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How do we help our overweight teenager?

(15 Posts)
CloudDragon Sun 26-Jul-09 11:28:48


My lovely 13 year old DSS is getting overweight. He is developing a ring of fat around his middle and has got some cellulite.

He stays with us about 6 days in the month on average he is most the time with his mum and Step-dad.

They are both seriously overweight, partly as his mum has over health problems they don't do much exercise.

DSS has always been recluctant to do any sport, and though his dad tries to get him out playing football/tennis etc he would never instigate it at home. we try and get him to join clubs at school but he hasn't. we live about an hour and a half away so can't take him to places when he is not with us.

We talk to him about healthy eating and feed him decent food (most of the time with the odd pizza treats).

He spends hours on his computer/watching TV at his mum's (here he watches a bit of tv on some days but not for more than an hour usually)

His diet at his mum's is pretty poor, he is a veggie but eats LOTS of eggs/cheese/chips.

We have tried bringing it up with his mum but she is very defensive (also nothing is ever her fault iyswim) and says he is not fat at all. We have never mentionned it to him as we don;t want him to have a body complex.

Have any of you got overweight teens? How do you handle it? Do you think we should tell him that he is getting fat? If so how?

Any advice gratefully recieved smile

trollbeadaddict Sun 26-Jul-09 12:10:54

This is such a tricky one - my DD (also 13) is bigger than her friends and sometimes has trouble getting clothes to fit her and I worry about her weight too on times. But I also worry that making such a big deal of it will make her starve herself (she's that type). I definately wouldn't tell him - that would be hurtful, especially to an emotionally vulnerable teenager. Recently (since getting more interested in boys!), my DD is much more careful about what she eats, so maybe when your DSS starts getting interested in girls, he'll lose weight? IMO the most important thing is to make sure he grows into a confident and secure person, so he is able to lose weight easily if he needs to.

Ewe Sun 26-Jul-09 12:15:52

What about getting him a sports club or gym membership as a gift? When he is 14 he could start using the gym and could swim in the meantime.

I know quite a few young teens who enjoy going to the gym so could be worth a try?

Uriel Sun 26-Jul-09 12:18:44

What about going swimming with him when he's with you - or badminton/long walks? A place near me is offering a family orienteering day
and we're going along - sounds like fun, and could do with dropping a few pounds myself.

If you do something as a family, he won't feel that you're aiming it at him and hopefully you'll all get to enjoy it.

CloudDragon Sun 26-Jul-09 12:22:15

I agree witht the confidence thing, at the mo. he is confident with himself in terms of being very chatty to anyone etc but is definately under confident when it comes to physical activity as they dont come naturally to him.

the gym idea is a good one, just not sure if he would actually go (and money is stupidly tight at the mo, though feel it is something to prioritise on).

CloudDragon Sun 26-Jul-09 12:26:14

thanks uriel - I think that family thing is a good idea, we do take him out and do things when he is here but we could do more!

Part of the problem is we have two little ones as well (2 &3) and doing stuff with them all is tricky,

though his dad takes him off on his own, DHs time with the DCs is limited as he works silly shifts so he wants to see them all.

janeite Sun 26-Jul-09 12:50:05

Swimming would be brilliant for all of you, if he would go. Unfortunately, now that I have finally learned to swim, my (very skinny) dds refuse to go swimming anymore.

Are there any parks with tennis courts near you? They are often free and you only need cheap rackets for mucking about.

Would he ride a bike around a local park with one of your little ones in a seat?

Allegrogirl Sun 26-Jul-09 13:01:31

I was an overweight teenager and if someone had bought me gym membership I would have been really hurt. As he obviously likes food maybe you could approach it from that angle. Maybe cook some tasty veggie curries and italian dishes that happen to be healthier than what he is currently eating. I turned veggie at 16 and would have loved it if my parents had been more supportive. I lost a couple of stone at 16/17 and only then got into exercise, but outside school. I would encourage him to find physical activity that is enjoyable for him without being embarrassing. I wish him well. It's tough being a chubby teen.

trollbeadaddict Sun 26-Jul-09 13:02:17

Just another thought on exercise following on from Ewe's comment - I hated sport in school (as does my DD) mostly because I was in a team and it was competitive (I am definately NOT a team player!) so was very surprised later in life when I started to enjoy going to the gym. Funnily enough, this seems to be the case with my DD (she uses a cros trainer in the garage). I think we both enjoy exercising on our own and not as part of a social event - if that makes sense!

Nancy66 Sun 26-Jul-09 14:40:57

If he's not a typically sporty teenager in the sense that he doesn't like football or riding a bike - what about something like kick boxing or a martial art?

Can he cook - teaching him to cook healthy meals might really engage him too. I'm not talking about cordon bleu here but knowing how to make a baked potato or lamb chops with veg or a healthy pasta dish might stop him from turning to fried food.

MitchyInge Sun 26-Jul-09 14:51:08

do you think it is all about lifestyle or could he be caught in comfort-eating/depressed type cycle? it's an awkward age isn't it and he's probably getting some stick for it at school, is there a gentle way to find out about this?

would he like a pet dog? that might get him moving, wii (fit?) might be a good stepping stone from his sedentary pastimes to something a bit more physical.

Ivykaty44 Sun 26-Jul-09 14:57:05

There are a lot of solo sports to enjoy that are not covered in school pe lessons. Cycling is a solo sport which is easy to enjoy on your own and after the inital outlay for a decent bike and clothing - its free.

How much sport do you and his dad do cloud? best way to get dc interested in sports of any kind is to participate yourselves in something

CloudDragon Sun 26-Jul-09 15:59:13

thanks for all of the advice

We do a bit of sport - I swim twice a week, and walk the dog most days. But deffo could do more.

The cooking is a good idea - (and he could do some cooking for us!)

We tried a wii but no one really took to it.

Ivykaty44 Sun 26-Jul-09 16:05:11

why not organise different activities for you all to do when your dss comes to visit.

rock climbing, cycle ride off road - hire bikes near a trail, try a rambling club, kite surfing if you are near a beach, rowing/canoe club.

try internet searches for all tyopes of things you never thought of trying and get all of you active. try each thing once and see what you think.

CloudDragon Sun 26-Jul-09 16:22:13

that is a really good idea Ivy, off to do a search now!

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