6

votes

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.....

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 04, 2011 at 1:52 AM

So, my daughter(age 13)and I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dying. I struggled with my weight since I was a child. It wasn't until a few years ago that I educated myself on this paleo way of life and how much healthier I feel. My daughter however, eats as I do most of time, however, her problem is that at least twice a week she eats cold cereal, ice cream. I don't keep these items in my home but she goes to her friends home and they eat all types of processed foods. Since we watched this documentary, my daughter is very motivated to do the juice fasting. She had a physical done a few weeks ago so she's okay medically to start, but wanted to get your take on this. I have tried to get her to stop eating carbs completely but I feel like right now at her age she could hide food from me and I don't want that to happen. So I talk to her about our nutrition and why I eat the way I do and exercise, but at 13 it goes in one ear and out the other. This documentary is the first time she's really listen and seems to show interest. Please advise.......

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 05, 2011
at 02:19 AM

@sherpsmelissa: Yes, I know the feelings. Today I don't see any evidence of food craziness with my son...A cool thing is that he is so proud of me and very verbal about it. He works in a non-profit in DC that researches alot of related stuff (including food stuff) and works to make changes especially in are area of what is healthy for kids. He has become very aware that only about 5% - or less, permanently lose the weight and maintain it. There was a time as a kid when I know that he felt some discomfort at least if not shame about my weight. Today, he's my biggest supporter. :)

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 05, 2011
at 02:09 AM

@All: Thanks. I'm actually a really private and introverted person, so your feedback helps, as it is challenging for me to share very personal stuff. But, sometimes, I feel so strongly that it is what I've gotta say. It's my truth. :) And this site just seems to pull it out of me, lol!

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on August 04, 2011
at 04:26 PM

I didn't downvote you but I honestly don't agree with this blanket statement that a 13 year old should not be without carbs or dieting in any way. I wish I knew about carbs when I was 13, maybe then I could have avoided years of being miserable and fat and depressed because I couldn't lose weight "eating healthy" like others did. Fat kids should be educated about carbs role in weight. Why should the lowfat dogma be the only thing kids hear about?

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:44 PM

Fantastic answer. Thanks for sharing mem. I worry a lot about not making my daughter have "food issues" due to watching me go through my weight loss and my own food issues.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:12 PM

mem, this is probably, no joke, one of my favorite posts ive seen here on PH. seriously, it got me a bit choked up. great answer.

C2ad96801ec1e22d2bf62475b6e52751

(1416)

on August 04, 2011
at 01:18 PM

great answer here, +1

8c509aac21bdb54b3ca91de2da994b9b

(248)

on August 04, 2011
at 01:14 PM

a. mem, amazing and kind answer!!! b. Paleo Chica, my 2 cents is that being concerned with being overweight all my life & thinking about dieting, losing weight, always being ashamed & having everyone around me comment on it & make me feel bad, etc. is one of the worst things to a child. It really hurts deeply. I agree with mem, she is doing great, eating a little processed foods with her friends, but overall doing well since you keep healthy choices at your home. The constant obsession of inspecting & discussng what she is eating, & talking about her weight, can do more harm then good.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on August 04, 2011
at 12:23 PM

You know best just how low-calorie it was, but I doubt that stunted your growth. Height is weird and isn't as easily predicted as those formulas suggest; my parents are 6'1" and 5'3" (but all my mom's sisters are 5'6" or taller) and my sisters and I ended up 5'5", 5'10" and 5'3"! My shortie baby sister was always a good eater and healthy girl too, where I had failure to thrive as a child because of my eating issues, and my super-tall middle sister was addicted to multiple substances, barely eating, and extremely underweight during her major growth spurt between 14 and 17...

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on August 04, 2011
at 12:09 PM

+1 for eating healthy food until you're full!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:22 AM

I just went to that link and made the mistake of reading the comments. So very very glad to be back here.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 04, 2011
at 04:15 AM

Opps! That ^^^ was meant to read: THANKS!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 04, 2011
at 04:14 AM

Ths Kelly and Dunnie. Here's a sad sort of post-script of a link I just ran into... http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=94483

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:55 AM

+1. The healthiest, least-concerned-about-food people I know are those who grew up in families with a healthy but nonchalant attitude towards food. The unhealthiest, most weight-obsessed and most likely to rollercoaster and emotional eat, BY FAR, and I'm talking friends, family, clients, etc are those who grew up with a parent "on a diet" or who talked/obsessed about weight & weight loss. Great post mem.

