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Children and Obesity

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yup...I'm going there....

I am going there simply because this is something that has been weighing on my psyche for some time now. (No pun intended)

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't worry, maybe even obsess about my daughter and her weight.

Truth be told, I think she is 'fat'.
There....I said it!
I know, I could I be her mother and say that?!

Trust me, it's hard to like myself when I think my own child is fat. YES, she is TALL, and YES she IS a solid girl...I don't dispute that...but she is definitely not average or thin...NOT AT ALL!

Now is she obese? Definitely NOT.
Can she get there....DEFINITELY!

She is 10 ( turned 10 in July) and weighs, as of yesterday, 112.4lbs and is 4', 10.5" tall.
When I 'chart' her, she falls in the 90th or so percentile for weight and the 85th percentile for height.
That has dropped over the last year. She was, from birth to 9 years old, ALWAYS at the 95th percentile in both categories. Which is respectable. It just made her a 'big' girl.

Well now that the weight is in a higher percentile than the height, I have a concern. As long as the 2 numbers are the same, she would be relatively proportioned. With the weight being higher than the height, we are now in a gaining weight position.

Now I know what you are all thinking....some of you are wondering if I have taken her to the Dr, some are wondering why the hell I am obsessing and some of you ( a very SMALL %) are thinking, good for you for being mindful now.

I have heard everything from anybody I mention it to. From, "Don't Worry, she'll grow out of her baby fat" to "she is just a solid girl" to "she's not fat" to "you are worrying for nothing" to "is she active" to " does she eat well" to "insert whatever statement here!"

The truth is...
1) YES we have seen our family Dr. He thinks I don't need to worry YET, but I should be aware of her activity levels and exercise.

2) She hates team sports, and we are still trying to find out what activities make her tick. This is NOT an easy process. There is ONE of me...and TWO my time is spread between all of us. She apparently doesn't like 'team' sports. I am trying to introduce her to running and it MAY be working.

3) The other issue is that my daughter has an anxiety disorder that really, most people just shrug off as insignificant. But let me tell you it is ANYTHING BUT that. It rules her life, and that includes activity levels. Fear is a very interesting thing and it does nasty things to ones self-esteem.
No one can understand until it happens to them or their child....and even then...let me tell you...I struggle daily with it. It is VERY difficult to empathize with something that makes no LOGICAL sense. Things that are not and never have been issues with my son are totally uncontrollable with my daughter.

4) She LOVES food...all kinds...she does not discriminate AT ALL!!! Equal opportunity for all...healthy,'s all good in her world! It has been since birth.
I remember logging her intake and then comparing it to my son's intake...WOW...she doubled his...that being said she was 2lbs heavier at birth, so I paid no attention to that in the beginning. But then I started to wonder, could it be something that was programmed in her before she ever even hit the streets?

5) I think genes play a big roll in this. Her father is a 'teddy bear' type shaped guy. He is NOT obese but he is a big man. He is 5', 10" and 182lbs or so. He was heavier when we met but has been working on bringing it down to a healthy size. From what I can tell, by pictures, he has always been a bigger guy. He has huge, solid legs and a very round face where you just want to squeeze the cheeks. Payton is really built just like him. Being a girl, I fear will make it more difficult for her to keep her weight under control.

The average "White North American Girl" at 10 years old is 4', 2.5" tall and weighs 70.4lbs. That's 8 inches LESS and 42lbs LESS than Payton.

Since the beginning of September, when I added family activity to my goals, Payton has dropped just over 3lbs. She started off at 116lbs.
My goal is not to have her 'lose' weight but rather maintain what she has and simply get healthy while she still grows, taller.

It's a fine line too...when she constantly wants to eat because she says she is hungry. it's hard to stop it without throwing the F word out there. I keep reinforcing the getting healthy angle so as not to reek havoc on her self esteem. I don't want her to think she is a FAT girl, but I also don't want her to walk around with her head in the sand either. I don't want to add to her anxieties by constantly 'monitoring' her food and exercise levels.

I know this is taking a toll on her psychologically....I agonize over it ALL the time...and before you ask...YES she HAS a therapist....

I want her to feel proud of herself, and love herself. Maybe I need to show her that I am proud of her and love her no matter what. But truth be told...I am not proud.

I am not proud that this could be happening to my daughter. I am not proud that I have never pushed her hard enough to challenge herself, so now she has a lazy streak when it comes to exercise.
I am not proud that I cave in to her when she drives me absolutely bonkers when she wants something 'bad' at a stupid hour (her tenacity is HUGE). I am not proud that while I was going through a HUGE depression, I let her eat whatever the hell she wanted. I am not proud that my daughter has stretch marks at 10 years old. I am not proud that her waist is 32' around. I am not proud that she is going to struggle for the rest of her life because I wasn't able to help her early enough in her life.
Basically, I am not proud that I created this mess!

