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Old 11-03-2012, 09:27 AM   #1
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Obsessing over my child's weight

Does anyone else worry more about their child's weight than their own? I weigh her a few times a month, she has fun hitting the Tanita scale button, waiting for 0 and jumping on. I do not to stress over it outwardly, but that's one of my biggest fears, is that she becomes overweight as a child. I was so paranoid about it that I deliberately ate LC while pregnant to keep total weight gain under 40# and so she wouldn't develop a sweet tooth.

Her height/weight percentile is exact: 75th percentile for height AND weight (which is good, esp. considering her sturdy bone structure). I've been very careful to keep a relatively LC household, but, always keeping things on hand so that it's not a forbidden treat, just not emphasized and never offered, unless it's a couple of small squares of dark chocolate when I'm having some (portion control and quality over volume and junk).

That said, we have several treats in the house. I hope she understands that treats are just that, unnecessary extras that taste good. All baking is LC. Any sweetening is with Stevia. Anything else is basically < 25 carbs (meaning cereal, protein bars).

She's 4, tall for her age, weighs about 43# (pretty much been same weight since she was 3, growing into her baby weight), stays active with after school classes: (tennis, yoga, soccer) and I also take her to swimming lessons 2X per week and gymnastics. I want to start walking (even a mile) which would be good for both of us.

There is zero verbal emphasis on weight, just directing her towards protein first, before something she'd really like. I limit things to 2 servings per day (she knows the mantra, "Protein first..." and "I know... 2 a day".) Her Halloween candy is now portioned out at 4 pieces a day, her choice (since she's 4 years old), she already asked how many she gets when she's 10. Ha! Given her choice, she will always opt for something sweet, but is very good with portion control, often stopping after a small amount. I NEVER offer seconds or demand that she finish anything, although I suggest she finish whatever protein she is eating. Basically, my approach is to appear that I don't care what she eats or how much, as long as it's protein first and she stops when she's not hungry.

This is all leading to a question: did any of you have children who started very normal weight and became heavy as they grew up.

When did the weight start increasing?
Portion control?
Eating wrong foods?
Snacking?
Hoarding?
Binging?

I have read often here about posters reflecting on their childhoods and parents made issues about weight and how it hurt. I don't want to be one of those parents - I hope keep all of my anxieties in check.

Now I'm really laughing at myself - she just came in, asked for another chair for her tea party - and I went out there, and table was set for 4 and she gave each of her 3 dolls an orange and a few grapes (her Halloween candy has not even been mentioned yet today). Had it been me, I would have been pestering for as much Halloween candy as possible under the guise of a tea party and then eaten it all.

Maybe she didn't inherit my food disease.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:20 PM   #2
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Can I suggest that you stop weighing her ? This really reads like your issue, not your daughters.
While she views it as a game right now, the older she gets , the more in tune with your anxiety she will be. I think that the constant weighing will start to make her anxious. You should be able to tell by looking at her, where she is ...well covered, just right, slim build etc.
It sounds like you are doing a great job of keeping her active and showing her good healthy eating habits. Relax, you and her are doing fine!
I have 4 kids, the oldest d was normal up until puberty then laid down quite a bit extra. I didn't weigh her but she was maybe 2 sizes bigger than would have been ideal.
I didn't limit portions at all, I would encourage vegetables and protein but she was always free to add carby sides - and she did. She was a huge carb eater and was allowed to cook freely. Sometimes she would make chocolate cakes or biscuits when she wanted sweet stuff and secrete it away in her room to eat. She knew I wasn't fond of sugar so sometimes preferred to eat it secretly.
I think her hormones were making her a little crazy, however she is now 20 and has slimmed down to a nice normal weight. Goes to the gym 3x a week, and delights in telling me how good she is at cooking balanced meals at her flat.
Eldest son went through a chubby stomach stage at about 9 or 10. We did nothing about it assuming when he hit his growth period it would go. It did, he grew to 6'3 and was skinny. Now he is body building and growing muscle. He eats huge quantities, but it is mostly healthy proteins, good fats, some carbs.
Youngest daughter is very slim and always has been. While she is naturally small boned , she also forgets to eat! So I do my best to ensure she eats 3 meals a day. Although she has hit puberty she doesn't appear to be having the mood swings and hormonal surges of the other daughter.
Youngest son has a stocky build. He is also a big carb lover, especially of fruit. With him I just make sure he gets his protein and veges , he tops up the carbs at will. He also over eats sometimes, so I usually serve him less than I think he wants. Sometimes he'll ask for seconds, sometimes he won't. I want him to be able to trust his inner appetite.
I know how much we mums worry about things, but I really think you are on the right path, just ease off the scales vigilence, show her a good example of a strong, healthy , fit mum and you will both be fine.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:01 AM   #3
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Thank you for your candor. I needed that (this is definitely my issue, my anxiety)... she sees me weigh daily, so I'd let her jump on a few times a month. there is no reason for her to have any concept of weight for a long time.

