I need some advice on what to do regarding my very obese stepson.

Beth - posted on 01/24/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




My husband and I have had physical custody of his 13 year old son for a year now. He is morbidly obese at 250 pounds. He has asked for our help in losing weight, and we have done almost everything possible to support him. When he lived with his Mother, she would let him eat anything he wanted without constraint - fast food, sugary juices and sodas, nothing was off limits. Now, we only bring healthy food in the house. Now the problem is that he will completely gorge on healthy food. He is allowed a bedtime snack and tonight I caught him eating three bowls of Cheerios - 2 hours after eating a fairly large dinner. He refuses to get any exercise, has every excuse in the book for not being active. He already has high blood pressure and is on his way to diabetes. I am his primary caregiver since his Dad works 2nd shift so I am the one who has to deal with this on a daily basis. On top of all that he will not do one thing that we ask him to do, such as clean his room or make his bed. I am slowly going crazy beacuse no matter what I do it does not work. On top of all of that, I have a 5 year old Autistic child of my own that demands full time care. I am worn down both emotionally and physically and don't know how much more I can take - help!


[deleted account]

He is going to eat a lot because his stomach is stretched. There is nothing you can do about that right now, but it will gradually start to go back as his food portions decrease. If it doesn't he may need surgery, but he is too young for that right now. For now, all you can do is make sure he is eating the right foods at the right times.

First, Cheerios are not healthy, they shouldn't be in the house--Instead, choose a high fiber cereal, like Fiber One bran or clusters, plain shredded wheat, or Kashi Heart to Heart or Go Lean (make sure Whole Grain is the first ingredient, at least 5g of fiber per serving, and less than 25% calories from sugar. Second, Cereals are FULL of carbs and should only every be eaten first thing in the morning--NEVER after 10am. He will need carbs for breakfast and high fiber, whole grain cereals are a great way to give them to him. Bulk it up by adding raisins, berries, and bananas to the cereal--will make it sweeter & add lots of nutrients that will give him energy.

Late night snacks, like the Cheerio binge you described are often born more of boredom than hunger, but due to his stretched stomach he really might be hungry. Limit him to proteins and leafy greens after 5pm. A piece of turkey rolled in lettuce (no bread) would be a good option, a salad with lettuce, grape tomatoes, carrots, and almonds with 2 table spoons of vinaigrette dressing is also good (in fact, he should eat a salad with every meal after breakfast, but NO croutons or cheese!)

Try to make sure he snacks between meals as much as possible so that when meals come around he is eating smaller portions--this will help his stomach shrink back up. That said, make sure the snacks are fruit or veggies only--no dips, no carbs, no non-natural sugars.

Of course, no matter what kind of diet you put him on, he's not going to loose weight unless he gets some exercise. Try to incorporate activity into his life as a family--take him with you for hiking, kayaking, skiing, swimming, biking, whatever you do. Try to do your shopping in a city center where you can walk from store to store and take him with you. Right now, he is so heavy that even the smallest amount of real exercise is painful, and it's disappointing for him when he can only go 5 minutes at a time--but 5 minutes of walking is a BIG DEAL for someone his size and he should do it, and eventually he will walk 6 minutes, then 7, and soon he can go for miles. Try to encourage him and set small goals that he can accomplish to keep him motivated. Set a timer and walk down the street with him for 5 minutes. He can handle 5 minutes. If he is struggling by the time you get back, keep it at 5 minutes until he looks just a little less exhausted at the end and increase it by 1 minute. If he looks fine at the end, the next day go 6 minutes, adding 1 minute per day until you reach a time where he is sweating and breathing heavy by the end. Also, you have to walk fast--if you can hold a conversation easily, you're not going fast enough (well, you may be able to hold the conversation because you are healthier than him, but make sure he is working).

Also, Have you tried a personal trainer? Sometimes they are able to push us to workout and knock out our excuses whereas parents will accept excuses. Try switching out one of his after school activities with a membership at a gym with regular classes and a meeting with a personal trainer once a week. It sounds expensive, but it really shouldn't be much more than other after school activities because most gyms will include classes and at least monthly meetings with the trainers.

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