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Weight discussions/portion control in preschooler...tips?? (x-posted in childhood forums)

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am also going to x post this in the childhood forums because I really don't know exactly where to put this.

My little guy was born a normal 8#4oz in 2005. My husband and I are overweight, and we both have begun in recent times to deal with that. For our family, the issue is partly low activity, partly diet. When it's diet related, it's portion control. We cook at home, eat out very, very little, and I am very choosy about their diets. One of my favorite and most knowledgeable areas in life is diet, so we eat very balanced, lots of fresh fruits/veggies, low fat dairy and meats, and lots of whole grains. My downfall is baking and we do eat more carbs than we should.

Back to my little guy. From the first months, he took off in growth. He ate constantly and we started him on solids at 5-6 mos because he was so unhappily insatiable. As he's grown, that's continued. He can eat anyone under the table. When he was 6 months old, he was a very plump baby, breastfed until nearly 14 mos old. As he grew into a toddler, he was always heavier. Now he's 4.5 yo and 54 pounds. In the last 6-12 months, I've really been watching meticulously what he eats, how much, and keeping it more balanced. In the last 2-3 months, I've really cracked down. Now he's begun sneaking his siblings food whenever he can and I'm not looking, asking for more after a normal portion for his age, and being constantly hungry. We have been told by WIC nurses and family members that he's heavy. I have been pushing the physical activity a lot in the last 4-5 months, and he's been taking swim classes which he loves. He is an active little boy, and I think it's made a difference. I've noticed his muscle mass has toned a lot, and he's losing some of the butt cellulite he used to have.

He has a strong genetic pull towards obesity. His paternal grandfather is at least 350 and very unhealthy. His entire paternal family struggles with weight. His dad, however, is in the overweight bmi, not obese. My son is really healthy, never sick. Like I said, we really watch our diets but have, esp before watching closer in the last 4-6 mos or so, really failed on carbs and portions. FWIW, his little brother is extremely scrawny and refuses to eat veggies among many other foods. He's a really fussy eater, so we have to coax him to eat.

It's really hard having one child I have to watch and monitor amounts while the other has to be encouraged to eat more. Just tonight my oldest son ate a normal portion of homemade spaghetti and raw carrots with a glass of lowfat milk. He wolfed it down and immediately started asking for more. I said no, that his tummy was full of foods and if he ate too much he might get an upset tummy and could get sick. He said, "But I'm still hungry." He shouldn't have been hungry. I stuck to my guns, and he instead stole his brothers food when I wasn't looking (since he brother won't eat). I got upset when I found out, and now I'm bummed out trying to find a way through this.

How do I handle this? What do I say to him? I don't want to give him a complex, and I certainly don't want him being hungry. But left to his own recognition of hunger, he seriously overeats. I can't let him do that and balloon up and watch him suffer. But I don't want to give him a complex. And of course there's the mess that I have to coax his brother to eat because he doesn't eat enough.

We've had a few instances lately where people have called him heavy in front of him. I have had to correct his step grandma, his maternal great aunt, the WIC lady, and other relatives. His swim teacher calls him big boy. He is quite tall for his age and, like I said, he's toning up quite well. His belly and leg muscles have a good amount of definition these days, and although I know he's larger than other kids his age, he's not close to obese. His body frame is large; his paternal grandpa is 6.5 feet tall and have wrists that are huge. He has a huge bone structure; my son takes after him.

I'm sorry this is rambling. My heart is breaking for my little boy and I want to do everything in my power to keep him healthy and his spirits whole. I don't want to see him obese one day, waking up to ask me why I let this happen. And everywhere I turn there are comparisons of the two boys and fingers pointed at me for my oldest.

Most of all, what do I say to my little boy to explain that we can't overeat and how do I teach him to recognize when he's full? He seems to not be able to tell. He lacks the self-regulation. What do I say so I don't give him a complex?