I think some of it was so much pain growing up and parents who didn't help be part of a solution, just sort of left all of us kids to self-regulate. 3 of 4 of us did. I didn't. I usually opted for reading, TV and so forth (this was before video games were in every house), which is why I'm trying to stay active with her as a part of life, not exercising for the purpose of exercising, but to help find "everyday physical activities" to stay naturally active.

Maybe it took writing it down and your response for me to see how dysfunctional it is to weigh her. It's one thing for me to be super-focused on weight (especially my own as I am trying to reach goal next year), but there is no reason for a kid to jump on a scale.

Thanks for the reality check... I really do appreciate
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:21 PM   #4
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I'm glad you are ok with what I wrote. Afterwards , I was afraid you would feel attacked and not see the message I meant . It really was said with love!
I know I have struggled with not imposing my issues on my children, it's harder when I don't even realise what issues I have.
Being a mum is tough - I know I worry about so many things and want my children to never suffer any pain. It's really a positive thing that you are aware of your own pain from childhood and are actively working to ensure your daughter doesn't have that .
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:45 AM   #5
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I stress about my daughter's weight, a little bit, but I try my best not to push any of my issues on to her. She weighs herself probably once a month, or every other month, and I don't worry about it. She's 7 and just likes to see the numbers.

She tends to put on a little bit of chub, then have a growth spurt and lean out, then do it again. She's only 7 and in 2nd grade, but she's VERY tall, and looks like some of the 4th and 5th graders at her school. Mostly I just try to emphasize making good choices, but I also let her have "fun" items like Halloween candy and the occassional milkshake or whatever. Forbidden fruit and all that.

