Overweight 19 year old daughter - FamilyEducation
Overweight 19 year old daughter
07/10/2010 at 16:33 PM

I have a very intelligent and beautiful 19 yrs. old daughter who is seriously overweight. She is 5'6" tall and weights over 200 pounds. She plainly says she hates exercise and likes to eat. Her favorite pastimes are reading and photography.

I have tried just teaching her by example. We eat healthy at home. Variety of vegetables, lean meats, fruits and salads. Sweets once in a while, because I do not believe depriving ourselves is the answer. We eat correct portions without making a big deal about it. My daughter does not pile her plate with food. She actually serves herself normal portions, but I think she is munching a lot during the day. I must add that she lives away from home must of the time, as she is already a Second year College student.

I worry a lot about her health, but it is very hard to talk to her about her weight. She completely clams shut, if the topic is raised and gets very angry. When she was much younger, she asked help to loose weight because she was being teased at school. She was only a chubby then. I took her to a Nutritionist and my daughter responded to the plan happily. She was soon slowly loosing weight and in about six months she was a healthy size. After a year and half, she started putting back the pounds and stop following the nutritionist advice of eating 3 meals a day at proper times, and only eating to small healthy snacks in between. She has put on an average of 10 ponds per year after that.

I do not know what to do anymore. I even started swimming just because she wanted to and would not go by herself. She stopped swimming after a year. If not for her weight, she is a happy well adjusted young woman. She has many friends that adore her. She is doing great in College. She is truth-worthy. I do not have any complains about her. She is also becoming very independent. What is a mother to do?

When you think about your daughter, what is the first adjective that comes to your mind? Be honest. I am in your same shoes, except my daughter does exercise and eats well. and when I say in your shoes--she's 21, about 5"3, over 200 lbs, and her character and personality are each everything I could wish for. But the first adjective that comes to my mind is 'fat'. There's an old joke that says girls would rather be pretty than smart because most men can see better than they can think. I can see better than I can think, better than I can appreciate her humor, her tact and honesty, her curiosity, her patience with me. When we speak, I don't bring up her weight, her diet, or her activity level. I do sometimes ask her about her health; she has some skin problems and she had one little cold last year. She's not stupid. She knows she's fat, she knows that her appearance does affect how people respond to her. She knows about nutrition and exercise. What she needs to hear from me is that I love her. She needs to hear from me that I am proud of the schoolwork she is doing. I am proud she is able to keep a job and manage her finances. I am proud that she is a good friend and I am so happy that she has good friends. I am glad that faith is important to her. So. I'm going to find my phone and call her and tell her those things. I suggest you do the same.

Thank you for your comments. Actually I never discuss her weight, and I do tell her that she is a wonderful daughter, that I love her, that she is beautiful & sexy, and very talented all the time. We have a great relationship. My problem is that my father is a doctor, and he is constantly worried about her health and always asking me about what I'm doing about it. He took her blood pressure recently and it was very high, so now he is after me again. Like your daughter, mine is not stupid. She also knows she is fat, and knows the risks. She knows about nutrition and exercise. She also knows she is well loved by all her family, even the ones that DO ask her about her weight. Still, I do worried that she might develop diabetes and heart problems, and I do not know what to do about it.

PS. Also, When I think about my daughter the first thing that comes to mind is not that she is fat, but that she is very funny and an original, and I'm really being honest! She always, always manages to make me laugh with the most crazy comments.

Your dad should encourage her to see a doctor about her blood pressure. It is between the two of them. He can pick up a phone or e-mail her.

Yes, I think that's what he is planning to do. He is also thinking of e-mailing her some information on the subject. Thank you for all your comments.

Has your daughter ever been tested for thyroid problems, or other health issues that could contribute to weight gain? Has she always been overweight or did this start in college? If it started in college, do you think she is depressed? Over-eating could be a symptom of something else going on. The bottom line is that her health is at risk. I don't think you should make her feel bad about it, but I hope you have tried to talk about it in a non-judgmental way... I know it is a delicate issue and it is a fine line to walk... but it is important b/c her health is at risk.