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11yo DD Overeating


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#1 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:09 PM

I'm upset so please reply in a sensitive manner.

My 11yo DD has been overeating and it is really getting out of hand.

Anyone else experience this in an 11yo? What did you do?

She hasnt started her periods yet but has definitely started puberty. I realise weight gain is normal at this age but this is excessive. She's also been having headaches, so I took her to our GP  for a general check up and he said she was fine. I've also updated her glasses prescription.

She's happy, sporty, academically capable - but is always wanting to eat, over-eating, sneaking food, or looking for something to eat. She doesnt sleep well but gets at least 7-ish hours per night.

She's gaining weight and I'm concerned.

To manage I've been using re-direction/delay i.e. "Once you've done piano practice we can look at a snack", and then after that, "It's almost diner time, let me get that started and you can eat then"; packing really healthy lunches for school w/ extra protein and low GI carbs to satiate; limiting her milk consumption as she was burning through it; encouraging more exercise incidentally through family bushwalks and bike rides (although she swims squad three times p/ week and played soccer all winter).

Any thoughts or ideas that might help, or experiences with this, would be appreciate.

#2 mayahlb

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:32 PM

How long has it been going on? That’s what I would be looking at. My oldest has just come off a good solid 6 months of what I could call overeating/binge eating. But, key to this, is I think it was actually prep for his body hitting a growth spurt. Though I was getting a little bit concerned because he was getting fairly solid (he’s always been on the thin side). It’s naturally declined just recently and I’ve noticed yet again his body has changed shape and he’s gone up.

Mostly we just talk about appropriate times to eat and that even if you feel hungry, if dinner or similar is coming up, it’s ok to feel hungry for a little while. We also talk about food portions and that if he’s finished his meal he needs to wait 15-20mins before deciding if he really wants more food. And that food needs to be balanced. While wanting to eat all the carbs isn’t he house is what his body is telling him, to be healthy it needs to be balanced with fruit, vegetables and protein. So if he wants a snack a single banana is better then a bowl of cereal because it has vitamins and minerals that help with growing.

We also talked about sneaking food. Because he’s done that if there is something in the fridge that he really wants. How treats are ok, but sneaking food isn’t. And food in bedrooms is no ok because scraps bring pests which is disgusting. We’ve also touched on how sometimes it’s easy to fall into a trap of eating when we are bored or feeling a certain way and how that isn’t the healthiest way to approach our emotions. So we look at other things to do when this is happening.

Don’t be afraid to talk about food, as long as you approach it in a “food isn’t good/bad/clean” way. I think sensible conversations around food are important and avoiding this doesn’t help anyone. Don’t frame it around weight, maybe frame it around puberty and the bodies requirements at this point in your life.

I also wormed mine and put him back on his multivitamin.

Edited by mayahlb, 25 August 2019 - 12:34 PM.


#3 EsmeLennox

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:34 PM

How much weight is she gaining? What sorts of food choices is she making? I’d really try and focus on making good choices and eating sensible amounts, but sometimes their appetites are voracious.

It could be that she’s about to have a major growth spurt. I have all boys, but I have certainly noticed this with them. I can pinpoint when they are about to grow by the amount of bread and eggs we’re growing through!

#4 SplashingRainbows

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:43 PM

She is meant to be gaining weight.

You can’t judge if she’s over eating unless she’s doing so to the point of vomiting. Otherwise it’s your opinion only which does not possess the full information.

Sneaking food is concerning. She needs to know there will be three meals with two or three options to snack and that she should eat to be satisfied at those times. She needs enough protein and enough fat to feel full and stay full.

This might be a helpful read
https://maryannjacob...dy-image-girls/

#5 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:44 PM

I have a DD who is 12 and we have had lifelong battles with her obsession with eating.  She was a very overweight toddler.  She even drank too much breastmilk!!

At 12 my DD is also a swimmer and trains 4 or more times a week.  She isn't overweight but the way she eats - effectively 8 meals a day - is not sustainable.  If she has a week when she's not in the pool she eats just as much.  She also steals food.  Its though and I worry how it will affect her in the future.  

Could you add an extra pool session in or increase the intensity of the sessions?

#6 gracie1978

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:45 PM

Does she snore?

7 hours sleep isn't much, I over eat when I'm not sleeping well.

Have you done anything to see if her sleep can be improved.

#7 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:48 PM

Thanks for the replies.

I think she's probably gained 5 - 8kg over the last twelve months. I havent kept close eye on it but when they GP weighed her I was shocked.

She tends towards milk, yoghurt, cheese, bananas and sandwiches. But if we have biscuits in the house, she will eat all of them. I've stopped buying crackers because she will just sit and scoff them.

We have a pretty healthy balance of "junk" and healthy food. I try to talk about food in a positive way, and to not demonise foods because I know that is unhelpful for myself.

