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  #1   ^
Old Sat, Sep-13-14, 19:32
Glendora's Avatar
Glendora Glendora is offline
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Posts: 3,839
 
Plan: Cal. control, carbs <100
Stats: 220/190.5/150 Female 61 inches
BF:
Progress: 42%
Default Family not on board with better eating for my son

Folks, I'm having a moment of desperation as regards my middle son.

He is 11 years old, autistic, intellectually handicapped and I don't expect him to be making health decisions of his own accord, especially when there's a Hershey bar staring him in the face. So it's up to the grown-ups, you know?

Anyway, he is 4'7" and 104 lbs. He is obese. Now I just got (today) in the mail a letter from the school that he failed every single aspect of his physical fitness test.

I have begged and pleaded with my husband to make us an LC household, and for the kids, probably not LC as defined here but I don't see that we need ANY crackers, granola bars, cookies, etc. Why on earth would we? We don't need it. And the kids would get used to it.

I know I am all effed up as regards refined foods as I started my first diet at age 10, ate 1000 calories a day for years (complete with fainting spells, doing horribly in school, depression, hair falling out and so on) just to maintain a normal weight. I was far from "too skinny." One year may have been borderline on that - I was 98 lbs. I am 5'1. Most of the time during my teenage and adult years, I was between 108 and 115 lbs. As I got into my 30s I maintained in my 120s.

I only ballooned after my second pregnancy and it has been downhill ever since. But my point is...I have always been addicted to carbs. Always. Even as a little girl. And while eating them, I have to eat a very low amount of calories in order to even maintain my weight. I believe this is physical. So it's not so weird that at least one of my children received that from me. (My oldest son, age 28, is on the skinny side, 5'8" and I believe 135, and my youngest son, age 8, is still very very thin, at least for now.)

But my point is...

My middle son, who is now obese, ballooned all in the course of one year. He was very low weight for his height until then...eating the SAD. Now he is SCREAMING for food food food food food food night and day. He begs the teachers for food. (Yes, really.) He sneaks food. And so on.

I know it is the carbs.

I have begged and pleaded and cried and stormed and anything else I could think of - including presenting studies - to my husband, who is 5'9" and 250 lbs. but keeps saying that if he "just starts taking walks" all will be well. Yeah, that's working out. He says the same thing about my middle son.

He just won't go LC and/or unrefined in our household. He just...won't.

The in-laws are another problem. They take my children every two weeks. I have begged, insisted, etc. that they stop taking the kids to McDonald's. Just recently I put my foot down and told them they could not take the kids to McDonald's. I was calm but firm.

In punishment for my telling them what to do, they took my kids to McD's not once but twice that day. Yes, for two meals in a day. Two different McD's. WTF???????????????

I have told my husband our middle son is going to be 300 lbs. and in a wheelchair if he is this young and already this big. I have shown him the fitness test results. He says "I'm only going to buy LC foods at the store this week!" (he insists on doing the grocery shopping) and then he'll come home with "healthy" cereals, crackers and the like.

I feel like my son is going to die if we don't help him. I have never in my life seen any human being so addicted to carbs, and to wheat. He will literally lick his plate. He will beg and beg for snacks between every single meal. If he had his way he'd have a snack between breakfast and lunch, then a snack after lunch, two snacks after coming home from school, dinner, "dessert" and then two snacks before bedtime. He can not stop.

What the hell can I do? My in-laws laugh at me and blow me off, my husband won't help. Three out of four of us are obese, two of us morbidly so. He STILL won't listen. Help me. Please. Anybody. Do I become the total b*tch and when my husband brings home treats, I say to the kids "No, you can't have that even though you're looking straight at it...here you thought you would have this fun thing and now Mommy is going to take it away"?
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  #2   ^
Old Sat, Sep-13-14, 19:58
Seejay's Avatar
Seejay Seejay is offline
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Posts: 3,025
 
Plan: Optimal Diet
Stats: 00/00/00 Female 62 inches
BF:
Progress: 8%
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Good question. All you can change is you anyway, so what CAN you do? How much can you decline to participate, be nice, and say, no thanks for me right this second, I'm working on a different eating plan"

Sounds like your son needs something like Wheat Belly. Does your DH experience the pain of seeing how hungry the son is, or is it all on you? would he be willing to try a test and see if his own kid is happier not being hungry all the time?

At meals -

What are you in control of? Menu planning? who makes the grocery list? who fixes meals, makes lunches? If DH comes home with snacks, can you put them off to one side and not be part of it?

