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advice for overweight, non athletic kid? - Page 2

post #21 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
This is a major red flag for a blood sugar issue. Have you discussed this with a pediatrician? If he has an endocrine issue, it may need medication.

You think? I have that same symptom at times when I've overdone it with sweets, but I've been tested for diabetes a few times and I don't have it. He doesn't have any other symptoms, like excessive urinating or excessive thirst so I don't know.
post #22 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
There are a few things I do with my ds who is just a little overweight. I differentiate between "mouth hungry" and "stomach hungry." Is his mouth craving something or is his stomach feeling hungry? But I don't deny him food either way. I feel like my ds always had trouble realizing when he was getting hungry. He'd realize he was too hungry and be desperate for a high carb quick fix. I would give him what he asked for but follow up with something more substantial. I know he sometimes tells me he is "mouth hungry" because he wants something sweet and doesn't want me offering to make him something more filling. But it's all about guiding him to recognize his body's cues. So even if he is eating because he is bored, it's progress if he realizes it.

I try to even the playing field so ds CAN follow his body's cues by avoiding high fructose corn syrup (I swear that stuff makes him want to eat and eat and eat. Same with MSG).

I talk about low glycemic foods, things that don't spike the blood sugar causing a crash and hunger later. You can google a list. It's pretty enlightening that some foods generally considered to be healthful are worse than eating sugar by the spoonful. I mention portion sizes, just the occasional comment or reading aloud from the ice cream carton that a portion is 1/2 a cup.

My ds totally forgets about food when he is playing with friends. I do try to get him to take a break and eat something because he does fall apart afterward. After several days with a lot on interaction, like when cousins visit, he'll eat and eat so I try to keep him from getting too much in a deficit.

I try to help ds get as much sleep as he needs. He eats more when he is tired. There are other links between not getting enough sleep and being overweight besides simply overeating, something to do with a hormone that is released while sleeping. Even though we are RU and don't have a bedtime, I will suggest we get to bed if he hasn't and I think he is tired. He knows I won't read to him if he wants to stay up too late and he enjoys bedtime.
Wow, thank you so much for responding, this sounds like exactly the kinds of things that could work for ds. He really wants to be healthy and can be a pretty reasonable guy, so I think that a lot of this could work.
post #23 of 42
Sorry if I gave you the impression that I was more concerned about dieting it was just what happened to me as a child - I apologise, as for expressing emotions have you read Liberated Parents Liberated Children and How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk Faber Mazlish, I found both books very helpful in getting my kids to express their emotions and how to validate them (although sometimes they are a little too good at it - lol) - although you sound as if you have a good handle on it, there is also Confident Children by Gael Lindenfeld, there may be something lying a little deeper that you may have to get to the bottom of - your ds may not even know it himself but you sound like a very dedicated, caring and loving mother and I'm sure that things will work themselves out.
post #24 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
One idea about the juice, my ds likes it when I freeze a mug of it. He scrapes it out with a spoon. It takes time and might be more satisfying because unfrozen juice can be chugged so quickly. My ds isn't huge on drinking juice and doesn't like milk but he does like unfiltered apple juice, occasionally. I'll offer him a frozen cup in the evening if he is asking for something and I don't think he is actually hungry. It keeps his hands and mouth busy until we get to bed and it satisfies his craving for something sweet.
I think ds will really like this idea. It sounds like it'll do the trick of making drinking a more conscious thing for him instead of gulping it down without pause. (yeah, his table manners could use some work too.)
post #25 of 42
Thread Starter 
Someone mentioned whole grain. It's really all he's ever known since he was a baby other than the occasional pastry or restaurant dinner roll. What we offer to him is good stuff, but variety has always been an issue with this kid, he has major texture issues. To please his dad, he attempts to try veggies or fruits but invariably gags on them. My other kids eat tons of fruits and veg, nuts and seeds, smoothies, soy, etc, etc, He's just has a very finicky palette, I guess.
post #26 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewe+lamb View Post
Sorry if I gave you the impression that I was more concerned about dieting it was just what happened to me as a child - I apologise, as for expressing emotions have you read Liberated Parents Liberated Children and How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk Faber Mazlish, I found both books very helpful in getting my kids to express their emotions and how to validate them (although sometimes they are a little too good at it - lol) - although you sound as if you have a good handle on it, there is also Confident Children by Gael Lindenfeld, there may be something lying a little deeper that you may have to get to the bottom of - your ds may not even know it himself but you sound like a very dedicated, caring and loving mother and I'm sure that things will work themselves out.
I can totally appreciate that you don't have any way to know who the person asking the question is and whether or not they are looking for a quick fix or how much they really try to address the underlying issues. Such is life in an internet forum. No worries.

