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My 9 year old put herself on a diet!! What now?
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amother




OP
 

Post Sat, Jun 19 2021, 11:31 pm
About a few weeks ago My 9 year old daughter started reading the nutrition facts on foods. She started asking me to buy fruits and has not been eating any junk foods (cookies, cakes, chocolates) -those are things she likes. Even on shabbos or at special times (bday) she won’t eat it.
She’s always been a picky eater and has limited selection of foods she likes -& the foods she likes she won’t eat so much of it.
Lately she’s limited the amount of food she eats as well. Like I’ll ask her if she wants more and she’ll say I already had.

I don’t really know where this is coming from. We’re not a weight conscious family. I’m regular and I don’t obsess over my weight or what I eat. We’re very balanced eaters. We have junk in the house for shabbos etc.

My daughter is very regular. Not thin but not chubby either. & I have never ever said anything about her weight. She’s perfect size in my mind.

My husband and I are very concerned. He more than me. I’m hoping it’s just a phase but he thinks it’s very unhealthy that image issues should start so young. He keeps encouraging her to eat a cookie or something unhealthy. Doing that doesn’t seem right to me.

I try to talk to her but She’s not saying much. She’s very quiet in general so it’s hard to get information.

How do I handle this? Do I take her to therapy? Do I take her to nutritionist. Any and all help is appreciated!

Thank you!
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amother




Forestgreen
 

Post Sat, Jun 19 2021, 11:34 pm
Go for a walk or a drive with her. Take her for ice cream. Now is the perfect time to start deepening your relationship with her. Do not understand any circumstances let this slide. It’s great that you reached out here for ideas.
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amother




OP
 

Post Sat, Jun 19 2021, 11:41 pm
Great idea to go out with her. Will definitely try to incorporate that. She doesn’t like food places so I’m going to have to think a little harder for ideas.

If I read correctly - you would suggest that I don’t focus on it
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Sesame




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Jun 19 2021, 11:42 pm
I don’t see anything wrong with a healthy lifestyle if that’s what she chooses. You mention she is not underweight and I don’t get the feeling from your post that she’s unhealthy. If she doesn’t want a cookie because she’s doing her own reasonable reliable healthy research into a better lifestyle then that’s okay. The problem is when it becomes unhealthy or excessive or has a bad effect medically. I would discuss it with her dr and keep an eye on it, but keep in mind that if it is indeed just a healthy lifestyle then that’s okay.
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caffeine99




 
 
 
 

Post Sat, Jun 19 2021, 11:43 pm
So much body image talk amongst young girls. It's awful and not healthy but also normal for their age. I was bullied like crazy at 8 for being chubbyish.

If she's being healthy conscious and not weight conscious that's totally a positive thing.
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amother




SandyBrown
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 12:23 am
Does she get a lot of attention and love from dh and you?
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trixx




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 12:27 am
I always liked healthy food even as a kid (and some specific nosh/junk foods). I never had an eating problem. I would always read food labels and choose healthy foods. it's good you are aware and have your eyes open but it could be innocent.
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amother




OP
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 12:29 am
Yes she gets attention from both of us. This doesn’t seem to be something she’s doing to get attention.

Analyzing where the problem is coming from is important but my main question is what do I do?
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amother




Firebrick
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 12:30 am
I would totally ignore the "diet" but have loads of healthy options available for her!
Nuts, fruits, vegetables... you can also make whole wheat muffins sweetened with honey and tell her that you made them especially for her so she should be also have a treat when she feels like it. It's probably just a phase! Don't discourage her from eating healthy it's a very good thing if it doesnt become an obsession!!!
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amother




Vermilion
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 12:33 am
Eating healthy and limiting food intake are two different things. I would discuss it with the pediatrician.
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amother




