Teens


TaJo

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I work in a clinic where I see a lot of teens. So many teens have terrible body image and depression/anxiety and terrible eating habits.  I just sent my niece a copy of "It Starts with Food" (a great book, BTW). 

She is 17 and already savvy about nutrition and health. I want her to establish lifelong good habits. She's very excited to read it. 

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I have done several whole30s and my 13 year old daughter has decided she would like to start one in March. She's not a 'small' girl, but also not overweight. Her BMI has always been at the high end of normal, but she is one of the larger girls in her class. I've purposely tried to not talk to her about her food choices. She sees how my husband and I eat (pretty paleo), but I really don't monitor or comment on her food choices at all—she eats lots of grains and a fair amount of junk. But she also is really good about self-monitoring and stopping when she has had enough. 

 

The reason I have never commented on her food choices or body is that when I first noticed that she was on the larger size of normal I read a lot about weight as it relates to kids and teens. One of the books I read (I can't recall the title) had some pretty compelling data and research that showed children's weight actually spiked even higher when parents tried to intervene with kids who were deemed overweight (the idea of food scarcity leading to obsessive thoughts about food and binge/overeating) and that there were certain behaviors that could be reinforced and supported, but it wasn't good to restrict certain foods or comment on their weight.

 

Anyway -- long story short, this is how we've handled it and I think in many regards it has been good. She's not a girl who comments about her weight, she has a healthy self esteem and is very happy and well adjusted, I have never seen her act self conscious about her body. But clearly, her health and/or weight is on her mind since she is mentioning doing a Whole30. 

 

At age 13, she can make her own choices and if she wants to do the whole30 I fully support her (and am excited for her!), but that book and the data behind it is in the back of my mind. I would hate for this to lead to a new chapter in her life of dieting or pendulum swinging on her diet. If it helps her have a healthy relationship with food I am all for it. But I am nervous that at her age it could create some unhealthy thoughts/behaviors around food and body image—young teens are just so different and at such a formative age. 

 

So, I am both excited for her first whole30 and also nervous. 

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I think this is SO awesome! You have obviously inspired her :)

 

I am not sure why she wants to do a Whole30, but I think it is great that she wants to do it. I wish I had leaned everything I am now learning - at her age. To be able to read ingredients, prepare healthy meals, abstain from sugar and all the foods that don't feel good to our bodies, earlier rather than later, is a priceless education. 

 

Enjoy sharing the journey with her!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a 15 yr old daughter. When I want to share a book or info with her and not sure how receptive she would be....I leave it laying around. It may be sneaky but it works. I've been doing it for years. She knows I am on w30. She's asked what I can eat or not eat. She"s very supportive. I don't know how interested she is so I leave the it start's with food book where she can read it.

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I have done several whole30s and my 13 year old daughter has decided she would like to start one in March. She's not a 'small' girl, but also not overweight. Her BMI has always been at the high end of normal, but she is one of the larger girls in her class. I've purposely tried to not talk to her about her food choices. She sees how my husband and I eat (pretty paleo), but I really don't monitor or comment on her food choices at all—she eats lots of grains and a fair amount of junk. But she also is really good about self-monitoring and stopping when she has had enough. 

 

The reason I have never commented on her food choices or body is that when I first noticed that she was on the larger size of normal I read a lot about weight as it relates to kids and teens. One of the books I read (I can't recall the title) had some pretty compelling data and research that showed children's weight actually spiked even higher when parents tried to intervene with kids who were deemed overweight (the idea of food scarcity leading to obsessive thoughts about food and binge/overeating) and that there were certain behaviors that could be reinforced and supported, but it wasn't good to restrict certain foods or comment on their weight.

 

Anyway -- long story short, this is how we've handled it and I think in many regards it has been good. She's not a girl who comments about her weight, she has a healthy self esteem and is very happy and well adjusted, I have never seen her act self conscious about her body. But clearly, her health and/or weight is on her mind since she is mentioning doing a Whole30. 

 

At age 13, she can make her own choices and if she wants to do the whole30 I fully support her (and am excited for her!), but that book and the data behind it is in the back of my mind. I would hate for this to lead to a new chapter in her life of dieting or pendulum swinging on her diet. If it helps her have a healthy relationship with food I am all for it. But I am nervous that at her age it could create some unhealthy thoughts/behaviors around food and body image—young teens are just so different and at such a formative age. 

 

So, I am both excited for her first whole30 and also nervous.

I think because Whole30 is NOT a weightloss scheme or 'diet', it shouldn't trigger the diet or pendulum mindset... focusing on how food fuels you and makes you FEEL is where the magic is at... there is no concern about food scarcity on the Whole30 because we specifically disallow weight and measuring of food/calories/macros and no weighing of the person either. The whole thing is focused on health and wellness and how your own body interacts with food. I think you've got the right idea by being careful with a daughter considering the social temperature out there with body image etc... but if you focus on the health benefits of the program and not her size now or at the end, she shouldn't get the idea that there's anything restrictive about the program.

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