Please, any moms who can speak heart to heart with me. I do strive for healthy diets. We keeps processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and other junk out of our diets. They eat very wholesome, homemade foods made with whole grains and low fat white meats. Especially in the last 6 mos, I've really been cracking down on my husband and I leading by example (though I have to fight my husband more than I'd like). I don't think we're at a problem stage yet with my son, but I feel like I'm watching the train leave the station and I want to stop it.
post #2 of 24
i'll keep this short because this is a very charged issue for me and i hope someone else can take this in further depth for me...

please, please respect that your little guy is an individual. it is ok to be heavier! we come in all shapes and sizes! please do not project you fears onto him, it will only give him a complex. love him for who he is, not for who he "Should" be. you say your other son is scrawny, well, doesn't that show that when given access to the same diet genes play a large role???

if i could only say one thing it would be:

Play, be active together as a family for the fun of it, because it makes you feel good--that is what it is all about. Provide nourishing foods for your family and let them guide their own appetite. Especially your little ones, they haven't yet had their inuitive eating skills crushed by the world. Please nurture their individual hungers and do not judge them for it. You can be healthy and fat simultaneously!!!

I urge you to read and really consider this:

post #3 of 24
Originally Posted by Thandiwe View Post
I am also going to x post this in the childhood forums because I really don't know exactly where to put this.


It's really hard having one child I have to watch and monitor amounts while the other has to be encouraged to eat more. Just tonight my oldest son ate a normal portion of homemade spaghetti and raw carrots with a glass of lowfat milk. He wolfed it down and immediately started asking for more. I said no, that his tummy was full of foods and if he ate too much he might get an upset tummy and could get sick. He said, "But I'm still hungry." He shouldn't have been hungry. I stuck to my guns, and he instead stole his brothers food when I wasn't looking (since he brother won't eat). I got upset when I found out, and now I'm bummed out trying to find a way through this.

I saw this in childhood but wanted to see it over here too.
If you ds is 4 and telling you he is still hungry then he needs more food. I know my own son wouldn't be satisfied with only pasta and carrots and milk. My son needs meat. Plus you said your son wolfed it down, that makes me think he is either really really hungry or he thinks he is going to loose his food.

In my house, ds is in control of his tummy (with in reason). Its his tummy and he knows when he is full. Food isnt punishment or rewards, food shouldnt make you 'feel bad or guilty'. Why not, as a family, start going for a short walk after dinner to get some exercise?

I try to make our meals have a meat, veggie, bread, fruit in each one. (kinda difficult most days for breakfast) I can tell when my DS is craving something.

Please remember not every child can be skinny mini's. As much as I needed the 'help' from WIC, they are NOT doctors. If you are concerned about your ds growth or development by all means have him followed by a dr.
post #4 of 24
I admit, I too am a mama who stresses at times about my child's weight - I want her to be healthy and happy, and I hate the worry that perhaps I'm messing up somehow. I want to respect her hunger, totally show her my acceptance of whatever her natural body shape is - it's so much more the worry that I'm messing up that gets me sometimes! But of course I try to live more out of the respect and acceptance place

Anyway, the one quick thought I want to throw out there is that perhaps you could start more of a discussion with your son (ETA: the whole family really, not to single the one child out!), even as young as he is, focusing on healthy food choices, not weight, and giving him more words and awareness to reduce some of your power struggles. I know the Sears have a book out about healthy eating written for young ones...

My DD (just 2.5) is also a big eater, and one thing I do pretty regularly with her, if I feel like she's had a huge meal, and esp. if she's eaten it very fast: when she asks for more, I say, let's give it a little bit and see how your tummy feels. If you're still hungry after doing XYZ, we'll get you something more to eat. It's 50/50 whether she'll still be hungry later - if she is, we get her something else to eat. She's ok with it, partially (I think) b/c she knows she won't be left hungry.

