kid is gaining, need advice

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My 20 yr old daughter is gaining weight again. This will be her third time. Each time is a little heavier than the last and she hits the obese range.

Both husband and I are normal BMI and eat healthy. She's an emotional eater. Husband broached the subject delicately a couple months ago and she accepted it with grace, but she's still gaining and I know where it'll end up. No bad foods kept in house. She eats out a lot.

Is there anything we can do or say? How about suggesting a dietician?
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  • Katus130
    Katus130 Posts: 50 Member
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    I think it's really great that you are concerned about your daughter (rather than ignoring it as I've seen many parents do).

    I don't know how active your daughter is but is there maybe a physical activity that you two could do together (zumba, yoga, spinning, ect). Maybe frame it in a way that makes it sound like you really need her support and dont want to go at it all alone.

    I only suggest this because I feel like when people are more active and feel good they tend to approach eating a little differently.
  • ladynocturne
    ladynocturne Posts: 865 Member
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    She is an adult and will lose weight when she is ready. My mom told me my butt was getting too big when I was 140lbs 5'7" and put me on a diet when I was 14. Just saying, I became a closet eater and felt extremely judged and belittled when I ate in front of her. I never felt like I was good enough.

    Not trying to project, but I had to find my own way to health. No one could make me.
  • candylilacs
    candylilacs Posts: 614 Member
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    I'm willing to bet she's aware she's gaining weight and doesn't need it pointed out to her. She has probably heard some rude comments or finds her clothes too small already.

    You can be supportive and ask if she wants to join you for a walk or a swim -- as the poster above said -- frame this as *wanting to spend time with her*.

    DON'T you or your husband say anything about her weight. She will just feel ganged-up on and irritated at you. My mother constantly harped about my weight, and it was really her issue, not mine, and caused a lot of pain for us both.
  • arlyne23
    arlyne23 Posts: 12 Member
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    She is an adult and will lose weight when she is ready. My mom told me my butt was getting too big when I was 140lbs 5'7" and put me on a diet when I was 14. Just saying, I became a closet eater and felt extremely judged and belittled when I ate in front of her. I never felt like I was good enough.

    Not trying to project, but I had to find my own way to health. No one could make me.

    This is good to know.
  • arlyne23
    arlyne23 Posts: 12 Member
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    I'm willing to bet she's aware she's gaining weight and doesn't need it pointed out to her. She has probably heard some rude comments or finds her clothes too small already.

    You can be supportive and ask if she wants to join you for a walk or a swim -- as the poster above said -- frame this as *wanting to spend time with her*.

    DON'T you or your husband say anything about her weight. She will just feel ganged-up on and irritated at you. My mother constantly harped about my weight, and it was really her issue, not mine, and caused a lot of pain for us both.

    Makes sense.
  • arlyne23
    arlyne23 Posts: 12 Member
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    While I can certainly understand your concerns and have had the same for members of my family, it's likely that even the most carefully worded suggestions regarding a diet are likely to have a negative impact. Like Katus130 suggested, perhaps a more subversive approach might be more effective, such as inviting her to go for a walk with you or asking her to join you for dinner. At age 20, that's likely to prove somewhat difficult as well though, as I'm sure she wants to spend most of her time with her friends, but it's worth a try.

    Is SHE unhappy with her healthy/body composition? Ultimately nothing will change if she's seeking a change.

    The bigger she gets, the unhappier and more worn out she is. The last time, she didn't realize how overweight she was until a few strangers made comments. That was the catapult for her change that time.
  • arlyne23
    arlyne23 Posts: 12 Member
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    I think it's really great that you are concerned about your daughter (rather than ignoring it as I've seen many parents do).

    I don't know how active your daughter is but is there maybe a physical activity that you two could do together (zumba, yoga, spinning, ect). Maybe frame it in a way that makes it sound like you really need her support and dont want to go at it all alone.

    I only suggest this because I feel like when people are more active and feel good they tend to approach eating a little differently.

    I like your last thought about eating differently.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,574 Member
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    My 20 yr old daughter is gaining weight again. This will be her third time. Each time is a little heavier than the last and she hits the obese range.

    Both husband and I are normal BMI and eat healthy. She's an emotional eater. Husband broached the subject delicately a couple months ago and she accepted it with grace, but she's still gaining and I know where it'll end up. No bad foods kept in house. She eats out a lot.

