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Help, my daughter is overwieght too!

What can I do to help my 11y/o without hurting her self-esteem? We talk about what foods are good for you and how too much of some foods aren't healthy, I don't refer to things as "making you fat" but I don't seem to make much headway. She is 11 and I still serve her snacks and breakfast because I think she will eat way too much if I let her do it!! I feel like her being dependent on me is just as unhealthy as her weight. Despite my efforts she is still overweight at about 5'3'' she weighs 145lbs - she is built big (shoe size 9-10).

Sun. Jun 3, 12:23am

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Speaking as someone that has been in kinda the same boat as your daughter...

I wouldn't necessarily rush to say that she IS overweight. Large build for her height has a weight range of 131 - 147. I'm 5'2 and wear a size 9 shoe and I would say that 135 is *thin* for me. I'm not sure how old your daughter is and what her activity level is but I wouldn't immediately be alarmed.

I would say better thing is to put more emphasis on being active and participating in physical and engage in those things with her, rather than give her the impression that someone needs to monitor or ration her eating. Speaking from experience, I think I would have had a better and easier time as a teen and early adult if my mom had taken that approach over making me feel somewhat "ashamed" for wanting to eat.

Just my $.02

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 1:31 AM

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I'm in the exact same boat as you, OP. In fact, I think I AM you... My daughter is also 11, she is 5'2", she weighs 145 lbs and has almost outgrown a size 8 shoe.

And she is DEFINITELY overweight.... if she sits or stands just right, she looks like she is about 8 months pregnant. :-(

The main thing I've been able to do, is replace all the snacks & drinks in the house with healthier alternatives. There has never been sugared pop in the house, but she used to drink a fair amount of juice. They're now limited to 1 per day in her school lunch bag, and I've filled a basket with various flavours of Crystal Lite powders for her to drink instead.

I also joined Curves last summer, on their "mother & daughter plan" (they have it again right now). She was big enough to be allowed in, even though she was under their minimum age. I signed us both up under the guise of "I need you to come with me to help keep ME going"...

Further than that, just serve slightly smaller portions and more fruit or veggies(for BOTH of you). If you don't make an issue of it, she may not even notice.

Again, if your daughter is like mine, she'll jump at any chance to go for a walk or bike ride with you, just to be WITH you.

Unfortunately, they say you can't put a growing child on a weight LOSS regime... but if you can help her to maintain that weight, while she grows into it...

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 10:28 AM

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5;3 and 145 pounds at the age of 11 is undeniably overweight. OP, I commend you for caring and reaching out and making an effort to help your daughter. The best way is to show her what her life will be like in the future if she continues her current bad habits. She won't get the guy she wants. She wants to get married, correct?

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:00 AM

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Jeez people, way to harass an 11 year old. Try to think back to when you were that age, and how sensitive you were to all criticism, appearance issues etc. "She want's to get married doesn't she?" !!! Now that's something an 11 year old should be worrying about. *sheesh*

Sure take this tack, make her miserable, 'cause that ALWAYS helps people lose weight.

Or maybe you could get rid of the unhealthy food around the house, have plenty of appealing looking fresh fruit and veggies (snack platters) around, make sure that the food you serve is both tasty and healthy. Ask her to cook or make salads and stuff with you. Plan meals, picnic menus etc together.

Go do some fun physical activities together - hiking, canoeing, etc. Get a rebounder - it is a seriously FUN piece of exercise equipment. Bounce in front of the tv or dvds, or dance on it. Sooner or later she'll want to try it out. Go somewhere they have DanceDanceRevolution and do it with her. Do a daily evening walk and ask her along. She'll be a teenager soon enough; use these last few years to build some bonds, not alienate her.

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:17 AM

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I was over weight as a child. (kind of a long story of how it happened if you want to know more just ask)
My mom put me on a diet.

Best thing she ever did.

I was normal weight if not slender in high school and I never developed an eating disorder or anything like that.

I have many friends who have been overweight from child hood and never had what my mom gave me. These young women struggle with it even more as their problem grows exponentially with coming years.

