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Too thin athletes - how do you get weight on them?


LizzyBee
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My youngest daughter is 13, 5' 5.25" and 77 lbs.  She is stick thin.  All my kids are thin, and I know that's fine as long as they're healthy.  But since January, she's had some dance injuries that are in part related to her lack of muscle mass and strength.  She has a high metabolism and she dances about 10-12 hours a week.  I try to get her to eat more protein after class, but she is a carb-loving girl and she burns carbs right off.  She has other people besides me telling her that she has to eat more, esp protein after dance classes, but I can't get her to do it. We've tried protein powder in smoothies, but she doesn't like it.  It's challenging to make her a smoothie she likes because she's allergic to a lot of fruits.  I'll suggest things like ham wrapped around a cheese stick or peanut butter on apple slices, but she usually turns up her nose at those suggestions.  She not a big fan of nuts either. She will eat cliff bars, so she carries those in her dance bag.

 

Any ideas?  Bribery, maybe?

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More calories and fat in her meals, not just her snacks. Make things with butter, cream, cheese, etc. like fettuccine alfredo, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, croissants, think lots of butter.

 

Will she eat other cheese besides string cheese (which isn't TOO high in fat, anyway)? Like would she eat squares of cheddar better than string cheese? Or those Babybel cheeses? How about Nutella over peanut butter?

 

I use this as a base for smoothies:

 

http://www.amazon.com/SCANDISHAKE-VANILLA-85GM-AXCAN-PHARMA/dp/B004JCI8LI/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1406516942&sr=8-12&keywords=scandishake

 

I mix in lots of different things, variety seems to help my kids tolerate them. I make them so that each shake totals about 800 calories for 8-10 oz.

 

Possible mix-ins (I usually use half a cup of ice cream and half a cup of whole milk, then these add ins):

 

Avocado/chocolate syrup

chocolate syrup/banana

chocolate syrup/peanut butter

strawberries/strawberry ice cream topping (w or w/out bananas)

oreos/marshmallow fluff

orange juice/pineapple

fresh baby spinach/avocado

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More calories and fat in her meals, not just her snacks. Make things with butter, cream, cheese, etc. like fettuccine alfredo, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, croissants, think lots of butter.

 

Will she eat other cheese besides string cheese (which isn't TOO high in fat, anyway)? Like would she eat squares of cheddar better than string cheese? Or those Babybel cheeses? How about Nutella over peanut butter?

 

I use this as a base for smoothies:

 

http://www.amazon.com/SCANDISHAKE-VANILLA-85GM-AXCAN-PHARMA/dp/B004JCI8LI/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1406516942&sr=8-12&keywords=scandishake

 

I mix in lots of different things, variety seems to help my kids tolerate them. I make them so that each shake totals about 800 calories for 8-10 oz.

 

Possible mix-ins (I usually use half a cup of ice cream and half a cup of whole milk, then these add ins):

 

Avocado/chocolate syrup

chocolate syrup/banana

chocolate syrup/peanut butter

strawberries/strawberry ice cream topping (w or w/out bananas)

oreos/marshmallow fluff

orange juice/pineapple

fresh baby spinach/avocado

 

We use lots of butter and bacon grease. I add sour cream and butter to mashed potatoes.  I will try the babybel cheese, but she won't eat cheddar or other sliced cheese.  I do make homemade mac and cheese with butter and half and half, might have to do it more often and throw in some bacon or ham. We keep Nutella in the pantry so I'll see if I can get her to eat Nutella and peanut butter together.  I'm not a fan of the sugar content in Nutella, but I sometimes have to remember that she can process sugar because she's so active. She reacts to bananas, kiwi, strawberries, and pineapple, so I can't use any of those.  I can try sneaking some avocado into her diet, although she doesn't like it plain.  I haven't done peanut butter and chocolate smoothies in a while, so I'll try that and see if she'll drink it. She can do OJ.  I was thinking about getting some heavy cream and doing the

ziploc bag method of making ice cream. I'd rather do homemade instead of having commercial ice cream more often.

