Friday, April 15, 2011

Mini-Mac's Weight

Normally I don't like to talk about my family on my blog because, well, they didn't decide to have a blog and have their personal life out there for everyone to see. But Mini-Mac is going through what I went through (sort of) at her age and what happened to us on Tues. is pertinent to what I've been posting here for the past three years.

I have mentioned before that sometime between eight and ten, Mini-Mac "chunked up" a bit after being this tiny, tiny kid. This is exactly what happened to me at that age. Unlike with me, no one in the family has been pressuring Mini-Mac to diet, telling her she'd be a beautiful girl "if only" she lost some weight, or commenting on everything she puts into her mouth. I figured none of that worked for me so I wasn't going to do any of it to Mini-Mac.

What I have told her is:
-lots of girls get chunky when they are going through puberty
-if you only eat when you are hungry and you make healthy choices most of the time, you should be fine in the long run
-the last thing you want to do when you are growing is go on a diet - you don't want to end up like me!

Not being perfect and also trying to educate her about food, I do nag her about what she eats sometimes because she makes lots of unhealthy choices. I also get on her case when she does things like have a snack 30 min. before dinner is going to be served. (Well, if I catch her doing it, I stop her. But I don't always catch her.) I do talk about healthy choices and what a portion is and can generally manage to do that without nagging.

The other day I got very exasperated with her because I came home and found the trash and family room littered with what she ate that day and she had basically eaten three days worth of calories all in snack food and no meals. So we talked about that. That a box of fruit rollups instead of making lunch is not healthy and that it leads to overeating.

I have no idea if any of this is getting through to her. I have been keeping an eye on her and it seemed to me like she was starting to slim out at one point when she shot up in inches but then she chunked up again and that worried me. There are also kids in her social circles who are actually obese and I worry they are all reinforcing bad habits in each other. (Of course there are also normal kids, tiny kids and even too skinny kids in her social circle so hopefully she's getting to see all sides of food choices.)

But I was concerned enough about the latest trends that I decided to have our PCP talk to her about healthy eating when I took her in to get her ingrown toe nails looked at. It turns out I didn't have to ask her explicitly though because she also was concerned about Mini-Mac's weight.

This is what Dr. Mom said:

-If you keep going on the path you are on now, you will be 250 pounds when you are 18 and dating
-If you just don't lose weight between now and then, you'll be a very reasonable weight for an 18 year old.
-There really isn't anything wrong with either choice. Fat people lead happy lives too. But being that heavy during your dating years is hard.
-It's really up to you. You are old enough that we can't make you pick one path over the other
-Don't let yourself get screaming hungry. That leads to over-eating.
-Don't eat until you are FULL (uncomfortably so). If you eat until you feel stuffed, you ate too much.
-If you do these things, you can really eat whatever you want (i.e., junk food or mac 'n cheese all day)
-I don't want you to diet - I just want you to not gain any more

Oh and she also told her "You're 12. The days you could just eat whatever you want and not think about it are over." That cracked me up a bit. It was very much a "You're a woman now. Welcome to our world" moment.

I liked that comment better than the comment that it's okay to be fat. Now, obviously, fat people do have happy lives and it is okay to be fat. I had a great life, before I lost weight. But there are more negatives to that choice than that it's hard to date. There is also the quality of life issues with being that heavy, not to mention the health issues. I think I would have pushed that side a bit more, because I've been there and it is very hard to be that heavy. I was happy but I'm way happier now.

Then we critiqued Mini-Mac's diet, gave some suggestions for improvement, and talked about trigger foods. She decided she didn't want me to buy chips any more as a result of the conversation about trigger foods. (I buy one bag for the three of them and it has to last all week or tough for them). She didn't say to stop buying ice cream which I also think is a trigger food for her, but there you go... as Dr. Mom said, you can't make them pick a particular path. I have told MacBoy and Mr. Mac that they are free to buy their own chips as long as they keep them in their own rooms. They were okay with that.

I did notice that the next time we went grocery shopping, Mini-Mac didn't beg me to buy buckets of ice cream or balk when I only bought the small single-serving cups and not the pints (which she treats like a single or double serving sometimes). She's also asked me whether this food or that food is the healthier choice the next day.

So it's a start.

I am also determined that we have more regular meals as a family during the weekend. This is hard for Mr. Mac because (a) he doesn't feel like cooking after working all week and (b) the kids aren't fun to cook for because they bitch about everything. So, if I'm not around, dinner tends to be take-out and the only family meals we have on the weekend are dinner and not always both days.

I think if there was a regular lunch time and a regular dinner time on Sat. and Sun. that would help with the snacking. Mini-Mac is like me in that she tends to eat what is handy and available rather than make a meal, but it's not too late to change her. (Okay, it's not too late to change me either but I've had a lot more practice grabbing a protein bar or a handful of nuts instead of making a real lunch so it's going to be harder for me to break that habit and, frankly, I have less incentive since what I do works for me.)

Anyway, I really hope Mini-Mac got the message we wanted to send and not some other message. This is an area where I have a lot of anxiety. I know what not to do, but I don't know what to do. And, given the obesity problems in this country, I don't think anyone else does either.
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