Discussing food and weight with your teenager



  • susanayt97
    susanayt97 Posts: 309 Member
    I was a teen not too long ago, maybe still am, and if my parent started talking about this I would definitely take it as a hint and become self conscious. But at the same time, if I were starting to get overweight I would appreciate someone doing something about it. Maybe try to teach her about healthy choices and fitness? And if there are more people around the house, do that with everyone, so she doesn't feel like it's directed at her!
  • ruqayyahsmum
    ruqayyahsmum Posts: 1,501 Member
    My daughter hikes with me. I dont discuss calorie burns or the extra yummys i can eat, we just treat it as a family day out

    My daughter is aware of her weight. Shes disabled so the hospital weigh her at every single appointment

    On holiday to see relatives re ently they pushed food at her constantly ( chocolate for breakfast, double meals, constant snacks etc ) she gained a stone in a week so i had to re explain sometimes foods ( cakes, biscuits, sweets etc ) and all the time foods ( fruit, veggies, protiens )

    I made sure to remind her that shes meant to get bigger, all kids have to grow but that the doctors want that to be a steady grow not big jumps and drops ( meds are worked out by weight, some get a tad huffy when she gains/loses )
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,465 Member
    I was an overweight mom who raised two healthy, normal weight teenagers. I did not bug them about their weight or body image. I did not question their food choices. I stocked the cupboard and the fridge. Good food choices were always available along with some "junk" food.

    I did talk about healthy eating and the Canada Food guide was on the fridge.

    Don't make it about body image, discipline, self worth, or bad foods.
  • Sp1tfire
    Sp1tfire Posts: 1,120 Member
    I would agree the outright saying anything isn't a good idea. That is the kind of thing that sticks with someone that young. If you're worried about the volume of food she eats, maybe try to slowly replace snacks that are highly-caloric and easy to overeat (not all sweets, leave some for treats) with more lower cal foods she likes already? Apples, bananas, whole grain crackers, veggies, etc? Maybe even introduce new things like Boom Chicka popcorn? Then her choices will be limited (but not super restricted, especially if you pick healthy things she already likes)

    You're already doing awesome by being a good example. Asking her to 'help' you exercise or join you on a hike or something would be a good idea too!! Maybe she'll discover a love of these activities too!

    I hope everything works out for you! Keep the good example going!!! :smile:
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,986 Member
    I wish my parents had coached me on proper nutrition and had set a good example for me as a teenager. I managed a decent weight in my teens because I was super active, but you can imagine what happened when I left for college knowing nothing about quality eating, or vegetables that weren't in a can.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    It depends. It is normal to be growing and filling out. If your child is at a healthy weight I would not say a word. If they put on a lot of weight quickly, stopped growing before hey should, developed strange eating habits or lost a bunch of weight maybe there is reason to be concerned. Then you should probably approach it like a health issue and get some medical input and discuss what is healthy. But just because someone might get overweight doesn't mean you should say something when they are not. Just be a good example and provide nutritious food choices.

    My teen dd had not gained weight for awhile and was underweight for her height. We took her to the doctor and talked about it there from a health stand point. We started tracking dd's food intake. Switched to full fat dairy, more protein, more calorie dense foods for her. She is gaining. It was a situation where she really needed some help.
  • Katus130
    Katus130 Posts: 50 Member
    I'n not a parent but I work with that age group and I think the best approach to take is to focus more on making healthy choices and getting the right macros than actual weight.

    Teenagers change so much between 14 and adulthood while it's likely that she's just going through a growth spurt, I don't think it would be wise to totally ignore it. Waiting until she is clearly obese is, in my opinion, neglectful.
  • NadNight
    NadNight Posts: 794 Member
    I've just turned 20 and have a slightly younger brother so I'm pretty familiar with teens and weight issues. Overall I think the simplest answer is that you know your daughter better than anyone on here so you probably know what kind of approach works best for her. Personally, I have always preferred it when someone sat me down and told me straight however my brother tends to shut down when my mum tries to discuss those issues with him.

    I'm not a parent so am no expert there but surely being as honest and open as you can with your teen is the best thing you can do? If you think she's genuinely becoming overweight (not just 'filling out' but actually overweight) and it's negatively impacting her health then it's probably better that she hears it from you in a supportive environment rather than people making comments at school.

    If it is simply a case of a girl developing a womans body then I wouldn't say anything about the changes. Even though it's perfectly natural, I 'developed' when I was young and people commenting (even positive comments) did make me feel concious when I was a young teen and was more of a tomboy.