The more I sit her typing this, the more angry I get with myself and the more I just want to cry. What have I done? What have I done?

I am contributing to the INSANE ever growing obesity levels out there. I am fully AWARE that I have done it too... It's disgusting quite frankly.

I am an adult child of an alcoholic, and instead of passing on the addiction to alcohol and substances, I am passing on the addiction of food. I am no better to my daughter than my mother was to me....that is a HUGE eye opener for me.
Sure I don't beat her or ignore her or say abusive things to her, but I haven't successfully stopped the addiction cycle. I have failed her that way.

And you son is a thin boy...small, doesn't eat much, but he's no better off....he eats unhealthy, he rarely exercises. But he has genes on his side. Built EXACTLY like HIS father, he will never struggle with weight, I assure you...but will he be healthy? Probably not.

So for now I continue to educate my daughter as I get educated. I continue to enroll her in different sports/activities hoping SOMETHING will take. I continue to hound her when she wants to eat after 8. I continue to encourage her to run with me. I continue to have her drink as much water as possible. I continue to not bring CRAP into my house. I continue to tip toe around the 'F' word in her presence.

I continue to worry and obsess over her weight and health daily....

Later Sparkers

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Here's an example of her next to another girl her age
She had just finished her first Piano Recital...very Happy :)

Taken in Sept on one of our family activity days along side her older brother (4 years older)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I like the suggestion to try some kind of martial arts. Not only will it help Payton be active in an individual kind of way, but it might also help her psychologically with the mind-body connection aspect. Running and swimming are my sports of choice (I also hate team sports). I also liked singles tennis as a teen. You're part of a team but play as an individual.
    3744 days ago
    I was just like your daughter. I remember being in 3rd grade and just hitting the 100lb mark. I was so embarrassed in gym class when they did weigh-ins (why do they do that?!) My gym teacher would always write mine down and show me instead of saying it outloud. So embarrassing. I was also called blue whale at that time. Both of those experiences stuck with me and even to this day, I still recall them too fondly. I developed a bad body image too early in life and it left me feeling terrible about myself and I struggled until I found SparkPeople.

    I completely understand what you are going through with your little girl. My oldest just turned 5. He is a very solid kid at 54 lbs and is tall for his age. Because he is so different from the majority of his classmates/friends, I worry...worried...about him turning out like me. I was projecting my insecurities and bad experiences onto him, fearing he is going to go through the same things I did. My husband talked me down in we agreed to do our very best to build up our kids' self esteem and confidence. TO do this better, I decided *I* needed to change myself. I needed to shed my poor body image so that the kids would have a great role model on how to love yourself and stay healthy. When my daughter was born (I have 2 sons and 1 daughter-the youngest) I immediately started to have flashbacks to when I was young and going through these problems. I again vowed to not project my problems onto her and have her grow up the way I did.

    AURELIA143 had a great suggestion about a "single" sport like martial arts. My oldest is not into competitive sports either (though he did like baseball but he stuck to himself the whole time). We really want to get him into martial arts and HE really wants to do it. I think he would love it (he is not very athletic either) and we want to get him more active.

    And I am proud of you too for being concerned and honest about your daughter. Its easy to say this to those closest to you but to actually utter the words out loud to "strangers" is hard! emoticon
    3748 days ago
    First I have to say....LET GO OF YOUR GUILT!!!!!
    The way u are putting yourself down on what was is NOT helping you or your daughter!!
    You may not say it but she Knows it..she can sense it. My Girl was always in the 90-95 percentile but never "fat" solid muscle so i never had to worry about what she ate. Then the fat crept up on us...less active and more chocolate....she felt fat. We contacted her doctor who made the Huge misstake of saying In front of her that she could stand to lose 20 lbs.....u dont say that to a 9 year-old...totally devestated her, anyways, he referred us to a weightprogram at the hospital to get help. They have the same opinion as you....maintain the weight and Grow into it.
    They taught my girl that she is great the way she is, no matter what. That her focus and goal should be on being healthy no matter what the scale said. Also that her body composition is what determines how "skinny" she can get.
    My girl is now 13 and a half and has a sound body image of what healthy is. Yes, she does not want to participate when the class go swimming cause she has stretchmarks.....and yes she wants to loose some weight...about 10 lbs, but if she dont she is ok.
    Many preteens get stretchmarks and sometimes they go away. If She is bothered by them try Cocoabutter, it does help.

