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Addressing Weight Issues

Posted by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:45 AM
  • 27 Replies

I saw that one of the featured posts was about how a parent can allow their children to become obese.

I ofter wonder this.  And this may sound extremely judgemental, but I am starting to feel like SO isn't paying attention to SS's weight issue.  He is overweight for his age, and though I try to cook decent meals and I don't buy a lot of junk food, SS eats constantly.  (Again, I'm not being mean!)  We ate dinner last night and he had three tacos.  Not a lot, by any means.  I had the equivelant of two tacos.  We finished dinner and SO told SS he needed to shower before bed.  SS immediately asked if he would have time for a snack.  He just ate dinner ten minutes ago.  

So he goes in his bedroom and when I walk by, I see he's eating candy.  Big deal.  I keep a stash next to our bed sometimes so I don't think much of it.  Ten minutes later he asks SO if he can go to the vending machine (we live in an apartment building that has one).  He comes back with cookies.  

I realize he is growing.  However, I feel like he needs to eat a better balanced diet.  I buy healthy snacks every week, and while I know kids don't generally like carrots or celery, they shouldn't be eating chips and cookies six times a day.  SS no longer fits into his newest jeans comfortably and wants to wear sweatpants all the time.  I like wearing sweatpants, too, but only around the house.  The buttons dig into his stomach, that's why he doesn't like wearing jeans.

It's a sensitive topic for anyone.  Should I stop buying any sort of "junk" food since I grocery shop?  

by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:45 AM
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Replies (1-10):
MommySabs
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:53 AM
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Maybe do some research on snacks that are healthier and more filling and I would eliminate sugary, fatty snack foods.
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Miss-tearious
by on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:56 AM
Stop offering junk food, or allowing SS to buy it. You can't just cut it out all at once though, you have to wean him off of it. But you can't do any of this without the help of SO. Have you talked to him about it?

I would say to start having fruits & vegetables readily available. For my house I'm going to start cutting celery & carrot sticks at the beginning of the week and keep them in plastic containers in the fridge. Start small and slowly keep adding.
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saywhat2102
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:56 AM
If its not in the house he can't eat. I would look into maybe getting the kid into an activity. Some type of sport. Get him moving. He may just eat because he's bored....
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Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:10 AM

This might be long....have had some experience in this arena.

First of all, weight really shouldn't be the focus.  Having discussions about making healthy choices is great.  But focusing on weight is a no-no per our family counselor.

Next, until the actual parent(s) care, you are very very limited in what you can do.   Tread lightly.  Often, the adults who don't notice/don't care also have some food issues of their own OR they just don't see it because they've got "my kid is awesome" blinders on.  It can become a minefield type discussion.

Here are the things we did in our house:

1) I got the junk out of the house.  All of it.  So in your case, your candy would go too.

2) I menu planned for the week (to avoid waste) and put up on the white board what was for dinner for the week and what time we'd have dinner.  This helped curb some of the snacking.  (more on that in a min)

3) I prepared snack bag sized bags of pre cut veggies--carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc and bought fruit and put all of this in a bin in the fridge marked "SNACKS".  When we had the convo about healthy choices (more on that in a min) we told the kids they could eat AS MUCH OF THE STUFF in that bin as they wanted.  Any time.  Having the stuff available and in a location where they didn't have to hunt for it made it as convenient to have a bag of veggies as to grab a poptart.  Everything else in the fridge was off limits unless they asked permission.

4) Carbs were our big issue.  Boxes of cereal gone in a day.  Loaves of bread eaten after school.  When we had our convo, the kids were told that we intended that cereal was for breakfast and that we were only buying 2/week.  So once it was gone, it was gone.

5) Portion control. To be honest, because the meals we prepared were already healthy, we weren't as concerned about how much they ate at dinner.  More so, how much they often wasted.  So we started serving up portions for them and when someone wanted seconds, we'd remind them that they could always have more, but lets not take more than we can actually eat.  We'd have them take 1/2 portions of seconds or thirds.  That helped out $$ wise because then we had leftovers for lunch rather than all that food getting dumped down the disposal.