I've started walking on the treadmill recently and she likes to get on it for a few minutes at a time. I never say no, but I also never suggest it. It has to be something she enjoys. We also do activities like roller skating or organized walks in the park, and we're looking into doing a 5K in February. Mostly, I think we just need to try to guide our children to healthier foods and exercise without pushing them. It's a fine line, and kind of hard to balance.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:47 AM   #6
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This is a concern for me too. I have 3 kids the one who is the absolute laziest and old enough to work and buy a bunch of soda and junk food is super skinny. The other two are chunky and go up and down alot basically they plump out and then grow into it, but seem to fill right out again. My son, 16 is pretty tall now and is on the large side I wouldn't consider him fat but he is bigger than most the other kids. My daughter 12, I really worry about because she is stuck with my apple shape and has such a hard time finding clothes. Again it's not that she is fat but she needs to be aware that she needs to be more active and watch what she eats. I worry about stressing her out about it so I try not to mention it too much but it's hard when you see them going down the wrong path. We don't keep a lot of junk in the house normally and my kids eat their veggies and normal sized meals. There is definately not enough activity and also they love carbs. She is big on buttered noodles, Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes. Since I re-committed Jan2, I brought her on board. Not a low carb but we went and bought her all healthy snacks looked for things that had low sugar and fat, so for snacks goldfish, mini rice cakes. For deserts we got the SF fudge bar Popsicles. I'm still struggling with lunches and how much carbs to give her. I know she can't be on my plan. But I also have a really hard time siting back and watching her eat even something like yogurt with its 25+ grams of sugar. We did get yogurt and frozen fruit to make smoothies for an after school snack or breakfast, but its so confusing. She is not overly active but loves music and dance so we got the newest dance central and she does it at least an hour about 3-5 days a week. She seems to want to help herself and had been calling any soda or junk food she does see the devil, lol, still I worry about her long term self image having to worry about it so much at such a young age.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:17 PM   #7
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Ever since my DD was a baby (she's 15 now) I always had the fear that she would become overweight because I was overweight as a child and I was always miserable because of it.
Enter a "mother" who wasalways harping at me about what I ate but yet if I attempted to moderate what I ate on my own, I was accused of having an eating disorder. It was so bad that if we went out to eat (and we did almost every night) and I got up to go to the bathroom, she would follow me in there and literally sit in a chair and wait for me to finish my business.. So naturally I was concerned about my daughter having the same problems. Luckily, she has never had a weight problem She doesn't eat that much and really never has. She weighs a little over 100 lbs (she is tall, about 5'6", with a slim build) She has always naturally chosen healthier foods (yogurt when she was like 8 or 9, even the cashier commented "healthy kid") But I still freak out a little every time she gains even half a pound. She's not real active and likes carby stuff even though she doesn't eat a lot. So I watch her like a hawk.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:53 AM   #8
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I can relate to everyone's concerns....I too was a fat kid...and I truly don't want my son growing up with this curse. I've yo-yo'd up and down my whole entire life...struggling to control this problem.
My son is currently 7 years old....and is in the 90 percentile for height...so he is a tall kid. He gets a little chubby...goes through a growth spurt....thins out....gets a little chubby...etc. (When I say a "growth spurt"...this child has gone up 2 shoe sizes in one summer season TWICE).
Like any parent...we want to spare our children from our own mistakes (eating issues being one of them). I've found that my personal advise is to EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE....from as early as possible. Teach them about "Good for you foods" and "Sometime foods". Thankfully, my son doesn't seem to share my LOVE of carbs (he eats them...but not in excess...and will sometimes put the carb to the side...and eat what is in the middle (just the hotdog or hamburger, middle of the sandwich, no pizza crust, etc). But he does share his father's chocolate obsession...(thankfully not to the degree that his father has ~~ must have it DAILY...but none-the-less...it is his preferred candy of choice).
I do find myself starting to "hover"...when I see him getting a little pudgy....and I try to stop...because this whole "weight" concern is MY issue. He is fine...he is not a FAT kid. I feed him organic whole foods. He eats most veggies. I grind my own whole wheat flour...and only use sucanat/muscavado/honey sugars. I know he is eating okay...and he does know the difference between the good...and the junk. The more we teach them...the more they will carry on with them when they are older.
But again...I share everyone's same concerns for their children....
We are parents...we can't help but to want to protect them.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by leaving30something View Post
This is a concern for me too. I have 3 kids the one who is the absolute laziest and old enough to work and buy a bunch of soda and junk food is super skinny. The other two are chunky and go up and down alot basically they plump out and then grow into it, but seem to fill right out again. My son, 16 is pretty tall now and is on the large side I wouldn't consider him fat but he is bigger than most the other kids. My daughter 12, I really worry about because she is stuck with my apple shape and has such a hard time finding clothes. Again it's not that she is fat but she needs to be aware that she needs to be more active and watch what she eats. I worry about stressing her out about it so I try not to mention it too much but it's hard when you see them going down the wrong path. We don't keep a lot of junk in the house normally and my kids eat their veggies and normal sized meals. There is definately not enough activity and also they love carbs. She is big on buttered noodles, Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes. Since I re-committed Jan2, I brought her on board. Not a low carb but we went and bought her all healthy snacks looked for things that had low sugar and fat, so for snacks goldfish, mini rice cakes. For deserts we got the SF fudge bar Popsicles. I'm still struggling with lunches and how much carbs to give her. I know she can't be on my plan. But I also have a really hard time siting back and watching her eat even something like yogurt with its 25+ grams of sugar. We did get yogurt and frozen fruit to make smoothies for an after school snack or breakfast, but its so confusing. She is not overly active but loves music and dance so we got the newest dance central and she does it at least an hour about 3-5 days a week. She seems to want to help herself and had been calling any soda or junk food she does see the devil, lol, still I worry about her long term self image having to worry about it so much at such a young age.
Keep in mind, most 12 year old girls in this day and age are acutely aware of their weight as part of their self image - it's the times they live in.

