In a previous post I lamented how much my own bad eating habits are effecting my daughter. Bad enough she inherited my genes, but also my eating habits. While she has always been a bigger than average girl, she was never really fat until she hit puberty. To say she developed curves is an understatement, but mostly the curves were in the right places. At thirteen she was busty and hippy, but not really fat. I never really wanted her to diet. She looked healthy and had a good self-image.
Then, about a year and a half ago she had some serious issues which caused her to go on some serious medication. The doctors all agreed that weight gain as a side effect would be bad, since she was on the high side of normal to begin with, so they tried to find drugs that least effected her weight. They failed miserably. In less than six months she had gained over 60 lbs. At 15 years, she had stretch marks on her arms, legs, and belly. It was heart-wrenching. Worse than that, her eating behaviors were triggered. The child who always left a little something on the plate, now scraped every bite. She hid food. She snuck food. She ate portions that were outrageous. She would finish eating and say she was still hungry.
The medicines literally saved her life, but the cost was very very high. A year later she has been off the offending drugs for about 9 months. She still takes about 5 different medicines, but not the ones that triggered the eating and weight gain. It took a long time for the effects to wear off. I knew things were getting better when she started leaving food on the plate. She really wanted to diet and we tried a few times, but dieting takes commitment to long-term goals, and since my daughter is autistic, that isn’t something that she can really understand.
But I noticed lately that something is happening. She is losing weight. She is slimming down. I started paying attention. She still eats candy, cookies, and other “bad” foods, but only at appropriate times. Her portions are less, naturally. She is losing weight by going back to her natural eating habits. It is very slow, so slow I nearly didn’t notice until her jeans started falling off her butt. She and I have talked about it and we both agree that eating healthy and watching portions makes more sense than “dieting.” She feels badly about the stretch marks, and we are trying some cremes for that, but I feel like I have a lot to learn from this girl who isn’t dieting, but, in her own words, “only eating when I’m hungry.”
Halloween came and went. We have a giant bowl of candy sitting on the counter. On Halloween I think she ate two pieces of candy. Yesterday and today, she had one piece each day. She looks at it, selects what she wants and moves on. Now I watch her and am trying to learn from her. I have a way to go.