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underwoodmommy28's avatar

How can I help my over weight son lose weight?

Asked by underwoodmommy28 (30 points ) March 22nd, 2012

My son, Hezikiah, is eight years old and weighs 125 pounds. My husband and I are divorced and are not on friendly terms. I have recently gotten my son the WII fit because he is hooked on video games. So to help he has to do 30 min of WII fit for every hour of video games. I only have him every other weekend so any creative ideas would be helpful.

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27 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Exercise is great but diet is way more important.

Watch him for a few days, what he is eating. See if he is binge eating. Like if he eats carbohydrate rich foods he binge eats on carbohydrate rich foods all day. See if you can detect patterns in whatever is making him overeat. Then replace those foods or forbid them until just before bedtime so he will not get into a binge eating cycle.

jca's avatar

You can control what is in the house. Don’t have bad choice foods in the house. Bad choice foods should only be for once in a while.

Maybe try exercising with him, like walking the track in the evening or something like that. Then maybe once in a while, you can get him a non food reward for his progress. Maybe a video game, or you take him to the movies or something.

jca's avatar

Get his father on board, too.

gailcalled's avatar

There is also the vital issue of the underlying causes. If you and his father are at war, he is in the middle. Overeating (or starving) are typical ways that unhappy teens try to have some control over their lives.

How about some therapy for him, where he feels safe to talk about his life?

And if you get rigid about exercise and food choices now, that might backfire.

ro_in_motion's avatar

You might want to check out www.reddit.com/r/loseit – it has a nice support section. Not age-appropriate for him to read, obviously, but you might get some good hints there as well.

funkdaddy's avatar

Great suggestions above.

I just want to mention that some times when kids have two homes they have trouble making friends in both places. Most active things he’d be doing at 8 involve other kids around the same age.

If he isn’t at your place often enough to make friends, maybe try out a couple of active things in the neighborhood he can do until he finds something he likes. Go to the park, frisbee golf, rock climbing, swimming, riding a bike, anything like that will get him out and about.

For me it was basketball, there was a court near my house and I’d just play either with whoever was there or practice by myself. I actually ended up meeting more people from the neighborhood that way then I ever did right on my street.

underwoodmommy28's avatar

His father was and still is abusive towards me and uses our son as a pawn. I have tried therapy but my son refuses. My ex tells me he will handle it when he is older. I just want to do my best to help him now. And yes we eat well balanced meals . I do not keep soda,chips, or sweets in my home.

gailcalled's avatar

@underwoodmommy28: It sounds a mess: I am sorry. Just try to keep things low key and unthreatening. Serve sensible meals, continue to keep all junk food out of the house and lead by example, which it sounds like you’re doing.

Perhaps you alone could see someone for some techniques on dealing with your ex and also with your son’s weight issue. This is a tough situation.

Is there a stepmother” Siblings or step-siblings? Does your son live with his father during the week and go to school there? Can you talk to any of the counselors at the school?

underwoodmommy28's avatar

I have tried all the normal routes but he blocks me at every turn. It will work out i’m just concerned for my son. I remember how cruel kids are. Thank you for the wonder full input.

Judi's avatar

Let him have as many vegetables and fruits as he wants, but limit the fats and starches.
Play with him. Exercise is just moving, so get out there and wrestle, hike, try geocaching, biking. Just have fun moving together.
Also maybe watch the documentary Supersize Me with him and discuss what he thinks about it.
Watch King Corn and Food Inc too.

Coloma's avatar

Some good advice, however, do NOT make him feel self conscious or somehow ” bad, wrong, less than” for his comfort eating/weight.
It is good you are aware and concerned, but, didn’t we all learn in kindergarten that people come in ALL shapes and sizes. Health concerns are positive but, some body types are also just prone to being on the heavier side.

What are your family body types like on both sides?
Do you have other overweight family members?
Pay attention, encourage good habits, but, whatever you do, DON’T give the kid a complex and send the vibes that he is not okay as he is.

The best thing you can do for your son while helping him to form better habits is to accept him as he is.

whitecarnations's avatar

How about signing him up for at your local sports club? I know I wish my mother had signed me up to baseball. I remember watching the team through a fence, and the coach asked me if I wanted to play some ball. I smiled and was like yeah I’d love to. But I was too poor to afford it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Do things with him. Both of you get out of the house. You only have hime for one weekend every two weeks. Don’t waste the time letting him play video games.

Look at Geocaching.com . If you have a GPS or a smart phone you can use it to find “treasures” that others have hidden in your area. He will really enjoy it. And you’ll both get exercise. You can both plan the adventure beforehand. Don’t bring any food with you on your trip – you don’t need it. You may carry water if you like.
PM me if you need some help or advice. I can get you going if you don’t get it.

noraasnave's avatar

Lead! Even though you may not have weight issues yourself, the impact of taking an interest in physical fitness, takes the first few steps for him. Your experience and confidence will become his own.