78fcdeee6ac4ee7d071bbac56b9e359f

(1025)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:38 AM

Excellent post...I think I needed to be reminded of some of these things too.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 04, 2011
at 03:26 AM

+1 for coming here, asking our question and very honestly sharing your history and concerns and asking for feedback!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:47 AM

On the other hand, I highly doubt she would last long on the fast - I guess you could let her do it, with your disapproval (allowing her to feel autonomous), and let her try to figure it out herself - she won't last 24 hrs.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:28 AM

cereal once a week wont kill you, but if you can at least steer it gluten free that would be nicer.

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12 Answers

29
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 04, 2011
at 03:22 AM

I'm going to be what might be overly blunt here. Food craziness can cause BIG problems in kids, who grow into adults, for LIFE. As parents, we all struggle with what we feel is best for our children and we struggle more if we have, ourselves, dealt with significant overweight issues and/or "food craziness" in our childhoods.

From what you describe, your daughter is doing great. She is eating pretty much paleo along with you, an once or twice a week, eating what is offered and available in the home of peers. From my perspective, as a parent who has lived with your concerns, whose child is now an adult 31 year old, what I most want to convey to you is: Please relax. I am also a person who has struggled mightily with obesity. And my growing up was a nightmare of one parent's extreme food craziness, directed at me.

I would say that I am a person who was not born or genetically weighted to develp obesity issues. Extreme food craziness and concern that I, as a NON-overweight child would BECOME overweight, along with other craziness, fed hugely into my becoming a truly overweight person in my mid adulthood and just a hair under a morbidly obese person as of the age of 46.

As a Mom, I was certainly concerned with good nurtrition for my child. And I had a real struggle, as his Dad and I divorced when he was only 3 years old. Breakfast at Dad's was a free for all, meaning things like: coke and M&M's for breakfast. I fretted, I gnashed my teeth, etc. And then I realized that I could make myself and my child crazy, or, I could continue to present healthy food and good choices and basically cocoon him in a healthy food enviroment in the home and let go of that which I could not control. It was HARD.

But the most important thing was it worked. It took the craziness out of the situation and destressed things for my son. My son was in our home environment the vast majority of the time where he was surrounded by healthy choices and a Mom who didn't preach but answered questions. I knew we'd hit paydirt when several years down the road he asked me one morning over an eggs, bacon and fruit breakfast why his Dad ate what he ate and why he didn't know about "good food?" This was truly confusing to him as his Dad was a particle phsyicist and a very bright guy and in his mind, he couldn't understand how his Dad could be so smart and not understand about food.

Now, did my son eat healthy food every minute and in every environment when he was out of our home? No! Certainly not! But he learned about healthy food in his home without being unduely restricted or ever "indoctrinated" or preached at. And he carried this forward into his own adult life and now into the life of my grandchild.He lived in a home environment that in its very essence discouraged unhealthy food choices and provided lots of tasty healthy choices. he developed healthy food habits.

I feel very concerned when you write that you have tried to get your child to "stop eating carbs completely." This puts up real red flags for me. And I have great concerns about this for a child. Removing industrial foods and high sugar industrial foods and fruit juices would be prudent and it sounds like you've already done that. Healthy substitutes like plentiful fruit choices would promote good nutrition now and promote healthy food habits in choices for the future.

I have to be honest and say that I also feel concerned about the real "whys" of a juice fast for her at this age and would encourage you to reflect and look carefully at where this is coming from, from inside you.

