Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Eating (part 2)


Yesterday, I wrote about Derek's decision to change his eating habits because he was concerned about his weight. Today, I'm going to share a little about how I had to open my eyes to the issue, start facing the reality that his weight was not just a family trait, and work to make a change in our entire family's way of dealing with food.

You see - it took Derek saying something about his weight for me to finally admit that he was, indeed, overweight. For so long, I've used the excuse that he's just built differently (he is) - it's genetic (part of it is) - he'll grow out of it (probably, but not necessarily) to cover up the fact that he was overeating, and it was taking a toll on his health.

So, when he told me he wanted to make a change, I started crunching the numbers, and sure enough - I didn't like what I saw. To be considered at a healthy weight, kids should fall within the 5th and 85th percentile on the age vs. BMI charts. Derek was closer to the 95th percentile.

(To crunch your own numbers, plug them into this handy calculator - it works for kids and adults.)

Once we started making the changes we determined from the book we purchased, I think he and I both started to realize just how making small changes and being aware of portion sizes and better choices were going to impact his efforts.


We've added in a lot more fruits and veggies.


We've cut out chips and sodas. We are eating three meals and two snacks a day...some days I feel like all we do is eat...and within just a few days, Derek was already starting to feel hunger in between all those eating sessions - something he never felt before the change. I don't even have to call him for snack time, now - he is ready...his metabolism has apparently kicked into overdrive!

While I've been guiding the efforts, the choices have been 100% his. He debated at the store last week about getting a small bag of chips and a bottled lemonade for his snack. I told him to tally up the calories (230 in the bottle of lemonade alone...260 in the chips). His target snack calorie total is 200. He struggled with it. I saw tears in his eyes. I told him it was his decision.

He ended up getting a 100-calorie snack pack of chex mix, a 30-calorie gatorade and a big bowl of watermelon. He bragged on himself to his dad when we got home.

So the results, so far, are fantastic. Since our first weigh-in, four weeks ago, he's lost 5.5 pounds - almost 10% of his starting weight - this last weigh in was a little skewed by an extra couple of days (9 instead of 7) due to camping, plus a stomach bug last week - the two previous weeks were 1.5 each, which is a very nice amount, and more along the lines of what we're hoping for. He's moved from the "overweight" category on the BMI charts to "at risk of being overweight," and is only 3 pounds away from that magical 85th percentile line that puts him in the "normal" category.

***NOTE*** In case you all are worried that I've put my boy on a diet at this crucial growth period in his life, please know that we are keeping a very close watch on his weight as it relates to his height - regular height measurements are an important part of this! While he's been excited about seeing a few pounds drop away, my main concern is the BMI number - the age/weight/height formula, and he is aware of that, as well. As he grows taller, his weight will either stay the same or increase - AND THAT IS PERFECTLY FINE. ***NOTE OVER***

Most importantly, I've seen a change from the inside - a confidence I've not seen in him before. When he runs laps at tennis clinic, he does it with his head held high, instead of hunched over - worrying that someone might say something to him about his belly. As a matter of fact, we played the other day and he was walking toward me with this cocky little look on his face after he sent me a little cross-court volley I couldn't get to. I asked him what that look was.

"Confidence." He replied.


Tomorrow, for the last installment of my "On Eating" series, I'll show you how we changed up our typical camping menu to better reflect our healthy eating goals. Camping is hard, y'all...bratwurst, beans, chips, sodas, s'mores...what's a family to do?

Eat yummy food. That's what...and that will be tomorrow!