I also agree with a pp'er... maybe your LO needs some more protein, perhaps even more healthy fat, to feel satiated?
post #5 of 24
I would consider looking in to the possibility of blood sugar issues as in insulin resistance. If his body cannot regulate his blood sugar after eating a big plate of pasta, he's going to FEEL hungry still. And if he DOES have this problem, then it probably is a huge factor in his weight issue, and it leads to diabetes.

I would also say that only lean white meat is not the only option for you. While I think it's healthy, fat is also healthy. Don't be afraid to roast the whole chicken and let him eat the leg/thigh quarter. Give him that and a couple lower glicymic side dishes and I'll betcha he feels full.

I feel for you mama. I am big in to being fit, but he will not lose this problem by trying to get him MORE active. Kids are naturally active, if he is less active at times it may be his diet. It sounds like you cook very healthy and he eats very healthy, but there may be something that his body cannot have that you don't know about.

Before jumping to conclusions or worrying to terribly, would it be possible to change his diet for week? Not drastically. What does he like best? Sounds like he loves spaghetti and veggies. And you do meat....so how about baking some chicken in healthy fat, like coconut oil or olive oil, and giving him 2 pieces, and make some carrots and a salad. You can get whole wheat pasta, not sure if he'd go for that. Or if you like rice make a small portion for him. Make sure he's eating fats. Kids need them especially. You may have to go against the grain here, because the sort of modern way of eating is so terrible though well intended. Low fat this and that is just not good.

Possibly if he eats things that truely satiate his appetite, he will eat LESS. And watch the juice, and fruit for snacks. If he wants fruit, give him a hunk of cheese with it. YOu want to make sure he's getting some protein every time he eats. It would be better to make him bacon and eggs for breakfast, then a lean peice of sausage and bunch of toast. The toast may have less calories, but it may send his blood sugar through the roof, leave him hungry and make him feel lethargic after. You mentioned carrots, does he love them? Maybe steam/cook until a bit soft and add a small dab of real butter and let him eat as much as he wants of those. If he is hungry and love sto eat use it to your advantage. ONLY MAKE whatever amount everyone can eat, and purposely make more of the veggie or whatever he CAN eat tons of.

You're a good mama, keep your head up there is NOTHING wrong with him. I really think kids can self regulate a lot of things, but if there is a chemical thing going on, it's messing with his intuition.

ETA: does he like beans? Do you all like them? Bean dishes are low glycemic and very satisfying. Just make sure to watch the baked type with lots of sugars. I would make a meaty chili and have sour cream and cheese for topping. Ground turkey (not extra lean!) is fabulous in chili. I'm getting hungry LOL
post #6 of 24
We live in a fat-phobic society and I think this means that even health professionals (perhaps especially health professionals) project concerns on to young kids that should not be there. If he has muscle mass and is just bigger than he is probably a bigger kid who will grow into himself. At this point,that's not a prescription for being unhealthy or obese. Don't listen to the WIC people or even the doctor.

If he says he's hungry then he probably really is. Especially that meal does not sound very filling to me for an active, growing, tall preschooler. He probably needs more fats in his diet and more protein and it doesn't have to be chicken. The last thing you want is him feeling like he doesn't have access to all the food he needs. If he is resorting to stealing food then he is starting at a really young age to have an unhealthy relationship with food.

My partner is obese and recently came to the realization that growing up he felt insecure about whether he'd get enough food. What this means is that he overly fills himself at meals or snacks because he doesn't know when/if he'll access to it again when he's hungry - so he tries to ward off hunger by overeating. He's working on this.

The other thing is that he was a bigger kid but not terribly. I believe that he may have outgrown it - or he may just have always been someone who was slightly bigger and slightly (but not dangerously) overweight. I'm convinced that his early experience of being teased, feeling fat, being insecure about food, starting to diet when he was 9, etc led him into a dysfunctional relationship to food and his weight. This meant that he lost and gained weight a lot of times over 20 years; now he is actually obese and struggling and it's much harder to take it off.

