Eating disorders are popping up earlier in children than ever before. That doesn't mean you can't help your daughter, but it should be an entire family event, not something that just your daughter has to do. Plan fun events for her (that she enjoys) that are active - an indoor play structure/bounce house, swimming, riding bikes, playing with a wii. There is a Dance Dance Revolution that is considered "plug and play". It plugs directly into the tv and is simple enough that children that age can feel successful while using it (I've done it with children as young as 5). I found mine on Amazon. Try new things with her that you might not be good at either. I've tried playing tennis which I was worse than the kids at, bowling is a fun activity and there is a website http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/ where you can register your daughter and she will get 2 free games every day for the entire summer. In my area there is something called Girls on the Run. It's really great for girls and helps them build self-esteem. The girls stay after school, work with female coaches, have healthy snacks and then the whole group, coaches and all, run or walk a designated distance. The coaches are all wonderful with the girls. Good luck!
I also think that you shouldn't call any change of eating a diet. Even when I was seven, I had heard the phrase, Diet means Die with a T added. So I thought a diet was the end of the world.
Definitely make it a family affair. And say Mom and Dad want to eat healthy. Could you help us out with eating healthy?
I also agree with approaching healthy eating with care. I can remember my parents going on and off diets all my life. And it contributed to my eating today.
Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 1/28/2012 (14:18)
Fitness Minutes: (15,393)
408 1/28/12 1:32 P
As an overweight child, I can personally say that you need to be careful what you say to your child. I was always a larger child - outside my growth curve, I was always taller and weighed more than my peers, but wasn't fat... It wasn't evident until I was about 6 or 7years old that I was overweight. But because I was made fun of and told from a younger age that I was bigger, and apparently that was "bad" (it wasn't at first), I learned to loathe my body. When certain foods were withheld, I found a way to sneak to them. No punishment mattered. The more the idea was hammered into my head that I was somehow "defective" because of my size and the more others tried to control my access, the more I pushed - I binged on whatever I could find.... It continued to the point that food was my only comfort mechanism. And now I"m 30 years old trying to change my disordered eating habits.
I don't know how to help you; but please approach the topic with care. Make changes for the whole family with diet and exercise so that she doesn't feel like an outcast or "defective". Maybe a counselor should be involved at some point, too. I'll pray for your family. I don't want other children to experience what I went through.
Fitness Minutes: (25,744)
814 1/28/12 1:17 P
I can hear the pain of this in your post & hope you are finding workable suggestions. This isn't going to change overnight & I know you know that too.
I have one heavier and one skinny child. It is as hard to keep the slender one fed the right balance of fats, proteins, carbs and fruits/vegetables as it is the heavier child. We focus on good nutrition, as much activity as possible.
My kids see me eating salad, fruits and not much cake, plus running 3x a week & I hope that those simple choices are influencing them. I see changes in them since I started back working out - more willing to go outside, more interested in the quality of their lunch etc.
Model excellent nutrition and exercise habits and invite (not force) your child to join in. Make cake or cookies a choice, but not everyday. Show balance, today is fruit salad, tomorrow is 1/2 cup of ice cream. And, when you do indulge, get really good stuff. Don't buy the ice cream in the big pail, get the little, specially flavoured kind that's about 160-200 calories per 1/2 cup. It tastes so much better! My kids really like ice cream in a cone too, the serving is fun but small.
I grew up with disordered eating & I refuse to put my kids on the same path.
I think family bike rides is an awesome idea! I'm 22 but I still have really fond memories of my 3 siblings and I, and my parents, going for hour-long bike rides along the bike path that goes by a nice stream in my hometown. My parents would actually walk, and my siblings and I rode our bikes (stopping at certain spots to wait for our parents to catch up, while we threw rocks into the stream). We did this from elementary school probably through middle school, several times a week. I always was excited when my parents told us we were going on a bike ride that evening, maybe your daughter would enjoy something like that too.
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344 1/28/12 11:43 A
I was an obese child. My parents did put healthy meals on the table, but they also let me eat what I wanted for snacks because they didn't want me to have a negative self-image. Unfortunately, when I hit middle school and was a fat kid, I got a negative self-image anyways.
They tried signing me up for a soccer, but I HATED team sports. Just loathed them. In high school I got into martial arts and lost some weight. It was a lot more fun. You could see what she's interested in. It's likely at such a young age, there will be active things she enjoys.