    When it comes to the types of food she eats, now is probably a good time to discuss nutrition and healthy lifestyle regardless of weight or bodily changes. Not in terms of weight and weight loss but in terms of nutrients, being strong and feeling good and setting herself up for a healthy future (that's actually why I want to develop healthy habits now. I might be young and could get away with eating cr*p but if I get addicted to that then as I get older it will catch up with me as I've seen it happen to a lot of people). And like a lot of people here have said, try and be active!
  • bogwoppt1
    bogwoppt1 Posts: 159 Member
    With my kids I had two who had "normal" appetites, and one who could eat the door off the fridge, and it showed. So we kept no junk in the house. Junk was for meals out and occasional treats.

    I would serve the portion of carbs on the plate with the serving of protein, bowls of veggies and salads were on the table where the kids could serve themselves as much as they liked.

    I talked about bodies needing protein and fruit/vegetables to grow and that other foods were just not heart healthy if consumed in great quantities. Husband is a dentist, so that also led to discussions of dental health and how to grow, and keep, strong teeth.

    If there is junk in the house they will eat junk.

    We baked treats if people were coming over for dinner, but not otherwise.

    I also taught my kids how to read labels from being very young. They could choose any cereal with less than 9g of sugar a serving. More than that they just did not bother asking. Same for granola bars etc.

    Ignoring good nutrition is neglectful, no need to call a child fat in order to help them understand what a body needs to grow. Simple foods, served in tasty ways.
  • madwells1
    madwells1 Posts: 510 Member
    edited August 2017
    bogwoppt1 wrote: »

    I also taught my kids how to read labels from being very young. They could choose any cereal with less than 9g of sugar a serving. More than that they just did not bother asking. Same for granola bars etc.

    Ignoring good nutrition is neglectful, no need to call a child fat in order to help them understand what a body needs to grow. Simple foods, served in tasty ways.

    I think this is really important. First, as everyone has stated above, 14 is a tough age, and sometimes it's just a growth into puberty that may be the culprit.

    From personal experience, I came from a good old german household that fried everything, rarely ate vegetables unless it was 'cream of corn' or some other atrocity, and I never developed good eating habits. These bad food habits combined with occasional fad diets (think poorly cooked tofu in every meal you ate) that my mother was on again off again, and derogatory pet names from my dad throughout puberty ('Thunder thighs, etc.) I was primed for an eating disorder that lasted over 15 years.

    Kids are sensitive. That means to words, and also to actions.

    I look back and think about how all my weight issues (and poor relationship with food) could have been largely avoided if I was given proper role models and taught about nutrition from an early age. Simple things like having a salad with every meal (not drenched in ranch), or making sure I understood what 'hungry' really is. Hungry for junk is a lot different than hungry for real food. If the latter isn't provided in a healthy framework, then the learning curve for a teenager (or anyone really) is much longer and harder.

  • GoKasey5
    GoKasey5 Posts: 13 Member
    Encourage her to go with you hiking, biking, etc. And try to keep fresh fruits/veggies on hand all the time. I've slowly replaced the majority of our junk food with healthier options and it's just become habit to reach for the apples (probably mostly due to the fact that there aren't any chips lol). 14 is a hard age and I agree with others -don't mention it unless it becomes a problem. She's probably not done growing upward anyway!
  • seltzermint555
    seltzermint555 Posts: 10,742 Member
    ckmama wrote: »
    allyphoe wrote: »
    Mom of 14yo here. Make no comments on her weight, appearance, or eating habits. None. Not any. Mouth closed.

    AGREE %

    at what point did someone talking about your weight or what you eat help you lose weight? for me never

    I agree with all of this too.

    I think the best thing to do would be improve the overall household diet (more veggies at every meal for example) BUT not with cutting out all junk the girl may have previously enjoyed.

    I wouldn't say I was a secret binge eater as a teen, but I had a weight problem my entire life and when my stepmom decided to go on a diet, it just made me that much more likely to buy a lot of candy when I was out with my friends because the cupboard/fridge at our house was the typical early 90s low-fat, sugar free, low carb everything, skim milk and the like. It just made me more interested in the whole milk and Oreos at friends' homes.

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,535 Member
    allyphoe wrote: »
    Mom of 14yo here. Make no comments on her weight, appearance, or eating habits. None. Not any. Mouth closed.

    Would you say this even if the teenager becomes overweight or even obese? Just sit by and watch your child destroy her health? Would you say the same if she were drinking alcohol or smoking or in some other way endangering her health?

    For all of the above you can preach until you are blue but they will do what they want regardless.
    Depends on how you discuss it with them. There's TALKING AT THEM and then there's TALKING TO THEM. I work with kids during the school year and many I have a great relationship with. Especially the nerdy non active ones. Because I look fit to them, many have asked how I do it because I don't resemble how their dad's look. And I'm honest by telling them I eat what I want, just not too much of it. My DD eats the same way as does my DW. And none of us are out of shape. Kids don't want to hear what they can't do. They'd rather hear what's allowable.

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