Can you say, "hey, we are a family that has obesity going on. It's mom and dad's job to provide the food, and in our family, we are cutting back on starch and sugar". Or even "as the mom, I am not going to be serving huge amounts of starch and sugar." If the guys also want to exercise they can. (and then you cut back more and more as you add more and more fat and protein and veg)

Can you help your son make connections between how he eats, and how he feels? Kids as young as 4 and 5 can learn that if they have a carby breakfast with no protein, they feel hungry and weepy in an hour or two. They can be taught about learning protein, carb, and veg, and they can pay attention to how they feel later.

Can you have them help plan good meals, using pictures? You get to say they have to include adequate protein, veg, and whatever starch you have to. And they get to choose what kind of protein veg and starch.
They can learn what is protein, carb, and veg.

Can you teach them that every time they want a carb, they have to eat protein with it and eat the protein first? can you say they can't have starch and sugar that's bigger than the protein?

As to your question - "when my husband brings home treats, I say to the kids "No, you can't have that even though you're looking straight at it...here you thought you would have this fun thing and now Mommy is going to take it away"

I would say, "oh I see Dad brought a treat. hm how do we eat treats - with protein first, with a meal, or let's save that for our next treat window" (end of next meal)

I would make a deal with DH first on what works for you with treats. No fair if he gets his program and you get none of yours. And if you can't agree with each other, then can you agree on a program for the kids. (mine would be, We don't eat them between meals because that increases the addictive hit. We have them after meals. And they count in the total starch and sugar allowance.)"

Last edited by Seejay : Sat, Sep-13-14 at 20:05.
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  #3   ^
Old Sun, Sep-14-14, 00:59
leemack's Avatar
leemack leemack is offline
NEVER GIVING UP!
Posts: 5,030
 
Plan: no sugar/grains LCHF IF
Stats: 478/354/200 Female 5' 9"
BF:excessive!!
Progress: 45%
Location: UK
Default

Have your son's doctors ever tested him for prader-willi syndrome? It's usually caught in infancy, but can lead to insatiable appetite as you describe, due to high ghrelin levels.

Probably way off base, but just a thought, hope you don't mind.
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  #4   ^
Old Sun, Sep-14-14, 01:12
Glendora's Avatar
Glendora Glendora is offline
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Posts: 3,839
 
Plan: Cal. control, carbs <100
Stats: 220/190.5/150 Female 61 inches
BF:
Progress: 42%
Default

Wow, Seejay, thank you so much. What a thoughtful reply. I will definitely try some of your suggestions.

Leemack, he hasn't been tested specifically for Prader-Willi but he doesn't have any other markers for it.
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  #5   ^
Old Sun, Sep-14-14, 02:14
Just_Pam Just_Pam is offline
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Posts: 119
 
Plan: Mostly Primal-LowER Carb
Stats: 312/245/160 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress: 44%
Location: Gloucestershire
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I don't have any words of wisdom I'm afraid but just wanted to say I feel for you as a mom. Fortunately my daughters are grown and have started to adopt healthier eating habits. My mom however, who has so many health issues including diabetes just refuses to make changes to help herself. I also have a learning disabled sister who lives with her who also has diabetes and it breaks my heart to watch what they eat. When my sister stays with me for weeks at a time, her glucose numbers get better and she loses weight. Still, my mom won't change things. It is very hard as a caring family member.

One thing I can say is keep eating your way and it may rub off eventually. My hubby is a carb addict and although he is happy to eat whatever I make for dinner, he has his high carb munchy stuff. He has started to make better choices as he sees me shrinking and having so much more energy. So don't give up, a shift may be right around the corner :-)
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  #6   ^
Old Sun, Sep-14-14, 07:43
Seejay's Avatar
Seejay Seejay is offline
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Posts: 3,025
 
Plan: Optimal Diet
Stats: 00/00/00 Female 62 inches
BF:
Progress: 8%
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Yes good luck, can you tell I have an obese grandson and family members who don't get it? all we can do is what we CAN do. It's frustrating to see how much crap food they can get from everywhere else in our culture, constantly.
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  #7   ^
Old Sun, Sep-14-14, 08:09
Seejay's Avatar
Seejay Seejay is offline
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Plan: Optimal Diet
Stats: 00/00/00 Female 62 inches
BF:
Progress: 8%
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glendora
In punishment for my telling them what to do, they took my kids to McD's not once but twice that day. Yes, for two meals in a day. Two different McD's. WTF???????????????
I was thinking more about this one. So disrespectful and unbelievable. I imagine they expect not to be confronted, but I'd be tempted to have this fantasy conversation:

Me: so tell me about the 2 McD's that day.

Them: oh it was so fun and it was right there and they love it.

Me: Ok. So you want to be free with their food while they're with you, right?

Them: yes.