Aster
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 1:03 am
Not trying to scare you at all but I would take her to her pediatrician. My daughter is suffering from an eating disorder. She started by limiting what she eats and looking at the nutrition facts on food. She is in a residential place now bezh on the way to getting better. 9 seems very young so it could be nothing but if it is I think it's best to catch it early and get her started with a therapist.
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Zehava




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 1:19 am
I’d keep an eye out on her overall. See if there are any mood changes, if there are any new stresses in her life, and encourage open communication. Make sure to spend individual time with her daily, where she feels comfortable talking to you about anything. Monitor her eating habits and see if they’re going less than is healthy.
If anything alarms you or gets worse, get her evaluated by a professional.
Use your intuition
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amother




Forestgreen
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 1:21 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Great idea to go out with her. Will definitely try to incorporate that. She doesn’t like food places so I’m going to have to think a little harder for ideas.

If I read correctly - you would suggest that I don’t focus on it


You read correctly. I would not focus on the diet at all, just focus on cultivating a good relationship with her.
Forbidding her from dieting or giving too many speeches about healthy relationships with food is likely to cause her to start hiding stuff and sneaking around you.
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amother




Obsidian
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 2:27 am
This sounds very concerning and like it could become dangerous very quickly. No 9 year old should be on a diet. If I were you, I would take her to an eating disorder therapist/doctor to rule out an eating disorder. If it’s nothing, you’ll get reassurance that your daughter is doing well and is healthy, but if it is a legitimate concern, you’ll be able to take care of it before it becomes ingrained in your daughter’s personality.
If you’re worried about exposing a nine year old to all this, I wouldn’t worry as the most effective therapy you can probably do for an eating disorder, IF that’s what it is, is parent led eating disorder treatment, where you’d be learning how to teach her to eat properly.
If you need help finding resources, I’d be happy to share with you!
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amother




Offwhite
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 2:55 am
If she is eating a balanced diet and eating enough healthy food with proper nutrition I don’t see the problem. Forcing her to eat cookies is dumb. If she’s restricting her calorie intake or restricting essential food categories like not getting enough proteins, carbs, veggies, then that’s something else
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amother




Mustard
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 2:56 am
I had a friend who was hospitalized at 10 for an eating disorder that started at 8. I would take her to a nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders, to rule it out and help her understand what her growing body needs (healthy fats for example are super important).
A reg. nutritionist is no good cause they will encourage weight loss.
Also an eating disorder can sometimes have nothing to do with weight - orthexia can have nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with control.
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Success10




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 6:09 am
The little I know about eating disorders is that it's less about body issues, and more about the child trying to retake control of their life in the only way they can. So I would not in any way let this become a battle between you and your child. I would talk her doctor, without her knowing that you went to do so. In all areas of life, try to give her as much freedom and jurisdiction as you possibly (responsibly) can.
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amother




Narcissus
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 6:15 am
Just a quick reply to say that eating disorders in children this young are usually pandas/lyme. This happened in my house. Thank Hashem we caught it in time before my child needed hospitalization. Please see a lyme/pandas literate doctor asap.
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champion




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 6:16 am
This sounds worrisome. Don't let it slide.
Obsession with health, clean eating or amounts are food can be indicative of an eating disorder.
I would find a professional that knows about eating disorders for further guidance.
Eating disorders are usually not about 'needed attn'. Usually its an adaptive attempt to control an otherwise chaotic emotional world.
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amother




Poppy
 

Post Sun, Jun 20 2021, 8:09 am
When I was younger (not as young as this at all) and had food issues I REALLY did not like it when my father would make comments about what I was eating. It just further exemplified the problem since I was actually screaming inside for REAL attention.
Your husband should not be saying anything to her about her food. Let him take her out and buy her a new toy or necklace. Buy something he can sit down and play with her like a board game or puzzle.
Btw I don't have kids this age so maybe I'm wrong but...you say your daughter is quiet type and doesn't like to chat with you. I feel like even quiet girls who might not be super talkative to other people still desire and are able to chat with their own family.
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