6) In our healthy choices discussion, we printed off the food plate/pyramid diagram.  http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/myplatefood-pyramid-resources/usda-myplate-food-pyramid-resources  

7) We banned food from the living room/family room and bedrooms.  You'd be amazed how much snacking you cut down on when you aren't allowed to sit in front of the TV or computer and stuff your face.  Having to actually go into the kitchen, sit down, eat, etc rather than grabbing something and heading back to the TV helped immensely.

8) Snack time...An hour before dinner was snack cutoff.  In our case, it was really the snacking that was an issue--not overeating at dinner.  In fact, a lot of times, they'd be snacking right up til dinner then not really eat a dinner, then be hungry again an hour after dinner.  So we talked about how it's kind of rude when you know there's going to be dinner to just keep eating other stuff, not have dinner, and then want more snacks.  So we pretty much implemented an "eat your dinner" rule.  And if they didn't eat dinner, there weren't going to be more snacks afterwards.  They were so used to grazing from the time they got home from school til they went to bed that the idea of a meal kind of fell out the window.

9)  Got the kids involved in cooking.  In our case, the kids actually have a pretty wide range of things they'll try.  They eat fish, sea food, most veggies (even roasted brussel sprouts).  But having them involved in the food prep or in choosing recipes made it a lot easier to get them to try new things.   

10)  EXERCISE!  When I was a kid growing up on a farm, there was all sorts of stuff to do outside.  And we could ride bikes or play in the woods, or do chores or whatever.  These days, so many kids are in environments where it may not even be SAFE for them to be out on their own.  So a lot of time is spent sitting around doing nothing.  I see you're in an apartment.  So my guess is that your SS spends most of his afternoon/evening sedentary.  Make it a family thing.  Go for a walk after dinner.  We started doing a walk after dinner most days.  Or a bike ride.  Sometimes we'd bike down to the ice cream shop for desert even.  But get out there WITH them.  Move.  

Ultimately though, stay away from weight.  Heavier people can be fit and healthy and thin people can be unfit and unhealthy.  It's not so much the number on the scale.  

SO may not help you much here, but it really is best for any person--kid or adult--to learn how to enjoy the healthy choices.  It doesn't have to be painful.

Funny...DH and I recently moved to another state so the kids aren't with us as much as they used to be.  When they came over Christmas, SD13 opened the fridge at one point and hollered "Where are the veggies?  Where's the snack bin?"  I hadn't established one.  LOL  Kind of fell out of that routine when I didn't have kids home after school every day.  So it DOES stick.  And they do learn to make good choices. 

Good luck.


Derdriu
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Total elimination of junk food is apt to only make it special.  You can set some limits on it though.  When it runs out, don't be in a hurry to replace it.  Say "no" to the vending machine.  Keep fruit and cheese around if he's dying of hunger.  My SKs eat cheese like crazy - healthy snack, filling.  My SKs are skinny-minnies though.  Other than that, find him things to do.  I wouldn't expect the request for a snack and vending machine run directly after dinner to be as much a quest to fill hunger as it is a sign of boredom.

Seychelles1409
by Silver Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Yes, stop buying the junk food and instead buy healthy snacks and fruit.  He can't eat junk if it isn't in the house.  Don't give him money for the vending machine.    I will likely get bashed for this, but fat children are fat because their parents allow them to be.  Children don't buy groceries, cook the meals, read the ingredient labels on foods, or earn the money for fast food or vending machines!   I get so angry when I go to places like Walmart and McDonalds and see these young fat children practically waddling along with their oftentimes obese parents down the aisles of the store or ordering quarter pounders and extra large fries at the counters.  I see their grocery carts full of junk foods and their bellies spilling out over their pants and I wonder what their future health will be when they are starting out life already obese.   Sorry for the rant!   America is 2/3 overweight! 

leegirl_jm
by Platinum Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM
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If Dad isn't onboard, it seems like a losing battle to me. Get Dad to be part of the change so he can enforce the changes, you don't want to be the bad guy.