I know it's a real struggle and there's so much societal pressure, but I'd continue to offer healthy foods (including more healthy fats and protein) and try to trust him to self-regulate. I would not let people make comments about his weight and I'd give it time. I would support him and be outraged with him if others make fun of him and do everything you can to boost his self-confidence. In fact, if people comment on the difference between the kids, I'd actually respond that your non-veggie eating scrawny kid is actually less healthy and isn't it ironic that because of societal prejudices it's assumed that your bigger kid is the one with the problem. Because that is absolutely true.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your replies. We do balanced meals, as mentioned. For example, the pasta dish I mentioned was loaded with veggies and contained ground turkey. He's a great eater in general, so he has no problem with whole grain pastas, brown rice, etc.

The biggest issue I have is the genetic pull, like I said. His dad's family struggles with morbid obesity. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a chemical issue going on, like 425LisaMarie mentioned. Believe it or not, we don't openly stress weight and fat in our house. These are a lot of my ramblings and my concern over *saying* the wrong things which would harm him. I can see I need to look into our approach as well, and then choose the route that will work best for our family. I can see I need to find a good balance in our home, letting them have choices while also teaching about portions and reading intuition. Over the years, we've always practiced the "eat until you're full, even if that means you don't eat everything" motto in our house. Growing up I was forced to stay at the table until I ate everything, so I've never believed in that.

Part of my post I think was fueled by several mean-spirited comments sent towards him this past weekend by family. I work fiercely to protect his image of himself, but the older he gets and the more he interacts on his own with people the more stuff slips by before I can catch it. I just really want to be sure I don't wake up one day years from now with a son who's as morbidly obese as his paternal family and mad at me for "letting him get that way." I never realized how hard this would be! I just want him to be happy, healthy, and whole, and learn to love his healthy body.

One definite thing I'm going to do (which is often sadly hard when money is tight), is to keep a huge amount of fresh fruits and veggies on hand. A friend of mine suggested putting a plate of fresh cut veggies on the table before dinner, letting them eat as many fresh veggies as they want. I am going to try to offer fruits/veggies whenever they ask for food. I have struggled with low blood sugar in my past, so I always balance protein, offering a piece of cheese or other healthy protein with fruit/etc. As for juice, I'm probably a little extreme. I think my kids get like 1, maybe 2, ounces of juice a day. The rest water, up to 8/9 ounces when they get the juice in a cup. I don't think any of them have had straight juice yet, so they don't mind it.

Once again, thank you for your responses. This is a very emotional subject for me. I am very concerned about saying/doing the wrong things, esp after hearing people say senseless stuff to him. But I also don't want to walk blindly through parenting his nutrition, knowing he has a strong genetic disposition to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension from his paternal family. Lots of reading and evaluating for me to do, I can see!
post #8 of 24
I didn't have time to read all the responses, but wanted to say something.

If I eat pasta or pancakes or something I literally get hungrier as I eat! I am very thin and I rarely eat these things, but they just seem to create hunger. I have another friend who says the same thing. He is really fit, but says he watches the pasta portions because it is so easier to not stop!

Maybe your son is like this. I know it is hard to get kids to eat different things, but a salad is often MUCH more filling to me than pasta, etc.
post #9 of 24
Originally Posted by SugarAndSun View Post
I didn't have time to read all the responses, but wanted to say something.

If I eat pasta or pancakes or something I literally get hungrier as I eat! I am very thin and I rarely eat these things, but they just seem to create hunger. I have another friend who says the same thing. He is really fit, but says he watches the pasta portions because it is so easier to not stop!

Maybe your son is like this. I know it is hard to get kids to eat different things, but a salad is often MUCH more filling to me than pasta, etc.

I urge you to check out www.marksdailyapple.com

It may be that his genetic trend toward insulin resistance, and feeding him whole grains is the wost thing you can do.

After you read a bit about the primal blueprint, post this on the forum. There are some very knowledgable people on there that can explain this more fully.