    Is there anything we can do or say? How about suggesting a dietician?
    Get a couple of sessions with a therapist for her. Maybe together they can identify why she turns to food when emotionally distraught.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal/Group FitnessTrainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition
  • sassafrascas
    sassafrascas Posts: 191 Member
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    The fact that it is a cycle for her is interesting to me. I would also suggest a therapist to see why she is turning to food is there a food addiction, self esteem issues? There are a number of things that make people seek comfort in food, problem is once you get attached to food like that its hard to break it at least for me. Bottom line encourage her to be active, if she is in college she needs to join intramural sports or take a fun dance class. Thats the key to keeping weight off for me I bounce around alot but if I am active at least I can somewhat maintain.

    I agree that exercising with her is an awesome idea! but if you want to go walking with her or something be consistent! As an obese child my parents went on a walk with me like one time a piece and looking back I wish they had made it more consistent.
    Moving is a key to a healthy life it really is. Take her to the Doctor maybe if she heres it from a professional the risk she is opening herself to by carrying the weight that will trigger a change again, when she does change again help her figure out a way to maintain it!
    Good luck!
  • sassafrascas
    sassafrascas Posts: 191 Member
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    She is an adult and will lose weight when she is ready. My mom told me my butt was getting too big when I was 140lbs 5'7" and put me on a diet when I was 14. Just saying, I became a closet eater and felt extremely judged and belittled when I ate in front of her. I never felt like I was good enough.

    Not trying to project, but I had to find my own way to health. No one could make me.

    This is good to know.

    All of that is so true but it is the approach, remind her that she is loved and beautiful at ANY SIZE, but its for her health that she needs to loose the weight. That is the approach my dad always took and I do not have any emotional scars cause of him, my mother was like the above poster and I grew feeling like she didn't love me because I was fat, or that I was less than because of it. If your daughter is nearing the obese mark talk to her offer to help in anyway you can, but ultimately yes she is an adult and theres nothing you can really do for her until she is ready. But at least she will know you tried.
  • fightingautism
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    I feel your pain. I feel helpless with my daughter. I know talking about it makes her feel attacked, but when I don't try to address it, I feel I'm failing her as a parent. For me it's not even about her appearance. It's about her health. I fear for her joints, her heart, her future offspring if she decides she wants to be a mom one day. I want her body healthy. And i want her to feel good about herself. She is a beautiful young lady and I don't just say it because i'm her mother. She IS gorgeous. I want her to have a life rich in joy. And let's face it, feeling obese isn't a good feeling, and what ever drives one to be obese feeds into multiple parts of one's life. Please let me know if you find any good advice. I've tried the counseling route, hasn't been her "aha" yet.
  • toothpastechica
    toothpastechica Posts: 250 Member
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    I'm willing to bet she's aware she's gaining weight and doesn't need it pointed out to her. She has probably heard some rude comments or finds her clothes too small already.

    You can be supportive and ask if she wants to join you for a walk or a swim -- as the poster above said -- frame this as *wanting to spend time with her*.

    DON'T you or your husband say anything about her weight. She will just feel ganged-up on and irritated at you. My mother constantly harped about my weight, and it was really her issue, not mine, and caused a lot of pain for us both.

    This. Make healthy food when she is around, and invite her to do cardio or other fitness activities WITH you for the bonding...not for the calorie burning. She is an adult, its demeaning to tell her what she should be doing, She is probably well aware that she's heavier then maybe she should be.
  • sophie_wr
    sophie_wr Posts: 194 Member
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    I was that daughter, gained a lot of weight around 18-20 (with pcos but I did not know that at the time), and my Dad was extremely mean (or at least it's how I felt back then) with my weight, saying I was too big and fat and ugly; he even "offered" me a scale for christmas.
    I cried so much... and kept eating. and just told him to **** off, especially if he was suggesting that we go to bike/hike together.
    I know (years after) that he probably was worried like you were, even though his strategy was obviously not mean.

    It took me 10 years to realize that losing weight would be for me and not for him. and I move far far away from home (no diet related ! just job) and actually it might have make things easier... even though united states is not the easiest country to lose weight...
  • arlyne23
    arlyne23 Posts: 12 Member
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    Ok, I will keep this all in mind. Thank you so much for the thoughts and ideas.
  • arlyne23
    arlyne23 Posts: 12 Member
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    My 20 yr old daughter is gaining weight again. This will be her third time. Each time is a little heavier than the last and she hits the obese range.

    Both husband and I are normal BMI and eat healthy. She's an emotional eater. Husband broached the subject delicately a couple months ago and she accepted it with grace, but she's still gaining and I know where it'll end up. No bad foods kept in house. She eats out a lot.

