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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes itís the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow."
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.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes itís the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow."
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.
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.
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.
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!
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..
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!).