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How do you handle kids that overeat?
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 7:36 am
How do you respond when a kid eats way way way too much and was skinny age 0 to 9 and then slowly started gaining weight over the years but now is rapidly gaining weight ? Kid is now considered obese..
Watching them by meal times I literally am horrified and have no idea how to respond . Kid fills up huge huge portion on plate by shabbos meal and eats the whole thing with gusto...then refills again and again.
Or Kid will eat 4 lunches between breakfast and supper ..meaning they eat every hour and a half a huge meal..
The only thing I've been able to say until now is please leave some for your siblings....when you take 3 portions your not leaving anything for them...
But I feel like at this point it's time for more intervention I'm just not sure what..
Kids eating habits are starting to horrify me..
I do also say remember to chew between bites...slow down while you eat...no need to inhale your food. Kid is eating way too fast.
But is it OK to start limiting refills? To point out the rapid weight gain?
Or to limit let's say portions. kid takes easily 5 slices of challah with the fish course....
Don't know what's ok to say and what's not.
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Success10




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 7:40 am
Did you take the child to the doctor and do bloodwork? Perhaps there is a medical cause to such hunger....

Also, if it's a boy, boys need to eat. A lot. But they are usually super active and burn it off. Is your child getting enough exercise?
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amother
Leaf


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 7:41 am
My first thought would be an in depth medical examination. It sounds to me that the part of the brain that signals satiety may not be functioning properly. It could be hormonal or neurological. In any case appropriate interventions would be based on the results.
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amother
Oldlace


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 7:55 am
amother OP wrote:

Don't know what's ok to say and what's not.


I would stay away from, "No need to inhale your food."

Leave some for others, chew your food, slow down; these are OK to say to a child younger than 10, but even then, not if you are constantly repeating yourself.

If the child is older or if these are things you find yourself saying daily, please stop. It's either not working or you are turning yourself into your child's conscience, not giving him a chance to develop his own inner voice.

Instead, have a heart to heart conversation about what is happening, especially the fact that he is eating other family members' portions. Hear him out without judgment.
Have him checked for medical causes. Offer a dietician, but he will probably decline. Don't push it.
Do anything you can to get him to develop an active hobby, even bribing, if necessary.
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amother
Hyssop


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 7:57 am
I agree a medical review is in order. It is expected for teens to eat alot but this seems excessive.
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amother
Caramel


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:05 am
Im curios to what your portion sizes are??
He is a growing teen
They eat a LOT.
I dont think 5 pieces of challa is that much- its the first thing in the meal hes hungry....
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amother
Mimosa


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:09 am
I understand your concern. Firstly I would also get medical workup to rule things out. Also, it is not uncommon for children to put on weight prepuberty.
But, as one who was an overweight child and who knows many others with similar experiences, TREAD VERY CAREFULLY! You are much much better off not commenting than ruining your child's self image, feelings about themselves, and relationship with food. The damage of that is much much greater than the excess weight and has a lifelong impact. Do not minimize it. If you speak with professionals they will agree. There was a writeup in the mishpacha not long ago that brought out a lot of this too. Educate your child in healthy eating at every size, and on loving themselves and their body despite the extra pounds. It will carry him much farther!
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amother
DarkMagenta


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:13 am
I didn’t say anything and now my 13 yr old is over 150 lbs more than he should be. It is extremely frightening for a parent to watch it happen and not be able to help.
He’s been to the doctor and all the doctor does is give him a speech about portion control and low carb etc . and that he must exercise .
It doesn’t make a dent . He doesn’t want to move is already heavy body. It’s much deeper than just portion control and exercise . And also , staying quiet doesn’t help, but saying something can make it worse . So you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
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amother
Sapphire


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:14 am
I would allow huge portions, that are NOT dense in calories.

On the one hand, you have the things that are very filling, but not very calory dense:
- white fish (100cal per 100g, he can literally eat kilos of it)
- chicken breat (100 cal per 100g)
- turkey breast
- tuna (without mayonnaise, without fat) is also good.
- boiled potatoes..

And I would combine it with lots of fresh fruit and veggies, which are even less calorie dense.

I would also recommend a hot soup to start a meal and a hot beverage to end a meal.
Soup contains water which fills, and leads people to eat 1/3 less than if they ate the same ingredients, but not as a soup. A hot beverage at the end of a meal leaves a strong sensation of satiety.

Hot beverages (maybe with a bit of milk) are also a good snack, as are carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, kohlrabi, sellery stalks, bell pepper, and any kind of frut. Orange, apple, pear, blueberries, strawberries, nectarine, watermelon, etc.

Stay away from beverages that contain calories, including apple juice or orange juice. Water and teas are best. Milk is ok, although it contains calories, because it contains nutrients the child needs..

Look to it that the child has enough exercise (play soccer, swim, play with other children outside, bike, walk to school, martial arts, boxing, jump rope, etc.)

Edited to add:

If he likes sandwiches, give him whole wheat bread or pumpernickel bread or rye sourdough bread.
Whole grain in general is more satisfying than white bread. Don't provide white bread in your house, except maybe challos for shabbos. But even there: limit the quantity that is available and portion it out equally to everyone, and whoever wants more has to take whole grain bread.

