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Kids’ Questions: My Mom Won’t Let Me Go On A Diet

fatty foods

Hi Rene,

My mom says that you’ll probably agree with her. I hope not.

I’m 15 years old and want to go on a diet.  I’ve always been heavier than the other girls in my class at school. And while my friends, don’t tease me about my extra weight; I can’t buy the same cute outfits that they can when we go shopping at the mall.

Boys flirt with them and ask for their phone numbers, but never do that with me. People always tell me that I have a pretty face and I’m fun to be around, but I see that the thinner girls get invited to more parties and get more attention.

I’ve decided to lose weight and want to go on a diet.  If I start now and diet through the summer, I’ll be thinner in September when school starts. But my mother says I’m too young to diet.

Rene, I know other girls my age who are on diets. Is 15 too young to go on a diet – and if so, when can I start to lose weight?




There are a couple of things in your letter that jump out to me, namely the fact that you told me off the top you mom said I would agree with her. You know what? She’s right; I do agree with her to an extent. Here’s why.

DO YOU REALLY NEED TO GO ON A DIET? That’s the first thing you need to establish. In your letter you said you’ve always been “heavier” than the other girls and talk of your “extra weight” but are you within a healthy weight range for your height? You can figure that out by asking your pediatrician. He or she has been monitoring your height-weight ratio since you were born and will be able to tell you if you if you need to lose a few pounds.

GET ACTIVE: If your doctor says you need to lose a few pounds there are a few things I want you to remember. This is about long-term health, not a quick fix. You know what that means? No fad diets! No eating cabbage soup for a week, subsisting on grapefruit alone or veering into other dangerous practices that have the potential to cause lasting damage to your health and metabolism. Instead, and I’m sure your doctor would agree, you need to make good, healthy choices and then get out there and get active. Take up a sport or active pastime that you enjoy and get moving.

WORK ON THE INSIDE: This is the part of your note that stuck out to me most. You talk about the other girls, the clothes they buy and the attention they receive. This is where your thinking is a little skewed perhaps. We all have something about ourselves that we don’t really like. Whatever that is becomes the reason for all of our problems and the thing that is keeping us from succeeding. I’m not sure the fact that those girls buy different outfits or are smaller than you (if they really are) is why they get attention from boys. Maybe they’re friendlier or smile more?

Also we have to make sure it is the type of attention you WANT. If boys are staring at the girls because their booties are hanging out of the bottom of their mini-skirt, well, that is the wrong type of attention. The right kind of interest comes from the boy attracted by a friendly face and warm smile who then comes over to learn more. So instead of trying to diet to lose weight, work on having something to say, no matter what the scale reads

Charlotte: I hope this makes sense to you. Bottom line, you need to develop an accurate view of what’s going on. I haven’t seen you so I can’t judge if you’re too heavy but your mom can and it sounds like she and I are on the same page. Be yourself and run your own race. Being self-directed is tough at any age, much less the teen years. But now’s a good time to start working on that as it’s a skill you will need for the rest of your life.

Good luck honey!


Do you have a question for a mom but don’t want to ask YOUR mom? Just Ask Rene !



  1. m.e. Johnson

    May 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Sounds good to me Rene.

    Also, Charlotte, some people retain their ‘baby fat’ longer than others. Along with good eating habits and movement (try dance), you may tall up and/or thin down any day now. Taake a look at your relatives. What stands out? And print out your “eating change” plan so Mom will be more inclined to suppoet you. Best wishes.

  2. Katherine

    May 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Personally, I do not believe 15 is too young for a “diet”. It just depends on what type of diet it is. Crash diets and fasting are bad for everyone, 15 year olds included.

    But, your focus should not be getting into a size 0. Maybe, instead of “dieting”, concentrate on having a healthy diet (for example: cutting back on cheeseburgers like the one pictured above (lol) which are unhealthy for everyone) and staying active. Those are two things everyone should be doing regardless of what size they are.

  3. Auntie Lisa

    May 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Charlotte: I’m with Rene on this! Healthy choices and physical activity (not a “diet” per se) are the answer. I was in your shoes in high school. All I had to do to lose weight was use less butter and salt, don’t have second helpings unless truly still hungry, have 2 scoops of ice cream instead of 3, have 3 cookies instead of 6, etc. (I remember this because they had us keep a food journal in P.E. class.) Just cut down. Not too hard. I dropped 7 pounds the first week!

    Part of my problem was that I hated sports and running, as I had no talent for them. When I discovered dance, I had finally found an activity I loved that could get/keep me fit! (If you REALLY want some results, try ballet!) I also enjoy hiking and cycling. You might try those if you haven’t already.

    Focus on making healthy choices and you will reap many more benefits than weight loss… for the rest of your life! Don’t try to get skinny… try to get healthy and fit! 🙂

  4. Rene Syler

    May 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    @Auntie Lisa: I never remember you having a weight problem in H.S.! But this is great advice, THX!!

  5. Auntie Lisa

    May 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    @Rene — I really didn’t. It was perceived. I was a bit pudgy thru about 6th or 7th grade. Growth spurt took care of it, I guess. 5’7″ by 8th grade! But I still thought I was fat. Just like Charlotte, I compared myself unfavorably with my skinny friends. But fat or thin, eating healthier and exercising are worthwhile pursuits!

  6. Rene Syler

    May 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    @Auntie Lisa: Funny how we see ourselves isn’t it?

  7. Nikki Newman

    May 23, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Great answer from Rene and all the ladies above! I agree with it all. Fit, healthy and happy is definitely the way to go, and the best guys like that too 🙂

  8. Nikki Newman

    May 23, 2011 at 5:43 am

    …which isn’t the main reason for fit and healthy of course but a nice bonus. As Rene says, the best guys like a person who comes across as friendly, warm and comfortable with themselves. All of Rene’s advice (and the advice offered in the comments) will help to develop that sense of contentment and bring out that lovely warm glow that comes from it and in turn attracts other people.

  9. Amanda

    May 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I agree with my fellow commenters! Eating right and exercising some will not only make you healthier, but happier as well. And no fad diets please, those things never work and are just plain unsafe most of the time.

  10. Dawn Brady

    May 24, 2011 at 8:22 am

    If the child is not within her range weight wise, and like it was stated before, with the advice of a pediatrician and nutritionist, why wouldn’t her mother support her in trying to lose weight if that is what is needed? Maybe the mother is afraid she would have to look in the mirror herself and deal with her own weight issues?? The parents provide the food in the house, having healthy choices for a child that wants to eat better is the obligation of the parent. Not saying they have to break the bank buying fancy health food, just having the healthy basics instead of the junk food. I just can’t understand why a parent who has a child express that they are unhappy with their weight, body image wouldn’t support that child in helping them improve that. Maybe a diet is not what is needed, but some therapy to work on self esteem, exercise to get fit and if needed, healthier eating to lose unnecessary weight… the pediatrician is the place to start, IMO

  11. Tara

    February 12, 2020 at 10:47 am

    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Pending Moderation”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    Terrible advice! My mother did the same thing to me. Kids aren’t stupid. They know when they don’t look the way they want. I knew at that age too. I was miserable. I finally had to figure out on my own how to lose weight at about the same age as this girl, but I shouldn’t have had to go through all of that

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