    It is good that you are keeping an eye on it and her health, but please dont make a main focus. I think you are doing a good job!
    3749 days ago
    First I have to say....LET GO OF YOUR GUILT!!!!!
    The way u are putting yourself down on what was is NOT helping you or your daughter!!
    You may not say it but she Knows it..she can sense it. My Girl was always in the 90-95 percentile but never "fat" solid muscle so i never had to worry about what she ate. Then the fat crept up on us...less active and more chocolate....she felt fat. We contacted her doctor who made the Huge misstake of saying In front of her that she could stand to lose 20 lbs.....u dont say that to a 9 year-old...totally devestated her, anyways, he referred us to a weightprogram at the hospital to get help. They have the same opinion as you....maintain the weight and Grow into it.
    They taught my girl that she is great the way she is, no matter what. That her focus and goal should be on being healthy no matter what the scale said. Also that her body composition is what determines how "skinny" she can get.
    My girl is now 13 and a half and has a sound body image of what healthy is. Yes, she does not want to participate when the class go swimming cause she has stretchmarks.....and yes she wants to loose some weight...about 10 lbs, but if she dont she is ok.
    Many preteens get stretchmarks and sometimes they go away. If She is bothered by them try Cocoabutter, it does help.

    It is good that you are keeping an eye on it and her health, but please dont make a main focus. I think you are doing a good job!
    3749 days ago
    OK. This is for sure a tough subject and of course I am not unbiased.

    I have read most of the thoughtful comments that people have left here.

    You are doing the right things by having a therapist for her etc.

    This is a real minefield. AT risk is her future self esteem.

    Like the people before me said... she is perceptive. You don't have to use the 'F' word. She can read between the lines. She does know what you are "up" to and probably what you think. It is worse of course because of her "skinny" brother not getting the exact same treatment. (not saying he should)

    However, the point I like most out of all of the previous comments is the one that said to lead by example. That is the best thing you can do for her.

    I am not sure the constant dialogue about her food is a good idea. You have told given her the tools to make good choices. If she wants to eat after 8pm I think you say: "Payton, eating after 8pm is not a good idea but it is your choice"

    At 10 years old you have to let her have control over how much she eats. You control her choices of food, she chooses how much.

    If you don't let go now I think she will start sneaking food, feeling guilty about food and have even bigger issues.

    All you can do is teach her the "right way" and give her good tools. You have to let her control the food herself.

    Now it is tempting to make those choices for her. If she was 5 years old that would be one thing. But 10? I'm not so sure. It is terrifying to sit back and watch her makes choices that you don't agree with but if you teach her how to eat properly but don't nag and fight... she stands a better chance of not getting some sort of disorder.

    How do you think those kids dragged off to weight watchers at 13 really feel about themselves? How sucessful do you think that tactic is? Having a child ask you permission about food constantly can't be that much different.

    This is all easy for me to say. I am not in your boat (yet). I say it all with love and I say you are doing an excellent job being a role model. Keep on modelling!!! That is the toughest part! emoticon
    3751 days ago
    I applaud you for putting so much out there about your daughter's issues. I struggle with these as well. My kids, like yours (although younger) have the same body types. My 7 yr old son takes after his dad, tall, very lean, eat anything you want and stay small. My 5 yr old daughter takes after me, LOVES ALL FOOD, but you can definitely tell. She's at 90th percentile for weight and 70th for height. Like your daughter, those number were the same until this past spring. Kate's not into sports, would rather color and draw. Will eat anything, but wants to eat all the time. Her Dr. just recently had issue with this, which is where my journey began. I try to make the healthy choices the only option in our house. Because of that, she hasn't gained any weight, but hasn't lost either. I think we are doing right by our kids by trying to show them the healthy way to live, I just wish there was something more we could do. I don't want me daughter to go through the things I did growing up. My whole family is obese and I need to end that cycle. Thank you for writing this blog. I think more people need to take a harder look at their children and see how they can make a difference in their lives and maybe we could slow down the childhood obesity epidemic.
    3751 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6141008
    I think you have to be careful that although you are no using the f word, the idea of it may be seeping out of you. Children are very perceptive. Just remember that your daughter probably hears all about fat at school, and while you aren't saying it the other stuff my hint it.

    IMO, your trying to focus on getting healthy with your daughter is how you should be thinking about her too. Sure, weight is a trigger of worry, but at 10 years old that is not the main concern. Fix the healthy stuff and she will grow out of it. Children under 12, unless they are very obese, should not aim to lose weight. They should aim to grow out of it.

