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TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5824
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My daughter is 8yrs old and is overweight! I am really

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My daughter is 8yrs old and is overweight! I am really struggling with the best way to handle the situation. I try and tip toe around the subject because I don't want to hurt her feelings or even worse push her into a eating disorder when she gets older! Is it best to be up front with her about it or just keep encouraging healthy diet and excercise!?! She has an older sister who can eat anything she wants and not gain an ounce so that makes it even more difficult on my younger daughter! Please give me your input on how to deal with this the best way possible! Thank you!

HI, I'd like to help you with your question.

I understand your concern about your daughter. When it comes to overweight children, the worry is about how healthy they are and what kind of eating habits they are forming at this important development stage of their lives. You want to do the best for your child, but not harm her self esteem.

You are right, it is hard when her older sister does not have the same issues. But that would be true when she grows up and goes out on her own. She will meet many people who can eat and not gain and many who have the opposite issue.

I applaud your efforts to encourage her to eat healthy and to incorporate exercise into her daily habits. No matter what a person's weight, exercise and eating right is a wonderful way to stay healthy.

I would say your best option is to model good healthy habits for your daughter. Serve dinners that are at least half vegetables on everyone's plate. Encourage your family to explore new foods and cook together to find healthy ways to prepare meals. Teaching your children to use healthy fats like olive oil. Let your kids know that all foods are fine in moderation.

If you have not done so, have your child see her doctor to clear any possible health issues that may cause her to gain weight.

See if she would like to join any activates she finds fun and interesting. Even playing a game of chase with you is a great way to encourage her to move and exercise.

As long as you keep the focus on your love for her, she will work out the rest for herself. Keep things as global as you can, focusing on the family's health rather than just on her. She will learn to trust you with her feelings and that is one of the best things you can do for her.

I hope this has helped you,

Kate

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