How to encourage daughter to lose weight

my daughter used to be tiny and very slim. She is not even 5ft tall and was a size 8-10 for years. She is now squeezing into size 14 but should really be wearing 16s. She looks worse because she is so short.

She has always been a great eater and loves fruit, veg, salad and all the healthy stuff as well as everything else. But she eats like nobody feeds her!! Last year she agreed to go to Slimming World group but didn’t really understand it so lost nothing. She loves walking and walks a couple of miles several times a week and she walks really fast.

If we say anything she gets stroppy and doesn’t really think she needs to lose weight but friends of mine have asked me if she is pregnant as she really does look it. Pleased to say that’s ruled out.

When we went for her health check I was hoping the nurse might encourage her but all she said was “try to watch your weight because you are gaining.” her blood tests all came back fine.

Any suggestions?

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Maybe try small portions at mealtimes. Perhaps see if you can go for walks.

I’m not sure Penny as it’s obviously a sensitive issue. Do you shop for her?
Would a promise of something nice, new top, or shoes…give her some incentive? I read that she likes walking which is really good and fortunately loves fruit and veg. Sorry not much help

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Packed lunch boxes she can take out in the garden, or park with a mixture of foods inside, that is If she is in the habit of over eating. Does she need talking therapy for depression.
There could be many reasons for weight gain, so not sure if my post helpful.

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My son has put on a massive 6 stone since moving from college to supported living. I know why, he is bored. This weekend, lots of his friends at a steam rally less than 10 miles from his home. No one took him. A steam railway 2 miles from his home, passed his induction to be a volunteer. Goes to the boot sale every Sunday, driving past the railway entrance. No one takes him. No one listens to me either!

Oh Bb I thought “what a huge amount” for your son then I discovered a little notebook where my OH, myself and daughter all weighed in once a week. I was staggered when I saw in black and white that in 17 years she has gained almost the same …. Nearly 6 stones. It has gone on so gradually.
I think she may need some counselling but she has a habit of letting it go over her head and just agree with everything!

Hi penny, it is hard for anyone to control of lose weight. What I would suggest is go and see your GP, ask them to refer her to a specialist in food as there are people who help her without her causing damage to herself. There might be a special group that is run by the GPS to help people lose weight but are not pushed hard like in a gym but also the cost of joining them. See if there are any local group that do excise to music which might suit her and maybe you could join with her for encouragement. One thing to get is a hula hoops and tell her 10 mins a day using it with music will help her control her weight. It is a fun thing to use.

Yes, my eldest son is 24. He began gaining weight quite rapidly when he moved into residential care, and now, after nearly three years of supported living, he will have gained about the same as BB’s son. He is unhealthily overweight.

I am encouraging him to do some healthy swaps, and to do more exercise. I have also discreetly asked his support manager if he can encourage my son to eat healthier. Again, it is boredom and isolation that seems to be the main problem.

Michael, what you say makes sense Gyms can be a little toxic, but there may be gentler more person-centred groups available.

We worked on portion sizes and changing the balance of Mike’s intake. He still has his “comfort” foods, but in smaller portions, but he has more fresh veggies with his meals. He even has (for example) brussels sprouts, carrots and cauliflower with a Chicken Tikka and rice OR naan bread - instead of both. We found that his staff really didn’t have a lot of info about balanced diet, calories, etc., and were at one time giving him Lasagne with chips and garlic bread. Now it’s Lasagne with fresh veggies or salad. He’s enjoying his food still, but he’s not overloading on calories and carbs.

A problem I have observed in schools, college, day service, special clubs etc that those serving feed the person according to their size - a big person (overweight) gets a big portion and a little person (just right or needs fattening up) gets a little portion … which perpetuates the problem.

Penny since your daughter is serving up her own food(?) maybe a set of new (slightly smaller) dinner plates would help. Perhaps you and her support workers could help her compile an album of photos of healthy option and portion size meals to choose from.

At school the dietician used to recommend special plates to help with this - but I’m not at all sure they would appeal to your daughter, there are posters too.

Since she loves walking could she do this daily?

I haven’t looked at this resource yet but am posting the link anyway

thanks for all the replies, lots to think about.

