My daughter is 16 and is gaining weight. My wife and I are on board with what needs to be done - and there's a lot to do.
But as to talking to her about her weight, we are at a loss. She's an ultra liberal feminist, so any discussion about her weight has and will inevitably lead to accusations of "fat shaming" and make things worse; we've been there already. She points to celebrities who are fat and successful.
The last argument about her weight she pointed to the medical profession's opinion that "a little" overweight isn't the worst thing in the world. And she points to us - her parents - who are also slightly overweight. Perhaps she's right, and perhaps there's a middle ground. And perhaps, she's living under our roof and so our rules? I suspect we need to choose the right time and the right words - this is where your advice is needed.
Some background: She's not obese, but she's about 25 lbs (11 kg) over her ideal weight (she's 5'3" (160 cm), ~160 lbs (73 kg)). I don't know her BMI.
She's a couch potato, is in love with her phone and laptop playing games and chatting with her friends. She's in between seasons (she plays field hockey and softball). She does not drive.
Her eating habits are horrible, too. She snacks on crap, and eats second and third helpings. All the junk food she gets she buys herself with money she makes from babysitting - another occasional low calorie activity she does with a 2-year-old.
We are not the best role models, but we don't eat off-mealtime, and we don't buy junk food. While consistent mealtimes are important, it just doesn't work in our household. We have a son who is in scouts, sports, and a band, and so there is that logistic. I coach both my kids, and volunteer in the scouts and band. So sports and other activities just make each day very different than the other. My son, by the way, is slightly underweight.
We started to limit what we cook and what we put on the table in order to limit the amount of food she eats.
We try to have dinner ready for early evening. If that can't be done, preparing something in a slow cooker can work - the kids can help themselves if we're not around. Or they can make something on their own.
We plan to lock her out of her phone, laptop, and Wi-Fi until she does things around the house that elevates cardio activity: doing yard and gardening work. We also want to get her a walking app for her phone, and have her walk or jog a couple of miles a day as a requisite for getting her phone and laptop privileges, but, the irony is she needs the phone to use the app.
I'd like to get her to a gym, but none of her friends want to go, and none of the gyms will take her without an adult present. The YMCA would take her in a limited duration program, but getting her there is another problem - we work during the day, as does all of her friends' parents. Evening trips to the gym could work in theory, but with sports, scouts, band, and other community groups we're a part of, that all doesn't make it easy or consistent. We are members; we just don't go that often.
Any advice on what else we can do? Most importantly, we need to talk to her - that's our biggest concern, attempts in the past have lead to horrendous fights with her.
What has worked for you?
Thanks all for the responses. I waited a long time to respond so as to be able to try most of the suggestions in earnest. So far, things are going well. She has not lost weight, but she has changed attitude.
For my wife and I, the first plan of attack as suggested was to back off the talk. Next, my wife enrolled in a gym, and has been there for almost 4 months now, and has lost 40lbs. For me, I'll be joining only in between seasons, so not the best, but I'll still be on the field as I coach. Also, we eliminated all junk food in the house, and, we were particularly careful around Halloween and Thanksgiving which are traditionally difficult to navigate food- and drink-wise. Next up is Christmas and New Years, and we're staying home. Still, no talk - only action. And my daughter seems to be responding: substituting green tea for soda, yogurt for ice cream, and she's no longer buying junk food with her babysitting money. Meanwhile, better planned meals allows to have however much she wants without us having to say anything.