DS just received fat letter today, not sure how to handle it.

(26 Posts)
Kaboom Thu 24-Apr-14 19:39:23

Today I received the dreaded fat letter. I am over weight but had managed to keep my son at a healthy weight up until this year really. He is 10 going on 11. I am not sure if I should tell him we got the letter or try to sort it without him knowing about it. I talk a lot about eating healthily and I home cook. I am currently trying to lose weight myself but I haven't been a good example previously. He is a happy kid, pretty confident and sporty, I don't want him to feel hurt by this but I also want him to understand that he/we need to adjust our diet. Help!

I absolutely would NOT tell him about the letter at this point. Keep an eye on the situation and ensure he can make good food choices at home. Don't stress about what he eats when he's out with friends etc. Presumably you can control what he has at lunchtime at the moment? Can you do something together like cycling or swimming? If he is sporty and you encourage him to keep active AND support sensible diet then there's a good chance this will sort itself out as he grows. If it doesn't and he is at an age when you can't control what he does and east so much then yes you should talk to him about it but tbh you can continue to get him in good habits now without him even knowing it. That's defeinately better for the child he is now. If that doesn't work, yes talk to him.

RoseRadish Thu 24-Apr-14 19:45:15

I don't know much about how his works, but you're not actually going to get arrested! I wouldn't tell him because at that age it could be a bit upsetting, damage confidence etc. Just tell him you are going to do some healthy eating planning, arrange some exercise based activities to share, etc. he might even be about to shoot up and it will even out.

RoseRadish Thu 24-Apr-14 19:45:50

Sorry I meant this not his

pissedglitter Thu 24-Apr-14 19:45:57

What is a 'fat letter' ?
Has someone sent you a letter telling you your child is fat?
Sorry if I have misunderstood

BerylStreep Thu 24-Apr-14 19:49:18

Surely the message should be about making positive choices to be healthy, not about trying not to be fat, IYSWIM.

Shinyshoes2 Thu 24-Apr-14 19:49:58

Bin it

Children in primary school are weighed pissed and their BMI calculated. BMI above the normal range and you get a letter telling you so.

Kaboom Thu 24-Apr-14 19:54:48

Thanks! We already swim, cycle, skateboard, walk to school and back ect, so activity is great. We eat good food home cooked from scratch but it's snacking, I have quit that recently, as I realised it needed addressing, do I just stop buying the stuff altogether? No more snacking for him either? He is hungry all the time by the way! I have lovely fruit in the house, 5 a day, but yes some chocolate and cake too.

threedeer Thu 24-Apr-14 19:56:03

OP, it's a really difficult one. You don't want him to have hang ups, but you do need him to know there's more to this than you just being stricter about diet.

I'd get him involved.

Maybe a good line to take would be that after a health check, you've had a letter saying he needs to keep his weight static while he grows into it. This is usually true. They don't suggest weight loss in DC, just that they don't gain, so that growth spurts can stabilise the weight at a healthy level. That way you don't need to use the dreaded 'fat' word.

Maybe you could make a list of some healthy options for food and get him to tick the ones he likes. And you could also discuss fitness and doing active things together, or making small changes to build muscle tone such as walking to school, bike riding, swimming, using small weights etc.

One thing that might help would be to find lower fat/calorie options of foods he already likes. Slimming world have great recipe books for burgers, roasts, pasta etc which are much healthier than ordinary versions.

I wouldn't tell him. It's hard to say what I'd do in your shoes, but I'd probably bin it, wait until he's in bed and have a jolly good cry, then work out a healthy eating/living plan for the whole family (which it sounds like you've already made great inroads to, just need to get back on track).

The easiest things to do are probably the simple stuff like reducing portion sizes (tip: buy small plates and bowls, most 'standard' dinner plates are enormous) and cutting out empty calories in things like drinks.

There is no point getting upset at the past; you can't change it. Be kind to yourself.

Oh, and do share the healthy eating/living plan and benefits of it with him. Just not the specific reasons for why you're (re)starting it now!

ZenGardener Thu 24-Apr-14 19:59:20

I heard that a good way to tackle snacking is to have something more substantial. So, if you are tempted to have a biscuit then have a sandwich or bowl of cereal instead because the chances are you will end up having another biscuit and another. Perhaps smaller meals more often are the way to go with your son?

3littlefrogs Thu 24-Apr-14 20:00:01

Some children do get a little bit chubby at this age, just before they have the massive growth spurt between about 10 and 14.

Looking back at photos of DS2 when he was about 10 I am surprised that he did look a little bit well rounded. (grin). He always did loads of sport and was always hungry. Now he is 5 ft 10, slim and solid muscle. I would never have destroyed his self esteem by telling him he was fat. sad

Does he consume many liquid calories? Because I'd start with those.

muttonjeffmum Thu 24-Apr-14 20:09:15

I had one of these dreaded letters for my son when he was 10. He is now 15 and like a beanpole so please don't get disheartned. Boys tend to have their growth spurt later than girls and they do need to grow into their weight. It sounds like you are doing all the right things and eventually it will make a difference. Just think long term. What I found infuriating about it all (had all the same thing can with younger DD) is that don't take into account the child's weight at birth. Both of mine were big at birth and just continued on the same centiles.

basildonbond Thu 24-Apr-14 23:52:12

We got the opposite letter (ds2's bmi is on the 1st centile) but because he's healthy, just v tall and incredibly skinny we didn't tell him just tried to ensure that he are a little more and that what he ate was nutritionally sound. He's still on the first centile but has shot up in height and his appetite is much better - at some point no doubt he will fill out a bit

