Teenage body image

  • dkotz
  • 12345
  • 6 years ago

  • Has your teen ever tried crash dieting or diet pills?
  • Does your teen have a healthy body image? Do you?
  • Are there conversations you wish you could have with your child? Or things you wish you had said differently?
  • Have you found solutions that work for you and your family to make mealtimes and exercise enjoyable? I'd love to have a chat with you about this.

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I know this was meant for parents to answer but I'll tell you my story. I am 17 years old and have been struggling with my weight since I was 12. People always made fun of me and called me names. It wasn't my fault though because I was eating "healthy" and I was an active kid, I just had a hereditary set of love handles and a pudgy stomach. Every female in my family had both of those but in the teenage world that doesn't matter. So at age 12 I started cutting calories and sweets, I was a size extra large in shirts and a size 6 in women's jeans. So for about 3 years I only ate 1500 calories a day and not a calorie more after 6pm and did 100 crunches in the morning before school. I got just a tad bit thinner. Finally high school came, I still wasn't the "ideal pretty girl" so I got made fun of and gum was thrown in my hair the first day of high school so I had to cut off all my long beautiful hair. Which I felt made me look even more fat. That really hit me where it hurts so I started watching these things called "thinspirations" on youtube and only eating 1 weight-watcher meal a day and I did that two months. Finally I had gotten success, I was a size 3. So then I decided "why not change it up a little? So this was my weekly schedule to throw off my body's metabolism...300,400,400,300,500,500,fast. By doing that for another few months I finally got down to a size 1 and a size small. Then that's when I became obsessed. I would stop eating for days. I would get weak and pass out in the halls at school. Is that attractive? No! I had gotten to a size 00 by then. My mom, and best friend helped me realize my problem so I started eating healthy again and making dinners for the family again. I couldn't stand to see my mom hurt and worry like that. Years went by and I maintained a healthy weight (which to me is a size 3) then being an early high school graduate I was STRESSED by college. This past summer (a freshman at harvard university) I went from a size 3 to a size 6-9. I became lethargic and depressed. I started starving again without mom knowing. But I felt horrible deceiving her. One day she noticed I hadn't been eating and I hadn't even lost a pound. I had done every diet under the sun, more than a few diet pills and a vast array of exercises but it wouldn't go away. Finally we decided the answer was liposuction. She had already gotten it done and she was fond of her results and couldn't stand to see me in pain anymore and she knew how it felt because she used to have the same problem. So I went under the knife for 12k, I got that large belly taken off and my crazy love handles zapped. Now I can eat whatever I want and I am a much happier person. Nobody makes fun of me anymore. As a family my mom and I are happy. I'm glad I can finally eat meals with my mom and not have to stress about every little calorie. Life is much sweeter. Thank you mom. I love you always and forever xoxo
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are you still looking for body image comments?
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Thanks for these comments. These are exactly the sorts of things that concern me. I'm worried that kids are hyperfocused on weight and are using exercise or "healthy eating" for weight control instead of using these habits to feel good or make themselves strong. What ever happened to telling kids to "run around or eat this to grow big and strong"? Now it's become "do this to avoid getting fat". I can't help but wonder if this is the right way to approach the growing weight problem in kids. Let me know your thoughts.
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My niece is 12. She has a bit of a belly. Nothing dramatic. She has started to get up 45 minutes earlier this past spring to exerise in the basement. She has an aerobic exercise tape that she does every M-F to "lose weight". I worry about her in the future. I don't live near her and I make efforts to encourage other assets: intelligence, being a good person etc. My sister is very outspoken, and is not afraid to critize other women. I would also say that she is self-conscious and probably does not have a great body image. My sister and my niece will watch "The Bachelor" together and critique the other girls with statements like "i can't believe he liked that one, her thighs are so much bigger" or "God her nose is so big". I find it offensive and sad that she is being raised to even think that perhaps a man would not like a woman because she is a size 8 not a 2. Our society has a lot of pressure on these young girls and we need to emphasize health and good fitness as an attractive role model- not being the skinniest girl in the class.
