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Overweight 10 year old DS - any helpful tips or ways to deal with the issue?

(64 Posts)
Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 07:47:01

My DS is 10. He has always been a fairly solid lad but over the past year or so he has really bulked up and has a bit of a spare tyre around his middle.

He is quite active - trains for football 3x per week and 2x football games per week, as well as generally being reasonably active at home (eg trampoline/ throwing the ball for the dog). We limit screen time to 20 mins per day mon- thurs.

It dawned on me the other day that if he is overweight even while being so active, he must be over eating massively.

He is not a fussy eater, and will eat veggies and fruit when served it, though he loves his carbs. We don't drink soft drinks or eat sweets regularly. His appetite is huge - he will eat more than DH at dinner time.

But despite what I feel are a reasonable diet and active lifestyle, he is overweight, and we've been advised that he needs to slim down a bit (by GP). He has also noticed himself that he is heavier than his friends, and told me today (quite out of the blue) that he isn't going to eat second helpings of anything until he has lost 10kg.

I suggested that he probably doesn't need to lose weight, but try to keep it roughly the same as he grows taller and 'grows into it'.

We have been limiting his second (third...fourth) helpings at dinner and have explained it in terms of not getting too heavy as its not healthy to carry a lot of extra weight around, not good for his heart etc. I'm just really wary of creating an issue for him and making him feel uncomfortable about his body, or making him obsess about weight.

I'm also aware that my other kids (especially 12 year old DD ...who is extremely thin) are listening and picking up what we say about weight and health.

I'd love some thoughts as to helpful ways to talk about health and weight loss. Also any suggestions for filling but not calorific after school snacks gratefully received (he likes to come home and eat toast, breakfast cereal, crackers and cheese).

Pagwatch Tue 26-Apr-16 07:49:31

I'd just stop giving him seconds.

Pagwatch Tue 26-Apr-16 07:53:53

To be honest I think your anxiety about not creating an issue can actually create more tension.
He's just got into the habit of eating too much. Just give him or let him serve himself a reasonable sized portion and , if he asks for more say 'your supper was big enough. You don't need extra. Have a glass of water' and leave it.

If he us doing sport at school there is nothing wrong with toast when he gets home. Just stop letting him have huge meals and seconds.

StrapOnDodo Tue 26-Apr-16 08:05:26

When you cook, just cook the quantity he needs so there isn't extra left when you've dished up. We have a family of six and there's no way I'm cooking so that people can have thirds. If mine are hungry after their meal they know they can eat fruit. What is he eating at school?

iseenodust Tue 26-Apr-16 08:08:20

Does he need to drink more? Children can often mistake thirst for hunger. First thing after school I would offer large glass of milk and small snack. DS would do a day at primary school then a couple of hours sport and his water bottle would come home half full meaning he'd only had a drink at lunchtime.

He probably will shoot up. DS noticeably gets a bit round then has a height spurt. Seconds is not uncommon among DS's friends. Thirds and fourths could be stopped though ?

canyou Tue 26-Apr-16 08:10:39

Could you keep a food diary of what heceats and how much for a week, it may help.

StrapOnDodo Tue 26-Apr-16 08:13:52

Remember a snack isn't to fill him up, just to tide him over until the meal. So milk and fruit, or oatcake with peanut butter would be substantial enough.

Bogburglar99 Tue 26-Apr-16 08:19:01

Does he have a school dinner and if so would he be better with a pack up? I also have a solid DS who is just the right side of overweight but undoubtedly needs watching. I was horrified when I went into 'school dinner for parents' and realised that children who went up for seconds were getting a complete repeat of everything, including the stodgy pudding and custard. My DS sounds like yours and if he likes something will happily bat for seconds or thirds.

DS doesn't have much of an off switch when faced with food - whereas very slim DD will regularly declare herself 'full'. So we do have to be fairly assertive in saying 'enough'. If your DS is motivated and understands the problem can you engage him in talking about it being okay to eat some things freely (veg, fruit etc) but needing to limit other stuff? He sounds very mature and switched on. Does he really need to lose 10kg - sounds a lot - can you work out a more realistic goal with him/GP? Would he understand about growing into weight - could you say that by the time he's 11 he should be the weight he is now but X inches taller?

Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 12:35:07

Thanks for your responses.
There really isn't a lot of anxiety or tension around food in our home - we are pretty relaxed generally and have always let them eat what they want within reason and eat fruit whenever they like - I'm not sure if I've given the impression of being over anxious about his or generally. I'm not, but just anted some thoughts from parents who have successfully negotiated similar situations.

