Fat Like Me
Am I to Blame?
People always say that you are what you eat. Then, without a doubt, I should have grown up looking like a Hostess Twinkie and a cherry pie! I gorged upon these foods in my closet as a child. I hoarded food as if I would never get the opportunity to eat again. All my money went to food and my fondest memories as a child would be standing next to the food tables munching on treats that my parents would never dream of buying for us and walking to the corner party store to spend my entire allowance on fruit pies, Twinkies and candy.
Surprisingly, I really wasn't a heavy kid. I had the normal weight fluctuations as most kids do but I clearly remember at 12 years old asking my mom what thighs were and she telling me that I didn't have any so I didn't need to worry. I ran a lot and was always on the go. This of course was before color TV, computers and video games.
As an adult, I have always been fat. I am not sure when it actually happened. It was after 28 years old and I was married. I ballooned up over 200 pounds and have moved on from there. Even though I carry an enormous amount of weight, I am still active and have lots of endurance. I just feel crappy and don't like the way I look.
Now, I have two children; a boy and a girl. My daughter has fought the battle of chunk since she was a toddler. Having been raised with the principles of "eat all of your food before you can have dessert" and unzipping your pants at the dinner table so you can fit more in; I swore to myself that I wouldn't expect my kids to finish all of the food before them AND they could have dessert as well. I always believed that my weight gain was attributed to being told that finishing my food would somehow help the starving children in India and the fact that my mother would heap lumber-jack sized helpings on my plate and expect a small child to consume the entire portion.
My daughter was kept active as a little girl. She ran around, took gymnastics, played a year of buddy basketball, took dance class. She was always the biggest girl in comparison to the tiny waifs around her and no matter how active she was, she was the chunkiest. As she grew older, we both realized that she was not an athlete waiting to be discovered by a scout and that she really didn't enjoy physical activity. She even enrolled in karate for a year but fought me every day when it came time to go to the dojo.
Before long, I noticed that she had rolls. Rolls on her sides and rolls on her stomach. She is in middle school now and wears plus sizes, is taller than me and has double D knockers. She hates her body. I can relate. I also feel guilty, responsible and helpless in assisting her with this journey she is taking.
When doctors disagree...
Years ago, when my daughter hit 112 at 9 years old, I sought out a nutritionist and a doctor's help. When you are a fat mother, people often look at you as if you have given your child IV's of fat each night and they somehow have morphed from your fat cells into little, chubby offspring.
I cook healthy recipes. We have bowls of fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. Everything I cook has vegetables and lean meat in it. I began to cook many foods organically to improve the health of my family. I allow for treats occasionally. I say no to buying processed and high fat/sugary foods.
I have received many suggestions from different doctors. None of them match. Her pediatrician; of whom I fully disagree with suggested a high fat/low carb diet. He feels that fat doesn't make you fat and that eating lots of animal fat and foods high in fat will keep her fuller and she will lose weight. I disagree. Our family has a propensity to heart disease on both sides. I cannot believe that eating lots of fat and mind you, these foods are loaded with cholesterol; will make you thin. I am looking for a new doctor for her.
Another doctor said that high protein/low carbohydrate diets often work. They however want fruits which are a natural carb to be lessened in my daughter's diet. My child loves fruit and if she wants to eat fruit over the skin on a piece of chicken or a candy bar, I am going to let her eat fruit.
A third doctor suggested counting calories, fat and carbs on a daily basis. Well, if you've ever had a 12 year old that thinks everything in life is stressful, try getting her to be disciplined enough to follow this. I even when as far as preparing everything for her but that didn't last very long.
I look at my beautiful daughter and see myself in her. Insecure, nervous, anxious. She bites her nails and picks at her skin. She has OCD. I was so much like her emotionally when I was her age but I didn't have the weight problem which for her, exacerbates her issues. She has become a hoarder of food and I find rotting containers of yogurt, apple cores and empty cheese wrappers hidden in her room. She dresses like a grunge and doesn't care about how she looks; even though I know she truly does. It is very frustrating to watch her sabotage her efforts and triumphs. When she loses a little weight, she begins to eat a lot again.
I am trying to get her to eat a high protein/dairy/fruit/veggies diet with healthier carbs and less sweets and candy. I'm trying to teach her portion control and trying to get her to have at least 15-20 minutes of activity in each day. I'm trying to talk to her more and I am discussing her issues with a counselor that she will be seeing soon.
I am wondering what other people have done to assist young people in controlling their weight and taking control of their lives. I would appreciate any suggestions.