For Parents Weight issues - advice needed!

rlm's mom

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Hi all I'm new, been following this forum for a while and like the sound advice given! I have 3 daughters in gymnastics. I hope I'm allowed to post about this topic; remove it if not.
Middle daughter (MD) is 13 and a level 10. She has been going through puberty this past year and her body has changed a lot. Surprisingly she actually hasn't lost many skills in the process (fingers crossed). However I have been a bit worried bc although some weight gain is expected she has put on about 50lb in the past 2 years (70lb to 130), now approx 5ft . Her hips and breasts have grown a lot (problems in finding bras under leos) but I also think she has gained a lot of fat in the process. I can see this showing in most of her clothes but after watching practice this week and seeing her in a leo has gotten me a bit worried. She is not a healthy eater at all and I think that may be contributing to it. I am debating whether to mention something to her or to just leave it and hope she notices it herself. Have any of you been in such a situation? What did/would you do?
OD on the other hand is 15, 5'1 and 105lb, very slight figure and barely affected by puberty. She has always been a generally healthy eater. MD was also very slight and possibly underweight until recently.
Advice pls!
 

ldw4mlo

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Say nothing. And who is giving her the unhealthy food. Seriously don’t keep unhealthy food around.

FYI, my 5 foot 1 inch kid weighs approximately 125 pound. Range fluctuates (122-128) She is quite healthy.
 

Gymx2

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Nope, nope, nopity nope- do not talk to your daughter about your concerns that she has gained weight. A 13 year old l10 probably puts a massive amount of pressure on herself already- I would not add to that. If you are concerned about the health aspect of her food choices, then maybe don't have much junk food in the house. Otherwise, let her be. She is surely a strong athlete to have reached level 10.
 

Eleven sol

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I agree with the others. Don’t say anything to her. Kids within the same family can have very different body types. At 13 kids are already very self conscious. Get rid of the junk food at home. Make sure you are offering healthy meals and snacks to the entire family instead.
 

MILgymFAM

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If you’re worried about what you’re feeding your kids (all of them, because weight aside they all need the same nutrients), then you can steer the whole family toward a healthier diet just because you realized it’s gone too far off track. I’ve done that a few times for all of us.

Your daughter’s weight though, I would leave that alone. My two girls have such different body types. I kid you not, I once took them for well child visits and the doctor gave me two speeches when they were done (and out of earshot)- one about healthy eating and stopping weight gain, and one about putting on weight on purpose and maybe adding in some milk shakes. The doctor actually asked if I fed one healthy food and one fast food (). One of my girls was overweight and one underweight.

Now, my younger daughter, who is heavier, did put on significant weight quickly at one point, and it wasn’t tied to the beginning of puberty at all. The doctor decided to run some tests and my daughter did have an autoimmune thyroid condition. Medication for that helped her sleep and a restless heartbeat and stopped her from gaining, but she never lost weight either. She ended up growing a few more inches but her weight now at 17 is basically what it was at diagnosis at 12.

Her weight didn’t hurt her gymnastics (she did T&T) and it doesn’t hurt her dancing. Other than medical changes to her diet (she was also diagnosed with celiac) we didn’t put her on a diet at all- we all eat the same meals in this house and respect that everyone is built differently.
 

curlygirls

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Nothing good can come of speaking to your daughter about your concerns. Nothing. Please resist the urge to say anything. You can gradually make a shift in the foods that you bring into your home, but anything beyond that runs the risk of leading to an eating disorder.
 

GymAir

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I would say nothing about weight. I think you could offer healthy foods, saying that such foods would help fuel her body and gymnastics. She is a high level athlete and will feel better if she eats like one. Keep the party line the same for all your gymnasts so she is not singled out: you need to eat in a way that will give your body energy, be able to heal, and build and maintain muscle.
 

Agymnast

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I would think at 13 she is old enough to be told she needs the right food to fuel all her extra activity. But of course that is all that should be said, you don't want to put extra pressure on her.
Does it seem to be affecting her gymnastics at all?
 
