As a therapist I am going to recommend you get him to a therapist. Obsessing about food, food as a coping mechanism, loss and grief issues and behaviors like this can easily lead to an eating disorder. There is just a lot going on here. It goes beyond sneaking food and unhealthy eating habits.
Early intervention can be such a positive thing. It is easier to establish new habits and learn new strategies and deal with psychological issues when you are younger....this is typically the most flexible time of our lives (there are some exceptions to this, but they are rare).
Hang in there Mom, sounds like you love him to pieces
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9,717 8/25/13 6:13 P
This is a common problem; while it's not one that I have had to deal with personally, you can find a lot of resources for this online. Rule #1: DO NOT punish him. The point is to encourage him gently to be honest about it, and work to develop healthier habits.
Eventually, if you have trouble with this, reach out for professional help; it's okay, and may be necessary! A psychologist can help HIM get down to the root of why he's doing this, and if you do this now, you don't have to be alone!
I did this as a kid. Mostly with the treats that were for lunches for deserts. I'd go downstairs at night and take stuff. For me it was a rebellion thing -I didn't want to listen to no. I think if my family had actually talked to me about WHY I was doing it, not just that I shouldn't, it may have helped. Hope this helps you!
8/21/13 1:29 A
My daughter did this. We took all her snack foods away. Even her healthy foods. She has to ask for them, and I pick what she gets.
8/14/13 2:44 P
I don't know how much help my reply will be, I'm really just replying because I feel for you and wanted to show a little love and support :) Hopefully it'll be easier when you move next month. My only ideas are maybe looking into any nutrition classes for kids in your area? Then he'll be learning about food and being healthy from someone else, not just mom. My daughter was about 10-11 when I first joined Spark and started eating healthier and cooking healthier. At first she sort of rejected it- she'd eat the healthy dinner I'd just cooked but want to have a big dessert after, and she started asking for candy and fast food way more then she had before. I think it was a fear of something new, thinking she was never gonna get those things again so she better over-do it while she could! what I did was just anytime I could naturally work it into the conversation i'd talk about my reasons for wanting to eat better and be healthier (like wanting to be able to play longer with her, wanting to live longer, etc.) and I'd thank her for being on my team and supporting me by trying to eat healthy too. How when she made good choices it was easier for me to make good choices cuz we were doing it together. I think that helped with her. She's 15 now and eats super healthy and is super active even though she doesn't play sports anymore, she jogs with her friends and walks shelter dogs almost 3 hours a day. Does he play any sports? I'd definitely keep him active and playing while you are trying to get his nutrition in order. If he doesn't play sports I'd try to find activities to keep him exercising like going to the park or riding bikes. Maybe he's in a growth spurt right now that would make him wake up at night hungry? I'd tell him if he wakes up at night hungry to come get you so you can find him something to eat- maybe some crackers with peanut butter and an apple, or toast and a banana if he wakes up hungry. Maybe he thinks you won't let him eat in the middle of the night and that's why he sneaks out of bed to eat? Maybe if you let him know it's okay, you just need to know about it he won't eat so much at night?
Do you think it might have anything to do with him being worried about you husband when he's gone? I work with a gal who's daughter and husband are both Army and occasionally she has the kids for a few months when they're both over seas at the same time. The kids always gain weight with her and she thinks it's a comfort thing, they want McDonalds every day and ice cream every night. But once mom&dad are back they lose the weight. They think it's the stress of worrying about them when they're both gone. It helped a little when she stopped letting them watch the news, they hear all these bad things on the news and don't really understand that what they're seeing isn't even close to where their parents are.
I really hope you find a solution soon!
8/13/13 2:07 P
Okay, I'm sorry this might be long. My son is almost 10. He is 4'8" and weighs about 110lbs. His doctor found his BMI to be around 25 and expressed concern about his weight at his last visit and I've noticed that he's been gaining quite a bit lately, especially around his middle. We don't keep junk food in the house, I try to serve real, whole foods, not much out of boxes or cans. A little background - his weight issues started when his father and I separated when he was 3. We temporarily moved in with my parents who have terrible, horrible eating habits. Mom considers a balanced diet to be McDonalds for breakfast, subway for lunch (hold the veggies, just meat and cheese on bread), and maybe a restaurant for dinner (again, hold the veggies, just meat and potatoes) and gallons of soda to wash it all down, plus crackers, cheetos and cookies for snacks. Ugh. We were there for 6 months and he put on about 10 lbs. Finally moved out, but still had mom as a babysitter in the evenings because I had to work. Fast forward - I've been remarried about a year, we've been together for almost 5 years and have a 19 month old girl also. DH joined the Navy and got stationed in San Diego, about 2000 miles from home. I was ecstatic. We lived in San Diego for about 6 months, my son slimmed down a lot. He played outside, only ate nutritious food because that's all that was offered. No family around to give junk food to him. Moved back home for hubby's deployment. Worst mistake ever. My son has ballooned up 15 lbs in 3 months. He eats normal, nutritious meals while he's with me, which is most of the time. I serve veggies, lean protein and whole grains. I have found that he is sneaking food at night, during the day, any time I'm not in the kitchen, he helps himself to all sorts of things. He finished the leftovers last night when he was supposed to be doing a chore outside, he ate half a loaf of bread in the middle of the night. I just don't understand. I don't know what to do.
I personally have grown up my whole life with weight problems (see above - mom's eating habits) and am about 50 lbs heavier than I want to be. I've lost about 50 lbs from my heaviest non-pregnant weight. I am cooking and eating and serving food to the kids that should be nutritious and filling. My heart breaks that he's going to have the same issues because he seems addicted to junk food, not to mention, he lies to me and sneaks around constantly in order to get more food. I almost never buy anything unhealthy because as soon as he tastes it, it's like that's all he can think about. If we do dessert one night, he wants extravagant desserts every night, he seems obsessed with junk food. He went to his dad's house last weekend and complained that he was only allowed to have 4 smores. FOUR. I couldn't believe it. Then he went on about how he wanted to make a bigger, chocolatey-er smore and he would have a bunch of them. Yesterday, I found that he had eaten nearly an entire package of yogurt (12 servings) without asking and we had a long discussion about it. He promised he would ask before he helps himself to stuff again. Then later in the day, he finished the leftovers and helped himself to half a loaf of bread without asking. It's like he can't control it.
Please give me some ideas? We are moving back to CA in a month and I cannot wait to get out of here. We are living in the house that was my grandma's before she passed away and he is used to eating constantly while he was here with her. I know I've let this get out of hand but I really need to find a way to help him. I'm really worried that this is an eating disorder or has a psychological basis. Please only constructive comments, berating me isn't helping anyone. Thank you.