I agree with everyone that it's up to you guys to keep healthy food in the house. It will be better for the whole family. I think you can easily explain to children the importance if limiting things like cookies and chips, because you have to keep your body strong so you can live a long life.
Need to follow the example their parents set. Their parents need to set the example of eating correctly, exercing everyday and being given choices that are constructive and not critical.
Fitness Minutes: (15,376)
1,939 1/28/12 8:32 A
It is a parent's duty to put healthy foods on the table. It is then up to the kid to eat the quantities they want. Your job will be to (carefully) be watchful about what the food is. This means ice cream is a rare treat but there are fresh vegetables and healthy meats prepared in a way the kid likes at ever meal. A fruit bowl can be around but it is up to the kid to decide how much. Never force a kid to eat things they hate and never force a kid to limit the amount they want. If you are into grains, then make them whole grains. It is then up to the kid to eat the amount they want. Just my opinion.
Put the whole family on a diet, don't make it just about the kid. Maybe even make it about YOU wanting to be healthier and you're dragging everyone with you. Ban as much junkfood as you can from the house, and if there is a rare dessert, make it clear that it's because of a special occasion. (Not sweets as rewards, though.)
Check out what she is eating at school. Last I heard, there were minimum calorie requirements but no maximum. Are they serving fries every day and calling it a vegetable? You might have to start packing her lunch. Making it pretty might soften that transition.
If she does get into an activity, also carry snacks around so that you never hit a drive-through.
Probably the hardest thing is if her stomach is stretched so that she has trouble feeling full. If she's still hungry at the end of dinner, tell her to play for an hour and then she can have an extra something if she really is still hungry. Don't push this issue to the point of temper tantrum.
Also keep in mind that there might be something minorly wrong. Be persistent in asking. Do your research on what could cause weight troubles outside of diet, then ask them specifically how they know she doesn't have it. Ask if home glucose testing could reveal anything useful, and get tips on how not to traumatize her with it.
As far as exercise goes, is there anything that she likes to do? Before you sign her up for anything.
When I was young I hated sports, still do, and would have cried if my mother had signed me up for any sport. If she had taken me to the indoor pool three times a week to do aqua aerobics, I would have loved that.
I agree with other posters about food journaling as well as getting some blood work done.
Also there are so many hidden calories in the food we and kids eat but by far the worst is what they drink. Does she drink, juice, HiC, chocolate milk, etc? While 100% fruit juice in moderation is fine but the half pints of chocolate milk most schools have now banned has 26 grams of sugar. It's like melting a chocolate bar and letting a child drink it.
I think the best thing to do might be to talk to your husband when your daughter isn't around, and get him on board with very quietly changing the whole family's diet and exercise. Eat what YOU should eat, remove the unhealthy foods from the home, and say nothing at all about it in front of your daughter. It's not going to work if you have things in the house that she's not supposed to eat; that's what leads to secret eating, binge eating, and so on. If her dad doesn't want to give up junk food, at least make him keep it in his desk at work.
Likewise, sending her to do sports or other activities can lead to problems if she doesn't want to go, or if she realizes that you're "making" her do it because she's overweight. On the other hand, if you get bicycles or roller skates for the whole family and go out together a couple of times a week, she'll think of it as normal. You could tell her you just realized that she's old enough to ride bikes, go hiking, etc with you, so she sees it as a new privilege.
As the overweight child of an overweight mother myself, I can't stress enough the importance of leading by example, and also of being very careful about what you say within her hearing. I still remember my parents arguing about my weight when I was no more than three years old. What you do and what you say really will make a lasting impression, for good or bad.
I suggest that you check in your area to see if there is anytype of hospital based program for overweight children. This type program would be for parent and child and involve a food/nutrition component and fitness component.
One of the best books on this topic is: Your Child's Weight: Helping Without Harming by Ellyn Satter
Just adding fruit isn't going to do the trick..she needs the appropriate amount of balanced calories. You said you have already been to a dietician but maybe make another appointment for 2 weeks out. During those 2 weeks, keep a journal of everything (that you know of) that your child is eating...so write down what/how much you gave her for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. BE HONEST! Don't fudge the numbers or cook all the "healthy" meals that you don't normally cook - you want to have them look at a real accounting of what she's eating so that you can get the right tips that will really help you make changes for her! I know many people might feel embarrassed or guilty or whatever, but the dietician is there to really help you figure it out and those feelings will pass - focus on the goal: getting the appropriate dietary info to help your child! Then bring the food journal with you to the appointment and ask for tips and suggestions specific to what they see there. You might tell them that just saying "follow the food pyramid" isn't helping you out (that's what it sounds like you're saying?) so you need more specific instruction.
