Sunday, August 9

Teen-age Low-Carb: 90% Angst, 10% Protein

My beautiful little drama queen turns 13 on the 13th of this month. We are both treating this birthday as A Really Big Deal™ for her 'coming of age'.

I'm spending way too much money on her. And we are going on our first-ever 'vacation' together, two weekend days in Joplin MO, a city an hour away that more closely approximates "civilization" than our own small city, where we're going to stay in a hotel, take long baths, use their jacuzzi, and eat at all the wonderful places we have not visited in over a YEAR now -- like Outback, Olive Garden, etc.

Yes, that means that basically the day we celebrate one full month fully back on VLC, is the day her birthday cake (another special request from her) arrives and we begin four days of intentional off-plan eating. My mind already has lectures pre-made and in the can regarding this, so never mind. Here's hoping it is not difficult to get fully back on the wagon again afterward.


I was not fat as a child. When I look at pictures, I see that at age 7-8 I had chubby little knees in my Brownies uniform but that seemed pretty normal and was shortly gone. Around age 13 in part due to circumstance (trapped in a tiny house in steaming heat with no A/C and a fridge/freezer of ice cream junk food, for 2 months), I gained some weight again but by 15 if not sooner that was gone, and by 16 I was thinner than I'd been since age 12. Age 18-20 I could have lost 10-15#, but was pretty fit despite that and feared no bikini despite that.

(I was a waitress in a 24/7 beach hotel/restaurant when I was 18-19, working the graveyard ("bar rush" at 2am) shift. All the others were much older women by 20-40 years. They gave me major grief about how my nurses's white uniform dress (with that frilly little black apron!) was far too long. I thought I had knobby knees and was shy. They gave me SUCH grief about it that finally one day I lost my temper, went home and hemmed that damn dress so short that every time I reached up to the lighted pie shelf the entire restaurant got a free show. My tips went up dramatically and immediately, was the interesting part. I probably would have done it sooner if I'd have known!)

I always had a real waist so the extra flesh in my hips and breasts just made me look very curvy. Maybe age 20-22 I probably could have lost about 20-25#, but it still wasn't much of an issue for me; 5'6" and I carry weight well (though at this point it's vastly too much weight to do so of course). I didn't get actually FAT until the 22-24 age. After which I was suddenly 200# overweight.

But the kid started gaining weight around age 8. It didn't actually seem like a big deal at first; she was starting to add chub at the same age that I had, after all, and mine had vanished.

But by the time she was 10, it hadn't vanished, it had just gotten worse. I was ambivalent, because I have friends who were fat as children, and they said that the misery at school couldn't compare with the horror of their mother, the one person who is supposed to love them unconditionally, being totally judgemental about it, often showing the same disgust and scorn and demeaning attitude that society brainwashes nearly everybody into. In this fat-phobic, ultra-prejudiced society, your child's fat reflects on you. The more insecure the mother, the more fanatic they get about making the kid live on disgusting food or half-starvation to try and force them into 'normal'. Sure there is lots of talk about health and the child's happiness but in my opinion, mothers who behave like that which I have heard about or met personally, have been a lot more about "don't make me look bad by proxy" than anything else.

So before every other consideration, I was determined that my little girl was going to feel unconditionally loved and always beautiful to mom. So initially, although SHE had begun really griping about her weight, I never said anything more than "I think you're beautiful" and "well sweetie I like you fine but if you want to change that, I can help you work on it." Eventually she took me up on that and I put her on low-carb with me.

She lost 5 pants sizes and was very happy!

She disliked the eating plan though, and once she was a good size again, got more and more obnoxious about staying on it. I was really trying to find and make food she would find versatile and interesting, to no avail. Her griping about the food and what she wanted and I wouldn't make, got so ridiculous that every single meal became a major drama. I started getting angry repeatedly, from frustration and sometimes impatience and hurt feelings.

After awhile, it became evident that this was not merely a dissatisfaction with food; it had become THE CONTROL ISSUE in our relationship. I really hate the chronic-trauma that teen angst can add to a parent's life; I have enough cortisol/stress issues in my life already without every meal becoming a war zone. I didn't escape a miserable childhood especially related to food, only to have more chronic misery around it as an adult.

Finally after talking with friends, I concluded that they were right: she was old enough that the bottom line was, she had to WANT to do it. I finally got fed up and burned out on it and said fine. And we ate 'normal' food -- per the Standard American Diet (SAD) -- instead of Low Carb for quite some time.

And she promptly gained the weight back. And more. And then she started her menses and suddenly and dramatically gained a lot more to add to it in a pretty short time. Stretch marks everywhere, poor baby. Finally she wanted to go back on lowcarb with me. I shrugged it off until she DEMANDED we go on lowcarb. And then I told her "only" if she'd quit "being that way" about the food, and eat what I gave her. She was desperate and promised.

I agreed that we would take Friday evening through Sunday evening off-plan for her party and our vacation on the condition she agreed we would be on meat&egg for several days afterward.

What we've been doing so far (the last month) hasn't been working really. I carry, at my current weight, about 25# of water weight. (It used to be more.) I've lost about half of it is all. She's lost about 7#. Yes I know that 13# and 7# in a month don't sound bad at all but at the start of LC when the water weight is supposed to come off, it should be more, particularly for me.

I've tried to consider what we've been eating. Lowcarb 'flat-out' wraps have a lot of gluten. And we've had deli meats a lot which probably have a lot of sodium. We've greatly reduced our diet soda intake, sometimes with iced tea and sometimes with water. We've had a couple lowcarb treats and a couple lowcarb pancake experiments, but we have lived almost entirely on chicken dishes and plain hamburger patties for the last month. I'm disappointed we have not lost any 'real' weight (non-water weight). Perhaps our calories are actually too low.