He doesn't have school dinners - he takes a sandwich, one or two pieces of fruit or veg, and another snack (rice crackers, Muesli bar, home baked muffin) that's for his lunch and afternoon break at school. And drinks water only during the day.

Yes we definitely need to limit the size of his meals. I just find it hard when he has done an hours solid ruining at football t raining and then tells me he is still hungry after one serve. I normally tell him to wait ten minutes to see if he is really still hungry (but he always says he is!).

We also have a family of 6, but I cook large amounts so that DH can take extras to work for his lunches. Maybe ill serve up DH a few lunches when I serve everyone's dinner up so that there is not much left in the pot for DS.

Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 12:39:07

Boburglar - I honestly can't remember him ever telling me he is full! As you say,he has no "off" switch!
No, I don't think he needs to lose 10kg - that was just his own thought. He could probably lose a few, but I think mainly we need to hold his weight steady while he grows taller. I did say that to him, but I'll get a growth chart from somewhere and show him how the weight vs height thing works (just generally, not plotting his own weigh necessarily). He would understand it, he's good with graphs and that sort of maths concept.

blearynweary Tue 26-Apr-16 12:41:04

He's told you he wants to lose 10lbs

Stop giving him seconds! Yes he will say he's hungry. Or give him a tiny second portion.

I think you need to keep a food diary and weigh what he's eating roughly (without him knowing) I bet you'll be amazed

If he's really just having that for lunch then he must be absolutely stuffing himself in the evening to be overweight.

blearynweary Tue 26-Apr-16 12:42:35

i remember having a child round for tea once, she was definitely overweight
We had chicken wraps - roast chicken, cut up salady stuff, wraps

Mine had one and then wanted another one which I made them, I think they ate half

the guest had FOUR and then wanted another one

She is now HUGELY overweight at 15 sad

Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 12:44:40

Strapondodo - we tend to eat quite late - we are out for football training for him and my DD three nights a week so we usually eat after that- about 7:30- so I feel he does need something fairly substantial after school to get through the afternoon and football. He doesn't eat a massive amount at school (I've tried giving him extra at school so he is not filling up so much in the afternoon and evening, but he says he's too busy playing and so he doesn't have time to eat it).

Iseenodust- good thought re drinking more. I suspect he dos not drink enough for all the sport he does and the hot weather we have where we are. I do often suggest water but he donst seem to drink much (he refuses to take a bottle to school - says he drinks from the taps). I might try bribery - get through a bottle of water between coming home and dinner time and earn a something.

Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 12:48:45

Yes, he must be, blearynweary! He really does only eat that much at school ( unless he eats his friends' food...but he's not really sneaky like that and I believe him when he says he's too busy playing to eat much)

So yes,he must be overeating more than I'd realised. He's always had a big appetite and been solid, so it's sort of crept up on me that it's become a problem I think.

Parsley1234 Tue 26-Apr-16 12:48:46

My son is similar loves his food and does 2/3 hours competitive sport every day, if he wasn't at his school I think he would be really overweight. They also have to run 2 miles to the sports fields and he does swim training twice a week but he is still carrying weight I'm hoping he grows into his weight when he gets taller.

blearynweary Tue 26-Apr-16 12:51:51

dd3 does 2 hours of sport a day at least, every day even at the weekend

she's actually on the too skinny side and my problem is getting her to eat enough

but she can be hugely competitive on a peanut butter sandwich, cut up fruit and a few oatcakes - this is what she has when we get back from school. If I give her more she then won't eat supper when we get back!

She would drink sports drinks for England so I've cut those out as if she drinks too much squash she then won't eat proper food

its a minefield you have my sympathy

Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 12:53:58

Sounds like a good active school parsley. I wish they did more at DS's school. He only does 40 minutes of training and one game per week a his school. We used to walk to school but can't anymore for various reasons - it hi k that used to make a real difference.

I'm hoping DH will start taking DS jogging with him a couple of times a week...but really I want him to learn to eat less as well as exercise more. It's all very well to be super active as a kid but if he ever slows down (in high school or as an adult) he will get overweight so quickly if he doesn't learn to curb his appetite sad

blearynweary Tue 26-Apr-16 12:54:58

yes exercise is not as important as diet

make sure he is drinking plenty of water

Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 12:59:41

Yep - I'm thinking water drinking bribery, smaller serving plus limit of one (even smaller) second helping at dinner, I need to keep track of after school snack better (I'm not very attentive to how much hey eat after school - they know what food they're allowed but they get it themselves usually), work in some extra exercise (although I don't think that's the problem as he does lots), have a chat to him about weight vs height so that he feels confident his height will catch up so long as he is a bit more careful from now on...

MonsterClaws Tue 26-Apr-16 13:17:08

One of mine is like this. If he ate what his buddies do he'd be a whopper instead of a solid but inside BMI requirements boy.

