From Dave, Child's Age 14 - 04/09/01  Click here to reply  
Help! My son really needs help with his weight. He's 5'5 and weighs about 210 lbs. He eats constantly. Everyone at school makes fun of him, so he doesn't have any friends. He just sits in front of the TV and stuffs his face. He wears size 36 pants but they're so tight that he has to suck all the way in and have me help him button them. We're going shopping for new clothes tomorrow because all of the clothes he has now are too tight. I often mention weight loss to him, and he acts interested, but then I catch him in the middle of the night eating a whole pizza. I've talked to his doctor, but he doesn't know what to do. He doesn't like fruits or crackers, the only thing he ever wants to eat is pizza, hamburgers, etc. I need help. Can ANYONE help me?
Reply from pamula, Child's Age 14 - 12/29/01  - IP#:
My daughter is exactly like your son. Eats constantly and sits around to get even fatter. Its horrible, i jsut cant get her up and going. My daughter weighs 212 pounds. She has no friends, maybe you son and my daughter could talk, and maybe be diet buddies or something. Write me @pblr333!!!
Reply from Sue, Child's Age 40 - 04/13/01 
Firstly, change your doctor, if you can. You have gone to the doctor with a serious medical dilemma and he should at least be able to offer you advice or refer your son to a dietician.
Secondly - and this is hard to achieve - try to not keep any fattening food in the house where it is too easy for him to find and binge. If the fattening foods aren't there he will soon - if only out of hunger - turn to the healthier foods. I don't know where you live but in England there are lots of ranges of low fat pototo chips, low fat pop corn and really lots of the food that kids like in low fat versions. My daughter has a very sweet tooth and I knew a diet without at least some cakes or chocolate would be miserable for her so we went out and we found eclairs, low fat pizza, low fat lollies. Last week we found jelly (jello)at 9 calories for a large portion. Go supermarket shopping and hunt out these foods.
Thirdly, restrict his TV viewing and try and get him to exercise. Kids love TV and easier said than done but we bought an exercise bike so on cold days my daughter can exercise and watch TV at the same time.
Fourthly, he is obviously in a rut of TV, eating, TV etc. This must be broken otherwise he will just remain as he is.
Fifthly, work out a realistic number of calories and fat that a boy of your son's height should be eating. You may need to seek medical advice on this to be accurate. Then write down everything he eats and try and stick to the calories but be flexible, especially at first. The odd 200 either way doesn't matter at first. My guess is that at his weight, if he sticks to it then the weight will start to fall off fairly quickly and that will encourage him.
Sixth point, he loves hamburgers and pizzas. Well, we found low calorie pizzas, admittedly fairly small in size plus I believe you will be able to find low calorie burgers, if he absolutely must eat them. But a McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese and fries is almost 750 calories alone so try and avoid these foods if possible.
I devised a diet for my daughter where she was eating little and often so she never got hungry. If the diet is too restrictive and boring then he almost certainly won't stick with it. Get him to go around the supermarket with you and pick out the low calorie versions of foods that he already likes. Check the labels. It is very boring but you do need to have the information on how many calories and how much fat content the food contains. Obviously you can't watch him all the time and can't control what he eats all the time but try not to have the fattening food in the house, or hide it if you can. You do need his full cooperation to do it properly otherwise he will just binge when he is out of the house. So you do need to keep on at him but without bullying him into it. Try and try again to make him realise how destructive his current eating habits are. The penny will drop eventually.