My 14 year old daughter is obsessed with her weight I am worried…Now What?

Dear Coach Richie: I’m so worried about my daughter 14. A few months ago we suspected she may have been making herself sick after meals. I had a serious heart to heart with her and she insisted she wasn’t. She did loose weight but not a drastic amount. She never looked “skinny”. Anyway this last month or so she seems obsessed with her weight..insisting she is fat. She is a UK size 12/14 bottoms and 12 top. She is refusing to eat what we have for dinner and will only have salad. Again she isn’t skinny, she has large hips but that genetic and she is never going to help that. She walks a few miles everyday, and has started staying behind after school to use the gym. I think she has a beautiful natural figure. It’s causing logger heads at home as her dad just looses his temper and shouts at her forcing her to eat. I try and provide a healthy option for dinner but even then she will only pick at it. I’m worried about going to the doctor as I’m frightened they will tell her she is over weight. She’s tall about 5ft6. She definitely doesn’t not look the weight she is on the scales. I have always been on the larger side. Her brother is quite large and actively trying to loose weight. We constantly have to remind him what he shouldn’t be eating. But how do we balance the 2 extremes in the house.

Coach Richie: First of all I would try to help your husband understand that losing his temper and forcing her to eat is only going to make her more self consciousness about herself. My dad picked on me and it made me angrier at myself because I felt as though I was doing something wrong but also I resented him for constantly picking on me. She is at the age where her self-image is more important than anything and fitting in with her peers is at the top of her list. She also has a tremendous amount of pressure going on in her life. I had challenges with my son for many years with his weight when he was a teen. It seemed as though the more we talked about it the more anxious and depressed he became. We eventually stepped back and allowed him to figure it out and kept a close eye on him. We didn’t want to constantly question him about what he is doing (ie eating, etc) because we felt we were pushing him away from us. It is so difficult to help them understand that they are beautiful when all they seem around them is these stick figures that believe they look good. What about giving her some space. If she is eating salad that is a start as long as she is getting some protein and health fats. What about trying to find out if there are any support groups in your area that specialize in teens that has this type of challenge. What about seeing if you can find her a nutritionist to help her plan meals and discover some foods that she may be interested in. What about speaking to her doctor and asking them what their thoughts are if you think she is throwing up after meals. I agree taking her to the doctor may be a bad idea. But if you pre-frame the conversation with them and give them the heads up it may be worth a shot. What if the healthy options you are making her for dinner are making her more self consciousness? What if you decided to let it be for a couple of weeks or so and not mention it at all. Let her do some exploring on her own and work through the challenge she believes she has. Because in the end it doesn’t matter what we say. Our children believe what they believe and it is our job to keep them safe, guide and mentor them on their journey in life. Sound like you have a wonderful family and you are an amazing mom.You will figure it out. You got this. 🤘

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