Friday 28 October 2016

Ask Rosanna: My 15-year-old daughter is refusing to eat any carbs. Should I worry?

Rosanna Davison
Rosanna Davison

A daughter who won't eat carbs, a girfriend who takes forever to get ready and hating a job

Q: My 15-year-old daughter has decided that she can't eat carbs - this started about three months ago with finicky eating habits and refusing to eat potatoes. But it has since escalated to the point where she has become paranoid about eating 'pure food' and her primary fixation is to do with carbs which she now seems almost fearful of.

I've three other daughters who all went through phases so initially I wasn't concerned but there is something very different going on here and it has me worried.

My husband now also agrees that we need to do something and came to talk to our GP who has advised us to be supportive, not pressure her about food, keep an eye on her eating and exercise habits and come back to the surgery if we become more alarmed.

Our daughter has never been sporty and she hasn't suddenly joined a gym, nor is she excessively thin. Do you think I need to talk to a person who specialises in this area?

A: It certainly sounds to me that your daughter has been influenced by a diet that she's either read about or that's become popular amongst her friends. This competitive dieting seems to be becoming more and more common amongst school-goers. However, levels of obesity and diseases like childhood diabetes are a cause for real concern, and with that in mind I would absolutely encourage young people to avoid unhealthy carbs like refined sugar and white flour products.

But humans need healthy complex carbs in their everyday diet for energy and nutrients. So if your daughter is denying herself of healthy sources of carbohydrates and dietary fibre, then I would certainly suggest that you both speak to a registered nutritionist about her diet and eating habits.

She needs to understand about how our brain and body cells work and that they rely on glucose as their primary source of fuel. Once she eats sensible portion sizes and exercises regularly, she won't gain weight.


Q:  My girlfriend and I moved in together a few months ago and until then I never realised how long it takes her to get ready to go anywhere. I just didn't pay it any attention the times we were on holiday or on weekends away.

Looking back it was generally a two-hour job to get dressed for dinner but she's even worse than that - even getting ready for work is a full scale operation involving hair, make-up and many changes of outfit.

I tried to be take a kind view and put it down to lack of confidence but I am starting to think that she's just really vain and superficial - when I was all loved-up I never noticed things like how often she looks in the mirror or how frequently she comments on how other women look.

I'm not sure I feel the same way about her now I've seen this side of her.

A: It does sound like your girlfriend is unusually high-maintenance, which is understandably frustrating for you. You couldn't be spontaneous and enjoy a spur-of-the-moment trip out for a meal or cinema, if she has to plan her whole hair, makeup and outfit looks in advance. But I would ask you to be a little bit understanding of how she's feeling.

There is a huge amount of pressure placed on young women from the media, their friends and social media, and this compounds any existing feelings of insecurity and low self-confidence.

Your girlfriend probably needs a big boost of self-esteem, and to realise that she looks beautiful without all of the extras.

If I were you, I would start building her confidence by saying how pretty she looks in a simple jeans and tee-shirt, and that you love to see girls with minimal make-up.

Suggest that you would love to be able to pop out of the house with her and life would be easier for her if she didn't worry so much about her own appearance or that of others.

Q: I got promoted at work recently and I was so happy - there's a way bigger pay cheque and that was a big draw for me. My problem is that I hate my new role. Two months in and I already dread going into work every morning. Do I soldier on or go talk to management and get reassigned - I feel like a bit of a failure right now and I'm even considering leaving the company?

A: It seems very extreme to want to quit the new role and possibly the company after just two months. It also sounds like you didn't know enough about the new job before you accepted the promotion. Why didn't you research it more thoroughly?

Obviously there's no point in staying in a job that you strongly dislike, but rather than quit now, my advice would be to speak to a manager about working together to change aspects of the job that are causing you stress.

You must explain why you're feeling like this and pinpoint the areas of the role that you really like the least. If it's the volume of work you have, then a colleague may be able to ease the workload. I would definitely give yourself a chance to settle more into the job.

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