30 answers

Suggestions to Help Overweight Child Lose Weight

My son is 11 yrs old and 185 lbs. I do not keep junk food around. I encourage him to take his dog for a walk or walk with me, but he never wants to. I have offered any kind of activity for him to do, but he doesn't want to do anything. How can I encourage him and help him lose weight with out being mean or damaging his self image. I love him dearly but I know this is dangerous to his health. Any suggestions would be great.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

You've had several helpful suggestions!
I wanted to share a quit story with you about my 15 year old sister who needed to lose some weight. She was starting to get down about how she looked. She needs to change some eating habits, and excercise more (though she does play sports.) So I suggested that she start on a nutritional meal replacement once a day called "Slimplicity" that my company offers. It's completely healthy and I know so many other's who've had remarkable weight loss with it.
Story short, she replaced breakfast and within 6 weeks, she loast 16 lbs! She's looking great, and has lost a bit more since. Best of all, she feels so much better about herself.
It comes in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, and has a money-back-guarantee.
If you'd like more info, message me, but you're definately on the right track by helping him NOW vs. him having to deal with it down the road.

I agree with the last poster. You are the parent he is the child. He may not want to do many things but you as the parent make him because you know it is best for him. Don't give him the option to say "I don't want to." It is all in how you phrase it. Tell him that he will be walking the dog or walking with you. Good luck.

You could get pedometers for the whole family and see who can get the most steps in a day. I know my kids have fun trying to see who can get the most steps. Hope this helps!

More Answers

If it's not too much trouble to travel to Columbus, I highly recommend a doctor here who began her practice as a pediatrician who specialized in treating children with developmental and behavioral disorders. She became concerned with the amount of chemical medication that the traditional medical community recommended, so she did a lot of research and created an ideal "Diet For Life" that has brought about amazing results not only in the children in her practice, but also in their parents. She now has a private family practice, and her patients see fantastic results. I am one of them.

In February of 2008, I was extremely ill and could feel myself getting worse almost by the day. I was overweight, pre-Diabetic, and miserable. Within a week of starting Dr. Sandy's plan, I not only felt better, but I began losing weight and feeling much better. I lost all the weight I had gained, and did it steadily, with no plateaus.

My problem wasn't how much I was eating, as much as it was WHAT I was eating. Your son's condition could be due to any number of things, including: food allergies or sensitivities, systemic yeast, Diabetes, etc. If your son has ever been on strong antibiotics, they can cause a systemic yeast overload. Yeast is a big factor in weight gain, loss of energy, and a general feeling of being dragged down. I know that these were the things that were causing my problems.

My doctor's name is Sandra Pinkham, M.D. Her contact information is:

2170 Riverside Dr.
Columbus, OH 43221


You won't have to make the drive terribly often, especially once your son begins to show improvement. She will help you find a way to build his self esteem while helping him to recover his health and energy. She is taking new patients right now, and I encourage you to call her office and schedule an appointment. Feel free to tell her you were referred by Susan Lynch. I can honestly say that her recommendations have turned my life around, and I'm not looking back.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,
I want to share a couple articles with you. Click on
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This has become such a huge concern for very good reason.
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Take care!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L. You are very correct in thinking this is potentially dangerous for your child. We need to redirect our children to better eating habits. They do need a good and tasty, healthy snack. I think it's never to late to try new things and the kids will adapt. I would love to talk to you and just let you know there is a healthy and helpful way to help your son. I can't believe being over weight is a confidence builder to any child. my personal email is my name S. white and it is at livingwithsolutions. com Good Luck...S. I look forward to helping you with your situation.

1 mom found this helpful

It's about changing the way he THINKS in order to change habits. It has to make sense to him and understand the benefits. It's an EDUCATION! I've been teaching nutrition for YEARS....starting at TWO.

There is a book called HELPING YOUR CHILD LOSE WEIGHT THE HEALTHY WAY by Judith Levine, R.D., M.S. and Linda Bine

You need to start including him in grocery shopping, meal planning and making good choices. DO NOT allow things in the house that will sabotage him.

Pick something new EACH week from the produce department. DO NOT allow your negative opinions about something to influence him. ENCOURAGE ENCOURAGE ENCOURAGE!!

When you try new foods, research together and find out WHAT nutrients are found in the food, WHY does your body need it, etc. It might require that YOU have to take some time to learn too, but it will be WELL worth it for EVERYONE!