ManicAttack
by Silver Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:42 AM

I have already gone this route.  We have offered to put him into every sport he is interested in.  Soccer, football, baseball, EVERYTHING.  For the last three summers he pretends like he wants to join a team and then we get the forms, and he backs out.  I think it is a self-esteem issue but he refuses to go to any of the practices.  

I think he DOES eat because he is bored.  It is winter and there isn't anything to do around our apartment, unfortunately, since we live in the city.  We took him sledding last weekend but it's a 45 minute drive out to any decent hills and being that gas was just given a 33 cent hike we can't afford to do it every week.  

I just wish that SO wouldn't be offended if I told him, "Hey, I realize SS is only 9, but he should be eating more healthy and I'm no longer going to buy the things [you/he] asks for."  SO makes SS's lunch menu so I buy whatever he puts on it.  


Quoting saywhat2102:

If its not in the house he can't eat. I would look into maybe getting the kid into an activity. Some type of sport. Get him moving. He may just eat because he's bored....



ManicAttack
by Silver Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:49 AM

I think you are right.  I buy "junk" food for an occasional snack, not an everyday thing.  I don't have a weight problem so I don't think about the fact that SS can eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting and I've seen him do it.  I LIKE to have snacks- I'm a snacker.  I rarely eat a huge meal.  So I'll get a box of Triscuits and have some sliced cheese with them.  That's a lunch for me.  

I don't give him money for the vending machine.  He takes change from his allowance and gets it himself.  SO doesn't give him money either, but tells SS it's "your money, do what you want with it."  I really wanted to step in and tell him last night that we have snacks here (oranges, apples, even crackers) but SO hates if I don't speak to him about things first.  He has already mentioned that he knows SS is getting slightly chunky.  

I think I'm going to just grocery shop for what I think is appropriate.  If SO asks, I will tell him that I noticed SS is eating a lot lately so I figured healthier foods would be better if he is going to snack constantly.  

(I'll also be buying myself a secret stash of Triscuits- they are my weakness.)


Quoting Seychelles1409:

Yes, stop buying the junk food and instead buy healthy snacks and fruit.  He can't eat junk if it isn't in the house.  Don't give him money for the vending machine.    I will likely get bashed for this, but fat children are fat because their parents allow them to be.  Children don't buy groceries, cook the meals, read the ingredient labels on foods, or earn the money for fast food or vending machines!   I get so angry when I go to places like Walmart and McDonalds and see these young fat children practically waddling along with their oftentimes obese parents down the aisles of the store or ordering quarter pounders and extra large fries at the counters.  I see their grocery carts full of junk foods and their bellies spilling out over their pants and I wonder what their future health will be when they are starting out life already obese.   Sorry for the rant!   America is 2/3 overweight! 



Derdriu
by Gold Member on Feb. 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM

 

 

Quoting ManicAttack:

I have already gone this route.  We have offered to put him into every sport he is interested in.  Soccer, football, baseball, EVERYTHING.  For the last three summers he pretends like he wants to join a team and then we get the forms, and he backs out.  I think it is a self-esteem issue but he refuses to go to any of the practices. ..... [CUT]

I just wish that SO wouldn't be offended if I told him, "Hey, I realize SS is only 9, but he should be eating more healthy and I'm no longer going to buy the things [you/he] asks for."  SO makes SS's lunch menu so I buy whatever he puts on it.    

Why is a 9yo being allowed to "refuse" to go practice?  It doesn't build good self-esteem to let a kid run away from new experiences.  In other ways, it allows a bad form of self-esteem to get a little too high if he's throwing his weight around and refusing to participate in things.  And for three summers?  He was allowed to throw a little fit and refuse to play at 6????? 

I'd be having that talk with your SO, if I were you.  New experiences, new surroundings, and taking a chance at something you may not be good at can be intimidating, but it's in his best interest if he's made to do them.  Most coaches, if they've been around more than one season, have dealt with a kid that was scared to leave the sidelines.   SS has played on teams with kids like that, and those kids do end up playing with the rest of the team.  It is simply not good to enable his insecurities, shelter him from risk, and let him slug around the house eating candy all day.  He may find he really enjoys one of those sports, but he'll never know if he doesn't get out there.

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