I feel like I just want to say to you: Paleo Chica, good job! Good job for the turnabout in your own life! Good job for caring so much for you child and not wanting her to suffer as you have suffered! Good job because your obvious great love for your child comes through in your post. But....relax a bit Paleo Chica....relax....get the constant sort of high stress concern down...provide the great home food environment that you are...but realize that you little girl is going to experiment and develop like all kids...and the best thing you can provide her is a home enviroment of healthy choices without stress...try to back off from the sense i get from your post of "food as a scary thing" and let it become just simply what it is...nourishment...And believe in yourself and your ability to provide a wholesome, non emotionally charged, healthy eating enviroment for your child. And then just let her grow....:)

78fcdeee6ac4ee7d071bbac56b9e359f

(1025)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:38 AM

Excellent post...I think I needed to be reminded of some of these things too.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:44 PM

Fantastic answer. Thanks for sharing mem. I worry a lot about not making my daughter have "food issues" due to watching me go through my weight loss and my own food issues.

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:12 PM

mem, this is probably, no joke, one of my favorite posts ive seen here on PH. seriously, it got me a bit choked up. great answer.

016de26fe61daf799662d3b7b2468324

(688)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:55 AM

+1. The healthiest, least-concerned-about-food people I know are those who grew up in families with a healthy but nonchalant attitude towards food. The unhealthiest, most weight-obsessed and most likely to rollercoaster and emotional eat, BY FAR, and I'm talking friends, family, clients, etc are those who grew up with a parent "on a diet" or who talked/obsessed about weight & weight loss. Great post mem.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 04, 2011
at 04:14 AM

Ths Kelly and Dunnie. Here's a sad sort of post-script of a link I just ran into... http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=94483

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 04, 2011
at 04:15 AM

Opps! That ^^^ was meant to read: THANKS!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 07:22 AM

I just went to that link and made the mistake of reading the comments. So very very glad to be back here.

C2ad96801ec1e22d2bf62475b6e52751

(1416)

on August 04, 2011
at 01:18 PM

great answer here, +1

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 05, 2011
at 02:09 AM

@All: Thanks. I'm actually a really private and introverted person, so your feedback helps, as it is challenging for me to share very personal stuff. But, sometimes, I feel so strongly that it is what I've gotta say. It's my truth. :) And this site just seems to pull it out of me, lol!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on August 05, 2011
at 02:19 AM

@sherpsmelissa: Yes, I know the feelings. Today I don't see any evidence of food craziness with my son...A cool thing is that he is so proud of me and very verbal about it. He works in a non-profit in DC that researches alot of related stuff (including food stuff) and works to make changes especially in are area of what is healthy for kids. He has become very aware that only about 5% - or less, permanently lose the weight and maintain it. There was a time as a kid when I know that he felt some discomfort at least if not shame about my weight. Today, he's my biggest supporter. :)

8c509aac21bdb54b3ca91de2da994b9b

(248)

on August 04, 2011
at 01:14 PM

a. mem, amazing and kind answer!!! b. Paleo Chica, my 2 cents is that being concerned with being overweight all my life & thinking about dieting, losing weight, always being ashamed & having everyone around me comment on it & make me feel bad, etc. is one of the worst things to a child. It really hurts deeply. I agree with mem, she is doing great, eating a little processed foods with her friends, but overall doing well since you keep healthy choices at your home. The constant obsession of inspecting & discussng what she is eating, & talking about her weight, can do more harm then good.

17
0dc1d63c3d5975f5115f535c6a90c9dd

(2283)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:23 AM

A 13 year old should NOT be without carbs or dieting in any way. They should ONLY be focused on eating healthy food, until they are full. Ice cream and cereal a couple times a week is OK and probably good for her socially. She will grow up with a healthy diet from her home and that will carry over into her adult life. The last thing you want to create are eating "issues" because they last a lifetime. Ask me how I know!

F52b51135f2c47eb46c986fdc9760b9b

(180)

on August 04, 2011
at 12:09 PM

+1 for eating healthy food until you're full!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:28 AM

cereal once a week wont kill you, but if you can at least steer it gluten free that would be nicer.

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on August 04, 2011
at 04:26 PM

I didn't downvote you but I honestly don't agree with this blanket statement that a 13 year old should not be without carbs or dieting in any way. I wish I knew about carbs when I was 13, maybe then I could have avoided years of being miserable and fat and depressed because I couldn't lose weight "eating healthy" like others did. Fat kids should be educated about carbs role in weight. Why should the lowfat dogma be the only thing kids hear about?