In your ds's case I definitely wouldn't tell him - just make sure the food in the house is healthy and that he keeps up his activity levels

One of ds1's friends was really quite chubby at 10/11 - fast forward a few years and he's now 6', slim and toned - he was just one of those children who grew up before they grew out - fingers crossed your ds is too

Kaboom Sat 26-Apr-14 14:13:20

Thanks for all the great advice, I think we will continue as we were, minus the snacks and with smaller portions, we r the wholemeal family after all!
Trampoline for birthday has been requested so that's great!
Travelincolour, he does like dodgy drinks, but I won't buy them for him, I'm going to talk to him about this (again).
Basildonbond, I'm sure your son will fill out, glad his appetite is getting better. A smoothy is a great way to get calories and 5 a day in all at once-I have to try to curb these my end, perhaps you can stock up!

alita7 Sat 26-Apr-14 14:50:57

The snacking is hard to kick. dsd is on the larger side but I don't think she's over weight. I am in a constant snack battle. Especially as im pregnant so she keeps seeing me snacking and then wants something. It's hardest when we don't go straight home for dinner after school. She gets a small snack after school. But if we go into town before going home she sulks and begs to have something before we go home, which is hard. Especially as she turns up her nose at healthy or light options. But it's got a the point where it's raisins or nothing and although she complains about not wanting to be healthy it's tough :p

We got the letter for DS2 when he was in Yr 6. He was so upset - not usually a crier but boy did he cry when it came. He said through the tears, "and the worst thing is that they shouted it," ( for some reason it was deemed necessary to capitalise the word OVERWEIGHT.)

He was not fat, but not skinny. Played sports daily (lots of rugby and football) and ate healthily. I so regret letting him see the bastard letter. He started eating minimal quantities of food, and plummeted through the centiles. He'd been on the 85th constantly since birth, but rapidly dropped to the 12th. He was painfully thin.

I was so worried about him. Went to GP who could find nothing wrong, except that he was underweight. sad

I can't tell you how angry I am about a stupid system that measures rapidly-changing children and harshly judges them.

Now aged 16, he's 6ft tall and although still skinny, he's very fit and strong. And eats like a horse. grin

Please don't show your DS the letter.

Kaboom Sun 27-Apr-14 03:13:14

Yes Alita7 I have a hard time with snacking myself, and I'm not pregnant! But I'm going to (try) to lead the way with DS, I already refused him today in town, he was ok about it...I'm stocking up with healthy on Monday.
Neverquitesure I brought smaller plates today with my birthday money, they r beautiful and full of hope too.
CakeExpectations thanks for your story, I 100% won't show him the letter, it's out with the rubbish. Like your DS he is a big sports player, walker, runner and outside kid, we eat healthily, I cook from scratch nearly always. I'm glad yr DS is eating like a horse now and is fit, strong and slim, that's two fingers up to the letter if ever there was one.
It's not like we're unaware of the difficulties, but we are up against the food industry, who undermine what we say about food in so many ways...
Let battle commence....

Greydog Sun 27-Apr-14 03:37:37

Good Grief - I didn't know that this happened - (My son is grown up) How awful for people. Now we live in a police state? Told what to put in lunch boxes, told your children are fat. I do remember taking son to the docs for a check up as he had asthma. The v overweight nurse (nurses assistant?( who saw him puffed up a flight of stairs, and then during questioned asked him if he got out of breath going upstairs? "no" he said - "but I expect you do"

tessa1234 Wed 30-Apr-14 13:20:00

It is awful that these letters get sent out when we are supposed to be teaching our children to not accept 'Labels' and to be proud of who they are. It sounds like your son is healthy and active so personally I wouldn't worry about it and I wouldn't tell him. As his parent you are the best person to know what he needs. All children develop at different stages and in a few years the situation may be completely different!!

Clearly because you have weight issues yourself, you are aware of what he eats and your own knowledge that you are working with in order to lose weight yourself will be invaluable in helping him to have a good healthy diet too.

There is a clear link between overweight parents and overweight children, but as you know yourself, it's not a given that they will be.

I agree with a lot of people on this post in that I think it is his age - a lot of boys, even really fit ones go through a stage at about 10/11 where their bodies are changing and their appetites increase but they don't necessarily get much taller, they just seem to get a bit chubby and a bit of a tummy. I've seen it a lot with my sons, their friends and my friends children too.

My younger son who, apart from a period when he was about 5 or 6, has always been of a more stocky build than the skinny, fit and healthy, but not very slim, he got a bit chubby at age 10ish and now at 12 and a half he is 5'9 and really slim. He is still wearing the same shorts he had at age 10 despite being 6 inches taller. My elder son (13 and a half) was always a skinny tall boy but at 11ish started putting on weight as fast as his brother was stretching out of it. He got quite a bit of a tummy on him for a bit and I even posted on here about it as it was really quite worrying - he has however now started to stretch in height and has slimmed down a fair bit again. He is only 5'9 the same as his brother, a stone heavier and but his legs are nearly 3 inches longer!! I think he is about to really stretch taller this summer and I expect by Christmas he will be back to his slim self.

dementedma Sun 04-May-14 20:26:59

Bin it. Ds is fat and very well aware of it. We are tryingto improve his diet and increase his exercise. We have eyes in our heads and mirrors in the house. We can all see what size he is and don't need a letter telling us so.
As a point of interest, both dds were fat at the ages 11-14 and are both now size 10/12 and total gym bunnies.

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