    For exercise - lots of kids like bikes. And swimming. Has she tried these? Or you could combine exercise with something she already enjoys - maybe dancing, or if she likes drawing go on walks for new things to draw.

    One simple thing my mum used to do to get us more active was turn the TV off. We didn't have computer games. She just used to kick us outside to play. If it was cold or raining she'd put us extra layers on. Creative outside play can be very active.

    Maybe you could also talk to her more about food types - protein, fat, simple carbs + complex carbs, fibre etc. I'm sure there must be some resources out there than help you talk to your kid about this stuff and its effect on the body.

    3751 days ago
    I actually was an overweight girl, at that same age. I watched my mom struggle with her own weight, and ideas about food, and saw her run, but somewhere in there my life became more and more sedentary and I mostly picked up the negative aspects and habits from my mom. I was in Jazzercise as a small child, she took me to Weight Watchers before I was 13. I don't think she ever called me "fat", but kids in school did. And her weight loss efforts were reinforcement that there was something wrong with me, and I was less confident, and had less self-esteem and wanted to withdraw more.

    Just remember that offering the exercise is great, but kids are more perceptive than we realize. She knows that you worry about her, she must. And as she grows into her teenage years, you don't want exercise to be a place where she asserts her independence and decides to rebel against you. You are a good mom, thinking about supporting your kids. But it should all be taken into perspective. You are not 'contributing to the childhood obesity problem'. You are involved in your kids lives and working to fight childhood obesity.

    3751 days ago
    Fantastic blog !
    Thought I would mention to you about my friend, Shelagh.She is a tall woman-
    Five feet, eight inches, and slender. She once told me that, until she turned
    eleven, she was quite "chunky " ! Then, she had a growth spurt, and morphed
    into a slimmer girl !
    ...Just thought I'd mention this possibility...
    All the best to you and your lovely family !
    3751 days ago
    It is very brave of you to acknowledge this issue and write about it. I am sure there are other parent's out there who feel guilt, concern, and don't know what to do to help their child. It sounds like you are doing a lot of good things to help your daughter maintain her weight: giving her healthy food options, being a good role model for her, finding ways to get her activity, staying away from the "f" word.

    When I was a child and teenager I had anxiety and was extremely shy. My parents never put me in sports or did anything about it. Being involved in her life will do wonders for her. Since she doesn't like the team sports, I think trying more new activities until she finds the right one that she enjoys will make a huge difference. Keep things positive for her and create meaningful experiences that involve the family and being active. I was also a "big" girl for my age, not overweight, but bigger than other girls. I did eventually grow out of it, but never learned the healthy habits to maintain a healthy weight as an adult.

    You are wonderful mom. I wish more people were aware of what's going on with their children, maybe we would have such an childhood obesity problem. I am sure you are a wonderful example to your daughter and that will make a huge difference for her.
    3752 days ago
  • NITELITE72 I read this and I had to think about it for awhile before I came back to post a comment. Why, you ask?? Because I felt like it was me writing the same thing about my oldest son. The younger one is a little string bean...tall and thin...imagine that!!

    I deal with so many of the same things you are dealing with. My son was diagnosed PDD-NOS. He is somewhere on the autistic spectrum...although very high functioning, but definitely struggles socially and deals with some anxiety. He hates team sports, also. As a young child they just frustrated him because he could not keep up. He loves golf, likes to swim, and took Tae Kwon Do for several years. I have tried to help him find activities that were good for him, but didn't require him to be a part of a team.

    My dad was an alcoholic...and I have also worried that I would pass on the food addiction to my children. I also went through a period where I was very depressed. I joke that I ate my way through the entire thing...that is how I ended up at the weight I am today. My son probably could have said that he was going to eat six gallons of ice cream for dinner and I would have asked him if he had enough napkins!

    I have blamed myself for so many things...for the time that I lost while I was in a horrible relationship with Joey's dad and the depression that followed. I should have been "there" instead of throwing a pity party. It won't help to blame yourself! I know from experience.

