Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

The sensitive issue of daughters and weight

with 6 comments

My baby fashionista, DD, strolled into my room this morning. “How do you like my outfit?” she asked, preening in front of the full-length mirror (for newcomers to my blog, she’s eight).

So far, so normal.

“I love it,” I said, in all honesty. Thank heavens she’s moved away from the phase of wanting to wear everything black and naff, and into a more age-appropriate phase of jeans and funky t-shirts with plimsolls, which I think really suit her carefree style.

“Mmm,” she said, eyeing herself. “Yeah. I like this top. It makes me look thinner.”

I will not let my children become obese - but how to do it subtly?

I will not let my children become obese – but how to do it subtly?

Did you hear the universe crash around my ears? My eight-year-old daughter wants to look thinner.

And I’m going to whisper this because it’s probably hideously politically incorrect, but – seriously? – she’s got a point.

For the last four weeks (while we’ve been on holiday), DD’s been enjoying daily treats of ice creams and cakes, not to mention lunches and dinners out – and we all know what that means in England: deep-fried chicken, fatty sausages, French fries, pizza and ice-creams.

And it’s showing. Although slim all over, she now has a chubby beer-belly that hangs over her waistband. She has love handles. To put it in medical terms, she has visceral fat – the most dangerous sort of fat, especially in a family blighted with obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, I’m very aware of the issue of childhood obesity – in particular in sedentary Dubai, where one child in three is obese or overweright – and the last thing I want to do as a parent is send her into her teenage years with an unhealthy weight problem.

But I don’t want to make her paranoid about eating, either. I don’t want her to swing the other way. So what do I do?

“Don’t worry, she’ll burn it off,” says my mum, sneaking DD an extra Kipling French Fancy and producing croissants for breakfast – and therein lies the problem. While I, growing up in the 70s, spent  my days running in the garden, cycling, climbing trees and roller-skating till you had to surgically remove the skates from my feet, DD is not an active child. She’s just not. And she will not burn it off.

All I can do, I suppose, is get her quietly back onto her usual low-fat, high veg, diet; cut out the cakes, the biscuits, the treats and the ice creams; and hope that, by about October, her belly’s disappeared.

And buy her a pair of roller-skates.

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Written by mrsdubai

August 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I was surprised when 10 year old son continued to bring up the issue of weight (he is very vein). In a nutshell I told him if he got fat, I’d be the first person to tell him and cut down his portions and treats, so he could get on with life & I’ll worry about his weight. Holidays aren’t the best time for kids eating habits, after a week with their grandmother last week, every time I turned my back she’d be handing over more sweet stuff. I am fully with you though on not allowing them to get fat, some parents think it is fine and kind to allow it, but like little puppies they would just eat and eat. Must be sad to be a child with weight issues. I’d just cut back gradually if they gained a few pounds so they didn’t even know I was doing it 🙂

    • I’m so with you on the ‘puppy’ thing. DD has no concept of ‘full’ and when to stop – would eat till it came out of her ears if I let her. I like your idea of telling your DS to get on with life while you worry about his weight. I’ll be using that as my DD gets older xox

      mrsdubai

      August 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

  2. I’m having the same issue with my dd (9). Problem is,I’ve had food issues since childhood and am frankly fat. I struggle between wanting to preserve her self-esteem at all costs,and yet take steps to avoid her suffering from the same problems I’ve had, both physical and psychological. It’s hard..I’m just trying not to buy rubbish food and make sure she’s active (which she currently isn’t, preferring books to sports)rather than ‘putting her on a diet’ or even using the D- word.
    I have such hang ups in this area myself that I do find it problematic ..

    the bibliomane

    August 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    • It’s a very fine balance… I guess all we can do is restrict rubbish as much as possible, and encourage exercise as much as possible xox

      mrsdubai

      August 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm

  3. I have exactly the same problem with son1. There’s a blog post coming soon! He would eat a whole loaf of bread given the chance, and doesn’t get the concept of waiting 10mins or so to see if he’s full. I’ve even found myself wondering if it’s possible to pass ‘weight issues’ to a son. When we get back to Dubai, there will be swimming every day! And I mean, lengths. Son2, on the other hand, is a waif!

    Circles in the Sand

    August 13, 2013 at 12:16 am

  4. I am still battling with my slightly underweight 3 year old so I guess I have a long way to go before he gets concerned about his weight 🙂

    Umm Hamdan

    August 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm


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