I also agree about the exercise/activity!! She might not like to go do something by herself or not even know what to do. So, how about a 30 minute walk sometime after dinner as a family? Or family bike rides - find a fun bike trail nearby or just around the neighborhood! If she has friends over, how about providing a fun outdoors game?
I think this is something you definitely need to take seriously and keep trying at until you find a solution! I've been overweight since I was 9 and I wish my parents took the time to get educated and feed me nutritiously. I also wish activity was a part of our lives growing up so it wouldn't be so hard to learn to like it now. My cousins' family always took family walks together and it is such a normal part of their lives as adults now.
Perhaps ask the doctor to check her sugar levels/insulin resistance. She might not be able to process sugar (even fructose) properly causing slight weight gain. A balanced diet is always good for a growing child!
Just adding fruit to her diet won't cause her to lose weight any more than it would make an adult lose weight. She should be eating lots of veggies, lean protein, some whole grains and fruit, and minimal processed, refined junk. Portion sizes are most important, the same as with an adult. Look around the boards for ideas on healthy, balanced meals. She should be eating the same way her parents eat, only somewhat less. She shouldn't have to eat any differently than the rest of the family. I don't know what kind of portion sizes or calorie ranges are ideal for a growing child, but my guess is that you don't want her on much of a deficit. Ask her doctor.
I agree with the others regarding handling the situation with care. You don't want to give her the impression that she's not "allowed" to have certain foods *unless* she's slim and thus set up the idea that she is somehow being punished for being heavy. There's a big difference between saying "these foods are good for our bodies so we should eat them most of the time, and these foods aren't so we only have them as treats" and telling her that she has to eat health food because she's too big. I'm not saying you're doing that, but it's important to be very aware of the message you're sending. :)
buy her a wii or kinect so she'll stay active even if you can't kick her outside to play.
Also, talk to her teachers...she may be swapping food at lunch. I'm not sure what you can do to prevent it but it would be good to know if that is what is happening because you could adjust her other meals to offset it and find out what she would like to have in her lunch so she won't trade it (and there is always a way to 'healthify' whatever she wants).
Even though kids are growing it is important to keep their weight under control so it's good that you aren't just ignoring the issue. Part of why I've had trouble with my weight as an adult is because no one thought to teach me about nutrition as a child so I didn't see a problem with what I was eating and didn't know that there was such a thing as emotional eating. It's a lot easier to break bad habits when young than after they've been habits for years.
Even if this is tough on her now she'll thank you when she is older and healthy and looks back at how you helper her. Just be sensitive in how you approach her about weight and make sure she knows she's beautiful.
Fitness Minutes: (4,362)
3,171 1/27/12 2:47 P
As a person who is recovering from an eating disorder, I would suggest to please do your research on how to approach the subject.
Depriving her of something could lead to binge eating or another serious eating disorder.
I'm sure lots of people on here have horror stories of disordered eating that began in childhood.
Toddlers and Tiaras had a show last week where they moms talked about how they put their daughters on diets. It was so sad to watch the little girl binge eat a piece of cake that her own mom baked.
Fitness Minutes: (34,249)
260 1/27/12 2:33 P
I wouldn't worry about it too much because she is growing and you also don't want to saddle her with a negative body image.
Just make sure that you limit junk food and have plenty of healthy options for her. Fruit is good, but vegetables have less sugar so you may want to offer more of those.
Also see that your daughter is active. It is recommended that children get 90 minutes of physical activitiy a day. Consider enrolling her in a physical activitiy if she isn't in one already: dance class, martial arts, some kind of sport. You can also take family walks, go to the partk, etc. Make it fun and not about weight loss.
I have a 7 year old daughter that is severely overweight, weighs 102 pounds. We've had her to the doctor and to the dietician. They keep telling me to follow the food pyramid when planning her meals. We tried to change her eating and starting giving her lots of fruit, she gained weight. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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