    I think you are an amazing mother for caring the way you do. Most of all, your kids know that you love them! You are modeling the lifestyle that you hope your daughter will live. You spend time with her and you are encouraging her to be healthy. I know she must be proud of you and the journey you are on right now! You are doing a great job!!! Give yourself a break!! (That is an order!! :)
    3753 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/16/2010 11:41:02 AM
  • no profile photo CD7547131
    Your daughter is beautiful. I think your concerns are absolutely reasonable. Maybe instead of sports, you can get her involved with girl scouts or even have her volunteer at an animal shelter to walk the dogs... That way it's not a "sport" but still a place for her to connect with others in ways that is not as competitive and a little more friendly than sports. She might enjoy martial arts. It is more individualized and it seems the emphasis is more on what you CAN do and ANYONE can do it. It is more of a mental thing more than a physical thing and that might appeal to her, if she enjoys doing doing activities that require a lot of mental ability and mastery. My son, who is 6, goes to Tae Kwon Do and there's a girl there who is probably about 10 who is pretty chubby and tall. When she started, she was anxious and nervous, but her parents made her stick with it. You could see the worry on her face about her body at first, but as she's learned more, she is less inhibited by her size. She's now about 2 months in and she's really shining more and more each week. It is a surprisingly positive environment. Its like competing against yourself instead of the others.
    I met another Mom who had just enrolled her kids. She wanted to get them more active. She has 3 - 2 boys and a girl - and she said she was very surprised at her one son wanting to do Tae Kwon Do because he (her words) is a "typical nerd" and is a violinist, likes doing logic puzzles, reading science books, and really is not into sports or athletic anything. (contrast to her other son in the class who is like, athlete supreme) All three of her kids are doing great...despite how different they are.
    Good luck to you and I'm proud of you for being HONEST about your daughter. We know you love her and you're not trying to be mean or belittle her with the F word...

    3753 days ago
    I was obese all my life and worried horribly when, at 12 years of age my son weighed 150 lbs . His brother is genetically wired like his dad and was always on the low end of the weight chart. Same house, same parents, same meals and food choices. Different challenges for different people.

    I, like you made a conscious decision to NEVER focus on or mention the "f" word. He also did not like team sports, (it's difficult to keep up with 'normal' weight kids when you're competing for things) but thankfully found a love for swimming. (fat is very buoyant hence giving a 'heavier' kid advantage over lighter ones and potentially making them successful). Being part of a team builds that camaraderie and confidence..........And what better exercise could there be????

    He weighed that same 150 lbs until he was 16. And by that time, peer pressure and influences helped him make good choices all on his own. Today, he understands and jokingly verbalizes how he got 'ripped off' inheriting the 'f' gene.

    So, one last thing on this very long post.
    Yesterday I read a small article about what makes one powerful and the idea I took most from it was 'There is strength and power in the 'pause'" Sometimes we make things worse by trying to fix things before they work themselves out.

    You are a great concerned mom and you're children are very lucky to have you!
    HAve a great day.
    3753 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8303045
    I want to say thank you for worrying about your daughter like that. I was't tall, but I was always heavy for my weight. And although I never became skinny or even a normal weight as a child I was much better off for having the mother I did. Someone who made me eat better and organized family activities like hiking that got me moving. I think that is the key, you can be concerned about her weight, but most importantly you should be helping her learn healthier habits.
    3753 days ago
    She is a lovely girl, and good for you for being on top of things.

    One thought I had when you said she's always hungry and doesn't discriminate between healthy and not foods--I was *always* "hungry" until I put some effort into making sure I drank at least 8 glasses a day. Now that I do, I am much less "hungry."

    I read somewhere here that your body can't tell if it's hungry or thirsty so when you need water you tend to want to eat (and keep eating because it doesn't help the thirst much!).

    Your mileage may vary, but I'm wondering if a cute sports bottle of water to have with her regularly would help her overall hunger?

    (duh--I just reread where you said you are having her drink as much water as possible--don't know how I missed that before! Still wishing you the best with this!)
    3753 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/16/2010 9:26:28 AM
  • QUEENK16
    I think you are doing an excellent job creating a positive environment for her! As parents, we all have similar concerns for our children. My son is 11. I've found the best way to encourage his healthy eating habits is to have him help with meal planning & preparation. (He likes to cook!) I've also found that I can get him to be more active by making the opportunities available. Like sometimes when I'm on the elliptical, I'll call him down "to talk" & he'll end up on the stationary bike.

    Setting a good example is the best thing we can do as parents.

    3754 days ago
    The only idea I can pitch that, besides running (and if you can afford it) get her involved in some sort of martial art. Karate, tae kwon do, judo, what-have-you. It's not a team sport, and your victories and defeats are ALL YOU. It's a field of exercise that embodies personal responsibility, discipline, goal-setting, and achievement. You learn in a group setting, but in the end, how quickly and highly you progress and your proficiency are all determined by the person. Perhaps this sport will help her self-confidence and assist in mediating her anxiety? Check out the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club or local community center/recreation department for opportunities.

    I wish you success and peace in you and your daughter's health journeys.
    3754 days ago
    I wish my mom (single parent)would have worried like you!