 

Thanks for all the idea.

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We use lots of butter and bacon grease. I add sour cream and butter to mashed potatoes.  I will try the babybel cheese, but she won't eat cheddar or other sliced cheese.  I do make homemade mac and cheese with butter and half and half, might have to do it more often and throw in some bacon or ham. We keep Nutella in the pantry so I'll see if I can get her to eat Nutella and peanut butter together.  I'm not a fan of the sugar content in Nutella, but I sometimes have to remember that she can process sugar because she's so active. She reacts to bananas, kiwi, strawberries, and pineapple, so I can't use any of those.  I can try sneaking some avocado into her diet, although she doesn't like it plain.  I haven't done peanut butter and chocolate smoothies in a while, so I'll try that and see if she'll drink it. She can do OJ.  I was thinking about getting some heavy cream and doing the

ziploc bag method of making ice cream. I'd rather do homemade instead of having commercial ice cream more often.

 

Thanks for all the idea.

 

I don't really have much in the ideas for protein, but I am pretty sure that fruit combination of reactions are in the same family as avocado.  I remember reading that when we thought one of mine had an allergy to avocado.  Just thought I would put it out there before you hide one in a smoothy on her.

 

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I don't really have much in the ideas for protein, but I am pretty sure that fruit combination of reactions are in the same family as avocado. I remember reading that when we thought one of mine had an allergy to avocado. Just thought I would put it out there before you hide one in a smoothy on her.

 

They are all problematic for someone with a latex allergy, I do know that.

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Can you couch it as concern for her dancing ability? You have to have the energy, stamina, muscle, etc. Tell her you know she doesn't feel like eating but you'd like to help her get her muscle mass up or give her more energy, etc.  (I wouldn't say weight). I would totally put it in terms of your concern for her health. You don't want this to become some weird control issue.  I know anorexia is a big problem in the ballet community.  I'm not saying that is what is going on but little bells might be chiming. All that said I have two very skinny boys.  Like had to gain weight to join the service skinny. Sometimes it's just their body build and it's as hard for them to gain as it is for some of us to lose.

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My thin one is a swimmer. After struggling to recover from a huge weight loss due to mono, her coach suggested a chocolate milkshake immediately after every practice. Meaning, I met her with a large chocolate shake as she walked off the pool deck. She drank it before she showered and changed. It worked extremely well. It didn't even ruin her dinner which came right after we left the pool. Of course, this one eats like a horse in the first place, so I wasn't overly concerned with it taking the place of a meal. Now, she still has replaced the chocolate shake with a chocolate milk. She gets Horizon cartons that don't require refrigeration to keep in her swim backpack. Don't worry about protein right after class. My guess is that she needs something at that point that is easier for the body to convert. Pack the protein in at meals instead.

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At 13 years old I would be straight with her and tell her that now that her lack of muscle mass is proving to be injury causing, I will now require her to develop and follow a plan if she wants to continue dancing.  I would offer all the assistance I can, and be willing to help her research and come up with solutions - but the active word here is HELP.  I would NOT be doing this for her.  She's old enough to learn to understand what her needs are and to be willing to do what it takes to get them met.  I wouldn't be trying to come up with a list of things she will like to eat as if she were a toddler.   She's plenty old enough to realize what she needs and to come up with her own list of what she'd like to eat, or at least what she'd be willing to eat, to get thsoe needs met.  If she's not willing to do that, then she needs to give up dance.

 

I would also be talking to her coach about strength training and developing additional muscle.

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I was thinking about getting some heavy cream and doing the ziploc bag method of making ice cream. I'd rather do homemade instead of having commercial ice cream more often.

 

FWIW, I make ice cream for myself (high fat, low sugar for my needs) all the time.  I can't find it on the Costco website right now, but I use an ice cream maker by Cuisenart that was $50 there.  (Now I only see a more expensive one on the website...)  I put it in a plastic tub in the freezer - usually one batch is enough to last me more than a week, even eating it every day.  I buy heavy cream in quarts at Target.

