To be seriously worried about DSs (15) unhealthy diet?(33 Posts)
My DS seems to be on self destruct with his unhealthy diet.
He has always had a huge appetite and sweet tooth but lately he seems to be doing nothing but gorging on crap.
I always buy healthy foods and cook from scratch at every meal. He has been brought up knowing the facts about nutrition and healthy eating. Without ramming it down his throat, I have tried to steer him in the right direction with limiting unhealthy foods and having the occasional sweet treat.
Exercise - both DH and I love the outdoors and always try and encourage him to do some form of exercise. But he isn't interested at all. He comes home from school and lies on his bed on his Xbox or watching Netflix.
However, over the last two years or so, he seems to have gone on a mission to eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He eats massive portions, even though I try to reign it in, and with his own pocket money will buy and gorge on crap such as litres of full sugar pop, chocolate, ice cream, you name it.
In his room at the side of his bed whilst I have been opening/closing his window, I've found mountains of empty wrappers of crisps, cans, empty cartons of Ben and Jerrys, chocolate bar wrappers, luxury muesli bars...basically anything containing a shit loads of calories. He refuses to eat vegetables, salad or fruit. He eats buttered toast ( white bread only) meat, huge bowls of pasta when he comes home from school as a snack (!) and things that are fatty or full of sugar.
I have sat down and asked him why he is treating his body like a rubbish bin but he has told me he doesn't care. He doesn't care that he is gaining weight, doesn't care what anyone thinks. He is sluggish, constantly complaining he is tired, struggling in PE lessons and basically very lazy!
I do not know what he weighs but he is 6 foot 2 and quite solid. His school pants are now 36 inch waist and even those are starting to look tight around the waist.
I am worried sick about his size and his health and I am at a loss at what to do. I am worried he is on a slippery slope to become obese due to his unhealthy attitude.
What can I do??
Is he happy otherwise? Is overeating a coping mechanism for him?
Stop buying the rubbish food and stop giving him money
I don't buy rubbish food or give him money!
He has a part time job, and earns a bit of pocket money from us in return for doing chores, and buys the food himself.
He has had a stressful few weeks with the mock exams but overall seems happy. Doing really well at school and has plenty of mates.
He's a teenager! Let him get on with it. He'll change if and when he wants to!
If he's determined to eat this way and is lying for it himself there's very little you can do. It sounds like you cook healthy food and have a good attitude to being active, when did he stop being active with you as a family thing?
If you nag, he'll dig his heels in further. I think you have to ignore it which unfortunately is so hard! Make sure that whatever food you have available is as healthy as possible.
Well firstly you are not a bad person for worrying about him no matter what some posters may think. I'd hate to see anyone I loved not taking care of themselves.
I know when I didn't really care about anything I was actually quite depressed though I looked fine to others. Maybe a visit to the GP may be on order just to check everything is okay?
I'd encourage you to just be there for him and keep gently guiding him on the right path.
I make smoothies for my teen (14), and milk_banana milkshakes, and multi vits...he also eats a fair amount of junk food, as well as my home cooked meals...always hungry!
I used to gorge on.junk as a teen, this totally mad hunger I.only ever encountered again in pregnancy
Maybe encourage him to get out more (sport? New activities like kayaking or running or walking the dog)
To me it sounds like a symptom of an underlying issue. Is his mental health otherwise ok? That's where I'd be looking first.
Could you say you don't like him spending the chores money on food that is not healthy so you want to put it straight into his account each week for him and agree what he wants to save up for eg. new x-box game, clothes etc? Or maybe you could agree that he can eat whatever he likes in his room, but he has to try judo classes once a week or similar - if his self esteem is low then this night help with that plus it's exercise. Just suggestions, you know your ds.
I used to be the same with my DDs until I read a really good report on hormones and teenagers craving junk foods. I made a point of making meals healthy, not filling the cupboards with rubbish but not arguing about what they chose to buy with their pocket money/wages. They do come out the other side - my 2 youngest are now obsessed with healthy food, and are very picky about what they will and won't eat. I think the more of an issue you make of it, the worse it gets.
I really feel for your DS.
I had a similar unhealthy relationship qith food aged 13-22 and ended up 18 stone by the time I reached 23. It was awful, but I had to turn it around myself. Aged 23, I started to do light exercise and made small changes to my diet. Fast forward 4 years, I had lost 7 stone. That was 10 years ago and my weight and relationship with food continues to be a struggle. I have bot gained all the weight back, but I have gained and lost the same 3 stone over and over.
My brother took a similar path, however, aged 31, he has lost and regained the same 8 stone and is now 20+ stone and in desperate need of sorting his diet out.