If he doesn't "want to", then he also should not be allowed something he "wants" whether that be computer time, cell phone, video games, etc. TALK ABOUT BALANCE IN LIFE and how it is important to get things done that NEED to be done, NOT just the things you WANT to do.

Research things on childhood obesity and talk about them TOGETHER. Don't just throw a copy of something on his bed for him to read.

If you have to go to the extreme of taking him to a doc and having the doc TELL him and SHOW him how he's taking YEARS off his life, stressing his organs, etc. THEN DO IT!

I was 120# 4th grader w/ a thyroid problem. I KNEW I didn't want to be on meds the rest of my life, so even at that age, I wanted to know more! Somewhere around 13, I was "normal size for my age" and have only had to go back on meds ONCE, when I was in college. I've learned how to control my metabolism thru diet & exercise.

I'm 52 and weigh 126# and won a Ms. USA bodybuilding championship at age 42. I competed on the USA bodybuilding team at age 45 and was in the best shape of my life! TRUST ME! It's worth the time and effort. It's about QUALITY OF LIFE!!!

Set goals, too. What does he want to do? Like learn to water ski, etc. Have him carry around a 15-20# dumbbell all evening long. I do this with clients during their workout time. They tell me how hard it is and how heavy it is. I then remind them that's how much difference 15-20# makes (make it 10-12# if you want) but I remind them that this extra weight is taxing on the joints, organs, respiratory system, etc. The MORE SENSE it makes, the more he'll make the effort. Do what you have to to help him and educate him. When you set goals, set long & short term ones. Remember that meeting your short term goals gets you to the long term ones!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear L.,
I have a friend that has a child that has been obese at birth. She found out recently that he does not process sugar well. The boy is 14 years old.
I suggest going to a chiropractor that deals in nutrition also. One that is NOT in it for the $$$! If you don't or can't afford it I suggest first to get him off of sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup especially, and no nutrisweet. Nutrisweet or Aspartame causes you to crave carbohydrates. Raw honey & pure maple syrup (in moderation) are a great replacement for sugar. He should probably eat less carbs too since carbs turns into sugar.
You probably need to exercise with him. Maybe the entire family can go for a bike ride, walk, hike etc...It is more fun as a family than by yourself. When you go on vacation make one activity hiking or biking.
Some good books to read for weight loss are Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin and there is also one by Kevin Trudeau (I'm not sure of the name). They deal a lot with nutrition, what to eat and what NOT to eat even for someone that is not overweight.
I hope this will help. Although my kids are not overweight, I think these books and information that I have read and found out through chiropractors has helped my kids maintain great health. L. J

1 mom found this helpful

A boy that age should not be so heavy, he must be miserable.Poor kid. I would first get him a complete physical to rule out any medical condition that may be hiding.Then if that comes back okay I would seek counciling for depression , other children probably tease him about being so large.You say you ask him to walk his dog, but he doesn't want to. That is part of Dog ownership and it shouldn't be a "I DON'T WANT TO " , Tell him to walk the dog and that is that.What does he do ? He needs chores and lots of physical exercise along with a balanced diet and lots and lots of Love and understanding. Limit his time to TV and game playing and computer things.Talk to him gently and tell him you are worried about his health and as the adult in charge you want him to be more physically fit.You may have to make him exercise but eventually he will or should understand that you are only doing it to get him Healthy and keep him healthy. Over eating is a sign of depression as is the I don't want to attitude you said he has. Your the Adult, make him do what is best for him.Your his Mother, Show him you are in charge and you care about his life now and forever.Also if you keep soda pop in the house get rid of it, I lost 40 pounds when I stopped drinking soda. He needs to eat 3 well balanced meals a day and a couple small snacks.Lean meat , fresh vegtables , fresh fruit and lot's of exercise.Maybe you can find a youth group for him to get involved with.Being fat is like a death sentence to some kids and it effects each one differently.You take control and you will be saving your son's life. My prayers are with you .

If your son ran out into traffic, would you ask him nicely to move out of the way of the oncoming cars? Obesity is very dangerous. I have a 13 year old daughter who I am working with to lose some weight because I love her and don't want to see her sick and miserable as an overweight adult. She doesn't always like me for making her exercise or not letting her eat a second helping at dinner, but we are the parents. We don't have to be liked.

It's hard, but I hope you succeed. Best of luck.

