Saturday, October 8, 2011

My advice to a mom with concern for her plus size 8 year old daughter...

Mom Asks:  Hi Kelly I need help is there a class or a trainer for overweight children? My daughter is 8 years old and I am trying to help her lose weight she weighs about 140 lbs and I have tried a lot of things and I am scared that she might turn to be a diabetic. I was going to join up with Ricki Lake kids program but don't know how that will work. Do you have any suggestions? Do you work with children at all?
Thank You, Carol
My Answer: Hello Carol,
It is wonderful that you are paying attention to what is best for your daughter.  Raising a plus size kid is SO difficult.  My heart goes out to you in this difficult situation.  There are so many messages out there about what to do. 

The truth is that NOBODY SHOULD EVER WORK WITH AN 8 YEAR OLD CHILD ABOUT HER WEIGHT.  I do not ever recommend a camp or a class or a diet coach for big kids.  I say this as a psychotherapist who works with teens and young adults who are recovering from childhood dieting experiences.  Instead of working with your daughter, I can offer YOU coaching in the kind of ideas below.

Parents and caregivers should seek advice and counseling so that they learn the best ways to feed and handle weight issues with their beloved child.  Our entire culture is telling large children that they should not exist.  You need to accomplish three things with your daughter:

1.    Offer her TASTY healthful foods while avoiding ALL dieting messages

and ENJOY active play without linking it to weight loss
a.    Children brains interpret the world in black and white.  Nutrition messages WILL be misinterpreted.  Exercise so you will not be fat WILL be heard as a criticism.  This teaches her to hate her fat body.
b.    NOBODY should be giving children good food/ bad food messages.  This trains her young mind to think in eating disordered ways.  (Yes, our culture teaches eating disorders as a way of weight loss)
c.    Instead YOU learn about nutrition for health (not body size) and active lifestyle for the fun of it … then give her an example in your life of balanced living.
d.    Read the books below to help with these goals.
  1. 2.    Teach her to love her body and that bodies come in diverse sizes
a.    YOU learn self-care and body love so that you can demonstrate it for her as you live your life
b.    Read the books below to help with this goal.
  1. 3.    Help her cope with the war on obesity and how it hurts her
a.    You learn how to cope with the constant attack on fat bodies and demonstrate this skill for her as you live your life.

I would be happy to coach you. 
I work with people by phone for about the cost of a co-pay:  $20/half hour.

Start by YOU reading these book for your daughter's sake:

For you to improve your own self-care and body love so you can help your daughter – no matter what your size, read these.