Weight Loss Support - Advice for teen son weight issue HELP!

08-02-2009, 03:02 PM
I have a 14 year old son that has struggle with weight issues just like I have for most of my life. I feel that I am responsible for his problems and he is so sad. In the last year we have moved to a new community and he struggled this past year in school with his classmates making fun and calling him an elephant. Not only is he overweight but he is over 6' tall and his shoe size is a 14 as well. He seems to not know how to handle his body he looks akward just trying to run sometimes..... He has asked for my help with exercise and eating so he can get into shape and I want to help him but I am not sure where to start if any of you have any suggestion please send them to me.... Help! Thnks.

08-02-2009, 03:21 PM
I can tell you I feel nothing but sympathy for you. My own brother went from a healthy, thin, active little boy to an overweight teenager. His shoe was size 15 at 15 and his height was 6'5 at that same age. He dreamed of playing basketball. Yet he was alot heavier than his peers. He gave up that, and became heavier. Now he is very overweight. He never says anything about his weight but I know it hurts him.

First thing to to do is start walking. Both YOU AND HIM. Walk together. Then get him to eat healthier things with you. Don't take away all of his junk food, but get him to eat more healthy and give him a little junk a few times a day. Tell him YES, you can have some just not a whole bowl. We can both get healthier and we can start now so you can be a healthier adult too.

Tell him about your own struggles and tell him you don't want him to go through any of that. Be REAL with him.

We are here for you to support you.

08-02-2009, 03:21 PM
Fourteen is a tough age! They do seem very awkward in their bodies at that age. And moving to a new community ... I think it takes about a year before the new-ness of The New Kid wears off.

He's a tall kid! That will pay off for him in the future. With that large of a shoe size, it wouldn't surprise me if he still grows a few inches taller. If you can, start with a physician to make sure he doesn't have a medical condition that is making him overweight.

Teenaged boys often tend to like meat, so seek out lean meat choices for dinner: fish, chicken, shrimp, some cuts of beef. Pair that meat with a huge garden salad and a healthy carb (sweet potato, brown rice), and a tall glass of milk.

Stock your refrigerator with easy-to-eat vegetables (a container of cut carrots, celery, broccoli, etc) to munch on. Offer fruits instead of pastries or packaged sweets. For breakfast, you could make smoothies with yogurt, fruit, and maybe protein powder. Teenaged boys DO eat a lot, so make sure you have large quantities of healthy foods.

The other component is exercise. Does he have a bike? Can he start walking to his friends' houses instead of getting a ride? Maybe after dinner every night, you can go for a family walk. And save all the physically active chores for him: cleaning the garage, shoveling snow, mowing lawn, digging up a garden plot, etc.

Good luck! I think modeling behavior through your own efforts will be a good influence on him too.

08-02-2009, 03:31 PM
Well you see just last week we finally moved into our new house and it is in a new community as well. Just a year ago we moved from Arkansas and we are now living in Ontario, Canada so he doesn't have any friends yet. He will be in the band he doesn't seem to like sports he says he doesn't have any cordination with that LOL.... I am trying to encourage him to join some clubs at school so he can meet new people but he is so shy. He would stay in his bedroom all the time if I didn't make him come out. I do like your idea of walking after dinner. This year at school the hours are different since there is some construction going on so he will be going to school from 12.50 - 5:30pm I am thinking maybe we will go for a morning walk and then maybe one after dinner since we have some walking trails just down the street from our new house.

Thanks for the help.

08-02-2009, 03:36 PM
walking trails would be awesome! There you go. And the time with you will teach him to open up better. you can make him more confident. He doesn't need to be involved in sports to get healthy.

08-02-2009, 03:55 PM
Mystical, 14 is a really tough age for boys. My DS14 isn't interested in sports either, but has no aversion to yard work, vacuuming, walking the dog, fishing, hiking, etc. It sounds like your son still has not quite been able to negotiate the changes in his height and bigger feet. Was his growth spurt sudden or did it occur slowly over time?

While my son does not have a weight problem, he has struggled socially at school. Boys can be so cruel to each other--and not in a covert, sly way like girls--everyone hears and sees it. It's all out in the open. My son moved to the school he is at in 7th grade and it was a breath of fresh air after his previous (and much smaller) private, religious school, where he was the target of much teasing and bullying.