Me: Ok. You know as the parent, I am responsible for their food and exercise, and their program. You know DS is obese, right, and failed every single one of his fitness tests? I got it in writing from the school.

Them: (what would they say? he's not obese? he didn't fail? )

Me: so let me get this straight. We have an obese and unfit child, and You want to do whatever even if it blows off his parent's program for him.

Them: well no we didn't mean that. We just think the parent's program needs to let grandparents do anything.

Me: It doesn't work like that. A day like you had can derail him and make him feel bad for days afterward. Do you want the details on this? or just the food rules? Maybe we can find a way that does both. But - What if you don't like what you have to do at McD's. eat only the meat and throw away the bun, the fries, the drinks, and dessert.
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  #8   ^
Old Sun, Sep-14-14, 10:17
JEY100's Avatar
JEY100 JEY100 is online now
To Good Health!
Posts: 10,402
 
Plan: IF Fung/LC Westman/Primal
Stats: 222/171/169 Female 5' 9"
BF:45%/25.3%/24%
Progress: 96%
Location: NC
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Glendora,
Your son's story and your frustration with your family is heartbreaking.
You've already had good suggestions. The only one I could add is appeal to a higher authority. Would your son's neurologist talk to your family about the improvements seen in autism with a Gluten and Casein free diet? Even write a prescription that he must not be given gluten, sugar, dairy...something you can show to grandparents and teachers/schools? This can be done with the gluten sensitive children, and his situation is the same, maybe more critical.
If you haven't read Grain Brain, or seen Dr. Perlmutter's PBS special, look at the other interviews under the media tab and Learn...share articles from the view of helping your son's brain health, not just weight.
http://www.drperlmutter.com/tag/autism/
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  #9   ^
Old Sun, Sep-14-14, 23:38
Glendora's Avatar
Glendora Glendora is offline
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Posts: 3,839
 
Plan: Cal. control, carbs <100
Stats: 220/190.5/150 Female 61 inches
BF:
Progress: 42%
Default

Thank you so much, everyone.

Unfortunately, MIL discounts literally everything I have told her (or shown her) from Col's neurologist and his neuropsych. She "was an educator" (a guidance counselor, basically) and everything "these doctors" say is wrong because she "is educated." (Doctors aren't?) In fact, she "disagrees with the diagnoses" of autism and intellectual delay. SMH.

She has told my husband and myself, "My goal is to live long enough to prove you wrong."

This has nearly broken her relationship with DH. He resents her horribly, worse than I do.

I gave her a looooooooooooooong list of easy ALMOST INSTANT foods. Even tomato soup. I mean you literally dump it out of a can and add water. Also cheese, nearly any type of cheese. Oranges (yeah, high-carb but at least no gluten). Corn tortillas with cheese (same as just stated about oranges). Bacon. Sausage. Eggs. Burgers.

No dice. Today they had macaroni and cheese for lunch (which I have explicitly asked her not to give him! I mean that food specifically) and she proved that she did a good thing by telling me he "made it himself."

He is crying right now lying around with a stomachache instead of sleeping. At 10:38 at night.

I am going to take the opportunity tomorrow morning to talk with him about his stomachache (he also had one after pizza recently) and gently introduce to him that those foods are what are making him feel sick.

I am about THIS close to sweetly stating to my MIL that if it is a hardship for her to "cook" (if you call any of the above cooking...they are ALL easier than mac & cheese, WTH is it with the mac & cheese every time over there?) for my sons, then she may want to see them less often. Seriously, this close. I wouldn't mind a bit.

I went ahead and threw out all the cereal, all the bread, etc. and I TOLD, not asked, my husband that *I* would be doing the food shopping. I told him straight-out, "Three out of four of us are obese. E isn't far behind." (E is the 8-year-old.) I told him, "WE HAVE TO do something. Period."

He was meek and pouty afterward and tonight he had cookies but from his own fridge (he has a little college fridge in the garage). I am totally fine with my husband eating whatever he wants, if the junk isn't in front of the kids. He's a big boy and I can't make decisions for him, and I sure am not perfect myself and expect to be forgiven for that. But the kids? Different story.

I can't thank you all enough for your answers. I got a lot of insight out of them and I am implementing them immediately!

Last edited by Glendora : Sun, Sep-14-14 at 23:44.
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  #10   ^
Old Mon, Sep-15-14, 06:32
WereBear's Avatar
WereBear WereBear is offline
Posts: 10,519
 
Plan: Epi-Paleo/IF
Stats: 220/161/150 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 84%
Location: USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glendora
He is crying right now lying around with a stomachache instead of sleeping. At 10:38 at night.


THIS is why you are absolutely right to take charge.

