so.... anyone want to talk about teens, body image and dieting? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 05-10-2003, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Chelsey will be 14 in October. She had a doctors appt today for a p hysical cuz they need that for camp and my folks are footing the bill this year for her to go.

first thing they did was weigh her. She weighed in at 154lbs . she's 5'1". she freaked. started to cry right there. we barely got thru the rest of the exam with the doc and i assuring her that she's beautiful and fine and if she wants to lose some weight we'll both help her to do it safely and properly. She's not obese. She's not fat. She's got my mil's body - she's big. broad shoulders and stuff too.

the doctor explained to her that she's been growing very quickly and now has slowed down. doc and i both discussed with her that her body is changing as she grows into a womans body from a childs body.

she wants to diet. she wants to try to lose 25 lbs by the end of the summer. I can't stop her - so i figure i can help "control" her dieting and make it about "healthy eating" and "changing our eating habits" instead of "going on a diet".

we discussed 1-2lbs per week. we talked about excercise and what she can do to eat less junk. we talked about willpower at school with sodas and candy or taking lunch.

we as a family took a long walk tonight after dinner. we're going to do that everynight. she and zoey rode their bikes. tom and i held the dogs. it was lovely. we'll do it cuz its good for all of us. emotionally and physically.

she wants to diet. we've discussed changing her eating habits and how i can cook to help her too. tonight she cut up cucumbers, carrots and apple slices to snack on. we hard boiled eggs for breakfast so she doesn't eat cereal or toast every morning or grab a donut at school.

i want my child to be healthy physically. she's not fat/obese...but she's getting big. she is still growing too, she'll still grow at least another inch or two i think, but i'm short..she's not going to be tall mamas. I don't want her to have poor body image, to think she's fat, to starve herself or deny herself. she's only a child..she's only 13. I also know that if she loses the weight now it'll be much easier for her to keep it off as she goes thru these high school years. and it will be easier on her self esteem if she does it now. She's wanting to do it. I need to help her while she's wanting to do it, is excited to do it. I don't want to see my child at 17 crying cuz she's "fat". Even if it is about our society and not about her. ya know what i mean? I"ve lived this. I don't want her to have to go thru it.

she is making a list of fruits and snacks she likes. strawberries, celery, cucumbers, carrots, apples with cinnamon, air popped popcorn - she's drinking more water.

raising a teen is so hard. so many fine lines. so many things to think about. she's just my baby. she can be so frail. i want this to not be a bad thing.

i love her so much. and she's so beautiful, even if she doesn't believe me when i tell her
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#2 of 5 Old 05-11-2003, 08:42 AM
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I never dealt with teenager who wants to diet, my dd is on the other side of the scale (12 yo, 5'2" and 78 pounds) but we have this "healthy eating habits" discussions As she is so thin, I don't want her to think that she can eat whatever she wants - she needs to make good choice for health sake!

I'm now loosing weight without a "diet" - only by eating good food and listening to my body. With all those "you have to finish you plate if you want cake" an "don't left anything on your plate - think about those poor kids in Africa who starves : " we loose our hability to act on our body cues about being full. We need to get back in touch with our stomach and learn to know when we've had enough. Add some physical activities and you get my own "diet" I'm loosing a pound a week (some week I haven't loose any- even gain back a pound once or twice) and I'm feeling great- have more energy!

I think that learning to choose healthy food over junk food is something that every kids should learn no matter what their size is!

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#3 of 5 Old 05-12-2003, 05:19 PM
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I'm so sorry your family is going through this issue. I am 5'1 and at her age weighed about the same as her. So I started dieting, and 2 years after beginning dieting was bulimic. That went on for a few years, then worsened into anorexia. Then as an adult, gained a huge amount of weight through pregnancies, again struggled with bulimia and the diet yo-yo. now, I'm overweight but every time I try to lose weight those old behaviors flare up...

So.... I guess in my case my problems with food started when I began dieting. I didn't look bad, in fact, when i see pics of myself then, I think I just look normal. I worked with a nutritionist that specializes in eating disorders a few years back and she sold me on the idea that dieting is bad. The reason as explained to me is that depriving the body of calories lowers the metabolism. so when the person goes back to regular eating, (which you have to do because no one can diet forever) the lower metabolsim makes keeping the weight off impossible. And with each weight gain, then your body defends itself by gaining a few extra pounds as well. So, you freak out and diet even more radically, or exercise, and that starts the disorder.

I'm not saying this will happen to your daughter. I just hope that maybe you can help her avoid this pattern. If I could go back and change what happened to me, I would've exercised more, something enjoyable like a sport or something. I wouldn't have dieted, but would've had healthier choices of foods to choose from instead. Of course that wasn't up to me, my mom did all the shopping. There are probably some really good books on this subject, I just don't know of any.

It's important to note that my parents were not supportive of me in the least. You care about your daughter and are sensitive to her feelings. She is blessed to have your support! Warmly, Heather E

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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#4 of 5 Old 05-14-2003, 08:30 PM
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I have a friend who is going through the same thing. As a teenager myself, I have gone through the whole looking at all of the people on TV and magazines and thinking that I wasn't skinny enough-but everything that the mainstream media shows us is crap. I am normal sized and proud of it! Your dd should be too! I looked at the picture you put a link to, and she is quite gorgeous! Good luck!

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#5 of 5 Old 05-15-2003, 03:04 PM
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I think both you and Chelsey are doing an awesome job of approaching this issue in a healthy way. Eating better foods and getting more exercise are good ideas anyway.

There are two other things I would recommend. One is preventing her from weighing herself very often. If you have a scale at home (sounds like you might not, since she was unaware of her weight before the dr.) put it away and have a "weigh-in" no more than once a week. This will help her avoid getting obsessive about it.

The other is to adopt a policy of never eating out of the package or serving bowl. Chelsey should decide the amount she's going to eat, put it on a plate, close up the package, and put it away. If she still feels hungry after eating that, she should get up and do something else for 15 minutes and then see if she still feels hungry--sometimes it just takes a while for food to "register".

I also gained some weight when I stopped getting taller. It took a little while to adjust to eating slightly less overall food, but once I adjusted it was easy. And I DO clean my plate, except in some restaurants where the portion size is too big--I don't like to waste things, so I serve myself what I'm going to eat and then eat every morsel. There's nothing wrong w/cleaning your plate if it had a sensible portion on it in the first place.

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