An over weight child becomes an obese adult if there is no intervention.

I am slightly overweight now because of a few bumps in the road, but this is me at my heaviest in my adult life but I think i would have had a much more depressed teen life if I had been heavier. being a close friend to 2 girls in high school who were very over weight I saw how much ti caused them pain.

thanks to my mom I never got a chance to become "obese". I can't imagine how over weight i'd be now If my mom hadn't taught me that life lesson. Maybe I'd be like my friend Lisa who is my same age and over 100lbs over weight. We looked about the same weight at 11/12.

I am not encouraging you to do what My mom did to me; My solution isn't going to be the right thing for anyone. but you definitely cannot take it sitting down

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:26 AM

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About getting married?

It's not about getting married ITS ABOUT BEING HEALTHY. That's just ignorant.

Life is so much harder.

so many bad things related to being overweight (it starts in child hood) most people I know who are over weight now ...were overweight as children

by letting a child be overweight you let them be predesposed to
sleep apnea
heart disease

Yeah I work in a sleep clinic. Most of the kids I see are over weight.....and have severe sleep apnea. which causes heart complications in the long run

So NOT even about marriage!

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:32 AM

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11:17 AM poster again

I want to make clear that I'm NOT saying don't be concerned about her weight. I'm saying that there are better ways to deal with it. For weight loss to last, in either adults or children, there has to be a lifestyle change. If losing weight and getting healthy is all about miserable struggle and guilt, or if it's all somebody else's doing, she isn't going to stick with it. Neither would I. Neither would anyone.

Make the process about learning new things, new ways to eat and behave, Make sure they're fun, enjoyable. Work together on it. I'm 50 now, but I can remember how much I appreciated my parents treating me as a sensible, rational being, because I (mostly) was, just like your child is at that age. And I also appreciated that we did fun stuff together, that my parents could still play. Make this a game. It has all the potential - goals, scoring, activity, challenge, puzzles... Involve her; don't try to MAKE her. For pete's sake, have her figure out what would be good and healthy for snacks and breakfasts. Shop for some healthy eating and cookbooks together.

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:46 AM

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When I was a child, I used to come home, prepare myself a snack and park myself in front of the TV til dinner. After dinner I'd laze around doing appx the same thing til bedtime. Maybe I'd grudgingly do some homework.

Then the TV broke down. My parents called us kids together and announced that it wasn't going to be fixed and that we were going to do without one. Thanks to them I have wonderful memories of summers spent tubing on the local creek, swimming with friends, riding my bike and just having fun outside in general. My reading improved and I made some great friends so I'd have people to go do things with.

Yeah, I'm working off some of the pounds I've put on by way of having a desk job, but I still have the love of activity that I developed from those early days. I also have a great relationship with my parents because we did *with* each other and while we were doing them, we talked and bonded - something that didn't happen when we were all gazing glassy-eyed at the TV.

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 1:32 PM

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Lead by example. If you only have healthy foods in the house she will have no choice, but don't restrict all treats either, going out for an ice cream cone once a week won't hurt and it will show her that you can eat "bad" foods in moderation. Go out for family activities that focus on activity.

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 4:23 PM

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Thank you - I do feel like I make her feel ashamed for wanting to eat and that is the last thing I want to do - I do need to commit to participating in more active things with her, I often start with great intentions and then let them fizzle out like everything else I do.

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:38 PM

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above comment for the 1:31 poster

11am poster - please, that's exactly what I'm hoping not tho teach her!

Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:53 PM

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everyone else, thankyou for your thoughts - some things we do (healthy snacks in the house) but others I could work on (having her help me more with planning meals, snacks - having more fun together doing active things.

I worry because she doesn't express her feellings to me but she seems to hide herself in big shirts and covers up when in a swim suit. I am always telling her she's beautiful (and she really is) and I'm honest with her when things don't look good by saying "that might be too small" or "maybe these would look better" but it breaks my heart to see her developing the same low self esteem that has haunted me for 40+ years. I feel I continuously talk about healthy foods and portions but she wants to eat too much anyway and I'm scared I'm giving her a message that I don't accept her the way she is.