    Is there anything we can do or say? How about suggesting a dietician?
    Get a couple of sessions with a therapist for her. Maybe together they can identify why she turns to food when emotionally distraught.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal/Group FitnessTrainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    Oh, THIS is a problem for her. She will not see a therapist. She is quite hard headed.
  • Ready2Rock206
    Ready2Rock206 Posts: 9,488 Member
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    oh wow - I don't know what I'd do if my Dad came to me about my weight. My grandma and my step-Mom make me feel awful about my weight, but for some reason I think it would be 100 times worse if my Dad was the one to bring it up. I am well aware of my weight issues, I'd assume your daughter is too. I like the idea of doing activities with her - for fun, not to force her to lose weight. Maybe you can do some healthy cooking together too... But I think discussions of her weight would just be humiliating and make me want to eat more out of depression if it was me!
  • neandermagnon
    neandermagnon Posts: 7,436 Member
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    I feel your pain. I feel helpless with my daughter. I know talking about it makes her feel attacked, but when I don't try to address it, I feel I'm failing her as a parent. For me it's not even about her appearance. It's about her health. I fear for her joints, her heart, her future offspring if she decides she wants to be a mom one day. I want her body healthy. And i want her to feel good about herself. She is a beautiful young lady and I don't just say it because i'm her mother. She IS gorgeous. I want her to have a life rich in joy. And let's face it, feeling obese isn't a good feeling, and what ever drives one to be obese feeds into multiple parts of one's life. Please let me know if you find any good advice. I've tried the counseling route, hasn't been her "aha" yet.

    The following is also a suggestion for the OP.... and it is just a suggestion I don't know your family or situations at all, all I know is the following does apply in a lot of cases similar to this and parents may be unaware of the following.

    Have you told her she's beautiful? Maybe she's not trying because she thinks she's ugly. Parents (in my experience) tend to think that their offspring already know that they're beautiful, clever, etc, because it's the truth, but a lot of young people, especially women, tend to have a very low opinion of themselves, especially when it comes to looks, due to pressure from the media, peer pressure etc. With some problems like this, what they need is to be built up. That's often why comments like "darling, I think you're gaining weight and I'm concerned about your health" are not taken well, because they already feel really down about themselves, so comments like that are seen as being kicked when you're down, twisting the knife in, etc. People who don't like themselves tend to be less likely to try to help themselves improve, because they don't believe they can, and/or don't believe that they're worth it. People generally do better at trying to change themselves when they like themselves and want to change because they know they deserve better.

    If this is the problem you can't fix it overnight, but maybe you can help your daughter to feel better about herself, firstly by telling her she's beautiful (don't assume that she knows it already, because there's so much influence out there that makes women feel bad about their bodies) and commenting on her other good qualities, and also remind her of things she's done in the past that she's succeeded at. So rather than dealing with the specific problem (that she's becoming obese) you're aiming to give her what she needs to be able to make the decision to change what needs to be changed, for herself, because she wants to.

    Working on self efficacy is also important, self efficacy is someone's ability to recognise the extent to which the results that you get (from anything) is to do with your own efforts, choices, etc and having the ability to get better results by doing things differently, and the determination to keep at it. Many people who are overfat but don't seem to want to put the effort in to change, have low self efficacy, and it's not that they don't want to change, more that they don't believe they can. I wrote a blog post about self efficacy: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/neandermagnon People who have high self efficacy generally also have high self esteem and tend to be successful (and to deal with failure much more productively, i.e. they keep trying and try to find out what they're doing wrong so they can try a different way) because they feel in control of their lives and their successes boost their self esteem, rather than needing people to tell them they're worthy, etc.
  • glovepuppet
    glovepuppet Posts: 1,713 Member
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    she's an adult. she knows she's fat.

    all you can do is be there to support any healthy choices she makes.
    unasked for advice = pressure, whether it's intended that way or not.
  • glovepuppet
    glovepuppet Posts: 1,713 Member
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    My 20 yr old daughter is gaining weight again. This will be her third time. Each time is a little heavier than the last and she hits the obese range.

    Both husband and I are normal BMI and eat healthy. She's an emotional eater. Husband broached the subject delicately a couple months ago and she accepted it with grace, but she's still gaining and I know where it'll end up. No bad foods kept in house. She eats out a lot.

    Is there anything we can do or say? How about suggesting a dietician?
    Get a couple of sessions with a therapist for her. Maybe together they can identify why she turns to food when emotionally distraught.
    you don't just get therapy sessions for an adult.

    therapy is a suggestion you make, tactfully, when/if they bring up the issues they're having.