When her birthday-fest is over, I thought I should make a vastly bigger effort to ditch the gluten wraps and deli meats. Maybe that will help at least with losing the last of the bloating. I've never had it take so long for the water weight to fall off me. (It's not just an assumption based on the scale. There are parts of my body I know well and know what they are like when I'm fully LC.)

Finding foods that she can eat 'as much as she wants of' is the hard part. She isn't a huge meat fan really; she can put up with chicken and burgers but not much of anything else and she isn't that fond of those. She doesn't like eggs unless buried "in" something. And anything with carbs (even peas or cheese) she could eat almost without stopping and really over-do bigtime.

It really is a problem when people (seemingly since near birth) seem to ONLY like sugar-based foods (carbs) and have no interest in anything else. That was my problem, and it's her problem.

She doesn't like many veggies; she does like peas (only if drowning in butter) and broccoli/cauli (only if drowning in cheese sauce) but aside from that she really only likes potatoes and sweet corn (drowning in butter). And every kind of grain known to man, of course.

It is just HELL trying to come up with stuff to EAT that she likes! Without eating the same things daily and burning out on them quickly. Without cooking stuff that takes tons of time.

Low-carb is hard enough with one person. With a second person who has radically different tastes and limited likes, it is really a lot more complicated.

And when the second person can make every meal into a dramatic multi-part play -- because that's just the way kids that age ARE -- it's just exhausting!

I get so weary. It makes it easier to go offplan because I just feel overwhelmed by it.



kamafood said...

I'm sorry, hon. I can't imagine how stressful that must be. Eating VLC (or zero-carb, as I must unfortunately eat right now) is so difficult and I can't imagine having that responsibility for another human being who, understandably, resists, and yet you have to retain that parenting role of enforcing what is best for the child.

Whatever you're doing, you're doing your best.

Niki said...

Hi sweetie!
Sorry it's been so long =(
I have been having the same problems with my Serena who is 9 years old =( I was just like her. She is already overweight and it just keeps getting worse. I have tried low carb with her and she doesn't like it. The other problem is that I gave her dad 50/50 custody and he doesn't think low carb is good. Really he doesn't like ANY of my suggestions. He is a YoYo dieter and has been as high as 320 pounds and goes as low as 165. Me I've just always been over weight and this is the first time I have ever lost. I started looking online for programs for kids and just signed up for one I found today. I think it'll be good for her. It isn't as restricting, it lets her make choices...I like it (for her, not myself).Her and I checked it out together and she wants to try it. I don't want to push anything on her (I just want her to be happy and healthy).

I have been just like you with Serena's weight. To me she is perfectly wonderful cause she's my baby, but now I am starting to really see that she has a weight problem =( I thought her seeing me lose and get control over myself with food would help, but it hasn't.

I'll let you know how it goes. Serena is a feisty one (like her, and fights me on everything especially food! I see so much of myself in her =( I want to save her from all the pain I have suffered from being an over weight kid and adult. Well, I'm rambling. I'll let you know how it goes sweetie! You're daughter's lucky to have such a wonderful, loving mom =) I wish I did when I was little.
Peace ^_^V

Jackie said...

So glad you've started blogging again.

I really feel for you, so many minefields there to deal with. After all, as Mums we're usually in the wrong most of the time with our Teens, anyway.

But I do feel sorry for your daughter. I know how she feels about the food, I am really struggling at the moment. Everything seems to take sooo long to prepare. The meals I've been used to cooking for the last 30 years, almost on autopilot, have now been put to one side. The rest of the family seem to like the meals I'm producing but I often take a couple of mouthfuls and almost gag. Don't know why. The main part of the meal hasn't changed that much. And you would think not eating much would help the weight come off? Nope! I have so many low carb cookbooks I could start my own shop and I just can't get my head around WHY the carb not being on the plate makes all that much difference.

I REALLY hope you both have a brilliant birthday weekend and don't have too many problems getting back on track afterwards.

Anonymous said...

The sad part is they have no idea how lucky they have it, when I was a teen and putting on weight, they told me low fat and I was exercising like crazy (gym class, 5 dance lessons/week, daily 1 mile hikes.) Its not easy choosing low carb, but over time it just works.

Kelli said...

Hi PJ...

I hope you don't mind but I followed your link from (I'm HealthyKel) and now I'm hooked! :)

Sounds like you're having it tough right now with your LO. But I encourage you to keep on with it. I WISH I'd had someone to give me a positive example and encouragement when I was a chunky teen...maybe I wouldn't have ended up where I am obese adult! Like your Anonymous poster said, I, too, was put on a low-fat diet when I was a teen...all it did was blow me up even more. Wish I would have known about LC back then. :)

Anyway, I'm glad I found your sight...looking forward to more!

Best of luck!

Daron said...

Good to see you're back posting. I always liked your blog.

I'll be back on the bandwagon in September. I'm not looking forward to it... I love my carbs and hate being a picky eater. Oh well... beats packing on the pounds I guess.... Need to re-lose my 85 pounds. Argh!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm so glad I found this blog. A lot of people have such misconceptions about eating low-carb, and I get a lot of abuse for eating the way I do (including the whole '30g cheese a week' argument). It's so wonderful to see other people follow similar diets.
I take a keen interest in creating low-carb recipes that taste really great, so I'm not craving carby foods that taste better than the meats and proteins I live off.
I'm so glad I stumbled across this blog!!