Monday, June 04, 2007, 12:08 AM

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I was 5'3 and 145 myself all through high school. I'm overweight, but I see myself different than it seems like you all see your daughters. (I'm 27 now, and close to 160).

Should you do something different? Maybe find a sport they like - tennis, swimming, soccer? Maybe not buy soda, have kids drink juice and water instead.

I don't think you should make your kid "diet' though...that's harsh. Plus, that's one more potentially traumatic event that will confuse them when they get older. Maybe you should also get the opinion of your pediatrician. If you want your kid to eat better, you can't give her a salad while everyone else is having pizza and nachos.

I agree with the poster who says, get active...doing things will make her lose weight, or gain muscle more than worrying about how fat they are or what they eat.

Thursday, June 07, 2007, 2:26 PM

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I was 5"6" in high school and 145lbs. I never fit into single digit clothes at the time and I felt like a total loser for not being like the popular thinny thins in school (at least when I'd be in the dressing room of a local retailer trying desperately to find something that looked cool in a size 12).. But what stuck with me from that awkward period was my mother. Up until age 25, she nagged, berated, and not so delicately hinted that I was overweight. Talk about setting up an antagonic relationship!

My mom has always been thin. It seemed like I inherited most of my genes from my dad because I was never lithe like my mom. But what bugged me the most about this relationship was that I was being given advice about weightloss by my mom, who never put herself out there as an exemplar. Instead I was put in the hands of others for that- made to join the YMCA (where they helped me to craft my self esteem- not my mom), or some dance classes, etc. I think I would have been closer to my mom in this delicate stage of my life and learned the lesson of a healthy lifestyle had she had been more of a firsthand exemplar for me, rather than someone on a soapbox.

My suggestion- treasure these years with your daughter. Don't pressure her. Feed her well. Teach her how to feed herself well. Explore healthy foods together. Don't EVER say the word diet as it could really lead to a vicious cycle of highs and lows (I just remember I'd always been on a 'diet' since I was 13. It took me 15 years to realize that I didn't need to be on 'diet.' I just needed to shift my thinking and actions).

INSTEAD push the word HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. Be an example of a healthy confident woman for her to see everyday living a healthy lifestyle. Go out, walk, hike, play, sign up for a race even. More important than looking at the scale, is helping her to develop a great sense of self esteem that in time will help her to not cave in to vices/bad influences when she's down (i.e. emotional eating, drugs, and so on.). If you have a happy girl, keep her happy while teaching her the true gift of physical activity and healthy eating. Good luck.

Thursday, June 07, 2007, 3:01 PM

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Overweight Daughter

I too have an 11 year old who is overweight and I would never in a million years make a comment to her about getting the guy she wants or wanting to get married! Thats suggesting that overweight people don't stand a chance. Talk about shredding what little self-esteem an overweight child like that has.

You can't throw out threats to make a child stop eating you need to help your child by getting involved and doing more active things with them without mentioning the goal of losing weight.

I was an overweight child whose mother put her on diets and restricted me on what I could eat and how much. I have had horrible self-esteem my whole life and even now that I don't have a weight issue I'm super sensitve to what I'm eating and how much I excercise. And no matter how thin I get I always see a "fat" girl in the mirror and so desperately don't want that to happen to my daughter.

Find a way to get them active without playing up that they need it. Make it fun and help them feel good about themselves. Change up what you cook for dinner and get them involved in the process.

Do what you can to improve their self esteem while you help them get healthy!

Thursday, February 14, 2008, 1:35 PM

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If she likes dancing (and you can afford it), sign her up for a beginner's ballet course and a hip hop course. The hip hop will burn fat and the ballet will create incredibly lean muscle. Plus, she's young enough to still start and not be 'older'.