It is overeating because she eats a full meal and then a second helping then adds more and more until she is unwell because of the food.

In consultation with a dietitian, I've increased the protein and low GI carbs in her meals but it hasnt helped satiate her.

DD, I should add, isn't overweight - she's in the 97%tile for height and weight for her age. I am just worried that she is always looking for food, and she seems to have gained quite a bit in the last 6 - 12month (perhaps in prep for a growth spurt).

She doesn't snore, and she will get more sleep if I am super strict with her sleep-hygiene.

Elizabethandfriend, our DDs sound very similar.

#8 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:51 PM

Thanks for the link SplashingRainbows.

I'm not concerned it is a body-image thing. She's confident, wears clothes she likes (and is selective about comfort and practicality over fashion), has a nice group of friends with similar ideas and doesnt consume much media (she and her friends all have no social media as well).

#9 luke's mummu

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:04 PM

I’d be more concerned about why she’s only getting 7 hours of sleep a night. It could be linked to weight gain

#10 lizzzard

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:04 PM

As someone with lifelong eating issues, I would suggest you seek advice from a dietician to determine what a healthy diet and weight gain looks like for a child of your DDs age OP. Please don’t assume that what she is eating is automatically ‘too much’ or that her weigh gain is inappropriate without having accurate information to guide you - otherwise you risk placing very strange thoughts into your daughters head and encouraging her to ignore her own body’s signals about hunger and satiation.

#11 SplashingRainbows

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:08 PM

Did you read the part about them meant to be putting on weight at this age though?
And not dieting.

You seem to be concerned about her body and weight even if she isn’t. I’m not sure that’s appropriate. You should be expecting her to put on weight and eat a lot.

Edited by SplashingRainbows, 25 August 2019 - 01:10 PM.


#12 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:09 PM

I have consulted with both the GP and a dietitian. They feel like she is OK but I am worried about the behaviour. She's a healthy happy kid. And I havent said anything to her - these are just my concerns.

Dietitian recommended longer burning foods to satiate (protein and low GI foods).

GP told me to increase her exercise - which isn't practical as she trains swimming 3 times / week already and before that had soccer twice a week too.

The sleep thing is an issue. It was a conservative estimate to say 7 uninterrupted hours. She has an 7:30pm bedtime for 8pm lights out but takes a long time to fall asleep and wakes at around 6/6:30am. She wakes a couple of times per night and we've been secretly monitoring on her Flex, which synchs to my laptop - I just checked that now and she tracks at around 9hours per night.

#13 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:11 PM

View PostSplashingRainbows, on 25 August 2019 - 01:08 PM, said:

Did you read the part about them meant to be putting on weight at this age though?

Yes. Thanks for your input.

I understand the need for weight gaining pre-pubescent kids. I have read quite a bit of information about this in preparation for her growing up. I just feel like it is excessive - it may not be - and I am concerned about the behaviour and the nature of her eating.

#14 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:15 PM

View PostSplashingRainbows, on 25 August 2019 - 01:08 PM, said:

You seem to be concerned about her body and weight even if she isn’t. I’m not sure that’s appropriate. You should be expecting her to put on weight and eat a lot.

OK, I see your edit.

No one is dieting here.

Yes, I am concerned about her body weight because I want to ensure I am doing all the things I can do to help her to be healthy and if she is gaining too much and moving into an unhealthy weight range, as her parent, I feel it is my job to be informed about this and to do whatever I can to assist her.

#15 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:30 PM

Thanks all for the replies.
You've given me things to consider.

#16 Expelliarmus

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:37 PM

If you've got support from the GP and dietician they are likely in a much better place to advise if there is anything going on of concern. According to you, they are both unconcerned. She's getting plenty of exercise, enough sleep and isn't overweight. I'm not sure what EB can do.

#17 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:38 PM

I can't comment on your DD - you know her best.  And as someone who has struggled with bulimia and anorexia since the age of around 15, I always find it very hard to give any advice on food, eating and health, because I know that I have very altered perceptions.

Having said that, I struggled with the same thing when my DD was that age.  She went from a slim, 'healthy' weight, to overeating and getting really quite chubby.  Acoording to BMI ( which you are not meant to use for children/teenagers, but I was obsessive) she measured as obese.

I felt sad every time I looked at her and wondered what I was doing wrong, and how the hell to stop it.

She is now 16, and tall, slim and fit.  SHe is in the body that she was always going to be, I think.  She is bigger than some of her friends (especially the very sporty and dancer ones) and has a quite frighteningly curvy body that I wasn't expecting.  But as someone who is overly critical of what I perceive as overweight, she is very healthy and well-proportioned.  And she towers over me, and is also taller than DH.  She is about 5ft 10. or 5ft 11.    She needed to eat back then.  She hardly eats anything now.    