Have you tried doing more active things like bike riding and sports as a family? Just set aside a time or a day that is good for you and tell him "let's go." As the parent you have the luxury of just telling him what you are going to do instead of asking what he's willing to do. The more active you are as a family the more things he will be exposed to and he may find a sport or something that he likes along the way that he is interested in doing on his own. Just don't make sitting around watching tv or playing video games an option. I remember when I was younger my mother telling me that she didn't care what I did in the summer as long as I did it outside.

Has he been to a doctor? Their might be a medical reason for his weight. My mom took be to a doctor when I was a teen because I was overweght. I didn't have any medical causes just bad eating habits. He put me on a diet and I went back periodacly to check my progress. As an adult I still struggle wiht my weight, I no skinny mini but I not obese either. I am 56 years old and have always been grateful that my mom took charge and help me get my weight problem in check. I truely believe if she hadn't I'd be 300 pounds or more. Good Luck

At this point I would say you just need to make walking the dog his chore. Don't make it an option. You have to remember he's still a kid and if he wasn't trained to pick up his room or help around the house, he's not going to do it on his own. Any physical activity will help him and he's only 11, he obviously doesn't and won't have the motivation to do this himself. Your job as a parent is to sometimes make the kids do things they don't want or feel like doing, but it will help them be more responsible adults.

I would get him checked out by his doctor too to make sure there is nothing physically wrong. Sometimes it can be a glandular problem or a specific medicine he's taking that is causing weight gain.

If that comes up clear, than it's going to have to be your job to portion control and get his butt out of the house. Any job around the house that requires physical work try to delegate to him. I agree with the people before who have said to do fun family activities that requires physical activity. I see that you're in Germantown, so make it a priority to go to some of the beautiful forest preserves and hike through there, go on bike rides, run through sprinklers in the backyard. There are a million things you can do as a family to keep the kids active. If the kids want a treat, walk, don't drive down to an ice cream parlor and insist they get a non-fat yogurt or walk them to a mini-mart and everyone pick out a non-fat popsicle.

hi..this is just a opinion and idea, i have no experience in this area, but i do have 3 kids, so i know how stubborn they can be. Firstly, no, don't hurt his self image, that can stick with someone for along time. But making him go for walks, even igf he grumbles and complains or even gets angry, does not make you mean. Let him be mad at you now, he will thank you later when he is alil older and Healthy. Don't let him eat til hes full, you decide when hes full. smaller meals more often thruout the day are better than 3 lg meals also. lastly, maybe try the reward system, maybe with a favorite food(even junk food), or a rented movie. but weekly, something small, reward him for doin the walks. Maybe a lger reward at the end of a month for losing a agreed upon weight. but only reward him if he loses the weight. and make it realistic. start off with just 3-5 lbs the first month, and work up from there. good luck :)

You've had several helpful suggestions!
I wanted to share a quit story with you about my 15 year old sister who needed to lose some weight. She was starting to get down about how she looked. She needs to change some eating habits, and excercise more (though she does play sports.) So I suggested that she start on a nutritional meal replacement once a day called "Slimplicity" that my company offers. It's completely healthy and I know so many other's who've had remarkable weight loss with it.
Story short, she replaced breakfast and within 6 weeks, she loast 16 lbs! She's looking great, and has lost a bit more since. Best of all, she feels so much better about herself.
It comes in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, and has a money-back-guarantee.
If you'd like more info, message me, but you're definately on the right track by helping him NOW vs. him having to deal with it down the road.

I guess he isn't interested in sports, is he?
We have a chore list and walking the dog is one of the items on the list. We kind of make it a fun thing, like a nature type of walk where (frankly I need the exercise as much as he does) and we make one walk a time to identify different birds, one is for trees, one is to see how many different cars we can identify, stuff like that and it is now a contest with the winner picking out what they want for dinner the next night, etc.
He might have a thyroid problem which causes weight gain and an inability to loss weight. Wouldn't hurt to have it checked out. There are several other health issues can that cause this problem, I would talk to his doctor about him and have some tests run.
Take him swimming, go to the park and walk the trails with him. Do you have bikes? If so try bike riding with him.
We had a contest to see who could lose the most weight in a month, we checked the menus together and the winner got to pick out a weekend of movies and museums we had to visit. The next month it was a trip to a theme park, etc.
Don't mention his weight to him because that causes him to feel worse and doesn't help.
I will pray for him.