However, if you don't mind me saying so...since she is 12, you can still pull the plug on any foods you think are unhealthy for her - she might get upset now, but chances are she would thank you when she grows up. For instance, you could decide to go sugar free and wheat free if you think noodles are a problem - it's hardly abusive to serve your kids rice instead of noodles.

When you say 'yogurt', do you mean plain yogurt or sweetened yogurt? I doubt that plain yogurt is much to worry about, since it doesn't raise blood sugar much, but sweetened yogurt is another thing you can simply not buy.

Also...one of the points I took from the Atkins books is that eating low-fat carbohydrates leads to a vicious cycle, because it causes insulin to go up, whereas at least eating carbohydrates with some fat slows the raise in blood sugar. So, maybe plain rice cakes aren't really as healthy an option as they are marketed to be. Of course I'm sure some rice cakes and sweetened yogurt won't kill her, but just saying.

Last edited by Avicenna; 02-24-2013 at 04:27 AM..
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:13 PM   #10
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Keep in mind, most 12 year old girls in this day and age are acutely aware of their weight as part of their self image - it's the times they live in.
)
I'm not disagreeing with you, but something puzzles me. There are many, many overweight to obese teen girls these days, but based on the tight, clinging clothes they wear, they either don't have an accurate picture of themselves or just don't care. The low riding skinny jeans and tight tees are NOT a flattering look at all.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:09 AM   #11
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I started dieting at age 8, at the encouragement of my parent. By 12 years old, I was 194 pounds. Years later, I was told by that same parent that only a pervert will marry you. A lot of other things were said inbetween times and afterward.

When I was fat, growing up, it wasn't like it is today (I'm 51). In the whole school, there were only a couple of obese kids, and I was one of them. I don't believe I became fat because of society. It was genetics and pressure to follow calories/fat.

When I became a parent, in a way, I was relieved that my kids weren't biological because of the obese tendencies in the family. I always made a bee line around any weight issue, and I mean any! I would discourage dieting in any way, shape, or form. If my daughter said something about being chunky (which she was), I'd tell her to eat healthier foods. My kids were entirely home schooled, so they were constantly around food. We did provide healthy choices, but we also had snacks always around. We didn't allow a free-for-all. None of us ate without restraint but kept snacks in perspective.

My kids are now 20 (son) and 22 (daughter), and I'm relieved I followed my instinct. My daughter has a much higher opinion of her figure than she deserves (lol), but she's no where near overweight. My son either.

If I had to do it over again, I'd follow this same pattern. If I had a biological child, yes, I realize things could be different. I found out only recently that my biological daughter's mother is almost 300 pounds, so I know that at least she really does have similar tendencies in her genes.

Also, though I am on my way to thinness, after years of ruining my body with dieting, I do not feel that there should be this shame society gives those who are less than slim. We come in all shapes and sizes. Heavier people are nicer, to be honest. I think we should be more accepting of the way God made us and to put the emphasis on being kind individuals.

imo

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Old 03-02-2014, 02:27 PM   #12
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I worry about my 8 year old son a lot. He is also tall for his age and was in perfect proportion, height and weight until a couple years ago. Now the doctor says his weight is in a higher percentile than his height.

What's difficult is that if it were just him and me, I think he would be fine. I don't eat junk food anymore and would not have it in the house. However my husband is over 400 pounds and is disabled so exercise is not really something he can do. He is the one who brings in the chips and stuff and doesn't think there is anything wrong with Phillip's weight. I refuse to enforce my obsession with the scale on my son however, I do want him to learn to make healthy choices. I have fruit snacks which are less than 100 calories a pack in the house and gogurt which he likes and always keep bananas handy because it's the only fresh fruit he will eat. He hates veggies and getting him to eat them ends up being a battle. Plus, the food choices offered at school aren't much better.

If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.

