Is gorging on "healtly" food still healthy? - FamilyEducation
Is gorging on "healtly" food still healthy?
02/25/2009 at 01:18 AM

My 8 year old step son has a voracious appetite. He can seriously eat more that an overweight adult male. His dad feels that as long as it's "healthy food", it's okay. I disagree. He's starting to get fat, and we're going to go broke on groceries. Any ideas?

I say that moderation is the key. Consuming too much of even a good thing can be a problem when it comes to calories. I would say to try to teach him the difference between being truly hungry and just wanting to eat more. He needs to learn to "hear" the bell go off when he is no longer hungry--not necessarily when he is full. Also, watch the snacking--it is better to have 6 small meals a day, than 3 huge ones and snacks all the time. Also, another question is why does he eat, is he eating emotionally or because he is hungry. I think all of this has to be addressed with him carefully, because you do not want to make too much of an issue of food in general. Make sure that he is active and he is getting out and exercising after he is consuming so many calories. Take a family walk after dinner. Marti

I have a couple thoughts on the subject. One being from your comment it sounds like you have some issues with your step son and you all need counseling but here are my thoughts regarding the eating: 1) not drinking enough water 2) not involved in enough sports 3) find the cookbook "the sneaky chef" 4) family exercise 5) let him help in the kitchen

Eating healthy is always a good thing, but monitor the times at which your step-son is eating and the quanties that he's taking in, especially if he's overweight. Three balanced meals a day, plus three healthy snacks between meals shld be sufficient. If your step-son in still "gorging", you can talk to his dr or maybe consult a nutritionist. It's possible he's just going through a growth spurt. It's also possible he cld be eating for emotional reasons as Marti said. I agree w/ Marti. Make sure your step-son is getting plenty of exercise. A family walk or day at the park is a great idea.

I need to somehow get mom and dad on board with me. Dad says that although he realizes the boy consumes his total daily calories just at breakfast alone, he is not willing yet to do anything about it. Mom thinks there is no problem - acts like it's cute and even has pet names for him such as "Garbage Gut". (Mom is at least 100 lbs. overweight, herself) Although he's only 8, he weighs what the growth chart says a 13 year old should! Last night at a family party, he ate more than half the appetizers laid out for over 20 people, so that some had to go without. He then ate 3 large dinners, and got pouty when I asked for just small pieces of cake and ice cream for all our kids. I feel stuck in the middle - wondering why his P's don't step in?

Can you get the boy a physical? There may be some physical or psychological issues that could be explored by an MD.

I am hearing so much about "have him eat at theses times" or "only allow him to eat this amount". Here is the problem, it sounds like your step son has an eating disorder, either he has a thyroid problem which can cause theses issues, or there is an emotional issue that he is using food to cover. I would talk to his doctor and have some blood work done. In the mean time have him drink a full glass of low fat or fat free milk or milk with Ovaltine about half an hour before a meal, this will fill him up and he will be less prone to eating like a 30 year old man. I did like the suggestion of having family exercise time, that would be great, plus it sets a good example. Also don't use the word DITE, that will make him rebel against what your are trying to accomplish. The other thing, a lot of people think that what they are eating is healthy, when it is really worse than they think. Lots of FRESH foods, little processed foods and very few sweets is how you need to feed him, BUT you can not just change his way of eating, you have to change the whole families way of eating. If you and your husband are eating unhealthy then he will do the same. You have to do this slowly or it will backfire. Rewards are also a great way to help him get healthy, like if he runs 2 miles in a week, then you can rent a movie, or go to the local pool and take a few of his friends, just don't make the rewards food. Also don't mention his weight problem to him, or around him, it will only make him feel bad about himself and that can lead to more eating. This is a process that take a while, but if you are serious about making the change, and you and your husband participate then it will work wonders. Also remember that everyone slips up and that even thought school lunches are not the healthiest they will not completely blow what you are doing, let him have lunch at school, it will make him feel less deprived, only limit him to 1 ice cream a week. PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE, that is the biggest thing praise him for being more active, don't criticize him, and talk, let him know you are there if he needs to talk, but don't pressure him. Share some of your memories of child hood with him, especially the embarrassing stuff, if he knows you trust him enough to tell him that stuff he will start to trust you more and the underlying issue might come out or resolve its self. Good luck.

Thank you for the suggestions. I have come to realize that Dad is not on board with me on this. He realizes that his son eats more than double his daily calorie allotment, yet says he is not willing at this time to do anything about it. Dad is the one who doles out the ice cream, and happens to give huge, whopping portions. I got out a measuring cup and showed them what a portion size is, but he still eats 4-6 portions at a time. I have other posts regarding this kiddo - newest one is "What's wrong, here" under "general parenting issues".

Ask at your stepson's doctor's office for information on portion control. They will also have information on the health issues that overeating and being overweight will cause for this child. My ex also overfed his 3 children. They are all overweight (2 are obese) miserable adults. One stated to me as an adult that her father obviously did not care enough about them to say "no" to her and her sisters. She thanked me for fighting for them, though at the time she thought I was "mean" to my children. She stated she wished she had listened to me and that my children, who were not allowed to over eat and remain slender, are the fortunate ones.

Hi, and first of all I'd like to say well done to you. You're obviously concerned for your step son and want the best for him. Of course it's always better to encourage healthy food over junk food but there still needs to be boundaries. Rather than restricting the food intake perhaps you could help him to understand food better. As a life coach I work a lot with peole who are overweight and increasingly children who are overweight. I am not a dietician and almost never agree with putting a child or adult for that matter on a diet. Instead I ask them to think about the foods they eat and how they make them feel. Children need to understand that food helps keep us going (like a car) but if we over fill our bodies we get fat and unhealthy, no matter what food we eat. Encourage him to slow down when eating and stop evert few mouthfulls and ask himself if he is feeling full. Let him know that he needs to stop eating when he starts to feel full. Children do need to have snacks in between meals to keep energy levels up. Also I would encourage him to be more active, get involved with him in some physical activities even if it's just kicking the ball around in the garden, it all helps. Lead by example. Also if money is seriously an issue, get him involved in pricing meals, it's a good learning activity and it will show how much he is eating. A word of warning - In my experience when dealing with famlies with overweight children, all family members should encourage an overall healthy lifestyle and not focus on the weight. He should feel motivated and encouraged. And parents must lead by examle. I hope this helps and Good luck. Wendy Tomlinson