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rlm's mom

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Thanks for all your replies! I was wondering to what extent you think a 13 yr old can understand the need for proper food without sparking any anxiety about it? If any of you ever broached such a topic to a teenager how did you do it? Of course there is some I can help as parent by ridding the house of junk food and encouraging healthy eating etc. but as she is turning into an "independent teenager" there is a limit to what I can control when she is out with friends etc. She is also very picky and often has to be bribed with a snack to eat healthy meals.
Your daughter’s weight though, I would leave that alone. My two girls have such different body types. I kid you not, I once took them for well child visits and the doctor gave me two speeches when they were done (and out of earshot)- one about healthy eating and stopping weight gain, and one about putting on weight on purpose and maybe adding in some milk shakes. The doctor actually asked if I fed one healthy food and one fast food (). One of my girls was overweight and one underweight.
Haha I can say the same:) Doctor hasnt said anything tho. It's funny how at 11 I would have said my daughters had the same body type, little did I know how different they would be a 13!
Does it seem to be affecting her gymnastics at all?
Aesthetically it had definitely affected her gymnastics. Watching her at her meets last year I already noticed her bars and tumbling seemed much more clumsy compared to the floaty pac and double backs I had watched her train 2 yrs ago. I would attribute that mainly to her just getting used to her new body.
 
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bookworm

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And i would make sure that her coaches are not making comments… as soon as a kid hits puberty, out come the fat shaming comments from coaches so inclined …

…and i would keep healthy options in the home without necessarily making an announcement as such “we are all going to eat healthier now etc” because you don’t want to spark resentment from your 13 yo or her siblings (“why do we have to eat kale all of a sudden “) . And you say she often has to be bribed with a treat to eat a healthy option, I would still keep those around in moderation… if you eliminate everything you think to be causing her problems, she’s going to notice and either rebel or just feel awful about herself (hence, the eating disorder triggers) . It’s a very fine line you’re walking there and i wish you luck.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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If you're concerned about the quality of food she's eating, it may not be a bad idea to take a look at what sort of food you keep around the house, what sort of food you cook, etc. But even here I wouldn't worry too much. I'm no dietician, but my inexpert understanding is that what is "healthy" is very context-dependent. In the case of a teenage athlete who is undergoing high-intensity training and also growing, I suspect her most important dietary need is to consume enough calories (and particularly enough fat and protein) to fuel both the workouts and the growth. If she's anything like me when I was a teenage level 10, that sometimes means eating more as a pre-workout snack than most adults eat in a day.

There are two things I can confidently guarantee:

1) As a level 10 gymnast, she is in better shape than 99% of her peers, regardless of diet.

2) As a 13-year-old girl, she is 100% aware of changes her body is going through, and will not benefit in any way from being made to feel more self-conscious about it.

Also, it's completely normal for skill quality to deteriorate during a growth spurt; that is not necessarily indicative of any other problems, it's just what happens while growing.
 
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ReluctantGymMom

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Why bribe her to eat healthier? I mean, is she just not going to eat dinner? She’s not a baby that you have to worry about being malnourished.

At 13 she still doesn’t have an independent source of income to buy her own food, and honestly, she definetly knows she looks different than her sisters. 13 is probably the worst possible age to try to bring this up to her at.

Some girls are just built bigger. If she’s a 13 year old level 10 and still going strong, then her gymnastics hasn’t suffered, this is just her body, and you should def make better food choices for your whole family, not single her out
 
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Mish

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Please listen to the advice of all of these smart people. I had the same concerns as you and a similar situation. I did not keep my mouth shut. I did not go overboard, but just a few small comments can be hurtful. I definitely regret saying anything.
 

gymgal

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Is she still gaining height? It is very common for young teens to gain weight first and then grow into that weight as they grow taller. This happened with dd and she then stabilized in both height and weight around age 14/15. The best you can do right now is lead by example and pack the house with energy rich foods. I would be careful about bribing her to eat healthy. You are unwittingly creating an unhealthy thinking pattern "I have to eat the bad stuff to get the good stuff". Everything in moderation and creating well balanced meals and snacks. You can help with this by preparing ready to go snacks for your children to grab on their own. Teens especially tend to get stuck into single food eating instead of eating 2-4 foods at once - ex. eating a larger bag of chips instead of just a small handful along with a piece of cheese and fruit.
 

Agymnast

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Have any of her other teammates gone through drastic body changes through puberty? Does she train with your older daughter? Just curious!
 

rlm's mom

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Thanks for all the advice... will definitely follow it. To be clear I haven't made any comment to her about her weight or gymnastics; just complimented what she still does well. One benefit she has had is her vault has improved a ton since puberty - much more height and power. I don't think coaches have made any sort of comments to her and they don't seem the type to do so.
Tbh none of my other kids would notice if there was no junk food around the house - luckily they rarely have interest in it. MD is the only one who eats it but would have no problem skipping meals if I didnt force it.
And yes I have the power to choose what I buy but I can't change what she buys with her allowance when out with friends etc.
MD doesnt train with OD; they have the same hours in the gym and warm up together but the level 10's are split according to age for most of the session.
I like the idea of preparing snacks for her - will try that. Thanks!
 

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