My daughter's weight

Alice - posted on 04/23/2015 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Ever since she was five, my daughter always saw herself as overweight. I have no idea why, because she looks average to me. Even the doctor says that her BMI is perfectly fine, but she doesn't listen to anyone. She is now 13, 161cm and weights 57-58 kg. She also tried a bunch of diets, but says that she gains everything back. Some days she tries not to eat at all, and falls into panic when she gains a single gram. I really want to help, but i dont know how. Should i listen to her, or to the doctor? Is there a good diet for her age? Any diet plans? Please help!

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Ledia - posted on 04/23/2015

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She sounds like she is on the cusp of an eating disorder. It's not even about her weight anymore, it's about control. You can't see a gram gained on a 160cm body--it is all about having control over that number on the scale. We know that not eating all day is counter productive to weight loss, and can actually cause us to GAIN weight. Anorexic people believe they are trying not to eat all day so that they will stay thin, but in reality, it is all about controlling their impulses and seeing validation on the scale that they've succeeded. The reason they feel good about going a full day without food is not because feeling starved feels good to them, it is because they feel in control of what they've eaten. The numbers on the scale, the bones visible beneath their skin, simply validate that they are in control. They prefer "diets" over long term healthy lifestyles because diets are laid out with strict rules and guidelines, and they feel successful if they can follow those rules better than anyone else, whereas a healthy lifestyle allows for some leniency, and the leniency makes the person with an eating disorder feel out of control.

Treatment for anorexia (or other disorders) is not centered around making a person feel okay with their body no matter how fat they get. Instead, it is centered around helping them find more aspects of their lives over which to exert control with healthier (or at least safer) forms of validation. Part of the treatment does center around learning to eat healthily, and learning to love their bodies, but even that part focuses a great deal on teaching them to stop looking at food or their bodies as validation of success. People need to be in control of something, when they feel out of control, they latch on to anything they can control, and for many people, that is food--it is readily accessible, it has a huge impact on our lives and health, and success is very easily validated. Furthermore, our society puts thin bodies on a pedestal, which inadvertently further validates the person struggling with an eating disorder's idea that what they are doing to themselves is a good thing, and that they are in control and successful.

I think you should take her to see a Doctor who specializes in Teen Eating Disorders. It is a complicated specialty, so I really would seek out a specialist, but a general psychologist is still better than nothing if you can't find anyone who specializes in Eating Disorders.

I am 152cm and 48kg, which is thin but healthy. My best friend is 162cm and 58kg--same weight as your daughter and only a cm taller, and she is very, very thin--her BMI is very low, but she is a grown woman, whereas your daughter is only 13, which does make an impact on BMI (women naturally develop and require more fat stores than what is considered healthy for children and teens--breasts, lower back, etc.). She isn't dangerously underweight yet, but if her habits continue, they can have a serious, negative impact on her weight.

Dove - posted on 04/23/2015

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RIPbunny is the board's troll.. PLEASE do not listen to her... I am 96-98 pounds at just under 4'11"... and I am a good weight for my body size (small frame)... my daughter is 5'3" and about 115... and is a good healthy weight at 13 years old.

No matter WHAT her weight is right now... whether it's on the heavy side or light side (sorry... not going to do the conversion right now)... her weight is not the problem... the fact that she has been obsessed w/ her weight since she was 5 years old IS a huge problem. She needs some serious counseling to help her deal w/ this issue. If her doctor says her size is fine... why would you NOT listen to the medical professional?

She does need help and lots of it, but not in the form of a diet... mental health help (which it would be great if our troll got some too... and put on some healthy weight).

Valeria - posted on 04/23/2015

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I agree with trying to change her diet and encourage healthy eating and maybe healthy exercise, but also always tell her she is beautiful how she is no matter what size. You never know maybe this can turn into bulimia or Anorexia. Maybe your daughter instead of being happy with herself even if she does lose weight, it will never be enough. I dot not want this to happen, but I have seen similar stories. Try to not compare being thin with being popular or being pretty or maybe when she makes comparisons try to make her see you can be those things at any size, and let her know that being too thins is unhealthy just like being over-weight is unhealthy. Talk to her a lot about these things, maybe she is being teased at school about her weight or maybe she compares herself with other girls at school who she sees as beautiful. Try to take away any magazines that emphasize being skinny as pretty. Be very sensitive to her actions and reactions. This to me is serious, maybe its not, but like my grandfather always said "think wrong and be right". hope everything works out :) best wishes

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Ledia - posted on 04/25/2015

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Yes, a psychologist (PhD), preferably one who specializes in teen eating disorders, but if you cannot find one a general psychologist will be okay too.
Some larger cities have pediatricians (MD) who specialize in teen eating disorders (Usually they work in a team with psychologists), but that is a very specialized field, so you may have to travel to find one of those. If you can find one, that is great, but you definitely need someone more specialized than a general physician or general pediatrician. They will not know how to treat an eating disorder.

Dove - posted on 04/25/2015

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Yes.... definitely a psychologist. I know there are some out there that specialize in eating disorders... but getting her in to anyone that speaks w/ teens would be a good start.

Alice - posted on 04/24/2015

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You mean like a psychologist? We did have a little talk, although she doesn't listen to anyone. We have a meeting in a month, maybe that will help.

Thank you so much for your warning, now I know what I'm doing!

RIPbunny - posted on 04/23/2015

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being overweight is not healthy. She could get heart disease,obesity and overweight people die early

Laura - posted on 04/23/2015

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Oh sweetie, at 5 foot 6 a healthy weight is 118 to 154 lbs. What does your MD say about you being only 98 pounds?

https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/quick-guides/what-is-a-healthy-weight

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