Or find some other sport she likes? Even if you don't limit her food, I think that she will end up limiting her own food. I know during track/swim season I eat healthier and less 'heaviliy' because, quite honestly, that "OH MY GOD I JUST *INSERT ACTIVITY HERE* AND NOW IM GOING TO BARF MY LUNCH" feeling isn't that great XD

Thursday, February 14, 2008, 5:22 PM

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I am sorry, I have to bring it up.
I was about 10 when I started to gain weight due to sexual abuse.
My mom asked I said no that has never happened to me. Of course I was going to say that. But you never know what has happened. And I hope it hasn't but if she is having low self esteem it can be from other issues. Not just the weight. Often times weight is a sign of some underlying problem. Not just sexual abuse.

I have been very heavy all my life and my mom supported me when I wanted to try a diet. But never made me to feel as though I was less of a person because of my weight.

I agree with the other posters that to get her involved is very important. Food and exercise wise.
I hope you can find a way to resolve this with the least amount of injury to her.

Thursday, February 14, 2008, 9:51 PM

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I work around kids who are overweight and who's parents are great examples of how to be healthy. Unfortunately, these kids are around kids who don't care and have a MUCH different metabolism then them. At school, you have no control over your kid... face it. Teaching your child about portion control is important but teaching your child to enjoy physical activity is paramount.

Friday, February 15, 2008, 12:49 PM

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My daughter was getting chub around the waist at 11. Didn't matter what I told her, chocolate and soda was all worth it. But then she turned 12 and went into Jr High. And all of a sudden boys bleeped on the radar. She came to her own conclusion. Boys won.

Friday, February 15, 2008, 1:02 PM

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Stop talking to your daughter in terms of food being "healthy" or "unhealthy", instead attempt to shift her thoughts to what food does for her. Teach her how protiens will give her a long lasting energy and carbohydrates give a quick burning energy... tallk about food in terms of fuel and not in terms of weight or meals. Talk about the advantages of vitamins and minerals, and how her changing body will need them. Explain why balance is what she needs. Instead of saying "Hey why don't we grab a snack" talk about foods int terms of replenshing. Then get her out there. Get her playing. Bond with her. Build her up. If she is busy, she won't be eating (I find it quite impossible to eat WHILE exercising) Make her happy about herself, even if she is never meant to be a size 0.

Friday, February 15, 2008, 1:35 PM

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I would say that your daughter is overweight.

When I was 11 yr old, I had size 9 shoe size and weighed about 90 lbs...

I think that you should maybe schedule an appointment for you and your daughter with a nutritionists....going to a nutritionist doesn't mean anything bad, she/he will be able to teach both of you the importance of eating healthy. Then whatever plan the nutritionist suggests you and her can do it together...make it like a bonding thing...get together at night and plan what you're going to eat the next day, and talk about how things went at night...

my opinion....good luck with whatever you decide.

Friday, February 15, 2008, 5:53 PM

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response to 1:35

Whoa! I wish more understood and responded like you feel they should. I was always heavy and my family ripped my heart so many times I'm not sure they fully realized the power of WORDS

Sunday, February 17, 2008, 9:41 PM

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Hi i am a 12 year old girl and i an 130 and 4feet and 5".I KNOW HOW SHE FEELS .My family for every girl they get brest cancer.I used everything to diet to spells and magic the magic is workeing

Sunday, February 17, 2008, 10:30 PM

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Sunday, June 03, 2007, 11:00 AM :
"The best way is to show her what her life will be like in the future if she continues her current bad habits. She won't get the guy she wants. She wants to get married, correct?"

This comment makes me sick to my stomach. This is the WRONG reason for ANYONE to lose weight and a TERRIBLE thing to insinuate to a young child. Fat people fall in love. You don't need to look like a model to wear a wedding dress. Being HEALTHY is what should be encouraged. There is no need to perpetuate the mental aversion of young females to physical imperfection.

