Weight Problems In Family


I’d like guidance on dealing with a weight problem in my family. My son and I are normal weight but my wife and two oldest daughters (16 & 12) have weight problems that get worse every year. The youngest daughter (10) is normal weight but I wonder if that will remain true as she gets older. Based on the BMI, they are starting to be obese and it is affecting them socially. Is there a Catholic approach to dealing with this? I really haven’t focused on it in the past because I didn’t want them to be self conscious and I didn’t want to create an eating disorder in the other extreme. I also don’t want to get them on a bunch of fad diets. Any advice would be appreciated but I’m wondering if there is a spiritual approach.

Thank you.


Encourage fun, physical activity that they enjoy :slight_smile:


Avoid fad diets at all costs.

Instead, cut out all junk foods, especially sodas and all fast food. You’re better off not eating out at all; the food you can prepare at home is healthier and cheaper. No sodas at all. Cut back on fruit juices. Many are loaded with calories. Drink at least one quart of water per day. When shopping for food items, buy only items that do not have sugar listed in the first four ingredients. Eat three sensible meals a day, and do not snack in between meals. Exercise at least thirty minutes every day.

This goes for you and other members of the family that do not have weight problems. Support this regimen by your own example as well as daily prayer.

– Mark L. Chance.


There may not be much you can do for your daughters if your wife isn’t on the same page. It doesn’t do any good for you to cut out most junk food if she is still giving it to them. How does she feel about the girls and herself? Does she see a need to try and be healthier herself?

I think that we, as Catholics, have an obligation to take reasonably good care of ourselves physically. Of our children, two are on the heavy side, one is skinny, and the other two are too young to say for sure, yet. We eat reasonably well, not too much junk, and the kids play outside a lot every day. Part of their weight is just how God made them, and part of it is how sedentary they are and how much food they like. (The skinny one is the pickiest eater, hates potatoes in any form, and loves running.) I don’t believe in going overboard as far as health food, but “all things in moderation”, as they say, seems to be a pretty good motto. Also, remember that our bodies are a “temple”, right?


I go to a female only gym & really love it. They have great classes or I can just do cardio & weights.
Maybe they would be interested in something like that? No “boys” around for them to be embarrassed. I know I am that way - I won’t go to a regular gym.
The one I go to is Lady Fitness - I’m not sure if there is one near you.


There can be genetics involved. One or my daughters is sturdy (not at all overweight) and one is like a rake. The one that is like a rake eats more than us parents do and the other eats normally. They eat healthily and I don’t buy junk food except for special occasions. They get exercise. Of course, if you know it’s not genetic, maybe you could have a chat with your wife or suggest you go for a good family walk in the evening? Their health is at stake.


Weight control is a matter of changing ideas and habits.
A good hypnotist can help to do that pretty inexpensively.; it is a major part of their business.
I would also reccomend the book “The Thin Commandments”.
You can get it on amazon.


obesity is very present in one side of my family as well as binge eating, starving, purging, etc…i was blessed that i dealt with it before my body gave out and i became obese…

i am forever indebted to one of my parents who started taking me to Overeaters Anon when i was 14. although i didn’t really work the steps until i was 20, starting to learn about surrenduring my food adiction to Christ at such a young age set the framework for conquering this demon of mine while I was still fairly young. it took years of going to support groups and attending healing masses and i forgot to say this on the other thread also attending adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

i foudn that it isn’t about the food. that is just a symptom. it is about what the eating is doing for the person. for me it was medicating the pain of my childhood and my constant fear of abandoment. until i finally realized that Christ would never leave me i couldn’t stop


You should take your daughters to a doctor and have him do a thorough exam on both girls. Blood tests, etc. Then sit down with your wife and look at the results. Your wife’s problem is hers to sieze and solve (with your support) but your daughter’s health needs to be a priority. Your girls could have high blood pressure, high cholesterol other significant health problems that will only worsen with the passage of time. Not only that, but socially they will begin to isolate themselves from men as they are passed over for more attractive, self confident women during their courtship years. No mother wants her daughter to have to choose a husband from the leftover men that other women turned down.

Back to the physical: those numbers from the blood work will speak volumes to your wife. If you have access, get a referral to a nutritionist and have the nutritionist spell it out for your girls. See the nutritionist as often as you can. They need to hear it loud and clear that being fat means that they will miss out on a lot of things in life, basic things like loving the young woman that they see in the mirror, or feeling pretty in new clothes. Buy a scale for each bathroom. Take the girls clothes shopping frequently so that they can get a good look at themselves in a triple mirror and understand what it means to have to struggle to find clothes that fit well and look good when you’re overweight.