All I'm saying is, don't stress too much.  Reinforce good choices, but realise also that some girls do go through this at puberty.  It is normal.  

I was so sad and stressed for her during those years - I look at her now and wish I hadn't bothered.  She is a confident, beautiful and happy young woman- I envy her total comfort in her body, which says to me that I did the right thing in not focussing too much on it, and not letting her know my angst.

It almost got to the stage that I was worried when the weight started falling off - I thought she might be going the other way.  But it happened naturally, and has leveled out now.

#18 MarciaB

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:38 PM

My younger dd plays a ton of sport and sometimes I feel like she eats all day!

Because of all the physical activity she does, she finally understands that when I question her food choices it isn't about good food/bad food - but making sure she has enough of the good stuff.

So general rules are -

1) eat as much fruit/vege sticks as you want. But start with a serving of either if you want a snack.  Hummous/salsa is always here if she wants to dip the vege sticks

2) If still hungry move on to cheese/crackers, nuts a yoghurt or a milk-based drink (smoothie/hot chocolate etc).

3) Absolutely no snack an hour before a meal.  Remind that after dinner/lunch she can have whatever to make sure she has had enough.  Even after training - I make sure that she literally has dinner when she walks in the door.  If that isn't possible - I bring something healthy as she needs the protein/carbs for muscle recovery after a big session.  Usually a smoothie.  

Biscuits/chocolates etc - all here in the house but only after she
has had fruit and a protein-based snack.

It does seem to moderate things.  She has had some fatigue and anemia issues and we have consulted a dietician so she does understand that her diet is all about making sure she has enough of the "good stuff" to fuel her activity.  It isn't about limiting "poor" choices - just making sure they don't take over and limit the nutrient intake.


Make it about fuel and not good food/bad food.

Edited by MarciaB, 25 August 2019 - 01:50 PM.


#19 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:39 PM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 25 August 2019 - 01:37 PM, said:

If you've got support from the GP and dietician they are likely in a much better place to advise if there is anything going on of concern. According to you, they are both unconcerned. She's getting plenty of exercise, enough sleep and isn't overweight. I'm not sure what EB can do.

I was just interested in hearing other experiences, and of what worked. Sometimes you see things on here that havent come up before. I didn't think it hurt to ask. And some replies were quite helpful in helping me think it through. ETA esp Ruf~Feral~es.

Edited by aluminium, 25 August 2019 - 01:41 PM.


#20 BusbyWilkes

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:42 PM

I understand you just want what is best for your child. I think kids that age are pretty perceptive. So even if you are just worried and not saying anything, she may be picking up on your concerns re food (hence the hiding it).

We stopped buying things that weren't able to be eaten. No biscuits, cake, ice cream etc. I buy a pack of ice creams or make a cake sometimes, but then we sit down and eat it together as a family rather than having it sit in the freezer/cupboard.

This has allowed the kids to eat what they feel like (not within 30 mins of dinner) and has taken the pressure off me to nag and "police" food consumption.

Dietician recommended snacks such as bowl of cereal (eg sultana bran/weetbix) with full cream milk, cheese and grainy bread, can of baked beans. I had considered these more like meals than snacks.

I think the fact that you have consulted your GP and dietician and they aren't concerned should guide your responses. Do you or other family members have a history of disordered eating that is making you more vigilant?

#21 SFmummyto3

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:43 PM

In addition to the excellent advice I would not be allowing a second helping at dinner and discussing what is appropriate. One of my kids was/is similar and I also couldn’t keep biscuits or treats at all as she’d just scoff them all at once.

We now just serve up a decent dinner with plenty of water to drink. Often she fancies something else to munch on so we’ve now a selection of healthy things she can have after dinner eg. Carrot or celery sticks, apple slices, little chees cubes cut up, a few nuts etc. I found it’s sometimes just wanting to munch on something whilst she’s doing homework and this seems to have helped her.

We still have an occasional ice cream or dessert but I tend to buy the ones on a stick so we each just have one portion and she can’t over scoop in her bowl. I agree with not making a big deal about it. I just stopped buying the items that weren’t really healthy and replaced them with other options. I frequently hear “there’s nothing to eat” 😂 when in fact there is a fridge and pantry full of good food. It’s just not biscuits and crap that she wants.

I also had her help a bit more in the kitchen to cook and serve dinner and found her personal contribution was a good learning opportunity too.

Her bedtime might be a little too early for her age especially considering she’s taking ages to fall asleep. If you made it a little later then you might find she’s more tired and her sleep may improve. Or have her read for 30mins before lights out to relax.

Edited by SFmummyto3, 25 August 2019 - 01:49 PM.


#22 Mollyksy

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:44 PM

I wonder if part of it is thirst? Could she be dehydrated? That could explain headaches too. I find I cant tell the difference between hunger and thirst. My brother used to overdo milk as a kid as he hated water. If plain water is an issue you could try soda stream fizzy water with fruit or a small amount of sugar free cordial.

