Suggestions to Help My Overweight Child

Updated on June 30, 2009
P.B. asks from Kennett, MO
14 answers

Please help!! I have a 13 yr old son that has a weight problem & I have tried everything I can think of & I'm running out of options. He is over 200 pounds at this time. I have tried to limited his food intake to 3 meals & 2 snacks a day only to sometimes find him late at night sneaking food into his room & that breaks my heart. I had also limited his sodas to once a day & currently at this time he doesn't drink sodas at all, he would rather have bottled water or juice which I think is wonderful. We have no sugar in the house, we use splenda, sweetnlow & nutrasweet. I've talked to his pediatrician about this & he says that he is about 50 pounds over weight & that as long as he says active he should lose it on his own. He loves to be outside & that is where he spends most of his time when not in school. I don't want to be the food police but I don't want him to have to go down the road that I've been down (I have had a gastric bypass,2 yrs ago) Am I just being paranoid? Please if anyone has any suggestions I would be grateful.

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So What Happened?

I just want to thank everyone for their advice & encouragement with my son, I never realized that some of the things that I thought was good for him could be also sabatoging him. I will get him involved some type of sports this summer, I also love the idea of walking with him around the track. Thanks again everyone for giving me some fresh ideas. I'll let you know how it goes.

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answers from New Orleans on

It sounds like you are doing everything correct. Keep it up. If you don't already have him in some sort of organized sports get him in something. Wheter it be soccer, football, tennis... anything. Even baseball or basketball. This summer, if you can, get him enrolled in sport camps... his brother can probably go too. Where I live they have everything from golf to bowling. I would think something like tennis, football, or basketball would be good for him. I have a friend who has a daughter overweight and she and her daughter go to a local high school here and walk the track together. They try and do it 3x's a week. Maybe if you do it with him that would make it a little fun plus that will give you some one on one time together. Does he have an IPOD? That might make it more fun. Good luck!!

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answers from Baton Rouge on

Hey! Maybe instead of making him the focus in the family how about suggesting that the whole family starts eating healthier. Or don't even say anything at all. Just start shopping smarter, and don't buy any tempting snacks so that if he does eat late at night it's a piece of fruit or yogurt instead. Learn together about making healthier food choices, and take him shopping with you. Make it interesting for him, have him pick out a new fruit or vegetable and learn how to fix it in a healthy meal. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jonesboro on

Have they checked his thyroid? Perhaps it's out of wack. He might also be going through puberty as well and it is sticking to his bones alitte.
Just keep up what your doing.



answers from Minneapolis on


Good for you for caring about your son's health. I think you are off to a good start. Be very careful with artificial sweeteners. Aspartame (Nutrasweet) is known to have serious side effects (including cancer) and Splenda hasn't been on the market long enough for anyone to really know what it will do long term. Consuming them also keeps your son as a "sweets" addict. If he is 50 lbs overweight and over 200 lbs on the scale, he is clearly eating more than 3 normal meals and 2 healthy snacks a day. In addition to sneaking food at night, he may be hitting the vending machines or getting a lot of junk food from friends at school.

I would highly recommend the Dr. Phil Weight Loss Solution for Teens. It is not a diet; it is permanent lifestyle changes that will help your son reach a healthy weight to live a longer and more energetic life. Another great book is "Sugar Busters." Chances are there are some foods that your son consumes that are sabotaging his ability to feel full, keep his metabolism up and his weight down. They are probably foods you think are healthy. (Examples: White flour, white pasta, white rice and foods made with high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils.) Chances are your son consumes these every time he eats because they are found in most cereals, snacks, juices, and baked goods. The companies who offer these foods will market them as “wholesome,” “enriched,” “whole grain,” or they will list all of the vitamins they contain to fool you into believing that it is a good food choice. Read the ingredients list closely. If you cannot pronounce some of the ingredients or the foods are highly processed, don’t eat it.

You are not being paranoid. By doing the research, leading by example and getting him on a healthier road, you are probably going to save him from gastric bypass 25 years from now. You are doing everything in your power to ensure he sees his grandchildren and great grandchildren and that is a great gift for a mother to give.