Monday, February 18, 2008, 9:56 AM

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9:56 I agree with you, when I read that I wanted to rip the head off the person who made that disgusting comment. No parent or any adult should ever say something like that to an impressionable young girl. Why would you purposefully want to hurt and possibly cause worse eating problems to your own kid? This is the problem with so many young kids nowadays. Why not approach it differently? Instead of focusing on the food issues, start focusing on the exercise more. Do more physical things with her, if you spend so much time on the food it only gets the wrong sort of message to her. Don't make her feel bad about herself, accept her and make small changes. Don't bring in the crap into the house, instead if your out let her have something, but just one. If it isn't in the house she won't be eating it. But by letting her have something while out and about she doesn't feel like you are trying to not let her have it. Go to the park more, get her involved with an after school activity, something physical, maybe sports.

Monday, February 18, 2008, 2:15 PM

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I agree with 9:56 fat people do fall in love. I am fat and I am in love.

When I was 11 I was about 125 and a size 10 (womens, not girls) and I was very over weight, but I was even active on sports teams at that time (that stopped once I was in jr high). Growing up I was always heavy always dieting (which started with me on a diet by about 14, one my mom talked me into). I knew I wanted to be thin like all the other girls at school, wear the cute clothes that they wore. But my mom was always on me about my weight and she would say negative things without knowing how much they were hurting instead of helping (example: you would be such a pretty girl if you were thin). We never really did a lot of sports or outdoor activities, nor did we have healthy fruits and veggies in the house.

Basically just focus on activity and healthy foods. Don't overly restrict things though she is a child and she doesn't need to devolp any type of eating disorder (which my little sister is just getting over, so I know a lot about both extremes). Help her to live a happy and healthy life.

Monday, February 18, 2008, 3:20 PM

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I know others have brought up the idea of working with her with the meal plan. What I am thinking is that she is about the age that you should start teaching her how to cook and prepare meals for herself and all the domestic stuff.
Basically she is ready for some responsibility.
So What if you start having the more healthy meals but you make them together and use this time in her life as a reason for it.
That way weight doesn't have to be an issue in the conversation.
But the fact that she is getting older and it is important to know how to do these things.

I agree with those who have said how destructive words can be. One has to be so careful with children especially but even with eachother.
I have often thought about that old saying, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
So wrong. Words kill. Words scar. We all need to be careful with out words. They carry more weight than we realize sometimes.

I hope this works out well for you and your daughter.

Monday, February 18, 2008, 7:39 PM

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Don't make a big issue out of it. You can't control what she eats when out of the house or with friends but you can control what choices she has when she is home. Don't stock your house with bad choices, stock it with whole grains, fruits, veggie sticks, there are so many healthy choices out there now a days. And stop saying bad hurtful negative things to her. It will only do more harm then good. Why not start a routine, where after dinner the family goes for a walk or bike ride. Do some activity together, make it about the whole family and not just your daughter.

Monday, February 18, 2008, 7:51 PM

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i m fat and 11. i weight 165 i want to lose some weight for Pete sake

Sunday, December 21, 2008, 10:37 PM

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My 11 year old is 5'2", size 9 shoe and weighs about 92 lbs. (Olive Oyl) She is a total junk food junkie no matter how hard I try to break her of it. My 9 year old eats well: fruits, veggies & sweets in moderation and she's border-line pudgy. I think a lot of it goes to their individual metabolism and not everyone is supposed to be Twiggy.

Focus on HEALTH and nutrition with increased activity, and I believe the rest will fall into place.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008, 9:42 AM

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Often when children are in the 8 to 15 year old range they do have a bit of a gut and sometimes may look pregnant, but then their body starts slimming down. How often have you seen a pudgy young person when they were 10 and didnt see them for a few years and oh my gosh how they shot up and slimmed down. It happens naturally. However I would not use that as an excuse to neglect diet and exersize. No matter what shape you are in, encourage activity and proper eating. Just dont stress if your not the perfect shape. Each of us is an individual and what works for one doesnt work for another. Explore and found out what works for you. Remember to take the stairs, not the elevator or escalator. Grab an apple not a cookie. Take a walk after dinner every night. One of my fondest memories is how my mom took walks every night and my sisters and I would join her. Sometimes they were quicker and just around the block and sometimes we would be gone for 3-4 hours.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008, 10:55 AM

