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Old 06-09-2014, 03:27 PM   #1
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9 year old is hiding sweets in her room!

My daughter has put on quite a bit of weight in the last year. She's gotten noticeably chunky, but she always gets chunky and then has a growth spurt and grows into her pudge if that makes sense. We just measured her height and discovered she's grown almost an inch in the last month! She did not lean out at all, though.

Anyway, over the weekend, we decided to do a major cleaning in her room and get rid of everything she's outgrown or doesn't play with anymore. Much to my chagrin, I found lots of chocolate wrappers obviously hidden behind and under things. She is not allowed to have food in her room, so she snuck it in.

I'm very careful not to point out when she's gaining weight. I'm also very careful about not making any foods "off-limits." We do talk about making good choices and opting for foods with good vitamins and protein over sugar most of the time.

She started soft-ball in the spring and we're enrolling her in a couple of active camps (gymnastics and dance - one week camps, each) over the summer. She also wants to join the fall soft-ball league. She's not sedentary, though she does like TV a bit too much.

Other possibly relevant information: Her dad was a chubby kid and obese teenager/adult, so there could be a genetic factor. He had gastric by-pass almost 2 years ago. My mother was also an overweight child and morbidly obese adult. I was a thin child and obese adult. I lost my weight a little more gradually over 2 years, and have been maintaining for a year. We try not to involve her in our weight struggles, but she's a gifted and sensitive kid, so I know she's more aware than she lets on. She also has OCD tendencies, so I don't want her to get fixated on any aspect of dieting. I could very easily see it spiraling into a full-on ED if we're not careful.

She does like all foods including fruits, vegetables, all types of meat. She gets a great variety, but eats too much, and now is hiding the candy. She did not come up with any real "reason" why she did it except that she wanted the candy and knew she wasn't supposed to eat in her room. I feel like it's deeper than that, or she would have just eaten it in front of us.

DH and I discussed it and we're not going to bring candy or cookies into the house anymore. Has anyone else gone through this? Does anyone have advice?
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:28 PM   #2
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You are smart to keep an eye on her because it could lead to a much bigger problem, but there could be an innocuous reason too. Adults often credit kids (especially smart ones) with the complex thought processes that we have, but really they are fairly simple little critters.

They often overhear things and make giant leaps in their minds (usually about things that could be cleared up with one question, that they never ask). She may be hiding because she doesn't want to eat in front of you after you and dad have lost weight. She may think/have heard how much happier you both are since you have lost weight so she doesn't want to spoil it for you. She might think she shouldn't want sweets, but she does, so she hides it.

It could be a lot of things. Keep talking to her and letting her know you love her and support her no matter what.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:35 PM   #3
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Thanks Gina. I'm probably more worried about it than I need to be, but I'm the stresser in the family. I also think she's getting ready to start menses. Oh, happy days. I wonder if PMS related chocolate cravings can come on before she even starts her cycle!
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:47 PM   #4
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I go through it with my 12 yr old DD. She gets it from friends and school though. We don't keep it in the house. I know its a tricky delicate thing to approach them about but my 12 yr old DD thinks it is funny and doesn't care.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:29 PM   #5
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K'smom,
I too worry about DD and what is to come she hates protein and all she eats is carbs. At this point thankfully she looks like a model but she is lazy like her mom. I have said to her she needs to be careful, especially as she ages because she will no longer be growing. Anyway enough of mine.

I would restate the no eating in her room, give her a reason like she'll get ants in there or something. Allow her a little chocolate from time time, but a healthier version than candybars.

Gina- you are a very wise person great post!

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Old 06-09-2014, 09:22 PM   #6
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One of my daughters did this years ago and we only found out when we moved her bed and dresser. She now has the perfect figure and remembers when she did this.
It's no big deal. Kids do this stuff..
That's not as bad as when I found vegetables shoved under the dinner table seat cushions or the vegetables thrown behind the washer next to the half bath with the floating vegetables in the toilet.. All from four kids and two nieces. Just don't buy the cookies or ice cream and bring into the house but don't deny her some things as a kid. Maybe designate a certain night to go have ice cream. Or if you don't want to go out, just buy her a single serving every so often.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:29 AM   #7
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Great ideas and responses. It really helps to know that some of you have gone through something similar and it turned out okay. Thank you all. She's a great kid, and I would hate to have her struggle with her self-image. Right now that's not a problem. She has great self-esteem. I just need to keep fostering that and giving her good food with some treats here and there. And maybe some more family outdoorsy activities. Now, if we could get the weather to cooperate! 110* yesterday.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:37 AM   #8
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I'd try not to make a big deal about it.
Don't project your own issues onto her.
Children are not carbon copies of their parents.
(I fully understand this is difficult, and I don't claim to have been the perfect parent.)