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I am happy to see this subject. I have a 13 year old daughter who has been off the growth charts with her weight and height ever since she was little. She is naturally larger boned than most kids her age. What is hard is that she can not always wear the same clothes that the other kids are wearing. I also have an 11 year old son who knows that her size is her hot button- so he calls her "fat" to get her mad. I always intervene and make sure that he knows that this type of name calling is not acceptable. I worry that she is going to develop an eating disorder to try to shrink down to fit in with the other girls, but that is not going to change her actual structure. I hope that she understands this. I push the idea of healthy eating and we do a lot as a family- golf, ski and go hiking regularally. I try to not complain about my own body image, and not say negative things. i will admit, that I am a woman who is sometimes insecure about my own weight and look and I am sure that she has picked up on this. I am trying to encourage the idea that it is most important to be healthy and happy- which is hard when the media is full of young and older women wearing mini skirts and being stick thin. thank you for letting me share. lee ann
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Deborah, Please email me. I have a teenage son and a story that I would rather not post here. I am also a middle school teacher so I may have other insight as well. Thanks.
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I don't have your email but please email me at dkotz@usnews.com I'd love to speak with you. Thanks!
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My daughter is 18 and has been struggling with body image for 1+ years. She is bulimic. She has been seeing a counselor and is doing better. I don't think she has beaten it. I think the media is plastering the "skinny" image and no matter what we say to our kids they always have the desire to be skinnier. I have had a distorted body image as well. I am not fat, by any means, but I am always watching my weight. I try to keep trigger foods out of the house and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen coming up with healthy alternative. My husband and I attended an eating disorder support group in Seattle, WA. This was very helpful, buy also scary because some of these parents have been struggling with their daughters being bulimic or aneroxic and spending a lot of money on inpatient treatment programs. Medical insurance won't cover any treatments for an eating disorder and these programs are so expensive that most families end up putting their head in the sand and try to ignore their child's problems.
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my teenage daughter is very unhappy with her belly. "maybe it was cute when I was 12, now I'm fat". She's a great athlete & constantly moving about so I just tell her to keep eating good foods and don't snack alot. your comments make me feel like maybe i shouldn't be going there with her and support the notion she's "fat".
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Thanks for all these great comments! I'd like to know about any comments your teens have made about their bodies. Are they critical of flaws? Are they appreciative of what their bodies can do athletically? How does food fit into how they see themselves? I think this is a complex issue involving parents, peers, teachers, and the media. And I'm wondering whom teens see as role models for themselves. (I'm not sure that many want to be as skinny as Nicole Richie or Lindsey Lohan, though they probably process all the images of skinny actresses and, on some level, think they should be thinner.) I'm also wondering how the treatment of the "obesity epidemic" in schools has had an impact on teens and whether it's been positive or negative. I'd love it if you could share more of your personal parenting experiences. And tell me about your sons, too!
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I used to comment on women appearing on tv shows, especially reality tv programs. did not stop and think that pointing out another persons flaws is something that sticks with your child as they deal with their own body.
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even if you're a hyper involved parent it will not shield your child from reality. i think projecting a healthy body image is great, but look at what our kids have today for role models (Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Olsen Twins) and how much media they can access just through their phones. it's really unfair to say that someone is bad parent, "not involved", if their teen has body image related problems. this goes way way beyond parenting and more to our society.
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If your daughter isn't absorbing celebrity garbage and surrounded by people whose actions promote healthy behavior, then she will likely not have body image. When parents are highly involved, the impact is seriously overstated. Lots of mothers diet and their daughters grow up and aim to be skinny, much like mommy. Vogue never made me feel as badly as my mother calling me fat. If your daughter is indeed overweight, a lifestyle change for the whole family will help. Everyone will benefit from it and she'll have healthier attitudes about food. Some parents view anorexic or bulimic as a major threat. Binge eating disorder is far more common as is overeating.
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my teen daughter showed me a web site she got directed to for teenage dieting called trimkids. i was surprised to find it is a site run by ediets which says on the sites its for parents but the ad my daughter followed was directed at her. the site doesn't even block out children from doing a "profile". I worry that kids are the next big opportunity for diet companies and messages coming from them and all other types of media keep repeating how all kids are overweight, out of shape. my teens body image isn't great becuase she is bombarded by these messages. i don't doubt we've got a childhood obesity problem in the u.s., but it's sad we're creating a generation of kids that seriously doubt they're beautiful just who they are.
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