12
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:08 AM

This answer is going to be a little nuanced. I think that vegetable juicing is a good way to get a lot of very good and important nutrients like magnesium, potassium, nitrates, carotenoids and whatnot, and so if someone wants to make some vegetable juice that is fine by me. And I think that fasting has a lot of benefits. But the point of fasting is to get as much benefit as you can in as short a time as you can so you can go back to a nutritionally complete diet as quickly as you can. And if you consume juice during a fast it isn't a real fast. One of the main points of fasting is to induce as much autophagy as you can. Autophagy is when cells break down useless junk like leftover amino acids and turn them into something, like glucose, thus "de-junking" themselves. It is awesome for the brain and the whole process of fasting tends to change gene-expression in a longevity-promoting way. But when you consume carbs you don't get the full benefit because there is plenty of glucose so amino acids in the cells don't need to be broken down to produce the glucose. The best fast then, would be a no food fast. If your daughter wants to juice vegetables that's great, and if she wants to fast, that's great. But if she wants to do a juice fast that's counterproductive.

Nearly dead guy eliminates junk and gets much-needed nutrients, feels better. But there is nothing magical in a juice fast itself. Plenty of people have regained their health eating a lot of solid food, and if they use juicing and fasting at some point then they probably helped things along.

10
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on August 04, 2011
at 04:11 AM

You're setting your daughter up for some really, really bad stuff. I'm sorry if I seem harsh but I have experienced secondhand too many young girls and women with life-threatening eating disorders and severe emotional issues surrounding food in my relatively short life (I am 26).

It is not healthy physically, mentally, or emotionally for a 13-year-old girl to 'give up carbs' or do 'juice fasts'. Either one of these things (starving a growing body of nutrients and energy) could send her straight downhill into an eating disorder. That is how it happens; you only need to 'diet' (or go vegetarian, or whatever deprivation occurs) one time, and if the switch is turned, there might be no going back.

It's even worse if her weight is a factor for her, and it's not just about nutrition. Sadly at 13, their body is an 'issue' for most girls, no matter how emotionally and mentally healthy they are.

There is no reason for her not to eat what her friends do once or twice per week. Ice cream is not a harmful food.

8
C2ad96801ec1e22d2bf62475b6e52751

(1416)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:17 AM

I watched the first 20 minutes on Netflix and couldn't stomach the rest. Guy goes from SAD (A for Australian, in this case) to juice fasting, his health improves, and he credits juice fasting with saving his life. Well, yeah, sort of. But instead of juice fasting, he could have gone on my patented Whack Yourself in the Head with a Hammer Diet and still felt better.

It's a very human thing to want quick results now and throw common sense out the window on that quest. See anything resembling an "exercise belt." Heaven forbid the guy ate real food instead of McDonalds, and see if that would have done anything. Chances are it would have.

Now, even if extreme dieting wasn't problematic in its own right, the issue I have with it is that it's not sustainable. What the hell's this guy going to be doing a couple of years from now? Still sucking down onion juice? Doubtful, and if he is, my heart goes out to him.

Same issue with everyone's favorite New Year's Resolutions -- dutifully joining a gym and hopping on the treadmill for an hour. It just can't last.

Sometimes the best answer is the simplest one. I think they have a razor for that.

8
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on August 04, 2011
at 02:11 AM

I don't think a 13 year old should be fasting. Does she want to lose weight?

7
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2011
at 06:05 AM

It looks like she is still at 90+% paleo, even with treats over at friends' houses, don't sweat it. That's better than what some serious enthusiasts aim for. She has nothing to detox from, and you are providing her with everything she needs food and food education-wise with wholesome meals at home.