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For a 13 yr old boy truly working out with the intent of building muscle mass isn't really possible.  So maybe its the same with girls?  Unless they are further into puberty they arent capable of doing the muscle building and etc like older athletes.

 

 

Found this:

 

http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=2810

 

This was true for my dd. She was also behind the curve on growth; she didn't really hit her growth until she was 14 which for a girl is a bit behind the norm today. She has started putting on some muscle this past year (after she turned 19). She had muscles before, well defined ones; they were just long, stringy muscles. 

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Real meat at all meals.

Nuts to snack on.

Which Cliff bars does she eat?  Some have a lot more protein than others.

Making ice cream in ziploc bags is self-limiting.  If you want her to gain and still have real ice cream with real ingredients, I'd buy Breyer's by the half gallon.

Homemade Hollandaise sauce on the vegies.

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More interesting stuff about growth and biological age (skeletal)

 

http://www.teamunify.com/nova/__doc__/Athletes%20Body%20development.pdf

 

Dancers are athletes, so figure fairly applicable.

 

I have a 90 lb 14 yr old trying out for freshman soccer and the topic is of interest here too.  

I just have to pop in and say this is a great article. I have a 4'10 , 65 lb 12 yo girl. She competed at state and didn't even come to the shoulders of most of her competitors. But she eats well and is just a late developer like her older sister.

 

But for the OP, I think you do need a nutritionist, coupled with a clear direction that in order to dance, a dancer must be healthy. 

Disordered eating patterns can happen in any sport and parents usually need outside help (teachers, coaches) to get things better.

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My youngest daughter is 13, 5' 5.25" and 77 lbs.  She is stick thin.  All my kids are thin, and I know that's fine as long as they're healthy.  But since January, she's had some dance injuries that are in part related to her lack of muscle mass and strength.  She has a high metabolism and she dances about 10-12 hours a week.  I try to get her to eat more protein after class, but she is a carb-loving girl and she burns carbs right off.  She has other people besides me telling her that she has to eat more, esp protein after dance classes, but I can't get her to do it. We've tried protein powder in smoothies, but she doesn't like it.  It's challenging to make her a smoothie she likes because she's allergic to a lot of fruits.  I'll suggest things like ham wrapped around a cheese stick or peanut butter on apple slices, but she usually turns up her nose at those suggestions.  She not a big fan of nuts either. She will eat cliff bars, so she carries those in her dance bag.

 

Any ideas?  Bribery, maybe?

 

I rarely (perhaps never but I'm trying to stay away from absolutes) have found bribery a helpful parenting strategy.  Having said that, I would have no problem telling my teenage daughter that she needs sufficient fuel to support her activities and if we can't figure out how to make that happen then the only option will be to cut back on activity while we pursue a better solution.  Our fourteen year old is a L10 gymnast who trains around eighteen hours a week and accepts that if she wants to be mature enough to train L10 then she needs to be mature enough to address the nutritional requirements of that training (albeit with some support and guidance from her parents and pediatrician).  

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Making ice cream in ziploc bags is self-limiting.  If you want her to gain and still have real ice cream with real ingredients, I'd buy Breyer's by the half gallon.

 

 

Breyer's has become a real disappointment over the past ten years. Gone are the days of four ingredient ice cream.  Now most of what they sell is frozen dairy dessert and that half gallon you are suggesting has been reduced in size by 25%.  I do still buy select flavors from Ben & Jerry's and I will take the kids to their local scoop shop but we've started making a lot of our own ice cream for quality reasons as well.  We have an ice cream freezer so I usually make it in gallon size batches. 

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Breyer's has become a real disappointment over the past ten years. Gone are the days of four ingredient ice cream.  Now most of what they sell is frozen dairy dessert and that half gallon you are suggesting has been reduced in size by 25%.  I do still buy select flavors from Ben & Jerry's and I will take the kids to their local scoop shop but we've started making a lot of our own ice cream for quality reasons as well.  We have an ice cream freezer so I usually make it in gallon size batches. 