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Old 06-10-2014, 05:40 AM   #9
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Very true, Patience. I need to work on that.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:09 AM   #10
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I noticed that my 12 year old granddaughter who is the daughter of the one who threw candy wrappers behind her bed and dresser has been worried about her weight lately. She has done gymnastics for 4 years now so she is solid muscle. At her check-up at the doctor, who is weight obsessed himself has told her that granddaughter is over the mark for weight/height. Her mother told him that granddaughter is all muscle but he won't listen.
We all told granddaughter to ignore Dr. because she is perfect and she really is. My daughter, her mother is looking in the mirror constantly and her daughter sees that. I've told my daughter to stop because it is not healthy for a child to worry so much about her body.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:52 AM   #11
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And maybe some more family outdoorsy activities. Now, if we could get the weather to cooperate! 110* yesterday.
Good-ness, I'm sorry. All you can do is swim.

Maybe head to the Sierras for some day hiking or horseback riding. Depending on which side of town you are on you can be at Shaver Lake in an hour or less. You'll have to get some elevation to get ot of the heat.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:52 AM   #12
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Meme,
I'd like to take those blasted charts and eliminate them completely. Drs. aren't even looking at the kids or the parents. It is about health and nutrition not some test group from Ohio setting standards.
WE all know the pyrimid is wrong as well as fat is bad, wrong, I think the dept of agriculture puts out the pyrimid and of course they want you to eat more grains. And that is how carbs got so out of control putting high fructose corn syrup in everything. To use up all the blasted corn.
I had a dr. tell me my DD was off the charts her entire life and to watch her closely. Well she is 5'10 and 135ish #s yea her diet is a train wreck but those dumb charts are a stupid measurement......
Sorry I get a little riled up about the charts the pyrimid the recommendations....it is all so bogus!

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Old 06-10-2014, 10:05 AM   #13
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Good-ness, I'm sorry. All you can do is swim.

Maybe head to the Sierras for some day hiking or horseback riding. Depending on which side of town you are on you can be at Shaver Lake in an hour or less. You'll have to get some elevation to get ot of the heat.
Maybe I should ship her off to her Grandma's for the summer. The weather's much nicer at the coast.

We used to have a boat and went to Millerton or Shaver TONS in the summer. Lots of swimming and climbing in and out of the boat. It was great, but really expensive. Perhaps I can convince DH that we need to invest in another boat, you know, for our HEALTH.

We're planning a camping trip for sometime this summer, so that'll be good. We also have a cruise scheduled in a couple of weeks. She'll spend a lot of time in the kids' club and they do lots of physical activities - dancing, treasure hunts, etc. She'll be spending a few days with her grandparents at Grand Canyon, so that'll involve lots of walking and hiking. She also wants a bike, and we've played with the idea, but we live on a very busy street. Hmm, ideas are forming.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:05 AM   #14
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A boat is just a hole in the water that you pour money into.

Having said that, when we still lived in the valley we had a boat. It was a lot of fun and great for the kids when they were your daughter's age. We could take off with an ice chest, kids and dogs and be on Shaver in just over an hour (minus 25 degrees from our house). I miss it, but it just wasn't big enough to be on the ocean so we sold it when we moved.
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:25 PM   #15
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Maxim I know what your mean about the food pyramid which is totally upside down. Plus the weight stats don't factor in that muscle weighs more than fat. Everybody is so obsessed with fat and our country is fatter than ever.
I totally think that the push of grains on everybody along with the low fat, high fructose garbage is for profits only of the processed food industry, not for our health. More people have colon problems than ever...
Have you ever looked at a low fat frozen dinner? They have 24 grams of sugar...crazy.
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Old 06-10-2014, 02:27 PM   #16
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Keirasmom, Don't ship her off to old grandparents where she will be alone without other kids, send her to summer camp. The activity is non-stop and she will make friends for a lifetime....
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:12 PM   #17
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Kierasmom,
Don't send her for the whole summer. You know how grammas are...food is LOVE. Just keep her active. Rent a boat for a weekend or two???? (boat's are $ pits) DH's is

The thing that kills me most is how so many Drs. buy into all the propaganda. Do they ever check where the information is coming from?
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:38 PM   #18
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My children have life long friends that they met at sleep away camp. Those camps are so fun that I wanted to go. They have cooks that make home cooked food. They choose their activities which are all amazing. You send them cards, letters and surprise packages.
They love it.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:41 PM   #19
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Maxi, You are right about food is love. One of my daughters always remembers her grandmother telling her that she needs to loose a little weight and then five minutes later she was offering her cookies. She always remembered this..
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:45 AM   #20
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Dawn-
I don't want to be an alarmist, but your daughter's behavior may not be so benign, especially if there's a genetic tendency toward overweight.