If the dog is his dog then walking the dog is part of the responsibility of having a pet. I suggest telling him that the dog needs exercise and a healthy heart so taking him for a short walk two-three times a day has to become one of his chores and responsibilities. Explain that he is a big boy now and can be trusted to do the right thing for his dog. I also suggest keeping fruit and veggies ready to eat. We had to do this for both one child and myself. If we could reach in the fridge and grab and go we ate better. If it was not peeled, cut up and ready to eat then less healthy snacks were eaten.I also involved my son in meal planning so that calories or points(weight watchers) could be counted as we planned.

If he is just sitting around doing nothing or playing video games or watching TV etc., then it is time to cut off those activities and require that he earn time to do them for a maximum of 2 hours a day.
Require that he play outside, go to the pool or park, work in the yard, or do other chores that involve physical activity.
It is either this or conplete boredom....and if he doesn't like it, I would take him to his doctor and see what the doctor recommends.
This is one of the things that you must do for his own good, whether he likes it or not.
If he has an adolescent growth spurt that will help, but good habits are more important.
Be firm and matter-of-fact about it and do not take no for an answer.
When high school rolls around he will be thanking you.

yes dear take him to his dr have him checked out for all health problems that could be causing him this problem such as an overactive thyroid.or sugar diabetes or other gland problems it may not be his eating habits at all but on the safeside write down the meals you know he eats and then you get up and walk around the block with him or buy him a wii that makes him interact with the games if that is what he likes to do.. yes dear we as parents need to exercise as well so if you make an effort to do it with him he may do it too

I went through something similar with my 11 year old son. Although he wasn't overweight I saw him gaining, not moving enough, and thought it would soon be a problem. He is not a "sporty" kid and just wanted to play his video games. I kept suggesting just as you have, hey why don't you take the dog for a walk, or do you want to go ride your bike. It didn't work. I finally just told him that I was signing him up for karate. I made a deal with him that he just had to go until he got his yellow belt and if he hated it after that he could quit. He loved it- and twice a week classes have kept him very fit. I think alot of times classes or new sports scare kids because they are afraid they wont be any good at it, that is why I like the karate because it is individual- its not like they'll be the kid on the soccer team running the wrong way! So see if there is something he would be intereseted in, if not martial arts there is always golf, or bowling, or track, even swimming. Give him a few choices and MAKE him pick one to try for a limited time. Good luck- 11 seems to be a tough age!!!

If I could bottle motivation I would be rich.

If he doesn't want to walk the dog, come up with something that is not an option. Sign up for a class of some kind, like swimming or martial arts. It may take a few tries before you find something he likes. Don't make the class about health or weight but about trying new things and making friends. You could also try planning family activities that are 'active' hiking, boating, bike riding, etc.

Hi L.,
Do you have a Wii gaming system? We bought one along with the Wii Fit. It gets the kids moving and they think it's cool because it is a video game and it really is a great workout. Encourage the whole family to get involved with exercize. Limit t.v. time and I would only allow one healthy snack per day. Get rid of all junk food in the house. If it's not there you cannot eat it. Eliminate all soda because this can really contribute to weight gain in children. I agree with the previous person. You should consider getting him counseling. I think that if he saw just a little bit of weight loss it would encourage him and he would be more willing to exercise and eat better. Good Luck, I will keep him in my prayers, T.

Hi L.,

You have gotten lots of good advice. I would agree with what Susie L said, I am trying the diet her doctor recommends and it is helping me.

Definitely have him see his doctor and be checked for underactive thyroid and depression for starters. Also for food allergies, though you may have to ask around to find a good practitioner for those.

Also make sure he is getting adequate sleep. Does he snore? if so he may have sleep apnea and be spending what SEEMS like adequate time in bed but he is not really getting good sleep.

Try to reduce processed food (e.g. white bread, pasta, white rice) and go with more "whole" foods such as fruits and veggies, brown rice and whole grains. I think that SOME of the cereals that say "good source of whole grains" should be banned, however, because the grains have been processed to within an inch of their lives, and highly sugared to boot! Lots of these foods just seem to make me hungrier.

Will this mean you have to re-educate your tastebuds? probably! If you do it a little at a time that might help.

Good luck

K. Z.

L. - have you thought about getting him a trainer? My husband runs a personal training business out of our house. He has experience working with children and is good at getting them motivated. Maybe your son would get motivated for someone else?