 

 

Definitely disappointing, I used to be able to buy two gallons buckets of it.  However, the "Natural Vanilla" is still only milk, cream sugar and vanilla and BJs actually had real half gallons last time I was there.  

 

 All the other flavors have stuff like guar gum or corn syrup. 

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Along the lines of a chocolate shake after working out, I'd go for a huge thing of chocolate milk -- it's got an excellent balance of protein, carbs/sugar and fat, and it's often recommended for recovering right after distance runs. 

 

As for the rest of her day, I would suggest explaining why snacks should be protein -- "You need this so your body can stay strong while working out. You don't have to love your snack, you have to fuel your body."  Or give her a research project to find five healthy snacks that have at least X grams of protein and Y calories. That way she gets a bit of ownership in the process. 

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When Ds was swimming he would eat 4 big meals a day and was still very thin.  We found that one thing that worked well for him was a big bean and cheese burrito from a local restaurant before practice.  It was a place that was authentic, so the beans were not out of a can and the cheese was real cheddar.   Since it was just beans and cheese it was only a couple dollars and it was a good size snack for him.

 

DD15 liked to eat after practice.  She leaned more to Luna bars or Power bars.  She isn't a big eater so the heavily loaded bars were a great way to get concentrated calories and protein into her.  The other thing, was that I purposefully made her favorite dinners more often during her sports seasons.  Meals like, steak, potatoes and green beans were almost a weekly occurrence during volley ball season.  

 

I would make her smoothies in thee morning before she headed out the door and put them in a disposable cup (bought in bulk at Costco) so she could take them to school and toss them when she was done.  She was more likely to drink the smoothie once she got to class than while she was getting ready for school. 

 

DD15 will also eat a PB&J if I had it to her with the crusts cut off.  If I ask her if she wants one, she says 'no'. But, if I just make it and give it to her, she eats it without thinking about it.  There were a few times that turned it down, but it was worth her not eating a few, to have her eat the ones she did eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'll be the minority saying those numbers are alarming. Her BMI of 12.8 puts in the 1 percentile. This coupled with the intensity of body image and eating disorders in the dance world would have me concerned. It's hard to tell from your posts whether she is just picky or whether something else is going on. You know your dd best, OP, do you feel this is more than just pickiness? If so I'd take some steps to see what might be going on. If not then you've gotten some good suggestions here on how to maximize caloric intake.

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I don't know if anyone else has said this! buy at her age I would not try to sneak extra calories in by adding fat and stuff to foods. If she hopes to long term be an athlete, she needs to understand the need to fuel her body for health. Sneaking extra calories in doesn't address that she isn't eating enough on her own and doesn't give her any ownership of this issue.

 

I really wish as a really thin teen someone would have better explained to me the actual need to take in enough calories.

 

If she decides she wants to do that via shakes or adding to normal foods, cool.

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If you don't eat you don't dance?

 

I have told her this - you need to eat more and do your targeted exercises so that your body will be strong enough to do what you're asking it to do.  Otherwise you will keep getting injured and then there's no point in paying for classes.

 

 

 

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What about going together to a nutritionist? If she won't follow the plan she makes with the nutritionist, you would know whether there's something more to worry about than pickiness.

 

This made me remember a conversation I had with someone in irl.  She had motor delays, and this person suggested that eating meat makes her mouth tired.  I do think that's possible, because she does like a wide variety of meats, just not large quantities.  Also, she loves lamb, but I can't afford to make it a regular part of our diet.  But you know, lamb generally is kind of soft and tender.  Maybe it's easier for her to eat.