My niece, who is now 21, began gaining weight rapidly at about age 11, and although her mother (my sister) tried to provide healthy meals, she only learned later on that her daughter was hiding food and eating in her room. I'm sure this 'behavior' was driven by her intense appetite because I suspect that my niece inherited a similar carb sensitivity to mine (common in my family). Her father also has a history of obesity.

In any case, she has never really stopped 'secret' eating (although she's lived away at college, etc. for some years), and I suspect it's because she is ashamed of her enormous appetite. She is still quite obese and has never been able to sustain weight loss attempts. A recent physical revealed that she's hypothyroid (TSH was 13!), and I'm sure that contributed to her weight problem.

In your situation, I might want to objectively discuss with my daughter some of the reasons people are prone to obesity and how to be pro-active in preventing it from developing. If there's a genetic tendency, just healthy eating and activity isn't going to be a solution. Growing up, we never had desserts or any junk food, and I became obese just by eating enormous portions of 'healthy' food.
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:10 AM   #21
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Dawn-
I don't want to be an alarmist, but your daughter's behavior may not be so benign, especially if there's a genetic tendency toward overweight.

My niece, who is now 21, began gaining weight rapidly at about age 11, and although her mother (my sister) tried to provide healthy meals, she only learned later on that her daughter was hiding food and eating in her room. I'm sure this 'behavior' was driven by her intense appetite because I suspect that my niece inherited a similar carb sensitivity to mine (common in my family). Her father also has a history of obesity.

In any case, she has never really stopped 'secret' eating (although she's lived away at college, etc. for some years), and I suspect it's because she is ashamed of her enormous appetite. She is still quite obese and has never been able to sustain weight loss attempts. A recent physical revealed that she's hypothyroid (TSH was 13!), and I'm sure that contributed to her weight problem.

In your situation, I might want to objectively discuss with my daughter some of the reasons people are prone to obesity and how to be pro-active in preventing it from developing. If there's a genetic tendency, just healthy eating and activity isn't going to be a solution. Growing up, we never had desserts or any junk food, and I became obese just by eating enormous portions of 'healthy' food.
Thanks Leo. We do have a pretty open dialogue about healthy foods. It's such a tricky situation, because I'm afraid if I absolutely deny her any foods, that might make them more appealing. On the other hand, I can't let her just eat anything and everything, whenever she wants it. She was tested for TD last summer, and it came back fine (and her pediatrician actually ran the thyroid panel instead of just TSH on my recommendation, which left me pleasantly surprised). I need to find a good balance for her when discussing weight issues. Because of her OCD, I can't introduce calories to her in any way, shape, or form. She will obsess about them and count everything that goes into her mouth. And she's really good about choosing "mostly" healthy options. It's all sort of spinning in my head. Another trip to the pediatrician may be in order. Especially given her family history of obesity on both sides.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:31 AM   #22
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Dawn-
I totally agree that I would NEVER even mention calories to a child--that's a sure road to ED behavior in the future, IMO.

But with obesity in the family, it's really tough. My sister was concerned and tried to help, but my niece seemed to gain weight daily from about age 11. They saw a pediatric endocrinologist who diagnosed a dysfunction, but this doctor also warned my sister that a child younger than 13 is incapable of 'dieting' on her own--and imposing food restriction on such a young child is totally wrong (according to this doctor, and I tend to agree). I recall my mother 'restricting' my brother and me when we were about 7 (me) and 8 (my brother), and I suspect my 'food issues' began with that awful feeling of deprivation.

The fact that you're aware of a possible issue with weight because of genetics is good, and I'm sure you'll make good choices as your daughter develops.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:25 PM   #23
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Not every kid who sneak candy in her room has an eating disorder or will be obese in later life. As I said, the one child who snuck the food is so health conscious now and has a perfect figure. By the way, she is OCD also.
But she did go to camp for 6 years and loved it every year. Swimming, horseback riding, canoeing, archery, bike riding, water skiing, arts and crafts etc..air-conditioned cabins. The counselors were hand picked collage students and were extremely well trained. This camp fostered a sense of belonging and camaraderie. This daughter is 33 now and is still friends with all of them, even the counselors.
She would come home fit and lean, without any guilt of having to lose weight.
When I was a child I got fat and hated going to the Dr. because I know what I was going to hear every time. The guilt on a young child is not a pretty thing and I remember it well.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:12 AM   #24
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If you're concerned about her not developing an eating disorder, you might want to be careful about the idea that she is gaining weight because she is eating too much. (Even if you aren't saying it, kids pick up on what adults are thinking very easily.) From what I have read, a cause of eating disorders is intentional caloric restriction when growing up.