I really do appreciate all suggestions, even those I ultimately don't choose because it's always helpful in determining where I stand AND where I don't.
post #27 of 42
My 9 yo is "snacky" when she is bored and anxious. We've broken the snack habit by giving her ice to slowly eat when feeling that way. She loves it crushed (eaten with a spoon) or cubes (lets them melt slowly in her mouth, or chews smaller pieces). She can have as much as she wants, of course.

We also do a lot to tackle bored and anxious, since those are her overeating triggers.
post #28 of 42
Some good advice here. I agree with the suggestion to focus on protein. Also, you may want to make sure he's getting enough healthy fats because too little fat and protein can make a person feel like they aren't full after a meal. If his diet is very limited in avoiding fruits and veggies a good multivitamin might be a good idea to make sure his body is able to make good use of the food it takes in.

One thing that was helpful with our child was to talk about how people differ in how long it takes for their stomach to get the signal that it is full. His stomach may take longer. If he ate what looks like a full meal it would be a good idea to give his stomach a rest of 15 minutes or half an hour to settle. If he still is hungry at that point he can take another look at it, but more than likely he will have moved on.
post #29 of 42
I want to thank you for posting this. we have been dealing with my overweight dd who is 9 also. We just tried the chewing gum after dinner thing. We also talk about being hungry vs. being bored. Does your son read/watch TV/something else distracting while he eats? You may want to cut that out if possible or make him aware that he may eat more when he is eating while distracted. My dd eats when she is bored or she gets into habits, like having to eat an hour after breakfast. I had to make rules about that. We also homeschool so the food is there moreso than school kids and ours is not usually junk food.

In regards to activity, my dd isn't very active either, but I found she enjoys swimming and surprisingly enjoyed playing basketball this winter. She also tried an aikido class with the Girl Scouts and really liked it. She is also doing the 100 push-ups/200 sit-ups/200 squats program with me. It's only our first week, so I'm not sure how far it will go, but it's something.

It's still a work in progress for us, but I do express my concerns to her on when she eats when I know she's not hungry and also when I feel like she is not doing enough activity to keep herself healthy. For us, it's all about being healthy and balance.

I would love to hear what works for you and your son. we could use more ideas here too.
post #30 of 42
I've struggled with my weight almost all my life - over eating and not getting enough real exercise. Not just play but real exercise. I'm terrified of passing down food issues to my kids so I'm very careful never to talk to my kids about dieting, they never know if I'm trying to loose weight, I never talk to my kids about my weight or body etc...... But, I do think we have to be honest with our kids.

Weight is a health issue with long term, serious ramifications. I would talk to my kids about anything I felt may impact their health.

I had melanoma last year so you bet I talk to my kids about sunscreen, never allowing their skin to burn, covering up etc....

My dad and my husband's mom both have diabetes and it comes from lifestyle issues. So, I think it's critical to talk to kids about health issues - especially those that may run in families. If your husband has always struggled with his weight then, it's possible some of this is genetic and it needs to be discussed with your son. Not in a judgemental way but, in a loving "I'm concerned" way.

Have you talked to your DS about it? What does he think?

My kids are super interested in healthy foods. They love to know what foods nourish their bodies, make them strong etc... They love to talk about vitamins and minerals and protein and fiber etc....

Do you have discussions about health? Not about weight but, about health?

I would also talk to your DS about what maintaining a healthy weight means for his quality of life. I do talk about this with my kids. Not in a "you need to be thin to look good" sort of a way but, in an overall health way. We don't talk about fat bodies but, we talk about what happens to our bodies when we eat too much - how our bodies are made to burn off the calories we eat and when we eat too much - even of healthy foods - and we don't burn that off as energy, you body stores it.