 

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Can you couch it as concern for her dancing ability? You have to have the energy, stamina, muscle, etc. Tell her you know she doesn't feel like eating but you'd like to help her get her muscle mass up or give her more energy, etc.  (I wouldn't say weight). I would totally put it in terms of your concern for her health. You don't want this to become some weird control issue.  I know anorexia is a big problem in the ballet community.  I'm not saying that is what is going on but little bells might be chiming. All that said I have two very skinny boys.  Like had to gain weight to join the service skinny. Sometimes it's just their body build and it's as hard for them to gain as it is for some of us to lose.

 

It's definitely genetic and not anorexia.  Her dad had to load up on bananas the morning he got weighed to get in the military. He used to drink weight gain shakes, too. I've made her read a book about sports nutrition, we've talked about what the different nutrients do, we've talked about body mass.  You're right that I don't want to discuss it so much that it becomes a bigger issue than it should be in her mind.

 

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This was true for my dd. She was also behind the curve on growth; she didn't really hit her growth until she was 14 which for a girl is a bit behind the norm today. She has started putting on some muscle this past year (after she turned 19). She had muscles before, well defined ones; they were just long, stringy muscles. 

 

That's my dd - I love how her calf muscles pop when she's dancing.  The little bit of meat she has on her bones is all muscle.

 

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I would tell her that her hobby has become dangerous, and therefore I can not in good conscience continue to allow it *as it is currently being done* -- however, with a better eating plan I would consider allowing the same hours. With the same eating plan, I will be halving her participation in order to conserve calories and protect her body mass.

 

Then it would be her choice: propose an eating plan, or decide how to chop her participation, or I would decide how to cut down her participation.

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Breyer's has become a real disappointment over the past ten years. Gone are the days of four ingredient ice cream.  Now most of what they sell is frozen dairy dessert and that half gallon you are suggesting has been reduced in size by 25%.  I do still buy select flavors from Ben & Jerry's and I will take the kids to their local scoop shop but we've started making a lot of our own ice cream for quality reasons as well.  We have an ice cream freezer so I usually make it in gallon size batches. 

 

Exactly. Breyers used to be my favorite until they started using cheap ingredients like everyone else.  Maybe we'll just go ahead and get a ice cream freezer.

 

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I think I would just make it non negotiable if you are at the point that her weight is contributing to injuries.  I would tell her point blank, "you need to eat xxx calories/grams of protein/whatever after each dance class if you want to continue to dance.  If you don't you will not be able to dance because your body does not have the nutritional resources to make it a healthy activity."

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I'll be the minority saying those numbers are alarming. Her BMI of 12.8 puts in the 1 percentile. This coupled with the intensity of body image and eating disorders in the dance world would have me concerned. It's hard to tell from your posts whether she is just picky or whether something else is going on. You know your dd best, OP, do you feel this is more than just pickiness? If so I'd take some steps to see what might be going on. If not then you've gotten some good suggestions here on how to maximize caloric intake.

 

Overall, I wouldn't even call her a picky eater, and there are days that she eats more than others.  We eat healthy meals for the most part.  But when it comes to getting more high quality, high calorie protein and fat in her, I'm stuck. 

 

Her doctors are aware of her low BMI, they know it's genetic, and they're not concerned because she is healthy and active.  But because she's dancing more than she used it, I'm seeing the need to add some muscle mass to prevent injuries.  In particular, we know that her hip strength is not sufficient for what she's doing, and we are currently waiting for a new PT to call us to set up appts for a hip injury.  The new PT is the PT for the Raleigh Ballet and he's amazing.  He is an elite athlete himself and his specialty is biomechanics.

 

She is an Irish dancer, and body image issues really aren't a big deal in the ID world like they are in ballet.  Maybe at the pro level, but not so much before that.

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Is she very competitive, as in planning to be a professional dancer? If so, then she does need to think of her food as an integral part of her training regimen, not just for today, but so that her body can hold up in her twenties and thirties. I think the chocolate milk is an excellent way to get the right kind of calories in her; make sure it is whole milk as she needs the extra fats for growth and healthy hormone production. I was rhe same height and weight at that age, dancing two hours per day, and it was a real struggle to get enough food to keep any weight on.