This juice fast sounds similar to how I think I screwed up my metabolism. I started to do nutrient intense, but severely calorie restricted diets when I was 12 (600 cals/day for a few days, and then back up to 1200, then back down to 600), and in the process of losing 28 lbs. (from 153 to 125 in one summer) when my body was setting up it's switches for my adult metabolism, I think I told my body I lived in a time/place of famine, so I ended up with a low body temp. and low thyroid that lasted until I was 34 (it took a year of paleo and a pregnancy to turn it around). I can't help but wonder if I'd be as heavy as I am now (200 lbs.) if I hadn't worked so hard to be thin when I was younger. Every girl wants to be thinner, the peer pressure is crazy, and there's no need to add to it as a parent. I think the best thing you could do is support her like mad wherever she is, tell her how beautiful she is, and keep feeding her well at home. No "diets", no "diet" mentality, only diet (in the sense of describing the group of foods you eat).

My situation was very similar, my mom had always had trouble with her weight, and she was worried that as a chubby kid I would have the same problem if we didn't nip it in the bud. I think if we had known about paleo-style eating then it would have been a completely different story, because we were both spinning our wheels in the lowfat wholegrain paradigm.

I wish I could remember who to credit this phrase with here, I read it the other day, and I think it has a lot of wisdom. "I want my body to think the hunt is good." I think this concept is even more important during your formative years. Keep the hunt good for your family and I think you'll all get to where you want to be.

7
8828d5922b47a0e2b82bde2232037746

(616)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:24 AM

I saw the movie and really enjoyed it. And if I wasn't such a carnivore, I might have run out and bought a juicer. But frankly, I feel better on a meat diet. Honestly, I think Jack LaLanne would still be alive today if he hadn't gotten caught up in that juicing kick. If he had stuck to his meat and vegetables like he did as a younger man he would have lived to see 100.

4
D8795130729e173cfe9f3e2f6353becd

(446)

on August 04, 2011
at 12:03 PM

Hummmm .... this is a tricky one.

Personally, I wouldn't encourage a young girl to try anything like juice fasting, but that is because I am pretty convinced my semi-vegetarian, low-fat, low-calorie, high carb diet from 12 to 16 is the reason why I am so short (5ft 1). Both my parents are taller than me, and there really is no reason why I shouldn't be a few inches taller.

Again, my cousin has had food issues since she was about 10 years old (low calorie/no fat obsessions/juice fasts/no meat etc) and she is noticeably shorter than all of us to the point where she now, at 18 years old, finds it very upsetting.

Have you thought about saying that she can experiment in this way with her diet when she is over 16? The thing is that 13 years old is kinda a key time in terms of hormones, growth, puberty, and I suspect diet can have an enormous impact on these changes and the consequences may last throughout her adult life. Over 16 seems a little safer in this regard, and it is only three years to wait (and she may have completely forgotten all about it by then).

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on August 04, 2011
at 12:23 PM

You know best just how low-calorie it was, but I doubt that stunted your growth. Height is weird and isn't as easily predicted as those formulas suggest; my parents are 6'1" and 5'3" (but all my mom's sisters are 5'6" or taller) and my sisters and I ended up 5'5", 5'10" and 5'3"! My shortie baby sister was always a good eater and healthy girl too, where I had failure to thrive as a child because of my eating issues, and my super-tall middle sister was addicted to multiple substances, barely eating, and extremely underweight during her major growth spurt between 14 and 17...

3
74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

on August 04, 2011
at 02:28 AM

What are the goals? How often is she eating ice cream and cereal? If she eats real healthy food 90% and has no issues, I would not worry about it. At the end of the day, healthy habits will carry forward. People can realize when they are feeling healthy when they eat healthy/that much time.

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:06 AM

Juice fasting isn't horrible. As long as she understands its not a lifestyle or a way to eat. Its a way to detox...which you wouldn't have to do if you didn't eat crap in the first place. Just point that out to her. People get on these binge and detox cycles. Heck, I saw that movie and the guy who is doing it even mentions he's done this numerous times.

0
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:46 AM

I don't think a 13 year-old should be fasting, period. No way.

Keep letting her eat she wants, only buy good stuff, like you do, and hope for the best. Any effort you make to take control her diet is either going to backfire, and/or become a long-term "issue".

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on August 04, 2011
at 02:47 AM

On the other hand, I highly doubt she would last long on the fast - I guess you could let her do it, with your disapproval (allowing her to feel autonomous), and let her try to figure it out herself - she won't last 24 hrs.

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