I need help. Serious help.
Little Cat Z is like her mommy in a lot of ways. One of them being that she overeats. In particular, she sneaks food. (She’s ten years old, and I think she’s 120 pounds, and probably not five feet tall yet.) She’s also got my body type: skinny legs, big belly, a type 2 diabetes dream.
I’m not putting her on a diet. I refuse to put her on a diet. She’s ten, for fuck’s sake. I started getting put on diets when I was nine (thanks to the doctor). It did absolutely nothing for my weight, and ruined my self-image, adding to my weight problem, I’m sure.
For a long time, I got mad when I’d catch her, or find the evidence after the fact, and I’d yell. I’m so worried about her having self-esteem and health problems that I’d just lose it. (My mom never did that to me. I think I thought that if I was more serious about it, it would impress her more?) After I calmed down, I’d try explaining to her that the problem wasn’t so much that she was eating, as what she was eating (she doesn’t sneak veggies, in fact, until I moved the sugar bowl out of her reach, she was eating sugar straight from it), and the fact that she was sneaking it, which was like stealing. I’d tell her that before she took something, she should ask herself if it was hers to take, or if she should ask.
Naturally, the freaking out and yelling didn’t help anything. I decided that if the big problem was that she was sneaking food, I’d tell her that if she wanted a(nother) snack, all she had to do was ask. I don’t know if that just hasn’t sunk in yet, but she never asks for an extra snack. And she still sneaks food. Candy and cookies type food. So still, the problem isn’t so much that she’s eating, but what she’s eating, and the fact that she’s taking stuff she knows isn’t for her, or at least not for snacking.
Then tonight, I picked the good spouse up from work, and we came home. When we got here, around midnight, someone was in the bathroom. It was Little Cat Z. When she came out of the bathroom, she had a mouth full of something. Turns out it was Extra Strength Tums. I opened that bottle about a month ago. The other day my stomach was upset, and I popped a couple, noticing that the good spouse must have been having real trouble, since the bottle was over half-empty. Nope. It’s been Little Cat Z, sneaking medicine. And not particularly candy-like (although it is the fruity kind) medicine.
I’m at my wits’ end. Am I going to have to move the refrigerator, and all the food from the kitchen cabinets, and all the medications that might be almost candy-like (cough syrup, chewable vitamins, chewable pain-killers, antacids) into the pantry, and put a padlock on it?
I should add that Little Cat Z has some learning disabilities. She’s “graduated” from Early Childhood Education, and she’s doing well in school (she’s one year behind), but her thought processes still sometimes seem a little different from most people’s.
I know I need to work on my own bad habits, and having less sweets in the house would help, too, but she’s sneaking Tums. There are snack crackers and potato chips in the pantry, but obviously this isn’t about being hungry. Am I too late? Is she already a compulsive eater?
I could really, really use some good advice, if someone has any to give.