I understand you are concerned about the sneaking food but if she is hungry and you wont let her eat then I can understand.

Let the dr track her weight and height as part of her checkups (I.e. without making a big deal of it) and keep going with the lower gi and filling foods.

But be careful of making a big deal. My mum did at a similar age and I think it wasnt great for me. As an adult I just kept gaining weight as once I could make decisions for myself, I went bonkers. Much better to concentrate on a healthy lifestyle and let/encourage her to make healthy choices. My mum just went total restriction.

My best friends parents had yummy food everywhere but ate little of it and they weren't overweight at all (but ironically she went overboard with her kids like my mum!).

Its hard.

Maybe a psych might help if you think it's a compulsion? Like she is eating to cope with emotion? Could there be bullying or anxiety or something going on?

Finally, lack of sleep makes me eat carbs heaps to give me energy. Post baby I felt like I was continually hungover! So lived on coke and sausage rolls. Could also explain the headache. Perhaps a trial of melatonin might help there too? A calm relaxing routine of a night. No screens before bed. White noise or a night light if noise or the dark is an issue (I still hate sleeping with the door shut in total darkness).

All the best.

#23 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:44 PM

View PostBusbyWilkes, on 25 August 2019 - 01:42 PM, said:

I understand you just want what is best for your child. I think kids that age are pretty perceptive. So even if you are just worried and not saying anything, she may be picking up on your concerns re food (hence the hiding it).

We stopped buying things that weren't able to be eaten. No biscuits, cake, ice cream etc. I buy a pack of ice creams or make a cake sometimes, but then we sit down and eat it together as a family rather than having it sit in the freezer/cupboard.

This has allowed the kids to eat what they feel like (not within 30 mins of dinner) and has taken the pressure off me to nag and "police" food consumption.

Dietician recommended snacks such as bowl of cereal (eg sultana bran/weetbix) with full cream milk, cheese and grainy bread, can of baked beans. I had considered these more like meals than snacks.

I think the fact that you have consulted your GP and dietician and they aren't concerned should guide your responses. Do you or other family members have a history of disordered eating that is making you more vigilant?

Both sides of our families have people with disordered eating. I would say Hubby and I do too - to some extent - because of our families.

#24 aluminium

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:47 PM

View PostMollyksy, on 25 August 2019 - 01:44 PM, said:

I wonder if part of it is thirst? Could she be dehydrated? That could explain headaches too. I find I cant tell the difference between hunger and thirst. My brother used to overdo milk as a kid as he hated water. If plain water is an issue you could try soda stream fizzy water with fruit or a small amount of sugar free cordial.

I understand you are concerned about the sneaking food but if she is hungry and you wont let her eat then I can understand.

Let the dr track her weight and height as part of her checkups (I.e. without making a big deal of it) and keep going with the lower gi and filling foods.

But be careful of making a big deal. My mum did at a similar age and I think it wasnt great for me. As an adult I just kept gaining weight as once I could make decisions for myself, I went bonkers. Much better to concentrate on a healthy lifestyle and let/encourage her to make healthy choices. My mum just went total restriction.

My best friends parents had yummy food everywhere but ate little of it and they weren't overweight at all (but ironically she went overboard with her kids like my mum!).

Its hard.

Maybe a psych might help if you think it's a compulsion? Like she is eating to cope with emotion? Could there be bullying or anxiety or something going on?

Finally, lack of sleep makes me eat carbs heaps to give me energy. Post baby I felt like I was continually hungover! So lived on coke and sausage rolls. Could also explain the headache. Perhaps a trial of melatonin might help there too? A calm relaxing routine of a night. No screens before bed. White noise or a night light if noise or the dark is an issue (I still hate sleeping with the door shut in total darkness).

All the best.
Thanks for your thoughtful post.

I worry that it is a compulsion but I am also wary of overreacting to the situation.

I have been encouraging extra drinking because I wondered if it was thirst. We have a soda stream but only make fizzy water with a dash of lemon or lime juice. She enjoys that. We dont buy cordial, soda or juice - no one seems to like  it.

#25 chicken_bits

Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:50 PM

View PostSFmummyto3, on 25 August 2019 - 01:43 PM, said:

In addition to the excellent advice I would not be allowing a second helping at dinner and discussing what is appropriate.

If a child is growing and you're serving a healthy dinner, I'm not sure why it's inappropriate to give a second helping of dinner if they're still hungry? Surely that's better than being hungry later and snacking on less healthy alternatives?

I'm imagining not the same portion again, but just extra.

My kids are younger, but they will often go through phases where they are hungrier and times when they're not hungry. We need to remember that they are still growing and grow in phases. As adults, that's where we can often go wrong because we stop growing but still eat as if we are and our metabolisms are different too.




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