My son has no limits... - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-26-2011, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need serious advice... my 11 year old son has no limits when it comes to food. If it is there, he will eat it. If it belongs to someone else, he will eat it. If he knows (and he always does) that he isn't supposed to have it, he will eat it. He eats and eats and eats. If I buy groceries, including snacks for the week, they are gone within a day or two. He will wait until no one is looking and then sneak food. He will wake up earlier than everyone else and eat. He also nags his sisters and tries to get them to give them THEIR food, when he's eaten faster and finished before them while they still have some left over.

 

Example... There is a hurricane coming. I bought a bunch of non-perishable stuff, including a box of donuts as a treat for the kids... I don't generally buy a lot of junk like that. I went to bed last night with a full box in the cupboard. I noticed just a few minutes ago that there are 3 gone. This means that he ate his share and some of his sister's as well when no one was looking. He just did the same exact thing LAST WEEK with another treat, eating his share plus another plus half of a third.

 

Besides the obvious problem of this being unhealthy for him (he is tall but still heavy for his age), it's also really unfair to his sisters, and really frustrating for me. I'm a single mom with three kids on a limited food budget. When I buy food for the week, it is meant to last for the whole week. That said, they are never hungry in the sense that they are underfed... they have full means and snacks and have plenty to eat. Our diet is mostly vegetarian with lots of beans and tofu and veggies, and all three of the kids are good eaters. We eat meat or fish only once or twice a week. I'm good at budgeting and planning, and we have good backup plans here (a food pantry and an emergency cc) if we run short.

 

He will be homeschooled this year, and I have plenty of plans to keep him active and healthy, so that isn't really an issue... but what do I do about this eating thing?? We already don't buy a lot of junk, but he will do this with ANY snacks. He does this with bread and tortillas if I have them in the house. He will do this with cold uncooked tofu. Not only does this upset my girls when they find out that their snacks are gone and they haven't had any, but it messes with my meal planning too. He eats the tofu I bought to have with our pasta, so then we don't have any when it comes time for me to make dinner and we all have to make due without it. Natural consequences don't seem to phase him much either... he gets bummed when his sisters get a chunk of bread with their soup and he doesn't because he already snuck a quarter of the loaf earlier when no one was looking... but that doesn't seem to have an impact on his habit in the long run at all.

 

I am at my wits end. :(

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Old 08-26-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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I could be way off base here, but is it possible he is just growing like crazy and can't get enough to eat? I know there is a stereotype about boys eating you out of house and home, but I have three sons and am learning that it is NOT just a stereotype! A typical snack for my 6yo is 3 hardboiled eggs, an apple, a bowl of strawberries and 2 or 3 chunks of cheese. That's an after school snack. My 4yo is the same way - he eats man-sized portions of meat at dinnertime (he'll eat 3 chicken drumsticks) and usually takes seconds on veggies. I don't even buy packaged food because they could inhale it in 60 seconds and it would be a huge waste of money. I wonder if you loaded him up with protein when he was hungry (like eggs and cheese) if you'd see a difference in sneaking food, etc. 

 


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Old 08-26-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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I wonder if maybe he's low on some micronutrients and his body is telling him to eat to try to get those. Does he take a daily multi-vitamin? Also, a lot of the foods you mention are grain-based. Grain based foods can, for some people, have addictive properties and be very hard to eat small amounts of. 

 

I would look into the grain issue and the nutrient issue. Have you really talked with him about this? Does he have access to plenty of vegetables, fruits and protein? Can you add more meat to your week of meals--he may need more protein and be trying to get it from sources that are low in it compared to meat. 

 

Good luck!


Mom to DD1 (11/1999),  DD2 (07/2003), and DS (11/2012), all born at home and cloth diapered. 

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Old 08-26-2011, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wrote out a whole reply earlier and it just disappeared...

 

Our diet is pretty balanced, the kids all love beans and cheese and eggs in addition to the meat we eat. I can't really add more animal protein to our diet, the kind I could afford to add to our grocery list would be the factory farmed sort, which I don't consider to be all that healthy in the first place.

 

They aren't taking a multi.

 

He just did it again... Went to put the kids to bed and checking on him I found the whole bag of 12" tortillas defrosting under his pillow. Thing is, I've been keeping them in the freezer hoping he wouldn't eat them that way. Also found out that he ate 4 of the string cheeses that I bought for snacks in case we lose power.

 

banghead.gif

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Old 08-29-2011, 11:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Lubner View Post

rel="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/banghead.gif">He just did it again... Went to put the kids to bed and checking on him I found the whole bag of 12" tortillas defrosting under his pillow. Thing is, I've been keeping them in the freezer hoping he wouldn't eat them that way. Also found out that he ate 4 of the string cheeses that I bought for snacks in case we lose power.

 

banghead.gif


The tortillas thing concerns me. That is bordering on food hoarding, obsessive, or ED. That would push me to get him to a nutritionist and probably a counselor with experience in ED.

Sounds like he is craving smth that is not there. I know it sounds backwards, but a high fat/protein diet low in carbs might turn things around. Carbs can be literally addictive. Maybe compromising your meat standards could be necessary? Nitrate-free hot dogs can be found pretty cheap, umm I know it sounds yucky but fish sticks, chicken nuggets, lunch meat? All pretty cheap. Same with eggs. Maybe you could buy organic eggs for family meals and get him his own 18 pack of conventional eggs to cook himself during the week? Farmers here sell eggs for $3/dozen, good quality and cheap.