We talk about how much our bodies really need. We talk about what eating unhealthy does to our bodies etc.... the focus is on health - not on appearance.

We also seriously limit video games, tv etc... and try to go for family walks every night after dinner.

If he's not into sports, how about other activities like roller blading / skating? Skateboarding? Bike racing? Martial arts?

Also, on the drinking most of his calories, if it's not there, he can't drink it. From a very young age, we only drank water in our family. We have the very, very occasional glass of juice if I've bought it on super duper sale - like maybe a couple times a year. But really, my kids know that juice is nothing but sugar - all the good stuff in fruit has been stripped away and the juice is left. They hate that! So, they'd much prefer to just eat the fruit.

Milk is the same way. I buy it for cooking or mixing into some oatmeal but, they don't sit down and have a glass of milk.

I think as parents we have to model healthy eating - we have to live it. We have to provide healthy foods in the home. So for us, healthy eating is tons of fruits, veggies, proteins and healthy fats with the occasional whole grain bread, tortilla or pasta but, carbs are not the main staple in our diet.

Honestly, I'd get your DS involved in figuring out serving sizes, making healthy food choices, making choices for exercise etc.... but, get his thoughts on the problem and get him invested in the solution.
post #31 of 42
it's not about will. so many people have touched on great stuff (from a variety of angles), that i couldn't say much more, but i did have to speak to this issue of will.

most people tend to think that if they apply "will power" to something, then it will improve. they just need more of it. truth is, it's like tightening the lid on a pressure cooker--it only creates more pressure. and eventually, that pressure leads to an explosion. between Dh and I, we call this "it comes out sideways."

so, say someone has a perfectly acceptable and natural desire: desire for sexual satiation. but, something in the culture or mind of the individual says that however much that person has is "too much" and that they must apply "will power" to overcome that desire. it becomes about constraints and controls. only masturbate once a week; or no masturbation, only sex in marriage, and only when your partner feels that it is ok/right--so no more than twice a week. if you are thinking about it more than that, then stop thinking about it. *apply some will power.*

what happens is more pressure and more frustration. more frustration increases desire, and that leads to all kinds of craziness. in the example above, could be rather innocuous such as fantasizing or go the distance into sex addiction.

so, talking about these things in terms of will power isn't helpful. it only creates more pressure and frustration and leads to that energy 'coming out side ways' into food addictions, eating disorders, shame and frustration around food--rather than a truly healthy relationship with food (or sex, or cleanliness, or whatever).

so the reality of it is actually to *figure out what you truly want*. this is best described in Charles Eisenstein's book The Yoga of Eating. It's not a diet book, it's nto about how yoga practitioners eat. It's about relationships to eating and food.

Charles used to tell his university students "go out and drink as much as you want." all of the sudden taboos were off, pressures to "be good" were off. and what normally happened? kids would first go out and drink and drink and drink. then, something happened. somethign observational. they would come back to class and charles would say "how much did youw ant to drink this past weekend?" and a student would say "well, i thought i liked getting drunk, but then i realized i hate feeling sick and out of control. so, i thought maybe i didn't really want that. so, i really only had a couple of beers--a nice buzz and a good time, no sickness."

When i run a yoga retreat, i bring an excessive amount of chocolate. I cut it up (i buy it in big bulk chunks), and put it on a tray. i tell the students "you can have as much chocolate as you want on this retreat." what is interesting is that the "chocoholics" start out going pretty hard. lots of chocolate that first night. btu the next day, they want less. just a bit. and then the next day (usually the last of the retreat) they have a tiny square or none at all. and later, they say to me "it's so weird. i always used to say "oh, i can't have that. chocolate isn't good. no." and then i would eat a TON of it, but try to behave like i wasn't. then, you said "have all that you want." and you know what i realized? i didn't want all that much. i find that a little bit now and again is really satisfying. i eat when i want, as much as i want, without guilt or shame. and you know what? it's ok."

so the truth is, *something else* is going on--and you know this. it's not about food knowledge, it's about self knowledge and processing something via eating. you know this.

therefore, remove all of the pressure. not to say you don't guide, but just get out of the idea of pickin on him for food choices (tell DH to cut it out), and get out of the idea of restricting, educating, helping. figure out how to help him process whatever he needs to process, and make food unlimited and available.

he'll figure it out. and i do recommend the book. it goes into it much, much better than i can here.
post #32 of 42
Zoebird - wow fantastic post!
post #33 of 42
Zoebird - I love your way of thinking. My only concern is that all your examples are of adults. Adults have the ability to figure out that excess doesn't feel good. They have the ability to look at their reasons for doing things, the emotions behind them etc....