Be careful about limiting foods, this may be a coping mechanism for him that will throw him into a new level of misery.

Pick days of the week and times, and go walking, or jumping on a trampoline. Many children enjoy swimming, this fun exercise burns calories like crazy. Start slow and work towards longer times or more trips per week.

If you are looking into a child friendly piece of equipment, I suggest the “total gym”. It uses a fraction of the individuals own weight for the easy exercises. My children enjoyed taking turns doing exercises with me on this ‘machine’.

Don’t forget to incorporate his favorite music into whichever exercise. Music makes it fun, and helps make it ‘his’ event verses yours.

I hope this helps!

Nullo's avatar

Get him involved in Scouting. Physical fitness is important to them; it’ll help to preserve a good environment.

Ela's avatar

When I got divorced, the school councilor met with my children to help them with the transition and keep an eye on how it was effecting them at school. If he uncooperative toward therapy, I would talk to the school and see if they offer any sort of counseling for him. Unless he asked, I would not tell him I did this. I’d just go around him and let him think it’s something the school was doing. You can call and meet with the councilor anytime and see how he is adjusting socially there. If kids are being mean, the school would be able to find out and therefore you would also know.
As far as his weight, it sounds like you are on the right track and just need to keep it up. I believe exercise is important but eating healthy is more important in the long. I struggle with this because I have different eating habits then my ex and while I can’t control the junk he feeds them I can hope to at least balance it out by not having the junk in my home.
Also… keep in mind that he will be growing. If you can keep an eye on his weight and at least maintain it, he will grow into it. In getting taller he will naturally thin down as long as he doesn’t keep gaining.

robmandu's avatar

125 lbs. @ 8 years old? That’s very, very heavy. I’d be surprised if my 8 y.o. weighs 60 lbs. So I can see where it would be a challenge to get him engaged in team sports at this point. Here’s a point of reference.

1. Talk to your son about his weight. Ask what he wants for himself. Without his buy-in and cooperation, you will find progress difficult… especially with separated parents.

2. Keep on talking to him about it. Not judgmentally… but with open questions. Try focusing on what he would like for you to do to help him.

3. Continue talking to him about it. Recognize and reward his progress frequently. Tell him you’re proud of him and how much you love him.

4. Do recreational exercise together… find out what he likes and stick with that. Biking, scooters, playing at the park, frisbee, toss a football, whatever. Take him to professional sporting events to pique his interest, like a hockey game or a baseball game. Don’t make it about losing weight… it should be fun.

5. Some amount of sensible weight training might be fun for him… especially if he’s stronger already than his peers.

ro_in_motion's avatar

There’s lots of good advice here but I think the best idea is to surround him with active friends who actually play outdoors. Likewise, I think you and your ex- need to get on the same page on this and act as a team. He might not want to talk with you but this is too important for that. Since you’re seeing him only on ever other weekend, you probably have too little time to be an influence that sticks. :(

OTOH, you can do things together with your son. Hiking, sailing, climbing – whatever your area offers – would be fun to do. Without making a ‘thing’ out of it, you could always go, say, a little further hiking each weekend.

I don’t have children so feel free to ignore this! (In fact, feel free to ignore everything I say on Fluther!) ;)

jca's avatar

125 for 8 years old is very, very heavy.

Coloma's avatar

@jca It seems to be, but, we don’t know how tall he is. If he is 4 feet tall, yes, too heavy, but..if he is going to be a big, tall guy, and he is 5 feet tall, not so bad. The difference between needing to lose maybe 60 lbs. vs. 25.

Rock2's avatar

Take him to a doctor and get a professional opinion. Take that opinion to your son and your husband. You coulds also take him to a nutritionalist and make up a diet for him. He (and maybe you) probably don’t know what a good diet is.

Why is he heavy? What does he eat? Cut down on carbs and sugar. Eat good stuff.

jca's avatar

@Coloma: True, but I don’t think most 8 year olds approach 5 feet tall at all.

mattbrowne's avatar

Help him improve his willpower, which is like a muscle that can be trained.

Charles's avatar

“Help him improve his willpower, which is like a muscle that can be trained.”

Ya right.

mattbrowne's avatar

Here’s a great book for such a training

http://www.amazon.com/Willpower-Rediscovering-Greatest-Human-Strength/dp/1594203075/

which covers weight loss in detail.

“Baumeister discovered that willpower actually operates like a muscle: it can be strengthened with practice and fatigued by overuse. Willpower is fueled by glucose, and it can be bolstered simply by replenishing the brain’s store of fuel. That’s why eating and sleeping – and especially failing to do either of those – have such dramatic effects on self-control and why dieters have such a hard time resisting temptation.”

Nullo's avatar

@Charles No, he’s on to something. Willpower in general does work like a muscle.

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