I think being in a musical group is awesome. My son plays the Bass in the Orchestra. He has played the guitar for many years and started the Bass the summer before 7th grade with private lessons with the director. Being in the Orchestra has provided him with a few built-in friends with similar interests.

08-02-2009, 04:04 PM
I agree with the above posters.. all good ideas. Very tough situation and one that I fear for my own son. So, we are working on it now before it becomes a self-esteem issue at that critical age (he's only 8 now, but chubby). Hopefully some of the below will help you a bit!

We have worked on my son's eating habits to where he has not gained any weight for about the past 8 months. I basically want to stabalize him so he will "grow" into his current weight, but recently we have also added more activity... so maybe he will slim down sooner than growing into his weight.

Here are some things I am working on with him, and although my son is young your son might benefit as well:

1. The food he really loves we have found healthy substitutes for. For example, no regular hot dogs, only the 98% fat free turkey ones. For pizza, we use a low carb tortilla for the crust and put lean meats & low fat cheeses on it then bake it in the oven just like a pizza. He used to LOVE regular pancakes. Now we have found some organic/multi-grain toaster waffles that he likes just as well and sugar free syrup (sweetened with splenda, not aspartame). He loved cheetos & doritos, but now they have both in BAKED form so we buy those for lunches. Sugared cereal - buy multi/whole grain cereal and sprinkle with Splenda. Instead of whole milk he now drinks 1% milk. You get the idea - you have to search around a maybe be a little creative, but once he sees that he can still have his favorite things it becomes fun to try and make or find alternatives.. kind of like a game. :)

2. We always shop together. If we are at the store and he says something like, Mom.. can we buy some ice cream treats? We look together in the frozen foods for a healthy alternative and he gets excited when we find one.

3. Non-healthy foods are fine one meal per week for him - like if we go out.

4. I keep a plastic tub of healthy snacks in the fridge that he can have all he wants of during the day. So if he is hungry in between meals, he just goes to the fridge and picks something from the plastic tub - grapes, baby carrots w/low fat ranch dressing, apples, etc.

5. We keep the evils out of the house (candy bars, cupcakes, etc). But, if he goes over to grandma's house or we stop at a convenience store.. he can have a cookie or two.. or even a 3 musketeers once in while. I am hoping to teach him that he *can* have the foods his friends & other kids he sees.. but in moderation, with the greatest portion of his diet being healthy.

6. We do fitness together. My kids come with me to the little fitness center we have here in town. The only rule for them is that the entire time they are there they must be active (small kids get bored easily on one thing lol!) - even something as simple as jumping up and down. Also, we have a Wii so I got Wii Fit and Wii Active - he is a game lover and will do those for an hour or more at a time. Also, 14 would be an awesome age to start some weight lifting training. He might really get into trying to get "buff"! I just got a set of dumbbell weights at walmart for only $20.

7. We celebrate little victories together. High-fives & good vibes. :)

I am hoping that he will see that eating right isn't a *BAD* thing. It's a good thing and you are loving yourself by doing it!!! At this point I am just trying to be a good example to him. I am losing weight totally for myself, but he sees how good I am feeling about it and the food choices I am making.

All that said, teens like to have some control and decision making power. Make sure he knows he is in control over his new ways and it is up to him - Mom can help but shouldn't have to be the food police. :)

08-02-2009, 04:04 PM
My advice is to make the changes together, just like other people said. Just lead by example. Don't stock unhealthy foods in your house, and make sure there are plenty of alternatives. Teenagers like convenience (who doesn't?), so have cut up fruits and vegetables on hand. I think since he is so tall, a guy, AND a teenager, that simply changing the types of foods he eats as opposed to trying to restrict the amount of food would work much better.

He probably doesn't like sports because he doesn't think he's good at it (it comes with practice though!). Maybe individual sports might be better? You could look into getting a nice mountain bike if you can afford it. That is so much fun to start on easy trails, and one **** of a workout!

08-02-2009, 04:09 PM
It's hard being overweight as a teenager (I would know) because it seems like everyone else is eating junk food and doesn't have a problem, so eating 'healthy' seems like punishment sometimes. Although I definitely don't feel that way anymore, I choose to eat well now.