We're parents of 3, oldest 3 and youngest 9 weeks.

Whatever you do I agree that you've got to do something to help him out. Your heart is in the right place so stay strong and stick with your gut.

Check out Eric's website at waldospersonaltraining.com or email him at ____@____.com

He's running a special right now so mention where you heard about him and he'll give you a deal :)

You could get pedometers for the whole family and see who can get the most steps in a day. I know my kids have fun trying to see who can get the most steps. Hope this helps!

Get him a WII with a game that makes him move around alot. He should lose weight that way or if there is a place he can ride his bike get him interested in that kind of activity.


Assuming that you've taken him to a doctor and already ruled out anything medical or emotional/psychological......

Does he like swimming? Now that it's summer, maybe you can spend extra time at the pool if he enjoys that. Swimming is great exercise for the whole body!

What does your 13 yo like to do? Does he like to follow his older sibling's lead?

And I don't know how educated he is on health and good nutrition, but if he hasn't been told at school about the importance of it, now is the time for you to do it!

I know you don't keep junk food in the house, but I'll bet he's getting it somewhere else...my cousin used to do that. Her mom wouldn't have anything but healthy snacks, so she would sneak junk food. And she started sneaking at the age of 7! She'd take things from her friend's houses and keep it in her bedroom.

I will pray that you find a way to help him....I can only imagine how hard it must be, for all involved.

Blessings, J.

If your son's bloodwork indicates he is otherwise healthy, and he doesn't eat fast food, I would suggest you eliminate his TV, computer, and other electronics time...or only allow an hour a day. Chances are he eats because he is bored.

Kinda jumping off what the first poster said, only allow food in the kitchen/dining room as well. That way he's not mindlessly eating while playing video games or whatnot.

Also, why not a daily family walk? That way you're not singling him out, will hopefully become part of his daily routine, and you can pull the "I'm the mom and I said you have to walk with us" reasoning of getting him out the door.

I don't want to come across as being nasty, but this is a topic I feel very strongly about. An overweight child (be it there are no medical reasons for it) are only like this because of the parents. You say he doesn't "want to" do any exercise, well how much TV, games, computers, etc.,etc are YOU letting him sit and do day in and day out. My kids had computer time this morning and all though there are no neighbor kids to play with right now, they aren't allowed any more computer time until this evening.

You say you don't keep "junk food" in the house and I'll go along with that, however how many plates of food are you letting him eat at each meal? It HAS to be more than one with the weight he is at. How are you preparing your food? It doesn't take alot of money like some people think to make changes in the way your preparing meals. Cut out the oils, butter, fats, etc. However I can't honestly say I believe your not keeping some junk food or he wouldn't weigh this amount (as I said before as long as all medical reasons have been ruled out).

Last I don't care if you like to exercise or not you've got to lead by example. Take bike rides together whatever it is, but don't give him the option, it's "we are going to go for a walk, bike ride, etc. tonight after dinner." And when he says he doesn't want to, well it's yes we are or tv, games, computer is taken away.

I know you probably think I am writing this as someone who is skinny and doesn't have weight issues, well not the case. No my kids are small however I have to watch what I eat and exercise. And my kids get to see this, we don't make a big deal out of it, we talk about how dad and I do it for health reason, not about weight. I hope this opens your eyes a little bit about what is actually going on here, step back and take a good long look. Otherwise your child would not be this weight.

One suggestion would be to serve meals already portioned out on plates. Everyone gets the same amount. The whole family could go for walks together so he doesn't feel picked on and everyone is included. When he goes to friends houses he must eat then. I have been told to eat 5 little meals a day instead of big meals. A little meal would be a yogurt and some almonds. Apple with peanut butter is a great snack and it is considered a little meal. A sandwich and fruit is also a little meal. Good luck. Dee

Does he get an allowance? If so, it's time to redraw his duties to include physical things like walking the dog, weeding the garden, taking out the trash, helping you carry in the groceries, etc. Do you have elderly neighbors? You should convey a sense of caring for the elderly by raking their grass (is he mature enough to use the mower safely?) and weeding their gardens...and walking their dogs! Good luck.

I agree with the last poster. You are the parent he is the child. He may not want to do many things but you as the parent make him because you know it is best for him. Don't give him the option to say "I don't want to." It is all in how you phrase it. Tell him that he will be walking the dog or walking with you. Good luck.

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