Best wishes,



answers from Fayetteville on

Keep only healthy foods and beverages in the house.

Don't use chemical sweeteners. They're really unhealthy. Try stevia, instead. I like KAL brand the best; you might find another brand that you like better.

As the others have said, keep him active.

Make sure he's drinking plenty of water and other fluids.

Make sure he's eating nutrient-dense foods. That way, he won't have so many cravings. If he's craving sweet things in particular, he might be dealing with a calcium deficiency. Don't give him extra dairy to make up for it. Dairy-based calcium is very poorly absorbed. Go for plant-based dairy, or just supplement. Make sure it's an absorbable form of calcium - The Now brand of calcium citrate powder is great, and you just add it to a drink. Doesn't taste like anything. It's also cheap per dose.

Also, don't limit his eating times. This can slow down his metabolism. Actually, let him eat whenever he wants, but watch his portion sizes (not too closely, but I have a hunch that his stomach is a bit stretched out, so he feels hungrier than he needs to; this will change pretty quickly with generally smaller portion sizes) and also keep an eye on what he's eating. If he doesn't eat breakfast, start insisting that he eat at least something (healthy, of course). Breakfast is an acquired taste. Skinny people tend to eat breakfast; overweight people tend to skip it. It's the most important meal of the day.

Don't let him eat much at night, or it'll just sit in his stomach and get absorbed all through the night instead of running through his system, getting burned off.

Make sure he's getting lots of fiber.

Make sure that he has quick access to healthy things. Chop those carrots into carrot sticks! Make things easy for him to pull out of the fridge. Think: if every day he substitutes just one bad snack for, say, a huge bowl full of watermelon, he'll peel off the pounds. (Let him eat all of the fruits and veggies he wants. Really. Yes, even the sugary fruits. You just can't gain or keep weight eating tons of fruits and veggies.)

Watch the fat in the salad dressings. Secret diet killer. Same with mayo.

Keep his meat, milk and egg intake super low. Animal protein makes the body sluggish. He will get plenty of protein everywhere else. Protein is packed into everything (except fruit). Vegetarians tend to be able to eat pretty much whatever they want and still stay slim. This is why. It's about metabolism, and having all that extra energy. Even just sitting in a chair, you end up burning way more calories.

Don't worry about sugar. Look at his fat intake. That's where the real problem tends to be.



answers from Fayetteville on

I'm certainly not trying to be ugly about the ordeal, but it's hard to change the habits of your children if your habits haven't changed. Have you changed the WAY you eat since your surgery? If you're keeping unhealthy foods in the house, it's defeating the purpose for your son. Try going to a low-fat, low-glycemic diet. If you can't find information on it on the web, go to your local hospital and ask to speak with the dietitian. They should be able to give you printouts for free. If you want your son to permanentally lose the weight and be healthy, the entire family has to make changes. The best way to start is by cutting out all fried foods. Instead of having french fries with dinner, do homemade fries - cut up potatoes and bake them. There's a book that REALLY helped me - It's called "New Dimensions in Health: From soil to psyche" It's by David A. Phillips and it's a comprehensive guide to natural health care. It explains your nutritional needs, an ideal diet, a healthy lifestyle, organically grown crops, wholesome cooking methds, and healing with health foods and herb teas. I hope that will help!



answers from Fayetteville on

If your son is in sports he will probably lose it himself. Have him help you make fun healthy snacks to eat when he gets home from school. He will probably injoy that and maybe he won't sneak food at night. I hope this helps. Good luck.



answers from Pine Bluff on

Since you mentioned that you had gastric bypass, I had to bring up some thoughts I've had on the subject. My husband had Roux-en-Y Nov '05 so I've seen firsthand the process one goes through.

Being overweight has a LOT LOT LOT more to do with our emotions and mental state than we tend to think. 16 mo post-surg I can tell DH's finally getting out of the black-cloud mentality that got him to surgery and stayed there afterwards. Your dr. may have been different, but his did NO counseling at ANY time, pre-op or post-op, & I'm sure you know reducing the size of your stomach is just *1* part of it all! The mental part is SO SO SO SO huge & in our case it wasn't dealt with (another story for another day, but I'm still PO'ed over that).

