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Setting an Example

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I am really worried about my DD. She is 14 years old and does NOT eat right. I blame myself for this. From the time she was a baby, she would projectile vomit baby food. (We know now that it was acid reflux.) When she was about 3 years old and learned that meat came from animals, she refused to eat meat. We would try and make her eat it, and she would throw up all over herself. The pediatrician said it was psychological and that we shouldn't force her to eat meat but to supplement her diet with Pediasure so she got the proper nutrition. We thought she would outgrow it, but she didn't. My family doesn't understand why I "cater" to her eating disorder, and for our Christmas Eve dinner two years ago there was absolutely nothing at the table she could eat. I felt terrible for her, and left the dinner to run home (10 minutes away) in the middle of a snowstorm to grab some leftover spaghetti for her. By the time I returned, my roast beef was cold and everyone else was done eating.

I want to respect my daughter's love of animals, but the problem is that she doesn't eat vegetables either! She thinks that being a vegetarian means eating cheese and pasta. I have gotten her to the point where she will eat a couple of green beans or carrots at dinner, and I got her to eat shrimp by breading it. I also started taking her to a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, but I'm not sure it's helping.

Over the years, my DD has put on weight and it's really starting to show. The pediatrician told me she should weigh about 110-115 lbs, and she is 158 right now. My struggles with my weight have negatively defined my life for decades, and I don't want that to happen to her. I was hoping she would join WW with me, but after she went to the first meeting with me, she said she didn't want to. I can't force her to do something she doesn't want to do, but I feel guilty because I have not been a good role model for her eating since I have been eating like a hog since she was born. How do I turn this around at this late date?

This week I went and bought some Morningstar Veggie Burgers. I thought they would be good for both of us, but she wouldn't even try it because it looked like meat and she couldn't bring herself to (even though she knew it wasn't meat). I can't keep revolving my meals around pasta! I also bought lots of fruit for snacks, but she just grabs the bags of buttery popcorn. When I try to mention her eating habits and/or my concerns about her weight (in as tactful a manner as I can), she either cries and tells me that I am hurting her self-esteem, or argues and yells at me.

This is so frustrating!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MAMABEE480
    It sounds like a really tough challenge with your daughter, but it also sounds like you're handling it the best way possible, with lots of sensitivity. That is a wonderful gift you're giving her, even if she doesn't see it right this moment. When she's older, she'll appreciate it.

    Maybe try a vegetarian cooking class together? Making it fun instead of a punitive command to "eat your veggies" lets her take the initiative.

    Good luck.
    2166 days ago

    I'm so glad that I haven't had that trouble. My DD1 doesn't like butter or yogurt. Those are not that hard to remember. I'm sure I'm forgetting something that she doesn't like, but obviously, it's not a really big deal for me.

    I'm so sorry for you in the way that your daughter is behaving towards food. Maybe it's become a habit for her to not eat or try things. I really wish that I had some profound thought on how to solve this problem, but I don't.

    If you're not satisfied with the therapist that she is going to, perhaps there is another?

    I wish you and your daughter the best.

    2180 days ago
    First of all, your daughter is so lucky to have a mom like you. My mother was not tactful at all when dealing with my weight/diet growing up. My father was even worse (calling me a fat cow and other hurtful things). It's so hard to be young and overweight because you are too young to realize that the fat doesn't define who you are even though kids at school will tease/ family will try to help you get healthy/ doctors will tell you you need to lose weight... Oh, and then there's the media...
    My advice would be to have one talk with your daughter about how you love her/think she is beautiful just the way she is and that, whenever she is ready to lose weight/eat healthier you will support her. I agree with others about not buying the unhealthy foods (just tell her it's for your sake and that that's just the way it's going to be)....
    I remember my mother constantly talking about my weight/dieting/shouldn't eat that or this, and doing it out of spite. I would eat more because she told me to eat less. I would eat pasta with lots of cheese because she told me that I shouldn't. I didn't want to be unhealthy but I didn't want to lose weight and have her say "I told you so" ...
    I think that it's better to just accept that she is overweight for now and let her decide when to really get serious about her health. Only keeping healthy food at home will also help. Is she interested in dance/gymnastics, any sport? Finding an activity that will get her active without her even thinking about weight loss would be ideal.
    I am not a doctor or psychologist but I feel for your daughter, having been there myself. This is just how I wish my family had dealt with my weight. It took me years away from home to realize that I wanted to do it for me and not for anybody else. I still struggle with my father telling me how I should lose 5/10/15 more pounds and then I'll be perfect.Or telling me that I need to run faster/farther/ exercise more... My mother, on the other hand, is now doing weight watchers with me (she has been a yoyo dieter her whole life)...
    You seem like such a wonderful mom! I hope things work out and your daughter may just need a little more time :)

    2181 days ago
    Laura, I am not sure I have any great words of advice here, this is a tough one. Don't feel like you have to eat what your daughter does. When I first started with my weight loss plan I would make my healthy dinner, and then what I knew my DH and DD would eat. Little by little, DH would ask to try some of mine. As he saw my weight melt off, he would become more interested. He's now changed many of his food choices. Can you involve your daughter in meal planning? Look through cook books together and let her pick out a few that she will try? I agree that continuing to support her through therapy for the eating disorder is important too. Keep setting the example, I hope things change for her.
    2181 days ago
    I think the best thing you can do right now is continue the therapy for her eating disorder. Then continue to lead by example. Gradually change meals to include stuff she needs to eat and get the 'junk' out of the house. My family is grumbling at me about all the same stuff but if we are all going to get healthier, we have to do it.

    I bet if she sees you doing the healthy things you need to for your body, she will start to follow suit. If she exercises with you, like walking, she might also want to start making other changes.

    Just food for thought!
    2181 days ago
  • DEEO12
    14 is a tough age. Maybe try to get her to look at some vegiarian recipes and you both can prepare a few meals together? Trying to limit her to what she has been use to at this age will cause conflict. You must not beat yourself up for feeding your daughter pasta and no meat. She clearly doesn't want to eat it. But she does need protien and there are protien recipies out there. Don't hold your own goals back if your daughter decideds to not cooperate. You can set a good example with healthy eating. Sometimes it is better to let her know that she is accountable for her own actions. And sometimes laying off helps and they start to make changes. Sometimes kids this age will do things to rebel and that is natural at that age. Maybe a coupl times a week you can both have a meal that you can both agree on. With a try a new food?
    2181 days ago
    It will be hard and most parents will tell you if you kids don't hate you at some point you are not doing it right.
    Its so simple you don't see it. I had to do it myself, stop buying junk. Don't buy the butter popcorn. And limit the pasta you bring in only pick it up on day you plan to eat it, don't keep it handy. She probably complain all teens do even if you spoil them.
    I haven't tried it yet so i can't tell you if its good but i saw a if you juline zucchini and steam it for ten minutes you can use it as a substitute for pasta.
    And if all else fails take her to her doctor and let them tell her how damaging her diet is becoming.
    I'm italian and 90% of the stuff i made was pasta or bread based. I looked online for recipes that were close to what I like without all the carbs.
    I hope some of this helps, and don't be so hard on your self. Maybe the changes you are making now will someday inspire her to do the same.As parents we do the best we can and thats all we can do.

    2181 days ago
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