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Old 03-02-2014, 02:32 PM   #13
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I'm not disagreeing with you, but something puzzles me. There are many, many overweight to obese teen girls these days, but based on the tight, clinging clothes they wear, they either don't have an accurate picture of themselves or just don't care. The low riding skinny jeans and tight tees are NOT a flattering look at all.
Tell me about it, I certainly am not one to judge people for their weight as I am still chubby (though less chubby than I was, lol) but you need to know how to dress. Large girls in tight booty shorts just do not look good. If you are large, there are ways you can dress that are stylish and flattering. You should embrace your body style and dress in ways that make you look beautiful.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:34 PM   #14
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I have 2 girls under the age of 8. The older one will sometimes say that she doesn't want a dessert, because it's not healthy.

They are both tall for their ages and in the 50-55% weight range, so she honestly doesn't have to worry about it!

It saddens me that she's already thinking about it, but I don't really know what to do other than tell her that she's healthy & active, so she can have a dessert treat when it's offered, since they are not offered everyday.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:04 PM   #15
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my daughter's now 23. she recently admitted to me that she worries about her weight excessively because she saw me worried about my own. here i went out of my way to downplay my worries (when she got to a chubby stage).

you just do what you think is right at the moment. for one person it might be one way, for another, it could be another way. it sure isn't easy being a parent, that's for sure. there are no easy answers.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:53 AM   #16
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I worry about my 8 year old son a lot. He is also tall for his age and was in perfect proportion, height and weight until a couple years ago. Now the doctor says his weight is in a higher percentile than his height.

What's difficult is that if it were just him and me, I think he would be fine. I don't eat junk food anymore and would not have it in the house. However my husband is over 400 pounds and is disabled so exercise is not really something he can do. He is the one who brings in the chips and stuff and doesn't think there is anything wrong with Phillip's weight. I refuse to enforce my obsession with the scale on my son however, I do want him to learn to make healthy choices. I have fruit snacks which are less than 100 calories a pack in the house and gogurt which he likes and always keep bananas handy because it's the only fresh fruit he will eat. He hates veggies and getting him to eat them ends up being a battle. Plus, the food choices offered at school aren't much better.

If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them.

Beth
Beth, that's a tough one. How much higher is the weight compared to the height? Is it cosmetic or potentially a health issue? In regards to your husband's assessment of your son - did your husband grow up overweight? Maybe he doesn't have a good comparison. My ex is a carb junkie and sees no problem with a glass of juice after school, pizza for dinner and a cookie for dessert. Fortunately, she's only with him one night a week and every other weekend and can adapt pretty well between the two households. At some point, your son will see the difference between how you eat and what you weigh and how your husband eats and what he weighs.

I know what you mean about the school choices - our school does a good job, but I pack 4 out of 5 days, letting her buy on pizza Friday.

Does Philip help cook dinner? Lindsey has started making a cut up veggie salad and cut fruit for every meal, picking the ingredients so she has already bought in. Then we have an anchor meal (ex. last night was corned beef). She knows I'm dieting because I'm fat - and she totally accepts that (that there are some things she eats that I do not). Eventually the phrase will be eating healthy.

For portions, I have used 10 ounce Bormioli Rocco bowls for years (you can query up Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni on Amazon, they're usually about $2 each) . I never let her eat out of a package. Everything is portioned out and when the serving is done, it's done (ex. Bunny crackers, organic version of cheddar goldfish) and rarely does she want seconds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonGirl View Post
I have 2 girls under the age of 8. The older one will sometimes say that she doesn't want a dessert, because it's not healthy.

They are both tall for their ages and in the 50-55% weight range, so she honestly doesn't have to worry about it!

It saddens me that she's already thinking about it, but I don't really know what to do other than tell her that she's healthy & active, so she can have a dessert treat when it's offered, since they are not offered everyday.
What type of dessert does she say is not healthy? Fruit? Cookies? Ice cream?

So tough, especially when we're trying to teach moderation. I took the approach of organic vs. non-organic as a way to get my daughter to think more qualitatively about food (non-organic = chemicals/pesticides/bad ingredients). There are definitely fattening organic foods, but it is somewhat self-limiting because of cost and variety.