This is a 9 year old who may not have the ability to go deeper and figure out what's really going on. Until he can, the focus needs to be on what he can understand.

Childhood obesity is serious and can lead to long term health consequences. I would take that as seriously as any other health problem a child might face. And while I think it's important to help him figure out his emotions etc.... it could be nothing more than eating because he's bored and not getting enough exercise.

I completely agree with you that there shouldn't be any pressure or picking on him. But, I completely disagree that there shouldn't be any educating or helping. This is our job as parents! This is a child we're talking about. Not an adult.

Now, if she had come here talking about her husband, I would say your post is spot on. But, she's talking about a 9 year old child. He needs help and education to over come this. He needs his mom to be actively involved. Not to judge, criticize, withhold etc..... but to lend active support, to educate, to motivate etc......
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oobleckmama View Post
You think? I have that same symptom at times when I've overdone it with sweets, but I've been tested for diabetes a few times and I don't have it. He doesn't have any other symptoms, like excessive urinating or excessive thirst so I don't know.
It could by reactive hypoglycemia, or hyperinsulinemia, or something else, or it could be nothing. But if he is eating the same basic diet as the rest of the family and only he craves carbs and doesn't do well on simple carbs, it really sounds like a blood sugar or endocrine issue.
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
This is a major red flag for a blood sugar issue. Have you discussed this with a pediatrician? If he has an endocrine issue, it may need medication.
That's what I was thinking too. There's a site called fifty... I think it's about the gylecmic index. I don't understand it, but my neice uses the site like you would use weight watchers because she gets headaches and gains weight quickly.

http://www.glycemicindex.com/

http://www.lowglycemicdiet.com/gifoodlist.html

You'd have to learn about the glycemic index though. (cuz, I really have no idea) But, it says that pasta has a lower glycemic index than bread because of the ingredients. So, pasta would be better in some cases than toast.
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
I'm sorry but I think putting a nine year old on a diet is the WORST thing you could do. It would set him up for a lifetime of not trusting his body and feeling that an outside source is better equipped to tell him what, when and how much to eat. Getting to the root of the problem will take longer but will have longer lasting benefits than a diet IMHO.
I agree with this. Keep him active. Keep feeding him healthy stuff and stop worrying about this.
post #37 of 42
Quote:
My only concern is that all your examples are of adults. Adults have the ability to figure out that excess doesn't feel good. They have the ability to look at their reasons for doing things, the emotions behind them etc....

This is a 9 year old who may not have the ability to go deeper and figure out what's really going on. Until he can, the focus needs to be on what he can understand.
That the reason it has to start as a 9 year old-or younger-waiting until you are an adult is far to late. Things just don't happen, they are learned over years.
post #38 of 42
amcal: i'm going to try to respond to your concerns to clarify my meaning.

this is not about ignoring the child and simply allowing him to figure it out without some concerted focus on the parent's part. certainly, childhood obesity *is* a very important issue and should be taken seriously.

and, how and why that obesity manifests is also important to consider for individual children. if the op's posts were different (and i do think the blood sugar issues should be considered), then i would likely speak to this differently as well. but i'm responding in particular to this OP.

in the OP's posts, and in those following, there is a lot of advice about educating about healthy foods, about portion sizes, about healthy amounts of exercise, about will power and exerting it. I'm specifically asserting to *not* focus on those things.

the reason is this: healthy = good; "unhealthy" (and that is defined broadly depending upon the individual's theory of nutrition) = bad. if the child desires "unhealthy" in some way, then the child is "bad." this leads to the taboos around food, which is about *control* and then again about *will power*.

the first step is to do much of what the OP has done--make sure only healthy foods are available in the home and out in so far as she is able, strive to find ways to create activities for the child, modeling good behaviors with foods.