What I am getting at here is anything you can do to get him off this destructive path now, you should. But you should also prepare to watch him struggle for the rest of his life.
Some of us are just unlucky to have extemely bad relationships with food I guess.
What motivates him? Cash? Money to buy points for XBox games? Screen time?
Make these things conditional on doing some healthy excercise rather than chores. Let him choose the healthy excercise. It takes a while to get into good habits so maybe set him a challenge over the school hols with a reward (of his choosing) at the end. Maybe a stepped level of reward so that if he doesn't reach his target he still gets something.
I would also ask the question re mental health but obviously subtely. Is he lurking at home eating because he is lonely/ bullied? These things need to be addressed but I still think getting motivated to excercise fits in with any such plan
I totally hear you and I worry for the future for him in that he will always struggle with his unhealthy attitude towards food. He says he loves his food and has no willpower! Or off switch!! I've taken him to the doctors and he has had blood tests to check there are no problems with his thyroid etc. All have come back normal.
I know that he would love to get into shape as he's told me. He sometimes starts off with good intentions and last year I bought him a Fitbit at his request and as I wear one, I set challenges and tried to turn it into a bit of a game. But he caved in on day two. The overall problem hands down is his appetite and love for eating crap.
We're going to Greece in August and I bought him a pair of new shorts for the holiday that were very snug. He told me that he would be able to fit in them for the holiday as he was going to go on a detox! So I said " right there's your goal" three days later, he gave me the shorts and told me to take them back as he "can't be arsed!"
He is a bright lad and seems chirpy enough. I've asked him tonight if everything is okay and he has looked at me a bit strangely and told me he's fine.
How would I know if he wasn't?
"Can't be arsed" is bravado. It's too difficult. Losing weight seems impossible in the face of his consuming hunger.
I think nagging him is going to damage your relationship. The judo is a good idea but doubt he'll see it through.
I think I'd recommend counselling with someone expert in teenage brain development. He says he's not unhappy but the complete lack of willpower is a genuine problem. I think people don't use counsellors and psychotherapists enough, there's such a stigma about mental health (and someone will be along in a minute to call this idea ridiculous).
But until his physical and mental health improves, regular sessions with someone he has to talk to will be forcing him to think about why he's given up on himself.
He's probably a bit embarrassed about the shorts thing. not that I know him.
I did the same. As soon as I got my own money i would sneakily buy and hoard unhealthy food I'd never been allowed as a kid/teenager with no money. I'd spend so much on sweets, crisps etc and this continued as I went to school because my parents really never found out about my hoarding and how much I binged at night, until I felt sick and I'd still eat more. I never purged (emetophobia) so I didn't see it as an eating disorder.
Around 20 my IBS (which had always been there) got really bad, I would vomit from having the tiniest bit of milk and be in agony for hours - gallstones was the first tentative diagnosis, but my gallbladder was fine. They looked into things like IBD and cancer, but my bowels are pretty 'clean' aside from inflammation. It was just IBS, so ratehr than binging, I stopped eating entirely.
I don't know what to suggest though. Healthy food is always either boring, time consuming or expensive - the good stuff is time consuming and not really 'snack' food. I still don't have a healthy relationship with food and I don't know how to get one, but I don't know if he's being lazy in this circumstance.
Without trying to blame you, did you bar him from sweets/fast food or heavily restrict it? If his friends have it, he mightbe like me and feels really left out of the fun they've had eating shitty but delicious food.
Sorry to double post (seems a habit of mine) but I also just remembered that my parents didn't necessarily RESTRICT me so much as didn't have the money for mcdonalds or would tell me I didn't need x amount of sweets, which I didn't. if I was good I got to pick a chocolate bar for 50p or less from the corner shop daily and that was about it for actual chocolatey sweets, but we never really bought things like donuts and cakey things so when I got to try them I was like 'wow I need more' and went way overboard.
My son was the same but he really wanted to.play football. He managed to get into a team and the weight has fallen off. From being a couch potato he now plays footie at every opportunity and rides his bike to get there!
Sounds like he is a happy well adjusted person who loves eating junk. Leave him alone.
Obesity and rotten teeth will soon make him change
Take his internet away and get him counseling. He is eating his feelings and is on a pathway to destruction. This situation cannot be ignored.
Where's he getting the food from? Is it in the house? Does he have the funds to buy it in the first place?
Don't ignore the problem and hope it goes away, as suggested by some posters! How ridiculous. It's much, much easier to avoid putting on weight in the first place than to take it off!
Is he interested in girls (or boys) yet? As in, romantically/sexually? It might help when he realised that being out of shape is not considered attractive.
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