Another trick that might or might not help: use smaller plates. Studies show this works: if people like to fill their plate to the brim, give them small plates, they will still fill them to the brim, but with less food.
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amother
Brickred


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:19 am
Def don't mention weight at all and definitely try not to make it into a personal struggle between the two of you because then the kid just keeps eating to spite you.

I agree with the other posters who said to talk to a doctor. Every kid is supposed to see a doctor once a year in any case so I would mention this to the doctor quietly and then see if he thinks it's normal and what he recommends next with regard to blood work or a specialist.
Hatzlacha, it isn't easy.
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amother
Sapphire


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:23 am
amother DarkMagenta wrote:
I didn’t say anything and now my 13 yr old is over 150 lbs more than he should be. It is extremely frightening for a parent to watch it happen and not be able to help.
He’s been to the doctor and all the doctor does is give him a speech about portion control and low carb etc . and that he must exercise .
It doesn’t make a dent . He doesn’t want to move is already heavy body. It’s much deeper than just portion control and exercise . And also , staying quiet doesn’t help, but saying something can make it worse . So you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Yes, that's a bit of a vicious circle. Swimming and walking (a dog??) are the two activities that can help in such a situation.
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amother
Red


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:23 am
Switch to handing out plates with portions instead of self serve.
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:33 am
I did already take him to doctor..didn't say a word just spoke quietly to doctor . Got blood work. Everything came back perfect.

He eats pretty healthy in general. I'm not worried about what he eats. Just his intake is too much. Think an entire full size plate completely full, like brimming full, and then refill that 2 or 3 more times.
Think erev shabbos lunch came home from school ate 3 sandwiches with turkey deli etc and then less than 2 hours later sitting down to rice and chicken. And then one hour later potato kugel and then an hour and a half later the shabbos meal..
And then he plopped on the couch and couldn't move.

So just let him eat that much and watch him steadily gain weight ? I really don't want to make it a struggle.. basically just say nothing? There is literally nothing that is correct to say ?
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:41 am
amother Oldlace wrote:
I would stay away from, "No need to inhale your food."

Leave some for others, chew your food, slow down; these are OK to say to a child younger than 10, but even then, not if you are constantly repeating yourself.

If the child is older or if these are things you find yourself saying daily, please stop. It's either not working or you are turning yourself into your child's conscience, not giving him a chance to develop his own inner voice.

Instead, have a heart to heart conversation about what is happening, especially the fact that he is eating other family members' portions. Hear him out without judgment.
Have him checked for medical causes. Offer a dietician, but he will probably decline. Don't push it.
Do anything you can to get him to develop an active hobby, even bribing, if necessary.


How does it help to have a conversation about it ? He is very aware he eats too much. Unfortunately he has siblings and friends who aren't too nice about it ..."your so fat! Why are you still eating recess is over your so gross etc
Kids aren't nice Unfortunately.
Point is he definitely is aware due to said siblings and friends...
But when he sees food he literally can't stop himself. Food excites him. He grabs it when he sees it without any manners...its really kind of horrifying. Over age 10. And he still gets Food all over his face and shirt and dirty hands etc
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Success10




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 8:48 am
amother OP wrote:
I did already take him to doctor..didn't say a word just spoke quietly to doctor . Got blood work. Everything came back perfect.


Since you have ruled out a physical cause, maybe explore an emotional cause? Maybe something is unsettled inside of him emotionally and he's trying to dull the pain with food?
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amother
Snowflake


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 9:02 am
I think there is a fine line between helping someone be "healthier" and imposing eating restrictions which can cause more issues.

You also have to deal with other children in the family who don't have these issues.

I do agree with a poster who talked about nutritional density - and volumetric because there is a lot of research showing that people tend to eat the same volume of food daily (more or less) and so eating a largish portion of chicken breast will be as satisfying as a large portion of a calorically dense food like lasagna.

Is there some way he would be motivated to actually talk to a therapist or equivalent to find out why his eating is out of control because his eating is NOT normal even for a growing teenage boy.

I do think short term I think you need to limit his eating of certain foods. For example, instead of letting him have four sandwiches as a snack, limit the sandwich to one and then he can have cut up veggies or fruit if he is still hungry. If he is truly hungry, then he will be fine with an apple or equivalent. If it is not based on hungry but "appetite" then he will not want the apple but only the sandwiches.

Also there is nothing wrong with modifying the recipes you serve as almost everyone can benefit from a diet that cleaner - I.e. no high sugar/high fat preparations and larger portions of vegetables with moderate amounts of healthy grains.
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amother
Skyblue


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 9:03 am
Medical workup, and if they don't find anything. Go the functional route.

Ldn and homeopathy are helping us with compulsive eating in a child
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amother
Pewter


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 9:05 am
Does he eat when he's bored? Or upset?
How is he doing socially? Does he have good friends?
Can you enroll him in a sport activity?
Can you go walking with him once a week to shmooze (and get exercise)?
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amother
DarkMagenta


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 9:07 am
amother Skyblue wrote:
Medical workup, and if they don't find anything. Go the functional route.

Ldn and homeopathy are helping us with compulsive eating in a child

Can you please elaborate . Who do you go to and what is LDN?
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amother
Azure


 

Post Sun, Feb 11 2024, 9:09 am
If this were my kid, I would get them a therapist. Not eating enough and overeating can be reactions to anxiety. If you don’t want your kid to grow up to be an obese adult, treating them now when they are young is the thing to do.
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