 

What kind of injuries is she getting? Muscular? Sketetal?

 

If she does an additional strenth training it should be pilates with an instructor who trains ballet dancers.

 

I am a former dancer.

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I would tell her she needs to come up with her own plan or follow my plan to gain some weight or we'd quit dance. And I'd follow through. You also may want some blood drawn to check her potassium levels. Her weight is very low for her height and I'd be concerned. It doesn't matter if it's genetic- it can still affect her health. She may be fine now, but at that weight, an illness that causes weight loss could be dangerous.

 

I say this as someone who is genetically small and had similar issues as a teen. I was not anorexic in any way. I wanted to gain weight but didn't want it bad enough to make an effort until I started getting dizzy spells. The nutritionist told me to drink 2 cans of ensure a day because despite a high calorie diet, I was not gaining weight because of my high metabolism. I hated the ensure. I thought it was disgusting but I drank it anyway and quit drinking it when I had gained about 5lbs. I had to drink 2 cans again when I was pregnant and still put on very little weight. 

 

The nutritionist I worked with told me that I needed to eat based on what I knew my body needed and not based on hunger or what I wanted. I had to use my brain and make good choices. It's not much different than people who are overweight and have high hunger levels who also must learn to make food choices based on what their brain says they need and not what their stomach wants. 

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I also have a carb loving dancer. I found that I had to eliminate most carbs for her (and me). I found that she did go through a period of "withdrawal"; she ate less and was cranky and irritable. After about two weeks of not having breads, spaghetti, etc in the house, and leaving veggies, cut and with good dips, laying about she started to eat a wider variety of foods. Beans, meat, or eggs are part of every meal and often slathered in cheese. We use tortillas instead of breads for sandwiches. Mexican is our go to meal, whether it's burritos or tacos. We don't eliminate all carbs, but we did limit the carbs she most overindulged it (cookies, bread, spaghetti in her case).

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I'll be the minority saying those numbers are alarming. Her BMI of 12.8 puts in the 1 percentile. This coupled with the intensity of body image and eating disorders in the dance world would have me concerned. It's hard to tell from your posts whether she is just picky or whether something else is going on. You know your dd best, OP, do you feel this is more than just pickiness? If so I'd take some steps to see what might be going on. If not then you've gotten some good suggestions here on how to maximize caloric intake.

I am with her.  My daughter just spent 9 week in an inpatient eating disorder treatment program so I may be projecting but girls weren't even released from the program until they had a BMI of 17.  

 

Nutrition is not optional.  My daughter eats 3 meals and 3 snacks each day.  It doesn't matter if she likes it or not.  She eats. Not "liking" protein is a bad sign. EDs are full of "fear foods".  My daughter tried to claim that she was becoming a vegetarian too.  It was ED controlling her.  No eat, no dance.  Find a nutritionist now.  My daughter was a dancer too.  

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Overall, I wouldn't even call her a picky eater, and there are days that she eats more than others. We eat healthy meals for the most part. But when it comes to getting more high quality, high calorie protein and fat in her, I'm stuck.

You need to change your mindset around responsibility and boundaries in order to solve the heart of this problem.

 

1. It is your responsibility to keep her safe and heathy (within reason, if course).

 

You are not currently keeping her safe and healthy because you are allowing her to participate in a style of recreation that is hurting her.

 

You are not stuck. Your path is clear: if dance/nutrition levels doesn't change, dance is over (or reduced to a level appropriate for her nutritional intake).

 

2. It is *her* responsibility to propose an eating plan that is appropriate for a dancer if her callibre and commitment level.

 

Conclusion: If she can figure it out, she can continue. (She might be stuck, and you might be able to help.) If she can't make healthy choices, it is your responsibility to end the unhealthy activity.

 

Her responsibility is to figure out what to eat. Your responsibility is to figure out how much dance you can safely allow.

