My 15 year old daughter is overweight. She is 5'8" and weighs 250 pounds. She has been heavy her whole life beginning at being 10 pounds at birth. I am not convinced that the entire problem is her diet. This past summer she worked at a horse farm for 8 hours a day doing heavy work and ate less than usual and still gained weight. I insisted the doctor check her tyroid which came back normal. Her father has battled weight all his life as well. I was slender until 10 years ago when I suffered an orthopaedic injury to my leg which me it difficult for me to walk, much less exercise. I tell this because when I talk to her doctor about her weight, he says because we are all overweight we just need to go to Weight Watchers. Other health problems she has are chronic diarrhea at least partially due to her stomach emptying at an abnormal rate and migraine headaches.
Can someone please help me with ideas of how to help my daughter?
I usually get critized here by saying this but...cut down on the carbs. I'm not talking Atkin's or any "no-carb diet". I'm saying "low" carbs. Your daughter is most likely eating a lot of empty, high carb foods. I've done the low-fat thing, and I've only gained weight, had high blood pressure, and felt like weak and hungry ALL the time..
Try to get get her in the habit of eating some protein whenever she snacks or eats...this will satisfy her and keep her from "mindless" snacking because eating empty carbs only leaves you wanting more, and more. If it seems that she is "always" hungry...that would be true, she most definitely is, because she's probably eating sugary, empty carbs, and her body WANTS protein!!! The only way to get away from this endless hunger is to eat protein and stay far away from sugar and processed foods.
I'm certain all of her problems will clear right up if she sticks to high protein, low-carb foods. Forget low-fat foods...total joke.
I've tried my fair share of diets, and I finally figured out that it is NOT about dieting. It's about being brutally honest about what you are eating, and changing your lifestyle. Losing weight and being healthy is a life-long process. First of all, your daughter cannot do it alone. She is too young, and she needs her entire family to do it with her. If she has a friend that could join in, that would be helpful too. You need to really look at what your family is eating. You should be eating lots of vegetables, lots of protein, and limited whole grain carbs. Grocery stores are doing a better job now of stocking whole grain pastas, breads, and cereals. In addition to changing the way you eat (for life, not just a few weeks) you also have to get moving. It can start out with a short walk. Build up slowly as strength and endurance increases. You might even consider a family gym membership. I personally use the YMCA because its a lot less expensive, and it's not as intimidating as the "meat-market" type of health clubs. They even have personal trainers that can help get you started.
It's obvious that you love your daughter, or you wouldn't be here asking for help. Have you taken her to see a nutritionist? A nutritionist can help set goals, and help put together meal plans. I wish you luck, but mostly I wish the best for your daughter.
If she eats white carbs see if she can switch to whole grain and if she eats a lot of bread try to limit the amount to a few slices a day. I was overweight at 15 and really there is nothing you can do. She has to make the decision to want to lose weight. The more you push the more she will resist. Maybe as was suggested you can both join the gym and go together?
I too have a teenage daughter who is somewhat overweight. She is 13, about 5"7" and weighs around 170 - 175lbs. And believe me, it's been a battle to keep her weight around that number. She too was 10lbs.+ at birth and had low blood sugar issues when she was born. Had to be put on a IV to bring levels up which I was told was not unusual for a large baby. She has always had a tummy even with thin legs and arms. Around the 3rd grade she was put on Adderall for ADD and she lost about 20 lbs but still had a thick middle. When I took her off the medication 2 years later, she immediately put on 30 lbs+ and weight became a real issue. We ended up taking her to a endocronoligst and she was diagnosed as Insulin Resistant and has something going on with her Thyroid which will affect her later in life. This explained alot of her issues such as her low energy levels and why she could eat about the same as her friends and still gain weight. This is a battle she is going to have to fight the rest of her life or she will end up diabetic. I'm trying to teach her proper eating habits but it's a daily battle when kids have temptation all around. And it really worries me what will happen when she gets out on her own and mom's not there to tell her she doesn't need those sweets. But I can't worry about the future, only one day at a time.
I guess my long rambling vent was meant to say, you're daughter sounds a lot like mine and you might want to consider some more testing. She possible could have the same insulin problems. All of my daughter's doctors were surprised that I didn't have gestational diabetes with her large size. The thryoid test she had was not the generic one but was for several different levels. Her body is producing antibodies to attack her thryoid but it's not significant enough right now for her to be put on mediation. It just needs to be watched.
I know what you're going through and you're certainly not alone as this problem is nearly epidemic with today's teenagers. Dig deeper with the testing and possibly see a nutrionist who is trained to help her understand what's going on with her body. Good luck and don't give up.
I know exactly where you are coming from. My daughter is 5ft 2 and weighed 150lbs. Very solid, muscular but overweight. Always eating. We have horses and she also worked from 7am to 3pm doing heavy work at the camps. She would get mad at me telling her her food choices were poor. I resentfully, and I mean resentfully took her to the gym where on top of paying the monthly fee, I hired a personal trainer....not cheap. I can say now that it was the best money I ever spent. With in months she was down to 125lbs. Got her a young girl in her 20's to train her. Through out their sessions they talked about healthy food choices and it really worked. While it cost a lot of money up front, I figure it's cheaper and easier to help her change her habits now while she's young.
I myself am very much like your daughter. I am having the same weight problems, gaining even if I eat healthy and get plenty of exercise (I work with horses as well, and that is HARD work!). The best thing I have found so far is to cut down on the carbs. I personally limit my self to a maximum of 75 grams of carbs and up on the protein. I am not losing weight at the moment, but I have stopped gaining. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck! Struggling with weight from a young age is hard to do.
Thank you all so much for your help. I did take my daughter to an endocrinologist. She underwent a battery of tests and was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, carbohydrate intolerance and a severe vitamin D dificiency. She is now on glucophage and has met with a dietician. With just those changes she lost 9 pounds in 3 weeks. I can see her turning into a different, more confident teenager, just by believing her weight was not all her fault. She has been willingly following the diet and I am so grateful for the suggestions. THANK YOU!
That is great that you were able to find out what was going on! I wish your daughter the best of luck. Age 15 is always a tough time.. I know I was going through body image problems during then. At age 14 I was about 5'4" and 135 pounds and a doctor told me in a very ugly way that I needed to lose weight and got after me for eating pop tarts for breakfast every now and then. Since then I still have body image problems... it's definitely tough!
I'm glad you and your daughter have found an answer. It's so hard to battle things when you don't know what you're fighting.
I have Hashimotos thyroiditis which is what it sounds like your daughter has. I've gone to hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) and have been on medication for awhile and am now going to probably have my thyroid removed. But, just to let you know. This is one of the easiest to live with diseases you can have. Especially if they've caught it early.