    Would it have changed the way I saw food and exercise when I was younger? Who knows... I was in Jazz dancing when I was about 7-9, when I didn't want to go, my mom didn't make me. I was in soccar when I was 12-13, but again, she never made me participate. I think if she would have been a bit more forceful with having me participate/complete things, I would have eventually enjoyed physical activity

    I do know that for a long period in my life, I was lazy and ate crappy food, I remember my mom buying me separate food for supper, becaue I wouldn't eat the healthy homecooking she would make.

    I think you just including her in all your activities and healthy changes will eventually impact her in a positive way, she will start to see changes and like them and feel better as a whole. She's only 10, so I doubt she thinks about what this will mean when she is 13-14.

    Do not blame yourself, you've done the best you could under the circumstances, and the fact that you trying to better it all now shows that you are a terrific person/mother/mom
    3754 days ago
    Hey there,
    Okay, I had parents who did (and still do for that matter) who stocked the house with crap food. I'm talking like tv dinners, cookies, candy, EVERYTHING. At the age of 16 I weighed 197lbs and thought that the only way to take it off would be to diet like a maniac. I did this for years because no one taught me how to do anything good for my body. My brother and my sister, both younger, have paid the price- my sister has to be nearing 250lbs and likes to "tell me how it is" by saying she can eat whatever she wants since she didn't eat all day. Umm...right. My brother, who has grown to 6'2" and weighs around 180 and plays hockey may have "grown out" of his baby fat, but that doesn't make him any healthier than my sister or healthier than I was.
    The whole point of this is that, looking back, if I had had a parent think about me the way you think about your daughter and one who did the things you are doing for your kids, I wouldn't have had to go through all this tough stuff to get to where I am today. I used to "hate" team sports [and I still get weirded out by being like "hey, let's go for a run" with a friend of mine] because the idea of having to do anything physical made me feel like more of a big loser. I don't know if maybe she's dealing with that or not, but I think that's a big part of claiming (when you're a young girl) to hate team sports---you don't want to risk being made fun of or whatever because you're not as good as kids who have been very very active at playing sports since they were like 5.
    I don't know, but my parents also didn't force me to join anything or to stick with anything when I joined either- and because of that I never did join anything for more than like 2 months and my health and wellbeing paid for it. So I think by you encouraging her to join something or to join with you on a run is really really great. She might complain about it now, but I'm assuming it's something that you'll have to deal with as a parent and it's something she'll really value looking back on when she's a fit healthy adult.
    I say keep at what you're doing- no unhealthy food in the house and consistent running and working out. I think since she's growing up with it as part of a healthy adult lifestyle, she will eventually fall into place and make it a part of her own life.

    3754 days ago
    I definitely wish my parents had this kind of concern for my weight as I was growing up. Actually, I'm sure they did, but never vocalized it to me. My mother was always a larger woman (she passed away when I was a teenager) and I think she was overly concerned with my body image and perception of myself. She always made sure never to use the F word around me, even when talking about herself. It was very important to her that I not go through life dying to be thin, or thinking there were foods I shouldn't eat, and the concept of moderation became foreign to me. The result was that I started gaining weight steadily once I hit puberty, and was overweight for a good 20 years.
    It most definitely is a fine line between teaching your daughter healthy habits and giving her body image issues, but I think you are handling it well. You are an excellent example for her, and encouraging her to eat healthy. Seeing you enjoy running will also rub off on her. I know how difficult it is, especially as a girl, to watch my brother eat everything in sight and still be as skinny as a rail, but Payton has you to relate to. With you as her inspiration, she will most certainly learn how great it feels to be fit, and how easy and enjoyable it can be to keep herself that way.
    3754 days ago
    Haha, I'm glad I could help!! I want to add one more VERY important thing...

    There were other girls from my high school at the same gym. They were the thinner, or fitter, pretty ones. Seeing them there taught me the reality of being fit: it doesn't usually come natural. I felt like I was part of THEIR club, even though we didn't talk. I knew their secrets (lol), and that really helped me with self you can see, I do not struggle with haha.

    Thanks for the feedback!
    3754 days ago
    Hum, I think your arguement above is very notable. Its great as a parent that you are able to notice the changes in your kids lifestyles and want to instill healthy habits to replace the less healthy behaviour we all partake in.

    I was a rather slim child, litterly all the way up to the end of Grade 8. I come from a European background (lots of food, family dinners, more so fattening dishes then 'healthy' choices).

    I was never really into team sports, prefured the piano (went all the way up to my teachable, and played at the royal conseravtory in TO). Very fun when you excell at something, that you dont have a lot of competitiveness - everyone just chuggs along at their own pace!