I think a snack tray full of veggies and a healthy dip is a great idea. Leave it out all the time! I do this with my kiddos, it also has sliced meats and cheese and nuts.
post #10 of 24
A resource that can be helpful is Feeding the Kids. I first saw it in our LLL library. The focus is on feeding healthy foods/good choices in order to crowd out the bad choices rather than simply taking away the poor choice.
post #11 of 24
I have a couple things to say here.

First off, I really believe in the Ellyn Satter theory--YOU control (for the most part) WHAT foods your child recieves--through what you buy and prepare. YOUR CHILD controls when and what to eat from the choices available.

Google Ellyn Satter if interested, one book is Child of Mine Feeding with Love and Good Sense, can't remember the other(s)? I know I have read more than one.

The other three things she advocates that I really like:
--SET MEALTIMES AND SNACKS. You serve foods periodically at set times. YOU decide (with some input from your child sometimes, sure) what will be available. Then, YOUR CHILDREN decide which foods to eat from what you have made available, and how much. *You* step out of the equation and let them self-regulate.
It reassures kids that they can have as much as they want--get full--and know when there will be food again. It also takes any sort of power struggle out of the mealtime. There is no more "eat three more bites".
I know since I have started this (I don't *totally* keep my mouth shut, like tonight I told DD she could have the fruit she wanted while I was cooking with her dinner, but I gave it to her only after she'd started to eat the main course.) I've noticed that my two older ones *do* eat a pretty good amount and balance over the course of the day, even if they eat next to nothing at some meals.
The only exception she has to the "unlimited access" rule is sweets. She says you should serve dessert/treat snacks sometimes, but when you do, it's one serving. She advocates having the dessert on the table with the food. I personally don't do this, but I do not make a point of connecting dessert to any amount or type of food eaten at the dinner table.
(What I try to do on nights they didn't eat the greatest is make a healthy evening snack I know they'll enjoy *before* they mention chips or sweets.)

Her other 'rule'---BALANCED meals. With some fats, especially for kids. I don't go as far as she does and let them pile butter on bread and stuff, I don't like wasting food if they've decided it's now 'icky'.
A little bit of 'fat' gives food flavor and gives a satisfaction factor. So does having a balance of protein, fat, and carbs. Makes you feel full and satisfied. (I notice with myself and the kids, *protein* seems to be a key factor. Seems stupid, but just a little bit of PB dip with apple slices even seems to make it more satisfying and fills longer.)

For the more picky child, she suggests making meals that you can assemble yourself and having several foods as part of the meal--like if you don't put the stir fry on top of the rice, a person could just eat the rice. There's the bread on the table.
I started letting the kids do a lot more of their own assembly after reading her ideas, and they do eat their creations better, I think.

most of her meal examples have a protein/meat option, a rice/noodle/potato, the bread, a vegetable side, plus fruit and/or dessert. With all that, there's *got* to be *something* for everyone. (And if your kid only eats a little bread and butter, that's when your next planned snack is something you know they usually love. )
BUT--you don't make any other alternatives. They pick what they like from what is there.

I have a weight problem, so I used to especially try to limit it to one starchy thing at a meal. Now, I've started to put bread out there a little more, and I notice they don't seem to eat less of anything else, they just seem to eat more in general when they have more choices. (like on a night where ds has decided he does not like meat, he will eat noodles or potatoes and bread, lol) Good for the more choosy eaters.

For me, I notice the balanced meals are more satisfying and keep me from wanting to snack. (I don't need to eat chips to satisfy some sort of fat and salt craving because I've used a little bit of butter, oil, and salt in my cooking--but it was paired with a meal rather than just fried potatoes, lol)

And--Have your favorites. As part of your planned meals/snacks. This helps eliminate the "forbidden fruit" factor. Have dessert--once in awhile. Have potato chips--as a side. If they're being requested.

