth spurt. But she seems to have put on a lot of weight in a short period of time. She also skipped her period for about 2 months which is completely unusual (she's back to having them again). I'll admit there was a little part of me that thought pregnancy, but we have a pretty open relationship and she's been on quite a short leash lately so the only way that would have happened would be at school. She also still tells me that specific parts of the male anatomy are "just gross". Whether she's saying that to appease me or not...I just don't know these days.

I still think she looks fine...I'm just very much into the emotional aspects of food and I know she's been through a lot.

So, I guess my question is...is this just something she'll grow out of or is it something I need to address? And if it's something I need to address...how? I've always tried very hard to make weight a non-issue around here and I'd be petrified to bring something like this up and have her react negatively, so much that she stops eating. She doesn't seem to be bothered by the extra weight...so maybe I should just let it be?

Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated!

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#2 of 4 Old 04-17-2004, 01:30 AM
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ejcmom, hello! i know when i was a teen, i had a huge growth spurt, almost exactly around the age of 14. I definitely ate more, but it was almost a "couldn't help it" situation. Although she may act like the extra weight doesn't bother her, it probably does. Peers can be quite rude about things like this! I was a teen counselor all through college (im now 24, so it wasnt too long ago) Chances are, she'll get to a certain point and level off. With summer approaching, maybe you could invite her to do some outdoor activities with you?? (walking/biking/taking boys to the park/etc.) I know with a rapid weight gain, your period can go away, mine did not, but everyones different. I would give it another month or so and see what happens, but remember, women are VERY aware of weight gain and loss--especially 14 year olds!! Good Luck with everything!! Let me know if I can help at all!
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#3 of 4 Old 04-17-2004, 01:37 AM
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20# sounds like a lot. How big was she to begin with. I would think if she was very small 20# isn't such a big deal. I worked with teen girls and almost all of them gained about 10 - 15 pounds between middle school and highschool, overnight it seemed. The ones who already were al little rounder seemed to gain less and change less though. It is the ones who were rail thin (about half of them seemed dangerously skinny to me - under 100 pounds but taller than me) Only the skinniest one made it through this phase without gaining anything and I know she is very athletic and doesn't eat much (too busy being everything to everybody)

If you guys have a pretty open relationship then I would definitely find a time to bring it up. It will have to come up sooner or later because you don't gain 20# without needing to buy new clothes. You may want to approach it by telling how nice she is looking and how mature, is there any new clothes she needs etc., . . make a shopping trip of it. Since pregnancy was something you considered you may want to reinforce the fact that boys are going to start noticing her more, be safe, and remember you don't have to hide things form us, we are always here for you etc. . . .

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#4 of 4 Old 04-20-2004, 12:20 AM
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My 12 year old put on 20 pounds in 4 months, I am not sure of the number for my 13 yo. She eats us out of house and home, but is super active. Her periods are not regular, but mine were not either at this point.
Very good of you to worry, keep an eye out and great job keeping the communication open. In out house DS is the food sneaker, but I have yet to figure out why.
Good luck.
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