    Looking back now, it was hard for me to keep my attention on 1 thing (hence why I never really wanted to commit to a sport that would cost lots of money). If I quite I would feel guilty and feel bad that my parents spent money on me.

    My parents got me into skiing (for my b-day in December one year - they opted to have Ski parties each year when I was young). We did snow=shoeing, bikeriding, a little bit of tennis ( hand-eye co-ordination is still not that but you get the picture - they tried to integrate things that would be relativly physical without making me feel like I was 'siging up for life'. I found I had success with managing my weight through HS mostly doing these activities. I also didnt mind running, but not enough to join 'track & field teams'. I still dont really like how competitve certian aspects of sport can become (maybe your daughter feels the same way)?

    If your dauhter isnt opposed to getting a small amount of excercise in, then maybe check out some 'Booty Bootcamp' classes that you and her can take together - that way you can go, be a team and cheer each other on! Maybe go running on some trails or hiking in a safe area. (all things I would do with my couzins growning up)

    Looking back now, I would have benifited from learning what 100cals was worth, in excerices and what it would do to my body. Thus helping me make better decisions once I hit college and university (my heaviest years). I totaly think if you were to impliment an awareness of it with her, not so that she is obsessed with them, but just aware of her total per day, how much she might burn doing an activity she loves...might just help her gain a better understanding of all the yummy foods around her!

    I wish you and your daughter the best of luck, and I know with a caring mom such as yourself, she will have lots of support, and guidance to help her along the way! :)
    3754 days ago
  • ANNE7X7
    We've talked about this, and you know how I feel. Payton is a beautiful girl, and she is no matter what her size it. However, I was also the "bigger girl" as a child, and I know it can be hard. I'm so proud of you for being concerned with this, as many parents simply don't even bother addressing this. There is a fine line between doing too much (giving her a complex about food) and not enough (letting her weight get out of control), and you are doing an awesome job of finding the right balance.

    I think that based on what the doctor said, and all the healthy new habits you are bringing in the house, she will be okay. Teach her by example that it is fun to workout and that healthy food is GOOD. You've already been teaching her about portion size and healthy food, and she will be thankful for that!

    Don't worry! You are not letting the cycle of addiction continue, because you are addressing it NOW. You are doing something to work at it.

    And guess what: some people have genes that make them more likely to be bigger or to have stronger cravings. Based on what you tell us, her father passed on that gene, but he has been successful in keeping things in check! Oh, and PS, I have that gene. It wasn't an easy journey, but I am now healthy and without that journey I wouldn't be who I am today. Payton is lucky to have a mom who loves her enough to take care of this BEFORE it becomes a problem!
    3754 days ago
  • EMMA2727272
    Well, I think that a lot of your worries and struggles are ones that are shared by mothers everywhere. I am not yet a parent, so I cannot say how I would actually deal with these kinds of worries and struggles.. but I can shed some light on my own childhood..

    My mother, until very recently, has been overweight & obese my whole life, and most of my life I knew that she was. She had 3 children (me being the last child... 9 years after the second child) and my dad moved out of my house by the time I was 4. I knew my whole life that she was stressed, depressed, and doing the best she could. But often, we ate bad things for dinner... She didn't know what healthy eating was which equated to me not knowing either. She joined weight watchers a few times, lost weight, went back up in weight, left ww and then joined again. And gauranteed this made her more depressed than when she started. We didn't do family 'outings' where I would walk or go to the park... She let me eat whatever I wanted, when I wanted and gave in all too easily when I said I wanted something. I know that my sister struggles with the same areas that I do and when we were growing up, I remember her trying to lose weight.. sometimes working out at odd times.

    Well, I am far from perfect now but I think my whole family turned out alright. I didn't learn my healthy habits from my mother, but from her I learned (eventually) what I didn't want to be like and, with the help of sparks, I learned what it actually took to live a healthy life. I love and respect my mother SO much. She did everything for us kids.. everything she knew how to do.

    Which comes down to... what I believe really counts is setting up a proper foundtation of knowledge and examples. You are her role model and you are committing to a healthy life. It might take her awhile to catch up to you.. because she is a kid and things don't 'click' in their minds right away all the time.. but I believe that if you continue to set positive examples then she will follow. It is a parent's job to try to get their kids to eat the right stuff and in the right amounts, and to try to get them to be active as a LIFESTYLE and not as a means to stay in shape... Ultimately, no matter how many times you measure her stats, she is going to grow up and do the things that she wants to do and is going to learn the most from looking at what you do.