As she is alone most days while her partner is working, she goes out and ends up in cafes or meeting places where she has food and drink. Then she has a proper cooked meal at home in the evening. If I am out with her I really try hard to encourage her to think about what she is having and point out that she doesn’t need a sandwich and crisps AND a cake. But she says “it’s a treat.”

I rang her half an hour ago and she is out walking so it is what she eats rather than lack of exercise. She walks really fast!


You say that blood tests have been done, but have they checked for any other conditions, or had the full bloods done. Sometimes doctors will only check the thyroid.

I have always been overweight myself and I had my thyroid checked a million times only for the bloods to come back normal. I always knew something was wrong. It was only when my sister said she was diagnosed with a certain condition that I realised that it was a high chance I had it too. It has now been confirmed that I have PCOS, alongside Hyperandrogenism and Insulin Resistance. Apparently it is as common as 1 in 10.

As for loosing weight one trick I swear by is not eating empty calories. I too have issues with hunger and I find by eating low calorie, but good portioned food really helps.

Like two 150 cal chocolate bars and a packet of 200 cal crisps may not fill you up. However a plate of cooked egg noodles with a bit of Chinese curry sauce on the side with a chicken breast on top can easily match the same calories as those listed before. The latter makes you fuller and is very nutritious and you can add veggies. (I have issues with textures so I don’t mix veggies in, I just have them on the side).

Whatever it is I’m sure the doctor can help. Ask for full tests , i.e androgen tests, testosterone, the works basically. They may be reluctant but push for it, they were like that with me.

If all is still good, the doctor can refer to a specialist weight programme with a whole range of dieticians, councillors, therapists all relating to food.

There are also other options on the nhs through other medications but they encourage a good attempt at lifestyle changes including dietary and excercise. The meds can also be very invasive and show no mercy to anything that is high fat.

That’s my take from a medical prespective, however there could be other underlying reasons. However I would still contact the doctor as they would be able to help.

Sometimes weight loss can be very hard and once people are stuck in a cycle it can be hard to get out of.

Thanks. She had more bloods taken on Friday so we await the results.

All the blood tests were normal thank goodness. The GP did tell her losing some weight would be a good idea and daughter told her she does walk miles most days but the GP said that will not help with weight loss and that she needs to cut down on portion sizes. It’s convincing her of this that’s the problem!!

Good re results.

Perhaps try the slightly smaller plates idea, then, that fit less on and teach her the benefits of freezing leftovers or having them for lunch next day.

Try the smaller plates.

The smaller plates works, also try to consider anti-inflammatory foods or find foods which are what I call plate-filling but healthy such as fresh chicken, egg noodles or whole grain rice. Wheetabix is a great food too, even if you eat four or five or those things it doesn’t matter. (Not that I have)

Also finding alternatives helps. Say you bought a stir fry from a takeaway, it will be laden with calories, fat, oil all sorts. whilst it will have some nutritional value, it would be balanced with the bad stuff so in all not very healthy. The fat will only cause weight gain and the body may have a harder time burning the calories.

However if you were to cook that at home, you can use fresh chicken, all the veg wanted, whole grain noodles, and above all low cal spray. You know exactly what is going into it. This is just one of many examples.

I have found this method to be very effective and you can almost trick yourself into thinking you’ve had the takeaway.

I find it’s lesser known that a big part of the diet is mood and satisfying cravings. It’s one thing to eat salads but most people give up because it’s too much of a shock to the system.

I too have weight issues thanks to a health problem and the biggest problem is cutting out certain foods does not work. It takes so much hard work and dedication to not eat something. A simple cheat meal can also cause quite abit of upset and ambivalence which can be quite hard on mental health too. Instead cooking these meals really helps, you can still enjoy your favourites completely whilst getting all the right food groups.


I disagree with the smaller plates idea, just leads to hunger and that leads to snacking. Better to have a dinner plate full of goodness, bulked out with low calorie food. A basic beef stew can go a very long way bulked up with carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms with an OXO to give lots of flavour. Courgettes in the cheese layer of a lasagne make it go further. M lost 13lbs in under 3 weeks when living with me as his flat was being redecorated never being hungry. Sadly in under 3 months staff put it all back on again!

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