For the child who might be overweight, or close to it, she recommends whole-family changes toward healthier foods, if necessary. I also remember a specific part about parties and the like--let the child participate in these and eat whatever the other kids are eating. If you as parent deny them this, it will single them out and reinforce negative ideas about themselves and food for them. This one day/event/whatever, if the overall diet is healthy, will NOT hurt them, even if they are working on losing--or not gaining--weight. (This one passage is what really helped me to let up once and for all on some of my ideas about other people giving my kids junk. I realized *I* can only control *MYSELF*...BUT if *I* do not buy them fast food, chips, sweets regularly--I'm both setting the example and making a HUGE impact that eating an occasional bowl of Cheetos from Dad's bag will NOT ruin!)

As far as talking to my kids, I have recently started talking to them about "sometimes foods" or "one-bowl foods". For example, chips are a "one-bowl" food. If you're still hungry, you need a "grow food" (might be apple slices with PB or something)

I've noticed recently DD begs for candy and snacks when she is bored. I'm trying to keep her and the other 2 busy to avoid this and starting a habit.
Another trick that works really well for her--"You've had candy today, if you are hungry go get some fruit out of the fridge." She *loves* fruit, so I have yet to get an argument on this one.

Or I'll do things like tonight, she was begging for fruit while I was making dinner, so I told her we'd have it WITH dinner....she waited OK after that.

As far as the WIC office, I pretty much ignore any of their statements on my children's body composition. They are not doctors. I know I feed my kids healthy food and they are healthy kids.
A couple months ago, my oldest had his last appointment. He is a tall, slender kid just like his dad. The WIC lady was taking this worried tone with me about how he's now dropped into the "underweight" category on their chart. (He'd always been borderline before.)
I told her if she saw his dad, she would understand. (He is very tall and thin.)
Then the nutrition lady the next appointment asked me if I wanted information on adding calories to his diet. I said no. I told them his dad is tall and thin, and I don't restrict any foods completely from his diet, nor do I feed him "lowfat" or "light" artficial versions of foods.

Then, just to reassure myself, I asked for a copy of his growth chart. He gained EXACTLY the same amount of weight between EVERY visit from the time he was 2 years old up to now. He had just had a little bigger gain in height this time. So they measured him after a height spurt! So what?! He'll gain.
His DOCTOR has never said anything, and he has a physical yearly for HeadStart.
I've heard other moms say their kids grow this way--weight gain followed by height, or a major shoot-up in height followed by some weight gain to fill them out. He's active, he acts completely healthy, I refuse to worry unless that changes. I also refuse to alter his diet toward more fatty foods and help him develop a taste toward that. It's plain and simple NOT HEALTHY to eat out-of-moderation and I'm not going to teach him to do it.
(I'd say that's a good philosophy for ANY child. Some people are built bigger than others and will NEVER fit into "slim" jeans. That's FINE. So is being the one who can eat anything and still fit into them.)

So, in a nutshell, do not worry about what the WIC lady is saying. DO pay attention to what your doctor has to say---but if a doctor can't talk to a child while keeping it positive, it might be worthwhile to look into finding one who CAN.
post #12 of 24
sorry that was *really* long. I have a pet peeve thing about the WIC office and their ideas about healthy food and weight. (kind of started the day I got the pamphlet that inside told me to limit my child's juice to 4 to 6 oz. daily then the worker wrote on the back and cautioned me--in this real alarmed type tone to make sure I limited my child's juice to no more than ELEVEN ounces a day.... drop)
post #13 of 24
There has been so much good stuff said already in this thread. I started to multi-quote, but there was just too much good stuff to repeat it all!!!

My Dh and I both have struggled with our weight (I'm now maintaining a 70 pound loss and my DH has lost 50 of his extra pounds so far). One of our kids is chubby.

It all starts in the kitchen, and while you feel like you are cooking healthy foods, something is out of wack or your family wouldn't be having this problem. Just because something is homemade, it doesn't mean that it is healthy-weight-friendly. Pasta isn't. It just isn't.