    I think you are doing a great job at being her mother simply because you care so much! You love her, are looking out for her and are trying to protect her and I think that no matter what, she will see that and love you for it.
    3754 days ago
    You said you had already gotten advice from many people so I'm not sure you are looking for more but, let me tell you, you are going to be getting some. From many people.
    Another reason you wrote this may have been to get your feelings of frustration, confusion, anger, sadness, everything all out. Cause once it's out it's out & you can only start feeling better.
    Here's my thoughts...
    ..about you: Have you ever met a perfect parent? I haven't. I'm not one myself. Being imperfect is not horrible, it's human & that's what we all are. You & your mom, me & both my parents. So, there's no getting angry at yourself, just learning. Your disappointed in some decisions you made. Ok. Now we move on from here.

    ....about Payton: Proverbs says train up a child in the way they should go & when he is old he will not depart from it. I don't know if I got the words exact, but you get my point. You are teaching her how to be healthy. She may not be acting on it like you want her to but that doesn't mean it's not in her head to think about. When she resists remind her your not expecting anything more out of her than you already do of yourself. She wants cookies at 8pm? I want some too, but we already had our treat & we are tougher than those cookies.

    You know she is young. She has a long life ahead of her. As she gets older there will be more & more choices she has to make for herself. She has a good mom so I have no doubt that she is going to turn out to be just as awesome as you are.

    I have a cousin, a Payton also, who is 11. She is much bigger around than your Payton. This year she decided she didn't want to be so big. Her dr told her how many calories she should be eating & she keeps a notebook & tracks it all. Last I heard, about 2 months ago, she had lost 20 lbs. My little sister was 12 lbs when she was born. She was a chubby kid & started dieting when she was 8. When she hit her teen years she turned curvy & voluptuous, my brothers were always getting into fights when boys were to oogly googly, & she was the Homecoming Queen.

    My point is all will turn out ok if:
    1) you are her rock.
    2) don't stress about it. if you do she will & that's not going to help.
    3) make sure she knows you are doing it together & at the same time.
    4) be excited about her future & she will be too.

    There's tons of other stuff I could say but I've gone on too much already! I'm no therapist but I am your friend & I care about your feelings.

    PS: The piano is probably just the start of the many things you are proud of her for. My Natalie started playing the piano when she was 10. Now she is really good. She wants to cry when I make her play at church. The other kids tease her. (I've got a blog about that in my head, too - Teenage Girls.)
    3754 days ago
    Oh, boy, can I relate to this! Including an anxiety-ridden daughter who takes after her endomorphic father's side, made worse by the fact that she has a twin sister who takes after the ectomorphs on my side (built just like my sister who at 50+ STILL eats junk every day and doesn't gain a pound, the bi-otch!).

    And, like you, I blamed myself. But here's where we differ, and where you can congratulate yourself. I gave up. MY daughter went through a phase at around 13 or 14 where she starved herself, and I didn't even notice because she was always a picky eater and I left her to her own devices. MY daughter didn't get therapy. The only thing I did right was not use the F word that you refer to.

    YOUR daughter has a strong, determined, take-charge mother who is doing her best, and that's all any of us can do. Just keep doing it, as long as you are in charge. Then when she is in charge, she will have the foundation to make the right choices. Whether she makes them or not will be up to her, but with the foundation laid, it's more likely than not.

    And BTW, you didn't create the mess, her genes did. Don't tell me you're going to blame yourself for that!
    3754 days ago
    I had never looked at this problem from the POV of the parent before. This blog was an eye opener for me.
    All parents make mistakes, I don't think you can blame yourself for this happening. What's important is that now you are working on teaching her healthy habits.
    And I don't think it's too late to change Payton's habits at all, after all she'll most likely be living with you for another eight years or so.
    Payton is lucky that you are working hard to teach her how to treat her body right, my parents were the 'Oh, you're bored, have a cookie' parents all my life...even now my mom sometimes tries to insist that I have dessert with them on occasion.
    3754 days ago
    I am very proud of you for being so concerned!!! Sooo many girls wish they'd had this growing up. So, from a "fat" daughter's point of view...

    My mom noticed that I was a little larger than I should be when I was in 9th grade (14). I was 5'4, and about 135 lbs (not solid lbs, soft lbs). She took me to the nicest gym in town, which offered an "assessment," and left me alone to take it and get the results. You can guess, the results were bad. I was "unfit." She didn't see that, so I wasn't embarrassed...and it inspired me to work out every time SHE did, which was daily. It also inspired me to eat healthier as well.

    So...with that said, I learned EARLY what needed to be done to solve the problem, and I am sooooooooooo thankful for that. You can help your daughter with tact, and I applaud you for doing so.

    Keep it up!
    3754 days ago
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