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We use lots of butter and bacon grease. I add sour cream and butter to mashed potatoes.  I will try the babybel cheese, but she won't eat cheddar or other sliced cheese.  I do make homemade mac and cheese with butter and half and half, might have to do it more often and throw in some bacon or ham. We keep Nutella in the pantry so I'll see if I can get her to eat Nutella and peanut butter together.  I'm not a fan of the sugar content in Nutella, but I sometimes have to remember that she can process sugar because she's so active. She reacts to bananas, kiwi, strawberries, and pineapple, so I can't use any of those.  I can try sneaking some avocado into her diet, although she doesn't like it plain.  I haven't done peanut butter and chocolate smoothies in a while, so I'll try that and see if she'll drink it. She can do OJ.  I was thinking about getting some heavy cream and doing the

ziploc bag method of making ice cream. I'd rather do homemade instead of having commercial ice cream more often.

 

Thanks for all the idea.

Try using heavy whipping cream in place of half and half. It has more fat and calories.

 

If you don't eat you don't dance?

 

My daughter trains for competition karate approx 18 hrs per week. (She won the title of 2014 karate national champion earlier this month!) This is the rule at her Dojo. If you don't eat, don't bother coming to work out. 

 

She is very thin, although very healthy. I add butter and heavy whipping cream to a lot of things. Her favorite is a garlic/butter/parmesan cheese mixture on top of meats and chicken. It adds healthy fats and calories to her diet effortlessly.

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I am with her.  My daughter just spent 9 week in an inpatient eating disorder treatment program so I may be projecting but girls weren't even released from the program until they had a BMI of 17.  

 

Nutrition is not optional.  My daughter eats 3 meals and 3 snacks each day.  It doesn't matter if she likes it or not.  She eats. Not "liking" protein is a bad sign. EDs are full of "fear foods".  My daughter tried to claim that she was becoming a vegetarian too.  It was ED controlling her.  No eat, no dance.  Find a nutritionist now.  My daughter was a dancer too.  

 

:grouphug: Hugs!

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You need to change your mindset around responsibility and boundaries in order to solve the heart of this problem.

 

1. It is your responsibility to keep her safe and heathy (within reason, if course).

 

You are not currently keeping her safe and healthy because you are allowing her to participate in a style of recreation that is hurting her.

 

You are not stuck. Your path is clear: if dance/nutrition levels doesn't change, dance is over (or reduced to a level appropriate for her nutritional intake).

 

2. It is *her* responsibility to propose an eating plan that is appropriate for a dancer if her callibre and commitment level.

 

Conclusion: If she can figure it out, she can continue. (She might be stuck, and you might be able to help.) If she can't make healthy choices, it is your responsibility to end the unhealthy activity.

 

Her responsibility is to figure out what to eat. Your responsibility is to figure out how much dance you can safely allow.

 

That's a little melodramatic. All of this is why I'm here asking the question!

 

To put it in perspective, she can eat more pizza than I.  She sometimes eats 1/2 of a 12" pizza.  She can inhale a 12" sub from Subway.  She eats meat and we do have meat with nearly every meal, but sometimes she won't eat as much as I would like her to or think she should.

 

When she has a class that runs late in the evening, that's the hardest time to think of something she can eat to replace calories but not take much time to prepare and eat. And overall, I think she needs more calories than she's getting because she burns them off so fast.

 

 

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I am with her.  My daughter just spent 9 week in an inpatient eating disorder treatment program so I may be projecting but girls weren't even released from the program until they had a BMI of 17.  

 

Nutrition is not optional.  My daughter eats 3 meals and 3 snacks each day.  It doesn't matter if she likes it or not.  She eats. Not "liking" protein is a bad sign. EDs are full of "fear foods".  My daughter tried to claim that she was becoming a vegetarian too.  It was ED controlling her.  No eat, no dance.  Find a nutritionist now.  My daughter was a dancer too.  

 

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter, and I hope she's doing better now.

 

My dd doesn't dislike protein. I'm just trying to get her to eat more of it.

