Weight Issues and Self Control
Cameron is tall and on the large side for his age. He is seven years old and as tall as some nine year olds. I believe he was 4′ 6 1/2″ inches at his last doctor’s visit.
He has problems with self control and is quite impulsive. When he is bored and unoccupied, he would eat all day long, if I let him. I don’t think he is actually hungry, just killing time.
When he is home on holidays and Summer vacation, I spend all day every day hearing, “I’m hungry. Can I have something to eat? How about now? Can I have something more to eat?”
If I deny him or tell him that he has to wait, I hear a lot of whining and crying. Telling him that he must wait for a little while does no good. I have to give him a specific time that he can expect to get the desired food.
When he is outside playing, he spends his whole time either pacing, walking through the woods, or running. He is fairly active at those times. He simply eats too much to keep much of the weight off.
I try to get him to take walks with me, as I have become more health conscious in the past year. He, however, protests with great feeling and tells me that “Walking is lame.”
Last year, I was able to get him out on a few walks by bribing him with a DVD afterward. He would walk with me and I would reward him afterward by watching one of his super hero movies with him. That worked a few times, ’til he apparently decided that the reward was not worth the effort that went into getting it.
I shortened the walk when I took him out. He never went as far as I would go alone. The problem was, we would be only a little way up the road, and he would start complaining. He would say, “When are we going home? We’re getting too far away. We’ll never find our way back. Are we done yet? Can we go back now? I don’t want to walk anymore.”
All of this complaining would leave me feeling very stressed out and grumpy. There was no peaceful feeling after the walk, because of all the work that went into maintaining his interest and continued participation.
I have decided to try a different way this year. Perhaps I will encourage him to throw the football or baseball with me. Perhaps I will take walks in the woods, calling it “going exploring” or something.
Don’t get me wrong. He is my baby and I love him no matter what he looks like; I just want him to be healthy. At the age of seven, and having high-functioning Autism, he does not see the danger of over-eating and lack of exercise. I hope that I can instill this mode of thinking into him before things get too far.
It could be that I worry too much. After all, his older brother was on the chunky side for most of his childhood, and then he sprouted up and got very tall and thin.
I must stay focused on this situation, though. He has poor impulse control.
I did take two extra steps this year for school. I refused to send him any junk like cupcakes in his lunch, and I asked his teacher not to use food as a reward. This kept him from gaining weight at the rate that he did last year, but it is obviously an ongoing problem.
Summertime and the “I’m hungry” may just make me lose my mind this year. He has enough issues without being the chunky kid in school on top of all that.