My Overweight Child
A good portion of my childhood and adulthood has been spent being overweight. I hate being overweight!!!
For a guy, being overweight means you have moobs (aka Man Boobs), which means you either want to cover them up and/or slouch to reduce the moob effect. For me, it ruined my posture and made me slouch all of the time.
Being overweight has also made me feel unattractive. However, the worst part about being overweight – at least in adulthood – was how unhealthy it made me feel. Around age 38, my body felt like shit. I had very little mental or physical energy, my knees were weak and achy, and overall my body just felt horrible.
It took me until I was 38-years-old to make a change.
Now I see my son who is 9-years-old going through the same thing. He has the same insatiable appetite I’ve had all of my life and he’s also distracted by low-energy activities like Minecraft, and has a complete disinterest in sports. As a result, he is getting fatter.
Things I can and can’t control
At this point, depending on your background and life experience, you might be thinking one or more of the following:
- Just take away the computer and make your kid play outside
- Don’t worry about it, because he’ll grow out of it
- If you make too big of a deal about it, you’ll cause him to have an image or eating disorder
As a parent, we are responsible for the health of our children. We are also responsible for preparing them for adulthood. Because of that, I do feel some degree of responsibility for whether or not my child becomes obese or not. What I don’t take responsibility or blame for are his genetic predispositions.
While I may not be able to do much in regards to his nature, it’s still my responsibility to do what I can in regards to his nurture.
What does healthy nurture look like?
I don’t claim to have the answers. However, I will share with you what my wife and I are doing about it. And so far we’re starting to see some improvement in his weight.
- We are eating out less. It’s difficult to control calorie counts or to pick meals that are healthy when you eat out. We’ve never had soft drinks at home and rarely let them have them at restaurants, so that doesn’t seem to be the culprit. The culprit appears to be fried food and grain carbs.
- We discuss the importance of health. While it’s not a subject we bring up often, we have discussed what it means to be healthy, and why it’s important to be healthy. He has received that well and gets it. The best part is that we’ve seen how those discussions have made him more mindful about his choices.
- We exercise together. Life is busy, and when I get home from work, I really, really want to sit down and do nothing. But my son needs me. He needs me to teach and motivate him to be healthy. And like most boys, they idolize their father and want to be like him and be with him. I’m using this to my advantage towards his health by making exercise appointments throughout the week with him, just like I do for myself. No excuses. So far, this is working well.
There’s a lot of details that aren’t included in the above items. For example, all of the changes we’re making have been gradual. And for some things, like exercise, you have to get buy-in from your child. You can’t just make them do it. I mean, you can, but it won’t end well. They need to think that it’s their own decision, the same way adults do. As for the rest, our children need us to make good decisions for them, otherwise they would live off a strict diet of Twinkies. Oh great, now I want a Twinkie.