<< Just tonight my oldest son ate a normal portion of homemade spaghetti and raw carrots with a glass of lowfat milk.>>

This is not a filling meal. You have more to learn about food.

"Portion control" is a very complex issue. Part of it is habit and emotional (which are mostly likely both issues for you and your DH but not your child) but part of it is just biological, which is what I suspect the problem is for your son.

-- We tend to continue to feel hungry until we give our body the nutrients it needs -- including fats and protein. The meal you described is very low on these key needs. I suspect that part of the reason your son is over eating is because he isn't getting what he needs.

-- We tend to continue to feel hungry when we give our body easily digested carbs, such as pasta and baked goods. I suspect these are also problems for your son. I will never ever get full of pasta. Ever. It just makes me hungry.

Rather than trying to convince him to stop eating, you need to change how you feed him so that he feels satisfied. (We don't use the word "full" in our house, we just eat until "satisfied".)

There is a ratio of how full a food leaves us feeling compared to how many calories it has. The key to maintaining a healthy weight is to base our diets on foods that are filling. There are soooo many options -- including lean red meat. I recommend you check out the book Volumetrics.

post #14 of 24
I feel your pain. My husband and I have always been large until recently when I have really struggled and lost a ton of weight. Also my kids are bigger (not obese) and can eat adults under the table. I have a very simple rule, I never with hold food, hunger ,the thought of them going hungery, even if they have some to spare is not cool with me. If they are still hungry after a normal portion they get what ever is steamed on the table. If there is none of that left then they get fruit. In the Spaghetti situation I would say "Well if you are still hungry you may have some more carrots but that is the limit on the Spaghetti." If there were no more carrots I would offer a piece of fruit. What I limit are the things with higher calories, carbs and fat but NEVER fruits and veggies. Sometimes it gets to the point, especially during growth spurts, when I feed them and they are hungry 2 min later, it is very frustrating. So I will make a veggie tray and make it easily assessable in the fridge. My kids MOST have dip, which took a long time to figure out they liked Ranch, full of calories, bad fats and MSG. SO I make 2 different dips guacamole or spaghetti sauce from a jar is my quick one. Also I always keep fruit at kid height, always a good snack food. I hope this helps, I too have struggled with balance for a long time
post #15 of 24
I really don't believe there is a genetic aspect to obesity. I believe that genetically some of us tend to sequester fat as a protective mechanism. However for that to turn into obesity there has to be errors in diet. I don't like the "genetics" argument. Mostly what I think this is is learned behaviors that can be hereditary (you grow up eating what your mom fed you which is often what her mother fed her and so on and so forth.)

I see that you repeatedly say that you know quite a bit about diet, so perhaps taking a look at the site posted earlier will be helpful. I do not believe that lowfat milk and grains are a part of a healthy diet. Both are heavily processed and fractionated foods. YMMV. What I do know is that results speak for themselves. What he's eating now isn't working for him.

As a previous poster noted our bodies will crave food until they are satisfied, not calorically but nutritionally. We look for nutrients. Things like grains can actually leech nutrients out of the body as well as mess with insulin levels.

I will also offer that food sensitivities wreak havoc on our internal control mechanisms. If he's eating something that he is addicted to he's going to need to eat constantly to stave off withdrawal. Removing problem foods (which can be different for everyone but IMO/E gluten, dairy and soy are the biggies) can go a long way to regulating appetite.

Anyway, just a few thoughts and I do hope you find something that makes sense to you. He is very lucky to have a mama willing to look for answers!
post #16 of 24
I completely understand wanting to 1) preserve his self-esteem, and 2) keep his weight from getting out of hand or stopping the problem before it gets too bad. I think both of these are important things to strive for.

Does he drink enough water throughout the day? I have read that sometimes we feel hungry when really what we are is dehydrated. Could you get him one of those cool aluminum water bottles with a robot or dinosaur or whatever he thinks is cool on it? My kids love theirs.