What if he had a tub in the fridge of (cheap) stuff for himself that he can eat at will but when it's gone, it's gone for the week? Thus you are overall keeping your quality standards but allowing some compromise to accomodate his need for more. He sounds HUNGRY,eat.gif ! Besides animal proteins, can he learn a crockpot chile recipe using dry beans? I imagine even a daily chile would be only a couple of dollars.

How 'bout sorcing organ meats? I'm just sayin . . . He might dig pate and it won't break your budget. Kidney pie, hey, they ate it on Harry Potter.

Can he go fishing?

Check out making bone broth, it is very nutritious and satisfying.

Right before I transitioned from vegetarian to daily meat consumption, I was having some pretty bizarre food cravings and was hungry CONSTANTLY. So lack of animal protein can have that effect, and we ate a very healthy veg diet.

Also, this time of year is a great time to buy a bulk purchase of meat from a nearby farmer. We bought 20 whole chickens for $140, and 1/4 beef for around $4/lb. We dont really buy conventional meat outside of the occasional pack of "natural" brats or dogs. It is expensive upfront but waaay less in the long run. That is really the only way I can reconcile my need for animal proteins with my quality concerns and ethical values, and it has worked well for my family. It might work well for your fam, too!treehugger.gif

Happy and in love with my family!
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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I would say if he's overweight he's taking in enough calories, but maybe some vital nutrient is missing?  If he's hoarding food that does sound like there may be an emotional/mental problem instead of or perhaps in addition to a nutrient problem.  Your diet is A LOT like ours so this post drew my attention.  Unfortunately, I had the total opposite problem with my son at that age, so I don't have a lot of sage advice in that direction.  I could barely get him to eat and had to force feed him Luna Bars and iron pills until he hit puberty. :p  He eats TONS now but he's almost 16 and a beanpole, so pretty standard.  I think seeing a counselor or getting some blood tests run (if possible) might be a good idea, just to rule out anything emotional or medical before you decide what to do.

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Old 09-02-2011, 02:06 PM
 
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Another thing to look at is pica. He doesn't fit exactly, but it may be worth looking into. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pica_(disorder)

 


Mom to DD1 (11/1999),  DD2 (07/2003), and DS (11/2012), all born at home and cloth diapered. 

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Old 09-02-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcrunchymom View Post

I would say if he's overweight he's taking in enough calories



It's really not about calories, though. Growing bodies especially need levels of fat that many people just don't get in their diets. You can become overweight by overeating carbs, which lack the necessary fats and yet pile on the pounds. There are many malnourished people who are obese.


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Old 09-04-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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You haven't mentioned anything else about your son that would make me think this would fit....but for others' who may be in a similar situation, look into Prader-Wiili syndrome http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/prader-willi-syndrome  I knew a boy who had it once and locks on the fridge, cupboards were the ONLY thing that controlled his food obsession unfortunately.

 

You didn't mention if this was new or has been ongoing for years?

 

There have been a few good responses already, hopefully something will work to help.

 

 

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Old 09-05-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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Food portioning is what made me have issues.  My mom would tell us that we could each have one of these and two of those... You'd eat it and know thats all you get.  And you still wanted more.  You should go to his pediatrician, I'm quite certain he would tell you on the healthy diet you already have him on, he doesn't need to diet, he's just hungry and at his age it's completely normal.  Most teenage boys bulk up before they slim down.  He could be ready to shoot up a few inches too. 

 

You honestly can't be mad at him for eating the extra snacks.  When I was going through the same thing I was mad at my mom for limiting my food intake, I always felt hungry and even if I wasn't I fixated on food so much because she always seemed to be watching me, making sure I didn't eat anyone elses food.  It made me feel bad and of course eventually I just didn't and stopped caring about her being mad at me because I was mad at her.  I was the same age as your son, I hope you both the best.  I realize it's frustrating because of your budget and you feel he's being unfair to the other kids, but maybe it's the other way around?

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Old 09-05-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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I have to second the move towards a high real fat diet, that includes butter, cream, and homemade lard.
Children have much, much higher needs for cholestero and fat soluable vitaminsl in their bodies then we can imagine.

Those vitamins cannot be gotten in a tablet form. They must come through the real foods mentioned above.
Combine this with lower amounts of properly prepared grains, plenty of meat and veges and fruit.

His body is most likely very deficient, and the cravings are taking over all aspects of his life.
If he is overweight at all, that is an even stronger signal that he is malnourished.

Learn the process of a traditional old fashioned (pre industrial) diet, and get in the kitchen and make the foods together.

Also, allowing him all the butter he wants to consume, whenever he is "hungry", will stem the tide super fast!
 


I am not a vegetable. I feed myself accordingly love.gif

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Old 09-05-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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Is this new or has this been his approach toward food since the beginning? Did it come on slowly or hit hard and fast?

 

A sudden change would argue for a massive growth spurt, I think. But if this came on slowly or has been present for most/all of his life, I would seriously look into getting some testing done, checking out physical causes (Prader-Willi, nutrient malabsorption, etc.) or an eating disorder. Unless it just came on and he's due for a growth spurt, it really seems too extreme to just be a minor nutrient deficit or poor habit.

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Old 09-05-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmama369 View Post

Is this new or has this been his approach toward food since the beginning? Did it come on slowly or hit hard and fast?

 

A sudden change would argue for a massive growth spurt, I think. But if this came on slowly or has been present for most/all of his life, I would seriously look into getting some testing done, checking out physical causes (Prader-Willi, nutrient malabsorption, etc.) or an eating disorder. Unless it just came on and he's due for a growth spurt, it really seems too extreme to just be a minor nutrient deficit or poor habit.



I agree with this--very good advice.  If he's hiding food, that's pretty extreme.

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