Navigating Weight and Diet with Tweens


Weight. “That’s a heavy subject.” Sorry – I couldn’t resist the bad joke. It’s what I do when I’m not sure what to do.

I have always struggled with my weight. I was overweight as a child and didn’t exercise, but, like all kids in the 70s, I played outside – “free ranged” – all day long. Just not enough to outpace my genetics or diet. I never really did anything about it until I was about 30, though.

I found a lot of success counting points, but I was single and could eat a bowl of zucchini for dinner if I wanted to (or if I was out of points, same thing). Then I met my husband, the Professor, and changed how I ate because it’s different feeding a 6’3” man with a high metabolism. I still stayed *pretty* consistent and was able to maintain a comfortable place for me.

Then I got older and had our babies. After the youngest, I went back to counting points and did well, but tried to change my focus from weight to health. Mostly because I knew the girls were watching what I was doing, how I was doing it, and I wanted things to be normal so I could show them healthy habits.

And then I got even older. And we moved. And the train fell off the proverbial tracks…

I still *try* to focus on healthy eating and showing the girls healthy behaviors, but I’m much less diligent about it. And now I’m seeing some less-than-ideal eating behaviors in the in the girls. And the only reason it’s even on my radar is because I want to save them from my lifelong struggle. There’s nothing for me to worry about right now, and I’m not trying to be an alarmist (though I do tend that way…), I’ve just got my eye on the future and I don’t want bad habits to develop now that will be really tricky for them to undo later.

One lurrrves carbs and sugar – she’s not big on protein. Even when she does have a morsel of it, she loves to wrap it disproportionately in bread or crackers or tortillas or any other doughy thing she can get her hands on. I don’t want to make a big deal out of any of this, but I also know I’m not giving her great genetics and I want to help her avoid a long struggle with it if I can.

So we continue to talk about healthy eating and real, whole foods to fuel her body so it will be strong for the sports she plays. I peddle vegetables and ‘healthy choices’ (the way only a mom can) and make well-balanced nutritious meals to serve up. But then she gets an answer right at school and wins a pack of Smarties.

On the flip side of things, my other one has drastically cut down what she eats. Maybe she’s just not in the middle of a growth spurt. Maybe she’s not actually hungry. Maybe I’m being an alarmist (because I do tend that way…).

We still see a ‘normal’ eating day for her on a somewhat regular basis, but I’ve also got my eye on her, quietly monitoring, because I don’t want to make this a thing, either. And as she gets older, she’s paying more attention to outside forces – friends, celebrities, fashion magazines, etc., so she’s not necessarily getting healthy perspectives there.

So I peddle my vegetables and ‘healthy choices’ to this one, too (the way only a mom can) and make well-balanced nutritious meals to serve up.

Neither girl needs to lose weight or is anywhere close to being at risk of it, but I’m a bit of a control freak and a problem solver – I like to “handle” things. But all I can do is continue to (try) to model the right behavior and help the girls make the right choices, without being an obsessive weirdo about it.

I work out regularly and am stronger than I’ve ever been, and my awesome gym (Base 10 Fitness!) includes the girls and has made them part of our community, so they see that being fit is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but you can’t out-train a bad diet.

I’m just trying to set them up for a lifetime of good eating without making a big deal about it, but I’ll tell you – it’s really caused me to look in the mirror and pay more attention to what’s in the house. If someone’s shoveling some sort of candy bar disguised as a protein bar down their gullet, that’s on me.

Knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to do it is getting trickier as the girls get older. So now I’m off to munch on some crispy carrot sticks with a “Mmmm, these are delicious” smile on my face, but if you how to make sure everything turns out right for your kids, I’d love to know. And in the meantime, we’ll just weight and see… (see what I did there?)

How do you find your way through such sensitive topics?

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Wildly in love with her perfectly imperfect life, Kathy’s been married to her most favorite person in the world, “The Professor,” for 14 years. They moved to Columbia from Atlanta seven years ago and are enjoying raising their two girls, Gracie (12½) and Tate (10) here. After undergrad and her MBA, Kathy worked in Corporate America for 10 years before retiring to work full-time for the girls. Most recently, she was a grant writer at a college here in town, but had to leave that job when her family moved to New Zealand for six months for The Professor’s sabbatical. She started her blog,, to document that amazing adventure, but now she’s home and trying to figure out what to do with her life. Again. Probably the loudest and most foul-mouthed introvert you’ll ever meet, she can usually be found curled up with a trashy romance novel, on the tennis court, at her awesome gym, or drinking wine with people she loves.


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