We all do things that are unconscious/2nd-nature. I'm trying to lose 40-50 pounds myself; like everyone else I have issues that feed in to my being overweight also. I am only speaking out of concern.

I think it's great that you're watching what he eats and trying to get the right foods. You don't say if the rest of your pantry/fridge has had an overhaul, but if not, please make sure to bring whole grains, lowfat dairy, fruits, & veggies into the picture as well. That's GREAT that he leans toward water & juice, but remember juices can be really high in sugar so you don't want him drinking too much.

I think that at the least your son should have a professional to talk to, and ideally a family therapy would be great. Sorry if this is rambling, but I hope something helps... I wish you the best after your surgery and I hope that you find the right combo of things to help your son (and the family). Take care!



answers from Shreveport on

I would look at this book. Body-for-Life by Bill Phillips. It could be very beneficial to you and your family. Watching what you are eating is important, but so is portion size. Watch for the hydorogentated oils,trans fats, in a lot of the packaged foods. They are even in the so-called health foods. Sometimes we think we are eating healthy, but we are only adding to the problem.



answers from New Orleans on

hi there ...
i have a friend that is a nutritionist
she has a website

maybe she can help




answers from Little Rock on

it probably runs in your family and might not be able to be totally avoided, but i would just keep healthy snacks around, carrots and dressing, etc, and keep him in sports or atleast active like you said, playing outside. i wouldn't worry about it if he's doing those things and is comfortable and able to do the things he enjoys.



answers from Texarkana on

Hi P.,
Both of my kids are overweight.But not what I would consider to be a health risk.They exercise and eat fairly well and not too much.Some of us are just bigger people,no matter what we do.I've spent a life time feeling uncomfortable,when really it wasn't that bad.No matter what I do I have extra weight and my kids are the same.As long as the habits aren't out of control and they are healthy the best thing is to help them feel comfortable in their own skin.Maybe talk to him about sneaking food but be honest and let him know your experiences.If you feels he's out of control maybe there is counciling or something he could get into.with other kids with the same problem.Good Luck



answers from Fayetteville on

Hi P.
I feel your pain. It is so sad to have an overweight child. I have found that not getting enough protein to be a huge culprit to the problem of feeling hungry! Carbs are important too, so don't jump on the low carb band wagon. They are essential. Filling your body up with the right amount of protein is like filling up your car with gas. It leaves you feeling full and keeps you from feeling like you need to snack. Of course, you can get protein from foods like egg whites and yogurts but who wants to eat 3 eggs worth of egg whites each day? I have found a protein shake that is awesome. It's called Amplify and it's available at most GNC stores. I know the GNC in Bella Vista carries it. You can use it as a meal replacement or not. If your son drinks it and still feels like he needs to eat, it's just fine. It can also be used late at night. There isn't anything weird in it. So it won't leave your child feeling like he has take something. It's even safe for pregnant women. Oh, and you don't have to "work out" when you use it. I've been drinking it for a year and I've lost 25 lbs. And I don't exercise. Give it a try! He won't feel like he's had to deprive himself because he won't feel hungry. Good luck.



answers from Shreveport on

Remember that diets don't work. He must first change his mind and attitude about food. Being healthly is a lifestyle. Now that you are removing junk food from your home, I think you should give him healthy alternatives that will help keep him satisfied (don't starve him) Try preparing low calorie alternative that won't pack too much of a punch and he can have as much as will fill him up. Try contacting a gym or a nutritionist who actully care about healthly living and not making money they should be able to advise you. I would try Fitness Lady (for advice and help) if you are close to them or ANY other gym that offers support. Also I think the only way for him to get the weight off would be to start working out AND being in some type of activity. He needs to walk, swim, or run at least 3x a week for 30 minutes that is not including his other activities. Let him know he is doing this for his future. Teach and train him about healthy living, we are our children's teachers what they see us do, they want to immitate.

I wish you and your family the best of luck you can do it.

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