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My story

I was 5 feet 4 inches when I was 12 and in a period of 2 months during summer went from 100 pounds to 140 pounds some might say that I was not that overweight but my body fat percentage was very high. I matured early, I was always tired and grumpy. I remained overweight till my high school and my mom never let me diet or helped me to go healthy. I wish that she would have listened to my pleas to reduce my food portion and eat healthy it would have done wonders to my self esteem.
It took me a long while to reduce my body fat percentage and today at 24 looking back I realize that I was quite mature for my age and my mom should have let me reduce consumption of un healthy stuff.
She believed that a child should eat whatever he/she feels like.
Basically it depends on how mature your child's understanding is, maybe if you talk to her in terms of health and not looks it would work wonders but honestly you have to help her loose weight or else it might lead to a health issue.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008, 10:55 AM

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I agree with those who have said not to talk about looks. Everyone has different tastes. Some people like heavier people. The important issue is healthy. Talk about feeling good and being healthy. Let us eat right so that our bodies are nourished and able to hold back those sick bugs. Lets walk and exersize so that we feel (and are) stronger and able to do all those things we desire to do. Grab a couple of cans of veggies for weights. do some aerobics. Go at your own pace. the best you can give her is the gift of activity and healthiness.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008, 11:09 AM

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the first 10:55 is right - I remember I would be pudgy then hit a growth spurt and be slender and then i'd get pudgy and hit a growth spurt again. she's still growing. and yes, it's important that she's eating healthy and it's great that you monitor that but she's a kid. she's probably sneaking snacks at school and stuff. my point is you don't need to address this until she stops growing, unless it becomes a real problem. it's important to start good habits early but i don't think it's worth it until she can make a fully conscious decision on what she's eating. she doesn't know what a calorie is or the difference between a protein and a carb. wait a few years..

Monday, January 12, 2009, 3:26 PM

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No one really understands unless you are in the situation. My daughter is 10 years old 4ft 7 inchs and 107 pounds. She has always been bigger. She is always hungry and wants more. We have made progress with healthy eating and good and better choices for her and myself, the entire family. She has played soccer and basketball for 4 years and loves it. She is very active. So, I'm just going to keep on with the good food options for her (us). I even had blood work completed and talked to the doctor, just to see if it was something else. Her older sister is under weight, my husband is regular weight. I have always been thin, just after 38 years old I'm 20 pounds over and working on it. I don't want my child to be over weight and unhappy later.

Monday, January 12, 2009, 8:57 PM

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OP, you took the first step by asking for help. Make sure that the whole family is on board with a healthy lifestyle. It just takes on person to bring the wrong foods home and then your done. Instead of telling her what to eat, make sure she decides as well what the family could eat.

I would say be careful of any supposed diet drinks etc. They have been shown at least by some studies to contribut to obesity. It still can spike the blood glucose like sugar causing the body to store fat and crave more sugar.

The bigger picture is her health.

Friday, January 16, 2009, 1:08 AM

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Be sensitive to her self esteem. I gained weight when I was ten. We were always starving, and I was always bone thin. My mom always served meat and two vegetables for dinner and I usually forgot lunch and I was never allowed to have more than an apple after school. My mother was just the healthy type. Then she remarried and my stepfather was always taking me out for ice cream and we bought a fry daddy and made apple fritters and basically went from being bored and lonely to having a wonderful time all the time. I didn't even notice that I had gained weight until I went to buy new clothes and I was shocked. I would have been crushed if my parents even mentioned it. I started exercising every day and eating salad and yogurt for lunch on my own. I was able to change without "dieting" or giving up our good times, I just began to identify myself as a health conscious person. So the experience was ultimately positive. Provide your girl with an opportunity to dance or take up yoga, looking in the mirror every day will be motivation enough. Good luck and God Bless!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 12:54 AM

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