He has slimmed down and we did it by adding more daily walking to his life. He does 5-7hours of sport classes after school and some are a mile away- we walk there and back.

I upped the veg content at meals so we have huge salads, piles of veg and fewer white carbs.

We have no crisps or biscuits or similar in the house, we still eat them but they are bought and consumed as a pudding or treat not just because they are in the cupboard. I do tea earlier and the snack allowed before bed is porridge/ fruit/ rice cakes or similar

It has worked (or maybe he growth spurted but he is slimmer) I have no off switch either so sympathise!!

Astrophe Tue 26-Apr-16 13:27:43

Good ideas monster. We could def add more veg to our family meals. I've been quite ill since Feb so have let that slide, but it's definitely something to work on.
We can't walk places unfortunately, as I've got little ones who walk sooo s l o w l y , and I'm pregnant with a totally screwed up back and pelvis. But I'm letting him ride his bike around the block now, so that he can take some responsibility to do a little extra independent exercise.

InternationalHouseofToast Tue 26-Apr-16 13:40:14

What is he having for breakfast? Just thinking whether a bigger breakfast would mean his lunch lasts him longer so he needs less in the evening, or could he have a cooked lunch so he gets something more than a sandwich and needs less in the evening.

Could you say no second helpings but if he's still hungry at 9pm he can have a big glass of water first and then a better snack, such as poached egg on toast if he wants it?

StrapOnDodo Tue 26-Apr-16 16:43:19

Yes, if you are cooking extra for lunches, get it in containers as you serve up so that it won't get eaten.

More veg is good idea, then he can eat plenty but it is nutrient rich and less calorie dense. For example last night we had curry which was mainly veg and chickpea with one pack of chicken thighs-fed six of us, three sporty adults and teenage boys. DD and I had snack pre running of toast and nut butter and a pint of water.

He doesn't need to eat a big snack because he's doing sport after. The body will break down glycogen and fat during exercise to provide energy and he will be fine. A good meal after is important though, for recovery, with protein and carbs.

StrapOnDodo Tue 26-Apr-16 16:43:25

Yes, if you are cooking extra for lunches, get it in containers as you serve up so that it won't get eaten.

More veg is good idea, then he can eat plenty but it is nutrient rich and less calorie dense. For example last night we had curry which was mainly veg and chickpea with one pack of chicken thighs-fed six of us, three sporty adults and teenage boys. DD and I had snack pre running of toast and nut butter and a pint of water.

He doesn't need to eat a big snack because he's doing sport after. The body will break down glycogen and fat during exercise to provide energy and he will be fine. A good meal after is important though, for recovery, with protein and carbs.

TheAussieProject Tue 26-Apr-16 20:29:59

You can't beat a big appetite , especially with all that sport, it is normal he is so hungry, but you can satisfy it with good stuff. What about preparing with every dinner (and lunch on weekend) a nice big salad, such as lettuce with chopped parsley, or grated carrots, tomatoes with basils leaves and onions, ..... without salad sauce but with a lovely home=made vinaigrette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and he can have as many seconds, thirds of the salads, but none of the main. Fennel, celery, cucumber all made very nice salads.

Maybe try a week of grilled fish, turkey breast covered in pepper/salt/rosemay and put in oven on a tray, a classic steak, mussels, .stripes of chicken with turmeric, capper and chopped tomatoes... and salads salads salads of course without bread!

For snacks, you can hard boil eggs and give him a couple to eat cold, my boys love them. They put some salt, pepper and a bit olive oil in a plate and dip the egg in it. They won't eat the yolk so it is a pure protein snack.

Sometimes, if they are starving and moaning while I am cooking , I just hand them a small plate with some (real) cheese, cherry tomatoes and nice big olives. Or two smocked salmon slices.

You do well in not wanting to create body issue, so point as you are doing to health. Look as a whole family to all the sugar movies out there such as I swear when the guy puts spoonfuls of sugar on his chicken, you realise how bad processed food is.

More than teaching him to eat less, teach him to eat better. DS2 watched the jamie oliver movie that start with a kid on the operating table having half his teeth removed and turned into the sugar policeman! He is 9. and doing the shopping with him takes hours!

Don't get me wrong, we have cakes in the house. But sweet stuff is only for breakfast and then no more sugar added things during the whole day. Snacks is usually big plate of whole fruit. Oranges, blueberries, banana, pomegranate .... or sushi. A sushi roll is quite filling and they can eat it on the go if necessary. Far better than any granola bar!

There is no chocolate, biscuits, cereals except weetabix in the house. Bread is frozen because the one I buy will turn green in three days.

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