How to deal with an overweight 10 year old sneaking food?
My son is 10 years old. He is actually pretty active. He plays multiple sports during the year, and plays outside with his friends whenever the weather permits. However, he is overweight, and the recent jump in his weight is concerning us. He is now 4'10 and weighs 145lbs. He comes from a large family and I don't expect him to be thin, but I do not want him to continue this path, as I fear his weight will eventually interfer with his sports and everyday life. He has been sneaking food for quite some time, and my husband and I have tried everything under the sun to discourage this behavior. I am at a loss, and my husband has resorted to "shaming" my poor son whenever we find evidence of our sons sneaking. We eat pretty good most of the time. I cook healthy, and make sure there is a balance of fruit and vegetables in our daily diet. We have an "open" hunger policy in the house. If my son is hungry, he is encouraged to go into the kitchen and have any fruit or vegetable he wants. Rarely I will have a few York peppermint patties or a small amount of candy. In those cases, each family member has their own piece, and they may eat it whenever they would like. Unfortunately, there have been times that my son has eaten all of it, even though he knows only one is his. We do have a snack cupboard that is above the stove. It on a usual day with have a few different types of low fat granola bars, 2 different flavors of Baked Lays Chips, and a bag of pretzels. Our son has eaten all of the granola bars so many times recently that we have threatened to lock the cupboard. He eats and likes more veggies and fruits than any kid I know. He is also allowed low sugar Jello Pudding, apple sauce no sugar added (which he loves as he has had it since he was a baby) and fat free cottage cheese whenever he wants. I have tried making kid friendly snacks, ie fruit kabobs, veggie bowls made out of colorful bell peppers. He seems to really appreciate them, but then I go into the bathroom and find food wrappers. My husband and I recently discovered that he had snuck an entire package of precooked sausage over the course of 2 days. He has even apparently snuck just Taco Bell Hot Sauce packets. I do not know what to do about this, and with my husband and I have opposing views on how to handle this, I don't know how to help my son. Please help!
I'd take a different tact---- how's the physical activity going? So, I'd amp this up and you could even make it a family affair. Does he play any sports? Bike riding, scooter riding, rock climbing, get a trampoline (my boys jump and jump and kids like that for many years . . . jumping is great exercise). Sign him up for swim lessons, karate, etc. Increase his physical activity daily.
And if he over eats, "okay son, let's go for a power walk or light jog". Follow up every time he eats a box of granola bars with this extra activity (but make sure he's already doing plenty). Keep healthy things which it sounds like you try to do.
But I tell ya . . . I'm in my 40's, not overweight (well, I'm working on that, LOL) and if a bag of candy is sitting there . . . I can easily lose my head and eat too much of it. It's just SOOO good. So, remember he's a kid.
Otherwise, you'll have to look into something like food hoarding/psychological issues or Prader Wili (with obsessive food gathering, weight gain as key symptoms). good luck
Apparently your son is eating for reasons other than hunger it seems. You have been more than generous in what you 'allow' him to choose for his own snack(s.) However, at his age of ten, he is obviously not yet prepared to make the best healthy diet decisions.
Your choices are rather limited. You can stop bringing anything other than health food into the house - but then everyone gets punished that way. You seek out a therapist/nutritionist to help your son through his issues regarding food - or lastly, you accept his eating pattern and just hope that as he reaches puberty, he will grow out of it.
I had a brother in law that when through sneeking food when he was @ 12. He's a wonderful guy and he actually owned his own catering business for years! He never quite got over his love affair with food ... and he is on the heavy side - but a sweet young man! I just know that punishment and/or humiliation didn't work to curb his enthusiasm for food. I honestly don't know what the 'answer' may be - other than counseling. I wish you all the very best! Take care ...
I agree that its eating for more than hunger, possibly frustration does family get on his case about the weight, check out the dynamics in the house, has he older siblings , and also why get those foods in if you know he eats them , ?
The family I nanny for has most of the junk food locked in a cabinet above the sink. The kids have to ask a grownup to open it for them with the key. That might be something you might want to look into.
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