 

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Sorry, I do cross over from "crisp logic" to "melodramatic" from time to time.

 

What I was trying to point is that you are trying to tackle this problem as is you are the "engine" of the train (thinking of yourself as the one that should find a way to shift what she eats) when really you are the person that operates the switch-track thingy.

 

The switch-track operator has much more power when she sticks to switching the track (deciding whether dance is ok or not). If she jumps out of her switch house and tries to manually pull the train, that's going to be really hard.

 

Don't try to *make* her do the responsible thing with her eating -- it's incredibly difficult, and also quite intrusive. Just stop/limit her from going to the dance studio until/unless she chooses responsible eating for herself. Be ok with her choice: let her feel the truth that she is in charge of this.

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I don't necessarily think she has an eating disorder. As I stated earlier, my height and weight were the same at that age, and I was definitely not anorexic. An adolescent, growing athlete is going to have a low BMI; mine did not go over 17 until I was about 35 and had a child. As long as she is eating healthy food and her pediatrician is not concerned, then I wouldn't worry too much, especially if the rest of your family is thin.

 

Does she like ice cream? You could make her shakes with ice cream and Jay Robb whey protein powder (it's extra tasty).

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Sorry, I do cross over from "crisp logic" to "melodramatic" from time to time.

 

What I was trying to point is that you are trying to tackle this problem as is you are the "engine" of the train (thinking of yourself as the one that should find a way to shift what she eats) when really you are the person that operates the switch-track thingy.

 

The switch-track operator has much more power when she sticks to switching the track (deciding whether dance is ok or not). If she jumps out of her switch house and tries to manually pull the train, that's going to be really hard.

 

Don't try to *make* her do the responsible thing with her eating -- it's incredibly difficult, and also quite intrusive. Just stop/limit her from going to the dance studio until/unless she chooses responsible eating for herself. Be ok with her choice: let her feel the truth that she is in charge of this.

 

Thank you. I'm sorry for getting snippy because I felt defensive.

 

I do feel that my daughter is still learning about nutrition and which foods go in which category, what's available that perhaps we don't buy regularly, etc.  So I still need to help her figure out the alternatives and come up with a plan, but then she has to cooperate and follow the plan.

 

We've talked about discontinuing dance if she doesn't do the exercises and eat appropriately.  Maybe I need to lay it out a little more clearly and forcefully for her.  She currently is in her 3rd week of school and that's a big adjustment for her since she had always been homeschooled, so I've cut her some slack.  But she has dance camp this week and then classes start up again next week, so it's time to get her into a routine that includes daily exercises and more calories.

 

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Is she very competitive, as in planning to be a professional dancer? If so, then she does need to think of her food as an integral part of her training regimen, not just for today, but so that her body can hold up in her twenties and thirties. I think the chocolate milk is an excellent way to get the right kind of calories in her; make sure it is whole milk as she needs the extra fats for growth and healthy hormone production. I was rhe same height and weight at that age, dancing two hours per day, and it was a real struggle to get enough food to keep any weight on.

 

What kind of injuries is she getting? Muscular? Sketetal?

 

If she does an additional strenth training it should be pilates with an instructor who trains ballet dancers.

 

I am a former dancer.

 

I tend to view chocolate milk as junk food, but it's been mentioned repeatedly on this thread, so I'm going to stop limiting how much of it she drinks.  There's a char-grill between my office and the dance studio, so I'll start surprising her with some milkshakes too.  They use real ice cream, not custard.

 

Injuries so far include rolling an ankle (inadequate muscle strength to support the ankle) and jamming her right hip.  We are still waiting for x-ray results to find out whether it's out of alignment.  She's also had tendonitis in one heel, but that's due to inadequate stretching.  We're working on that too.  So it's not like she's had a lot of injuries, but they started right after she moved up a level and increased her hours.

 

She is competitive and wants to be a certified teacher.  It won't happen if she doesn't get stronger.

 

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