08-02-2009, 04:32 PM
losermom my son has no issues with doing the laundry, taking out the trash or mowing the lawn. He has always had a problem with his weight this past year he grew about 6 inches over just a few month but his father did the same when he was his age.

My son was in the band for 2 years and then last year after then move the school didn't have a band class. This year they do so that will be good for him. He has also been in the choir for 3 years.

BingoWings Thanks for all the helpful tips I will be using them. He love to go grocery shopping so that will be fun for both of us to have some quality time together.

aneleh We have changed our basement into a workout room with a wii fit in there as well since he loves video games.:carrot:

08-02-2009, 04:37 PM
Glad to be of some help, mystical - keep us updated!!!

OH - and I did forget one thing. I taught my son how to read food labels. So when we are in the store, he looks at the fat percentage, serving size & calories. He gets a kick out of comparing two things and it's a kick to watch it. Plus, that is a long-term skill that will help him his whole life. Half the battle is just being aware of what is in food. Once you are aware, you can make a good choice. :yes:

08-02-2009, 04:52 PM
you have a wii fit, try the My Fitness Coach, it's a serious workout. :)

Also, I don't know if he's much an organizational person who could benefit from something like this, but I found out that www.sparkpeople.com has a site for teens, with all the community help and stuff that sparkpeople has. www.sparkteens.com but for some reason I find that women are more into the tracking and community support than men so who knows if that would be helpful or not? Just a suggestion.

here is a link about sparkteens from sparkpeople.com http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=930

08-02-2009, 04:52 PM
Great ideas here!I have 3 boys.They are not super athletic.They do not enjoy contact sports at all.But we have found some alternatives.My oldest loves golf and will golf in college this fall.He is kind of a loner, shy also.Golf was something he could do on his own without feeling like anyone was watching or making fun of him.My youngest is in Karate.Not a school related sport but at a private martial arts studio.Most offer private lessons if he does not feel comfortable with the group thing.Getting 3 puppies in 2 years was also a great exercise motivater for my boys.They are responsible for their daily walks plus they are completely in love with them.He sounds like a great kid!

08-02-2009, 05:10 PM
Thanks, we are actually in the process of finding a dog but haven't decided what breed we want. I have always had small dogs since it will be an inside dog. I was thinking on getting a west hiland or a teddy bear yorkie (primarly for me) lol..

Is the wii active any good?

08-02-2009, 05:22 PM
Do you think he would go to the gym if you got him a membership and some trainer sessions? That might help with his self-esteem and also help with the awkwardness. I wonder too if maybe working with a male trainer who is supportive could help to boost him more than walking with his mom would (not that walking with you wouldn't be a great step in the right direction!).

08-02-2009, 05:24 PM
Hi there! My niece had the same issue. My SIL took her to a nutritionist for a couple of visits after asking her if she wanted some help organizing her meals.

The other thing is to see if there are any programs that he could get involved with that would help him socialize. And they don't have to be sports related, but it would be good. Especially if you could find an active activity that would see his height as an advantage. IF you could get him involved and the coach and you have a talk, perhaps he'll get really enthusiastic about the new activity and work hard at it.

The other thing, too, and I don't want to sound rude or condescending, is to make sure that you are living by example. You and the rest of the family. No diet for just one! I personally have found that you can do Weight Watchers without the rest of the family knowing about it. Seriously. If you are prepared to cook and serve foods, the recipes are extremely family friendly and you can control the portions that you dish out. It would be a lifestyle change, but I'll bet noone in the family would be the wiser, because the recipes are all "normal" -- stews, chilis, breads, and so on...

Hope it goes well!


08-02-2009, 05:51 PM
I agre with kiramira. also cooking healthy for the whole fam will make him feel less singled out and not like an inconvenience.

08-02-2009, 06:56 PM
From my own experience- I strongly suggest not restricting anything. My mom did that to me when I was a kid and have been on the diet roller coaster ever since.
Instead, explain the difference between healthy and non healthy foods and the different effects they have on the body. Ask him to pay attention to how his body works when he eats the foods-but that he can have whatever he wants

I second the suggestion for karate. This builds mental confidence and physical strength.

With confidence and knowledge-he will be prepared to do anything and be anything he wants.