It is also unlikely that she is gaining weight because she is eating too much and just needs to cut back. Most people will not overeat things like meat, vegetables, and even fruits, and so she is probably eating to her body's nutritional needs, especially given that she is growing and active. (Of course, candy, bread, and junk food are another story - it is easy to overeat them.) Or, it is possible that she has a food sensitivity like dairy or wheat that is making her overeat certain foods. If she tries to cut down on nutritional food during mealtimes, then she probably will end up sneaking food outside of meals because that is her body's way of getting enough food. Rather than looking it as a situation where she needs to eat less, why not try to get her to eat more of certain things - for instance, a substantial breakfast high in proteins and healthy fats should cut down snacking drastically.

I think it's great for kids to be involved in positive physical activities... but I'm not sure there is really any solid evidence that this usually leads to weight loss. If weight loss is a goal, reducing carbs in daily meals (but also replacing them with other foods to get enough calories) is probably more effective.

Also... I understand the not wanting to put foods of limits, but personally I think that any parent who tries to keep refined sugar out of the house and encourages their children to avoid refined sugar as much as possible is doing their children a tremendous favour, and their children will thank them for it when they get older. Especially if the child has a weight problem or tendency towards sugar addiction (which may be the case if she is sneaking candy).

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Old 06-17-2014, 10:54 AM   #25
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She will eat an entire flat of cherries or strawberries. I get what you're saying, but I also really believe if a child is told she can never have a piece of candy, it's going to be that much more appealing and she'll be even more likely to sneak it when she can.

We tested for wheat/gluten and dairy sensitivity and she is fine.

We haven't brought any more sweets into the home, and she's doing fine with it. Out of sight, out of mind.
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:55 PM   #26
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I go through it with my 12 yr old DD. She gets it from friends and school though. We don't keep it in the house. I know its a tricky delicate thing to approach them about but my 12 yr old DD thinks it is funny and doesn't care.
Mine is 12 as well and we try to model portion control and moderation. The problem is she is stealing food and binging. Last school year she took the teacher's canister of flavored Coffee Mate and was eating it by the spoonful. If she can't get her hands on sugary food, she'll binge on "healthy" food.

She's currently about 4'9" and wears a 16/18 in women's sizes. She's going into the 7th grade. I don't want to her to feel shame about her size but I don't want to ignore an eating disorder either. I know she is gets teased by other kids and realizes her weight is a road block. At the end of the school year she was one of 20 middle school girls who tried out for cheerleading. 18 of them made the teams. She and another girls about her size were the only two who did not while much smaller girls with lesser skills were selected.

I'm open to suggestions!
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Old 07-26-2014, 08:46 PM   #27
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Start cooking low-carb and don't tell her. I have several recipes that no one would know is low-carb. Casseroles with cheese on top, steak or hamburger patty and vegetables w/cheese. I think that a child, the more you talk about it the more they do the opposite and the more they suffer inside. Start slowly not stocking higher carb foodstuff and slowly replace it with low-carb child friendly items to give her some options when hunger or urge to eat hits. Beef Jerky, small bags of sunflower seeds, sugar free jello. I remember when I was 13, my friend and I went on crazy eating sunflower seeds and we both lost weight because we were both "Chubby". Back then we had to buy our clothes in the chubby section of Sears.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:50 AM   #28
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We are not low carb, and my daughter eats lunch at school, with carbs, so that's not really an option for us. We've been keeping sweets out of the house, mostly, but still having treats here and there. So far, I haven't found anything in her room, and she's not eating much junk, though there's still room for improvement. DH and I discussed it again last night, and are definitely working on keeping more fresh fruits and vegetables in the house and less processed foods.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:54 AM   #29
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Sorry I didn't look at what plan either of you were doing. I was just trying to think of how to cut sugar and in my world, carbs turn to sugar. Just also thinking that when they fill up with a big plate of spaghetti or Mac n cheese, there is no room for fresh vegetables. The bag of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (in the shell) really does satisfy nervous eating and pumpkin is really high in Magnesium too. I have four children and after I would serve them a balanced plate, if they wanted more of the spaghetti or Mac I would tell them if they ate their vegetables they could have more. Usually by then their stomach was too full to eat much more mac.
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Old 07-28-2014, 06:09 AM   #30
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Gallery: abbynormal
WOE: WW
Start Date: obviously not today
Meme - the point here isn't about meal time. Each of us has said we're creating and serving meals that are balanced and appropriate. The issue is children who are sneaking and hiding sweets. Filling a child up with good choices at meal time isn't the problem.
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