I applaud all of your moves and yes, you not only have the right to do this, you have the OBLIGATION. If it means the grandmother has supervised visits, so be it. (Sounds like your husband has felt the sting of her "I'm always right" philosophy in his own life.)

If one of the children had a peanut allergy, would Grandma be buying them Payday bars "because they love them so!" When they get older and want to drink bourbon will Grandma be okay with that? People give in to their children's urge for treats because it's cheap and easy. But there are other cheap and easy ways to have fun and if Grandma needs a list, make her one. In all caps.

You can see how upset this made me, and they are not even my kids. Go Mama Grizzly Bear on the uncooperative all you want.
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  #11   ^
Old Mon, Sep-15-14, 07:08
Seejay's Avatar
Seejay Seejay is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 3,025
 
Plan: Optimal Diet
Stats: 00/00/00 Female 62 inches
BF:
Progress: 8%
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Wow Glendora, I too applaud you. You are absolutely doing great. And I like your attitude about the DH's junk fridge and hope he sees the difference too, that what adults do in private is separate from the family rule for everyone plus kids.

Can you also tell MIL that her mac and cheese made him sick. She will say it wasn't that, but too bad, you're telling her your assessment of the situation.

She sounds like to her, being right and winning the argument is more important than anything else. You, the kid, your family's health. In my experience I have to treat bullies like that, very directly, like a dog that won't hear anything unless you physically whack him with the rolled-up paper, grab his jowls, and stare in the face.

"Ok MIL, because you feed the kids the exact food I specifically said NOT to, you will see them less often. I'm talking about McDonald's twice in one day and mac and cheese after I said that was hurtful. Because it hurts my family after they get home and I won't have it any more. " You don't even have to go into all the ways it hurts the family. (physical tummy ache, cravings, hurts habit making, low self esteem from not being respected) I would call her on not respecting your family's program.

I was thinking more about your DH's idea that people could "just take more walks." Hoo boy. Will DH volunteer to do the family walks after dinner?
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  #12   ^
Old Mon, Sep-15-14, 07:54
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is online now
Experimenter
Posts: 45,284
 
Plan: Paleo 99.5%
Stats: 210/170/160 Female 67.5"
BF:
Progress: 80%
Location: San Diego, CA
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Can you just not let MIL have him at meal times? That's absolutely ridiculous that she isn't following the medical guidance his doctors have laid out. Tell her when she's willing to follow the rules, she can take care of him, until then she's clearly hurting him. Some would call that child abuse. Ultimately, you're the parent and you shouldn't let your boy go with someone that is hurting him.
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  #13   ^
Old Mon, Sep-15-14, 08:14
aj_cohn's Avatar
aj_cohn aj_cohn is offline
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Posts: 3,948
 
Plan: Protein Power
Stats: 213/167/165 Male 65 in.
BF:35%/23%/20%
Progress: 96%
Location: United States
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I vote for the nuclear option: Ban the grandparents from unsupervised visits. Your child's health is more important than a relationship with that destructive pair. We tell women to leave abusive relationships; why should this relationship be any different?

If they throw a tantrum, tell them the choice is theirs: either you're with them, or they're without their grandson. At this point, I don't really see any other way.
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  #14   ^
Old Mon, Sep-15-14, 09:08
JEY100's Avatar
JEY100 JEY100 is online now
To Good Health!
Posts: 10,402
 
Plan: IF Fung/LC Westman/Primal
Stats: 222/171/169 Female 5' 9"
BF:45%/25.3%/24%
Progress: 96%
Location: NC
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Quote:
He is crying right now lying around with a stomachache instead of sleeping. At 10:38 at night.

I am going to take the opportunity tomorrow morning to talk with him about his stomachache (he also had one after pizza recently) and gently introduce to him that those foods are what are making him feel sick.

I am about THIS close to sweetly stating to my MIL that if it is a hardship for her to "cook" (if you call any of the above cooking...they are ALL easier than mac & cheese, WTH is it with the mac & cheese every time over there?) for my sons, then she may want to see them less often. Seriously, this close. I wouldn't mind a bit.


I agee with the previous comments. You're past "this close" to now saying, "You fed him mac n cheese, which you know his doctor has said will hurt him with all its wheat gluten and chemicals. He had a stomach ache last night from it and didn't go to sleep on a school night" so you will have to visit him in our home from now on.
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  #15   ^
Old Mon, Sep-15-14, 10:18
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
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Posts: 2,213
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/175/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 25%
Location: NE WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glendora
He is crying right now lying around with a stomachache instead of sleeping. At 10:38 at night.


Pity you didn't call up MIL and let her listen to him crying! People who think they know better than anyone else can be very dense. It's good to stand up for your son as he can't do it himself.
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