As for you, pray hard, get in the kitchen and help, and exercise with your girls. Dessert should only be fruit. No eating while watching TV or sitting in front of the computer. Make sure that every meal satisfies the souls as well as the body by having good conversations with dinner. Lastly, take a good look at the stress level of their lives. Remove unnecessary activities until they get their priorities straight: that is that health and fitness come before other things. Incorporating the right habits now is crucial. God bless you.


[quote=Cupofkindness]They need to hear it loud and clear that being fat means that they will miss out on a lot of things in life, basic things like loving the young woman that they see in the mirror, or feeling pretty in new clothes. Buy a scale for each bathroom. Take the girls clothes shopping frequently so that they can get a good look at themselves in a triple mirror and understand what it means to have to struggle to find clothes that fit well and look good when you’re overweight

This sounds ghastly to me. A fat person can love themselves! Please don’t tell a child they can’t love themselves if they are fat or maimed or scarred or homely or ugly in the mirror.


I heard a radio talk show about how much sugar our kids eat.
When I was a kid, we ate cheerios and wheaties at breakfast, with a bowl of sugar on the table. No more than 2 teaspoonsful of sugar was allowed… and most of it ended up in the milk at the bottom of the bowl. That 2 teaspoons of sugar is equal to 8 grams. Now, the cereal my kids eat… store brand lucky charms, honey nut cheerios, shredded miniwheats… all of those have 11 to 16 grams of sugar. That’s 3-4 teaspoonsful. And the juice boxes… 26 grams of sugar in a little box. That’s over 6 teaspoonsful.
A MountainDew has 46 grams!! That’s 11 teaspoonsful! YUK!

I had NO IDEA my kids were getting so much sugar! I have started watching the labels again, and we are cutting out alot of the junk.


[quote=Pug]This sounds ghastly to me. A fat person can love themselves! Please don’t tell a child they can’t love themselves if they are fat or maimed or scarred or homely or ugly in the mirror.

I do not think that is what the poster was trying to say…but obesity is a serious thing…and this country has seen the rates for children with obesity keep on rising…it leads to NUMEROUS health problems and who wants that at such a young age?


Personally, if my dad had come to me when I was 14 or 16 and started talking weight issues, I would have taken it as “my dad thinks I am fat” and been very emotionally hurt. If I was already an emotional eater, I would have probably turned more towards food and gotten even larger. You really need to consider your teen-aged daughters overactive emotions and self-esteem.

I encourage you to take some action, but any course of action you take is going to have to take the focus off them and put it somewhere else… like on the family. Stop buying bad food, but as a family start eating healthily. Sign up the family for some sport, the gym, or do something together like tennis, rollerblading, or basketball.

Whatever you want your kids to do, you are going to have to set the example. Otherwise, whatever you say to them it is going to sound like “You aren’t good enough the way you are.”


[quote=JosephIndy]I’d like guidance on dealing with a weight problem in my family. ou.

I can tell you what will not work, and what will make the situation worse: constantly harping on their weight, nagging them to diet, making a snide comment everytime they pick up a snack, sarcasm, unflattering comments on their appearance (especially by your son), and a steady stream of criticism. The worst possible response on your part would be indicating to your wife that you find her less attractive and less sexy because she is overweight.

What I do recommend is a trip to the family doctor-for yourself. Ask for a diet the whole family can follow. Come home and announce that the doctor has made you concerned about your own diet, and you want to make some changes for the family, and call a family meeting about it, remembering who does most of the shopping and cooking.

come up with some ground rules together–no junk food, no soft drinks, more veggies etc. --that everybody can live with. If you have to give up something you like, maybe beer, so much the better. You might want a little word with your son beforehand (so he doesn’t make a comment like “Why do I have to give up cookies, they’re the fat ones?”)

then you take up some exercise program, and make it clear that it is a sacrifice for you but you are doing it for your health, and concern that they won’t have to take care of you after your hypotheticl heart attack or stroke. then find something the whole family can do together at least once or twice a week-bikes, hiking, nature walks, swimming, backyard volleyball etc.

what you are after is something that involves the whole family, and addresses problems that affect the whole family, and that look at the underlying issue, which has roots in family dynamics. If the girls are not eating healthy at home, then nobody else is either, no matter what their appearance.

tip: if you eat out a lot, end that habit now because that is the diet killer and source of worst food we eat. Come up with a pre-planned strategy for times you are stuck with fast food alternatives. Know what you can eat in every restaurant and never look at menus.


