I'd start with packing her school lunch. School food is horrible.
Hey all. I have been around here for a bit now and myself have lost 44 pounds since Halloween. I am doing well and applying these principles to my everyday life and have been getting great results out of it. However, I have a problem at home that is concerning me. My 6 year old daughter is overweight. She is 82 pounds, however she is tall for her age as well(Shes like 99th percentile on her height compared to the average). However her weight is still too much and it is definitely concerning me and my wife. My wife is lean herself(but skinny-fat) but will not commit to a full plan of eating better and getting in better health herself. Unfortunately I have that working against me, but she is very very supportive of me and is concerned for our daughter as well.
Typically most even meals are fully primal. We have cut our daughter down tremendously on the sodas and the junk food. We do occasionally let her have these things, because she is still a 6 year old. One problem that we have too is school lunches and the lack of control that we have over what she does there. One thing that her doctor has said, and he is testing her for this week is asthma. She has had a problem since she was younger that when she gets sick in any way, it goes straight to her lungs. He said that maybe some underlying mild asthma could be causing additional weight problems. As for her activity, she is actually fairly active in doing karate 3-4 times a week along with other bits of everyday playing and activity.
I know our approach with her is far from perfect, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Your daughter sounds like me. I was always on the taller, heavier side. I was completely off doctors' height and weight charts from birth until the age of 6 or 7, when I dropped into the 95th-99th percentile. By age 12 I had hit my current height - 5'6.5" - and a year later my max weight of 185 lbs.
Growing up (in Serbia until the age of 9) we ate the standard diet - lots of meat and fat and sugars, some bread and fruits and vegetables. As I said, I was always naturally on the thicker-set side and am still to this day the type who could "always eat", but two things I believe did my weight in: one, the 1990s sanctions and food scarcity in Yugoslavia where we ate nothing but bread and the occasional preserved meat with very little fruits and vegetables; and 2) coming to Canada when I discovered and had easy access to things like potato chips, Tim Horton's donuts, all non-existent back in the old country.
My suggestion to you is to make sure your daughter is getting plenty of nutritious food. If she's like me, she loves to eat. If there's a vegetable dish she likes, let her eat as much as she wants. If she's getting adequate nutrition, hopefully she won't feel the need to eat too much other stuff.
Remove all the sodas and junk food. You are in complete control of her diet. Don't make it an issue in your home, just stop buying it. Having healthy food in the house will teach her to eat that way for life and isn't that a wonderful gift to pass on to our children? Play as a family and she won't even realize she is exercising more. Karate is wonderful for self-esteem as well as it being an activity for her.
We pass on the food issues to our children. I am guilty of this as well. I have a beautiful 18 year old daughter - 5'7" in the 120's who is always working out and worrying about the perfect body. I did that to her by all the yo-yo dieting I have done over the years and the self depricating fat talk. It is so much easier to stay in shape then it is to get back into shape. Start her on the right path now by just being healthy and she will do just fine.
If you can't pack a school lunch, let her eat what's one the menu at school. It will hardly make a dent in her overall food intake. My kids barely eat anything at school whether its packed or purchased. At home, the rest of the time, her food should be natural, whole foods at all times. No treats, desserts or junk. If she's hungry, she can have fruit, veggies or more of whatever is on the dinner menu. You will be amazed at how less "hungry" she is when treats, desserts and snack foods are not an option. My kids will choose to go hungry till dinner if the only other option is fruits and veggies (which they are allowed to help themselves to in unlimited quantities at any time day or night). Restrict breads, pasta and cereal, but don't restrict plant based carbohydrates at all, unless the ONLY food she will eat is potatoes.
What is the issue with school lunches?
I would start there, and transition those lunches to more healthy items. Pack lunches the night before, or give leftovers in a thermos.
Also, I agree that soda is a 'never' type food. As a family, switch to seltzer with a squeeze of fresh lime, lemon, or other citrus.
Does she get enough sleep?
I would put the focus on 'we all eat healthy food' and not focus on her weight as an issue.
What body fat% is that, about? Is she actually in the obese category, or just overweight?
It's good to be concerned, but how bad is the problem? Is she gaining weight or just a stable slightly-chubby?
Overweight people are generally healthier overall, anyway. Especially if she has good musculature, I wouldn't worry until it's a problem, or if around age ten she still hasn't taken charge of what she eats and does.
School food is straight up poison and I wouldn't even want it touching my skin. Pack a lunch.
If you forbid a child to have what her friends are having, she will sneak it. Fastest way ever to create food issues and useless fights.
I have a 6 year old daughter as well and she eats the same things we eat, no exception or she stays hungry.
Throwing out all the non primal food you have in your house might be hard since your wife is not primal...
The most challenging meal for us is breakfast: she misses her cheerios! I make her protein nut balls and lara bars and she eats cottage cheese.
Lunches are always leftovers... anything without nuts because other kids might be allergic. She "cheats" once a week on Friday, when they have "hotdog day" at daycare: I give her enough money for 1 hotdog only and she brings a vegetable to eat with it.
At home snacks are fruits, vegetables, coconut oil (she eats a spoonful), a little bit of cheese, nuts.
5'7'' 139 lbs, primal since August 2011
My kids are 7 and 9 and never drink soda or eat junk. Sounds like you don't want to do that though, so I would try to focus on saturating her with as much nutrient dense food as possible. Hopefully that will feed her body what she needs to grow up healthy and the taste for other food will go away. On birthday's I have made homemade treats for my girls, but now they have asked me not to do that. After growing up on real food they recognized how horrible sugar tastes and makes them feel. They don't seem to enjoy the taste either. I don't think your daughter should ever be made to feel like she is doing something wrong for what or how much she is eating rather just do your best to insert more high quality food into her life. Remember that obesity is malnourishment.