advice for overweight, non athletic kid? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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The Childhood Years > advice for overweight, non athletic kid?
accountclosed3's Avatar accountclosed3 08:37 AM 06-07-2010
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.

ewe+lamb's Avatar ewe+lamb 09:09 AM 06-07-2010
Zoebird - wow fantastic post!
amcal's Avatar amcal 12:44 PM 06-07-2010
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......
rhiandmoi's Avatar rhiandmoi 01:25 PM 06-07-2010
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.
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 01:41 PM 06-07-2010
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.
plunky's Avatar plunky 01:51 PM 06-07-2010
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.
serenbat's Avatar serenbat 04:22 PM 06-07-2010
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.
accountclosed3's Avatar accountclosed3 07:38 AM 06-10-2010
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.
user_name's Avatar user_name 11:03 PM 04-12-2012
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
transylvania_mom's Avatar transylvania_mom 07:23 AM 04-14-2012

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


A&A's Avatar A&A 07:45 AM 04-14-2012

He needs fruits and vegetables.  I think that's your biggest problem.  His body can't get all the nutrition he needs without them, so the brain keeps saying "eat" in an attempt to find those missing nutrients.  Ditch the juice.  For everyone.  He should be drinking either water or milk.  If he likes apple juice, buy apples instead.  If he likes orange juice, buy oranges instead. 


liliaceae's Avatar liliaceae 08:18 AM 04-14-2012
This thread is 2 years old.
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