We also (well, the kids) all have a water bottle on their nightstand. They each drink 8 ounces each 24 hours just from that being there. We also each fill a bottle of water to take each time we get in the car to go anywhere. Also saves money (and resources and empty calories) if we have to hit a drive through when out.

You said he wolfs down his dinner - that doesn't give his body time to send the message that he is full. Could you encourage him to take sips of water or milk between bites of dinner? Could you engage him in conversation to slow his eating so his body has more time to send that "I'm full" message?

I would want him to know that I won't let him go hungry - that would cause a person to eat quickly and more than is necessary. But what fresh fruits and veggies does he like? Put those out as snacks, and offer if he has eaten a whole meal and is still hungry. And I agree that super low-fat will backfire on you but how about healthy fats like nuts or diced avocado? Does he like whole olives on his fingers?

I think you are a great mom to be helping him not let this get out of control.
post #17 of 24
I think you've gotten a lot of great advice so far.

I'm sure I'm being redundant but I wanted to reiterate that children actually need fat - I wouldn't limit his fat intake at all. Whole fat dairy, fatty cuts of meat, nuts, avocados, butter, coconut oil...these should all be included and will probably sate your ds quicker than whole grains and veggies. WAPF has lots of good info on this.
post #18 of 24
Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post
I have a couple things to say here.

And I've made a note of all of them for my own weight loss efforts. Especially the bit about "one bowl" foods vs. "grow foods".
post #19 of 24
On topic, could he just be gearing up for a growth spurt? I know a lot of kids look really heavy or really thin and then normal again as they gain weight first or height first.
post #20 of 24
I'm not sure OP is still looking at this thread, but FWIW, I've been thinking about this kind of thing again for the last few days b/c at DD's last appt, she had moved up again on the weight-to-height ratios, and is now officially "obese," over 95th%. This is a long-term trend, not a growth spurt. She doesn't look "obese," but definitely plump. I think she will probably be on the shorter, more solid side for life - more like the women on DH's side of the family - women on my side are normal height, average build. But I am concerned, for reasons given below, that she's gaining more than would be expected even with that genetic heritage.

Anyway, DD's diet is great, whole foods, toward the paleo side of things b/c of food intolerances, still nursing several times a day... But I have had a feeling for a while that DD is a little too sedentary (despite efforts to get her moving), and that she eats for reasons beyond hunger (boredom, calming, stimulating...). I have an OT referral to check into some sensory issues, but that's not for a month. In the meantime, I was really encouraged a few days ago by crunching some math!

If DD stayed at the same weight for the next 6 months, she'd be back in "healthy" range on the charts. (Not that the charts are everything, this is just a little mental exercise that encouraged me To gain the 3 lbs she did over the last 6 months meant that she had a calorie "overage" of only like 60 calories/day! (3500 cal/lb x 3 lbs, then divided by 6 months, then divided by 30 days.) So to stay steady would mean having her burn or eat just 60 less/day - that's hardly anything.

So despite thinking we have pretty healthy habits, we're making a few behavioral changes that I hope might help:
- All eating happens sitting at the kitchen table
- Trying to move toward more regular eating time, including snacks, so she still has the opportunity to eat every 2-3 hours, but it's not constant snacking, which probably works better for pickier eaters
- Cutting TV time in half (was probably 1.5 hours/day before, max) and putting trampoline in front of TV for bouncing while watching
- Trying some oral-motor activities in-between and right after eating times, like blowing cotton balls with straws, getting her a Jazzy Jewels bracelet to chew, giving her ice cubes and popsicles made with just a bit of lemon juice in water, will see if she likes using an electric vibrating toothbrush...
- Encouraging 30m more parent-led movement each day (dancing, playing tumbling class - we set up a fun obstacle course in the house , kicking the ball, staying longer at the park...)

It seems possible a few little changes could really help...
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