[quote=Pug]This sounds ghastly to me. A fat person can love themselves! Please don’t tell a child they can’t love themselves if they are fat or maimed or scarred or homely or ugly in the mirror.

I didn’t say that they were ugly or scarred or homely, but they do need to hear the truth. Obesity kills people. And as for loving themselves, young people who are overweight will usually have a lower levels of self esteem due to the fact that they know that they are fat and less attractive as a result. I’m certain that the OP’s girls are lovely, but weight problems typically get worse, and require a lifetime of hard work to maintain a healthy weight. Nor am I advocating nagging, denigrating comments, or weekly trips to the mall. But I am advocating a heightened sense of self awareness in these girls.They have a battle, and especially the teenager needs to understand how serious the problem is vis a vis long term health. I just read something on the internet that said that college girls who stepped on the scale every day were less likely to put on the “freshman fifteen.” Why? Because they make a solid connection between what goes in their mouths and the number on the scale.

I am here to tell you that if these girls don’t get moving and change their eating habits, they will be morbidly obese in their 20s. Sad but true. I’d also recommend OA for the 16 year old if a practical approach doesn’t solve the problem. Get the 16 year old to Curves, Jazzercize, dance class, drill team, aerobics, or whatever. Bicylcing is an excellent form of exercise. Join the “Y” and swim. With a shift in diet and activity, the 12 year old might grow into her present weight as she gets taller. Whatever happened to that “Weigh Down” program? Aren’t their Christian programs to address this problem?


[quote=Cupofkindness]they do need to hear the truth. Obesity kills people.

Sadly, it is true that they will be affected in society for being less attractive and less acceptable, and their health will suffer. They do need to realize this truth at some point. It is very delicate, however. It would be so easy for the girls to feel rejected or unloved by the parents. I was homely, and was subjected to various efforts at reformation/disguise by my elders, so I am probably reacting from my past.:o

I agree that the soulution to an obese child is best executed by an entire family approach, not a focus on the child as a problem.


If a teenager was abusing drugs, they’d hear the truth immediately. These girls need to hear the truth now, because the affects of an eating disorder are comparable to a drug addition: they isolate themselves from people and use food for comfort all while damaging their health. Is a parent delicate with any other problem? A parent should show love and concern and respect when talking to any child about any issue, but that doesn’t mean you tap dance around the issue. Yes, change the menus at home, but that can’t be the only approach. Talk this over in a gentle, but straightforward way. Let the emotions come out while the 16 year old is still home and is secure in her family. Go to counseling if necessary. This 16 year old girl is establishing life long habits that will be nearly impossible to change later on in life. The OP used the word “obese,” which means that this girl is already quite large. A daily walk isn’t going to make a noticable change in her weight for a long time: in fact, she’ll probably be hungry afterwards and eat to satisfy that hunger. The OP won’t be telling the daughter anything that she doesn’t already feel deep down. But by raising the issue now, this child can face the problem with the two people who love her the most: her parents. The oldest daughter must learn that fitness and health is just about the most important thing in her life, second to school, that she needs to concentrate on thanks to her eating disorder. She can learn what it means to rely on God’s grace as she struggles with her eating disorder. I would really recommend a nutritionist with a good track record with teens. That takes the pressure off of the parents to police the matter on a daily basis, the 16 y. o. just takes her eating/exercise records to the nutritionist and they deal with it together. And to the OP: thank you for taking this matter into your hands. Your daughters will recognize that your attention to this matter comes from love. I only hope that your wife is on board with you. She can make the biggest difference by doing this together with your daughters. Perhaps you can show her this thread. God bless you.


You could simply announce to your family that you personally want to be more healthy and that you are going to start a regiment of healthy eating and excersize. Ask your daughters to help you keep to your goal. Tell them that you are not trying to loose weight but that you love them enough that you want to be around for them when they are grown.

You can ask them to do things such as take a walk with you so that you can stay motivated in your goals. Or to help remove too many sugar temptations from the house so that you won’t eat them.


How does one turns suggestions and ideas into habits ? Everyone gets loads of good suggestions and ideas, but one only acts on some of them.
Hypnotism is a way for you to hear rational, acceptable ideas in a in such a manner that those ideas will affect your behavior.
I have found it very worthwhile.


[quote=CatholicSam]Encourage fun, physical activity that they enjoy :slight_smile:

You took the words right out of my mouth! :thumbsup:

Brainstorm family physical activities that can be done as often as possible. Maybe even start taking 20 minute walks together after dinner. This can be a special bonding time, use for prayer, etc.

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