the next step is to look at other causes: emotional eating, boredom. If boredom is the issue, perhaps there is a familial lifestyle change that can remove boredom (as much as possible) or there can be ways to take skills to deal with boredom (it's just one of many human experiences that happens sometimes).

so instead of dealing with eating for boredom as "he needs self control" it could be "he needs ways to effectively cope with boredom and the emotional discomforts of boredom." whatever it is, it can be directed away from food, and toward something else.

if there are other emotions at play--anger, sadness, frustration, etc--then working out how to work with those emotions is an effective process. But it's also completely removed from food.

there are many ways that parents can do this, such as acknowledging the emotion and asking the child to process it (eg, "why do you feel sad?" and "it's ok to feel sad, why don't you tell me about it." and so on). again, none of this involves any discussion of food.

with this, children are very insightful about themselves and others. they are also deeply observant of themselves and others. they do understand cause and effect. they do understand, for example, that when one is bored, eating is pleasurable and we have a lot of hormones that are unleashed when we eat that make us feel good. *that's why/how people become emotional eaters.*

but instead of focusing on how the person is dealing with the emotions, we focus on the food and control and will power and such. So, the parent's job here is not to focus on food and the body, but to focus on the emotion!

Personally, this is another area where steiner's concept of daily rhythms is really, really helpful. The basic premise is that we need to move between active and passive elements of the day, from mundane to sacred as well, and back and forth, back and forth until we go to bed.

from the OP's own description, the child has too much rest time and not enough active time. the OP also might notice when the boredom crops up (same times each day, likely), and that this can be an indication of when he needs to switch (it might be as much as 30 minutes prior to the eating-to-abate-boredom begins).

But, instead of talking about it at all, with anyone even, she can just *change things*. she can create a rhythm in the home that can facilitate the movement from restful to active and back and forth throughout the day. she can do it that takes everyone into account, and that abates boredom without ever having to really confront it.

then, when boredom comes up, the parent can direct the process of simply experiencing boredom--asserting that it is normal, that sometimes we just have to experience it and ride it out, or perhaps change tactics, such as just doing something like going for a walk.

were it my family, and i note that it is not, my process would be to introduce a rhythm without ever speaking to it. it is simple "what we are doing now" in action. that's it.

to begin to establish a rhythm, observe what is going on in the family already. meal times might be regular, as are bed and rising times. people tend to do these things rhythmically anyway. it might be that people rise at different times (in our family, rising occurs between 6:30 and 7:30 depending upon the individual), or that there is some wiggle room between when this child needs to transition to activity vs that child--and so you might find a way to strike the balance by choosing the mid-time of the two children.

so, i would start by looking at "when does everyone generally rise?" then "when does everyone generally eat?" those start the rhythm. then you add what goes around them "how much time do all of us need to prepare for the day?" and "how much time do we need to prepare food and clean up from meals?" add that into the rhythmic timing. after that, you can fill it pretty simply by going into rest and active times.

after breakfast, perhaps most of the children need an active process--so you decide to clean up from breakfast and everyone (including mom) goes for a bike ride. after the bike ride, a restful time is needed, so everyone comes in and reads stories to each other (or to themselves). perhaps there is a snack between bike ride and reading. then, you read until prep time for lunch. perhaps after lunch, more activity is needed--children go outside to play (this might be mom's chore time). then, there is another quiet time in the afternoon before prep for dinner. Then dinner and clean up, then family time until bed time.

it just becomes the way of life. and you know that everyone is being active and everyone is having rest time. A good activity for rest time are homeschooling activities (if those are done formally). a good activity for active times includes keeping a garden (which may include flowers, food plants, small animals such as chickens or rabbits or bees). likewise, any out-side of the home activities can be things that foster home schooling/unschooling interests of the children too.

just my take on it.
post #39 of 42
Don't buy it if it's not nutrient-dense or healthful for anyone in the family to eat/drink it. Physical activity is a crock; brief, intense, careful strength training is key. Stop playing head games, treat him respectfully and expect him to treat you respectfully as his parent wanting the best for him. ...just my $.02 fwiw
post #40 of 42

Get "your childs weight helping without harming" by ellyn satter. I'm reading it right now and it's an eye opener.

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