08-02-2009, 09:02 PM
We have put together a family menu for the month and we all as a family have sat down and put our favorite foods and I will fix everyone's favorite foods just in a more healthy way. As always in our home I do not seperate my diet from anyone else's because my husband and I want our children to learn a healthy lifestyle since we are still struggling with this we will all learn together and hopefully my children will not have the same struggles I did. Thanks for all you advise it has been very helpful. My son really loves to snack on veggies and fruit so I am taking him with me shopping so he can help pick out some foods that he will enjoy and want. :)

08-02-2009, 09:32 PM
A friend of mine at work has a teen-age son that was over 6' and around 250 pounds...he didn't want to do anything but eat, play computer and watch TV. My friend put his son in a kick-boxing class...you would not believe the difference! AMAZING!! I didn't know it was the same kid when I saw him, after a year, two months ago.

You are getting great advice here...good luck to you and your son!

05-26-2011, 01:04 AM
I'm 16 so i'm pretty close to his age. (i'm a girl tho)
What i found out that helps me is when my mum does the stuff with me.
I am vegetarian so thats always an optio it really helps to get rid of thoes bad meats. I lost 15 pounds turing veggie. But mostly teach him to eat ealthhy and when he does something good. like...run a mile or does ___ push ups he gets a treat like a candy bar or something. Treating people is always the best way to get results becasue you look forward to do the stuff you ahve to do.

05-26-2011, 05:36 AM
Be careful about putting him on a restricted diet since he is a teenager and he's still growing. The last thing you want is him to grow up to be undeveloped and malnourished because that can cause all manner of health problems in later life. Doing things like cutting out meats is not going to be effective as it's much harder to get a variety of protein into a diet. I do not believe weight loss is an appropriate motivation for vegetarianism. Protein really is the BEST foodgroup for dieters and teenagers. You'll be much better limiting candy and other treats so that they are moderated and teaching usuable healthy habits that he can maintain for the rest of his life.

Of course OP knows this already.

05-26-2011, 11:02 AM
From my own experience- I strongly suggest not restricting anything. My mom did that to me when I was a kid and have been on the diet roller coaster ever since.

It is such a touchy topic. My oldest son is 13. I have never said the words "I am on a diet." I don't discuss what I eat with anyone, including my kids. But after a month or two, he noticed the changes in the way I was eating and looking. When he asked "Are you on a diet?" I would tell him that I was just eating healthier. Then when he would see me eating chocolate or icecream, he would ask "Are you allowed to eat that?" Grrrrr, pet peave, I would tell him I am ALLOWED to eat anything I want.

But suddenly, he is very conscious of his weight. He is not overweight, but he does have a tummy and many of the kids his age are shooting up in height and losing that baby fat belly. He hasn't hit that growth spurt. I have instituted a family rule that one of the the kid's two daily snacks must be fruit. He put himself on a "diet" a couple weeks ago. I had a hard time knowing how to deal with that. I tried to tell him that he does not need to diet. He just needs to cut back on the icecream and chips and make healthier choices. The "diet" only last a couple days, but I know he is unhappy with his belly, but really I have no idea how to handle it so that in the future he isn't blaming me for it like I see so many overweight people blame their parents.

05-26-2011, 12:44 PM
My "baby" (ds 7) is chubby. *sigh* So far, he seems fine and unconcerned with his appearance. I've tried for years to keep his weight in check. He's built just like my husband, and his side of the family has major weight issues. Part of the reason I've been overweight for many years has to do with eating the way they do. Ultimately, it was up to me to fix it for myself. I've tried to get my husband to eat healthier, but he's just not ready. Anyway, my son is very active, despite his weight. My husband won't let me modify his diet any more than I have. I'm still trying. I just have to be sly. LOL

I have him enrolled in cub scouts and soccer. Maybe getting your son into karate or some other outside sport would help? You could try hockey or something else he likes to do. I was in the marching band in high school. It's actually very physically demanding. For me, though, exercise did little to help me lose weight. Diet changes were the only thing that really did any good.

You might try a psychologist, too. Not for weight loss, but for self-esteem problems. It might help him get through this transition better. Just a thought.

05-26-2011, 01:04 PM
The one thing besides restriction I would warn about it enrolling children in sports just to thin them down. I hated activity as a child in part because I saw it as punishment for being fat. I never felt my mother approached it from "here is something you might love to do" but rather "here is something you need to do because there is something wrong with you." It took a long time to break through that and not feel like exercise was a punishment.