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Finding a better way to talk to 9yr old about weight / health

(9 Posts)
aweewhilelonger Sat 15-Apr-17 10:13:11

Really looking for some advice here.

MY 9yr old boy is on the verge of being overweight: he's not grown much height-wise for a while and probably is due for a growth spurt, but he's definitely looking more rounded / has a tummy. I can still see his ribs when he stretches up, but not when he's just standing. On the NHS weight thingy he's right at the top of healthy weight, barely. I know that we need to make changes to his diet - cutting down on carbs, trying to up his veg (not easy when he refuses to eat most of them).

I don't know how to talk to him about it. This morning when he was getting dressed I stupidly poked him in the tummy and said he'd better cut down on the Nutella... I can't believe I did this. It's exactly the kind of thing that my mum said to me when I was that age in her attempts to 'help' me lose weight.

I grew up believing that I was overweight, always; and that there was very little I could do about it. My mum constantly criticised herself (and commented on others) about her weight, was permanently on a diet - usually some crazy Cambridge diet type thing. Yet when I see photos of her in this period, she was slim! She's overweight now and has been since menopause and continues to criticise herself constantly... yet won't make any of the lifestyle changes needed to do anything about it. And when I look at photos of me... yes I had periods of being slightly overweight with puppy fat (age 9-10 ish) but thoughout my teens I was slim! I just never ever believed it at the time. And today I am overweight - and really struggling to make the changes that I need to.

Like my mum did, I'm taking his weight gain very personally, like I'm failing as a parent and worrying what others will think of me / us. So I' doing what she did, even though I know it didn't work and left me feeling like rubbish for a long time.

I need advice on better ways to talk to my son about weight / health. I don't want to do what my mum did. But I don't know how else to approach it. I'm finding it very hard to change my own behaviour, even though I know it will provide a better role model for him. I don't openly criticise people who are overweight (except him apparently :-( ) and I definitely don't do crazy diets like my mum did. But I need to find a kinder, less emotionally-invested way to approach this.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 15-Apr-17 10:17:17

You don't necessarily need to talk about it at his tender age.

How about reducing his portion sizes or start substituting some of his carbs for more protein/fat?

Porridge with cinnamon for breakfast

Snacks to include fruit/veg only

And drinks milk/water or only a splash of fruit juice

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 15-Apr-17 10:24:08

Agree with Quite there is absolutely no reason to discuss his weight with him. If he queries the fruit or veg for snacks rule just say that you are all doing it to be more healthy.

Does he do many activities? The cricket season is just about to start. If you enquire at your local club there should be a junior section for himto go and train with. Cricket is great for getting them running about in the sunshine smile

aweewhilelonger Sat 15-Apr-17 10:41:29

He does quite a lot of active play - gym for 1.5 hrs twice a week, ice skating weekly, plus a lot of football / running around at school. I think it's definitely diet related.

We already do a lot of what you suggest Quite - porridge is our standard breakfast, no fruit juice / squash / fizzy - just water to drink. Snacks are a problem... he won't accept any veg / non-sweet things for a snack (except crisps), and we live in France where the 4pm gouter is a religion - and generally involves inhaling a packet of biscuits. He doesn't have any other snacks all day - another French thing - just the gouter, which is usually a piece of fruit, a soft roll with Nutella, drink of water. But I could definitely cut down on the carb side portions and increase the protein - he happily eats most meats / fish / chicken etc.

He is not oblivious to the fact that he's got more of a tummy that most of his friends. French kids are pretty slim as a rule, though I know they are all different. So he has mentioned it, and I've tried to respond by talking about health rather than appearance (my mum was the total opposite).

FenellaMaxwellsPony Sat 15-Apr-17 10:49:38

For starters, don't discuss it with him - he may well already be feeling a bit sensitive if he's aware he has more of a runny than his friends and thanks to your 'helpful prod.

You mention you are overweight - can't you tell him that you don't feel like you are healthy and ask him to help you look after your body a bit more - going for walks, better diet etc. and it will just rub off on him?

AgainstTheOddsNo2 Sat 15-Apr-17 10:56:56

I get to this point of worrying then dd has a massive growth spurt and is all gangly again.

Make you priority making sure he has a balanced diet and plenty of exercise. Protein if massively more filling than sugar. But try not to put your issues onto him.

ittooshallpass Sat 15-Apr-17 11:04:51

Just keep talking about being healthy and strong. Set a good example. Cut way back on any snacks that are unhealthy. Just don't buy it. My DD is overweight. I find it really annoying that I am undermined everywhere we go. School, afterschool club, friends and relatives all think its ok to provide non stop sweets and snacks despite my requests not to give them.

Family Dr has been very supportive to me. As long as there is nothing medically wrong, we have to accept that some kids aren't super skinny regardless of what they eat. Dr said puberty is when bodies settle into the shape they are meant to be. In the meantime as long as you can hand on heart say you are doing everything you can do help, leave him alone. No comments about body size; you will only bash his confidence.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 15-Apr-17 11:06:37

I get to this point of worrying then dd has a massive growth spurt and is all gangly again.. Both of mine do this too.

Do you do much exercise OP and does his Dad?

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Sat 15-Apr-17 11:09:30

My older ds x6 all had a pudgy belly at one point!! All of them now tall and slim with no intervention!! All snuck off to Mc Donalds (yuck) all ate crisps /sweets.
All eat a healthy diet now and no food issues.

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