Dessert here is usually like a half scoop of organic dark chocolate ice cream in one of the bowls I mentioned above and their low sides make even 1/3 of a cup of ice cream look substantial.

Now for a little bit of personal angst - well-child visit is next month when she turns 6. From personal guess, I'm anticipating 85-90% weight and 65% height. If that is the case, I hope the doctor will say something and that I can get agreement with my ex that we try to keep the weight aligned with the height at least within 10 points, not the 25%.

Last edited by sbarr; 03-18-2014 at 08:54 AM..
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:15 AM   #17
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I just had the most interesting 5:30 am discussion with my daughter this week. She was sick, climbed into bed with me and we ended up having a long conversation about eating at 5:30 in the morning.

Context - I started NK 2 weeks ago and I'm completely open with her, so she realizes sees that it's a part of what I do and over the upcoming year, she will see that eating well causes fat to go away.

  • "I know you're dieting because you're fat" (yes, sweetie, I am fat - I made bad food choices and sometimes ate too much. Now I want to eat healthy and that is why we share food, but some things you eat, I don't eat)
  • "XX neighbor is fat (300# diabetic), why doesn't she diet?" (It's complicated, but different people eat differently and the only thing we can do is eat well at home and not worry about or judge other people)
Then she gets into her "know-it-all" recitation of everything she knows about food (she's an only child with a captive audience so she's prone to these recitations on many topics, just wish it wasn't at 5:30am But, it was a good topic and she was on a roll):
  • "I'm not fat so I don't have to diet" (sigh, I know this is such a complicated concept, but if she becomes overweight, I will take her directly to the doctor to tell her what her BMI is and what it should be and her ideal weight by the next annual doctor visit. Very little would change other than fewer treats and a half hour walk a few days a week and she would be an active participant in her food plan.)
  • "I know moderation" (funny thing, she has completely latched onto that word and knows what it means - moderation is one of the greatest compliment words in our household)
  • "I eat slowly and you eat fast" (yes sweetie, and that is something I need to work on, maybe you can help remind me - eating slow is a good thing (unless you're late for school, missy!)
  • "I eat out of bowls" (we always portion food into 4-8 ounce bowls, no free grazing out of a package)
  • "I stop when I'm full" (actually, she's good about this, she'll stop in the middle of something and unless it's her dinner protein and veggie, I praise her for stopping and tell her how smart it is that she stops when she's full)
  • "I only eat 2 cookies" (She's allowed carby stuff in moderation and even though she's 5, I often show her the package so that she SEES that a serving is 2 cookies. That is it for the day. She doesn't eat cookies every day, but when she does, she takes her 2 because that is what is "allowed")
  • "Every meal should have a protein, a veggie, a fruit and maybe some starch" (Well, not quite, but I make sure she has a round plate and eats in order with the protein and low glycemic vegetables first, then her fruit and maybe something else)

Honestly, I was tired and didn't want to have this conversation at 5:30 am - I wanted another hour of sleep, but I was so gratified that my 5 yo really seems to understand good eating behaviors. I still have enough credibility with her that she believes me if I say she's not fat. Thankfully, she's not at a level where other kids could point to her and say she's fat, either by today's standards or even when we were growing up. I dread the day when she wants "skinny jeans" because they are the rage and she'd can't fit into them because she's built like me. She already had nicely shaped thighs and we had to get rid of some skinny leg jeans a relative got her for her birthday last year. Hint - anyone with solid girls - Hanna Andersson!!

I'm hoping that my matter of fact food discussions with my daughter since she was about 3-4 will instill a basic, common sense "10 Commandments" of food that she just assumes are absolute truths. Granted, over time, we can tweak and refine them as she gets older, but maybe my food commentary will pay off. I'm hoping good habits will trump bad genetics.

What scares me is that I see a kid that would probably eat everything offered and if I offered her a package of oreos, she's probably eat half the package over an afternoon without that 2 cookie commandment and she'd probably eat 1/4 of a bag of chips without the bowls. I swear, I have a dozen of these bowls and they are a lifesaver.

Last edited by sbarr; 03-29-2014 at 09:17 AM..
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