I Want to Pump . . . You Up!!

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My 7 year old son made a New Year’s resolution (or revolution as he prefers to call it).  He wants to be healthier.  I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that both of his parents are big fatties and that recently he has gone from being a cute but scrawny little kid, to a bit bigger and meatier kid.  It happened rather suddenly, but all of a sudden, he has a belly.  He is actually a bit chunky.  And he is not pleased.

It’s a little bizarre, honestly, because my son is a very active kid.  He’s definitely no couch potato. He plays sports, runs around all the time, and definitely doesn’t sit around stuffing his face with junk food.  He never drinks soda, very rarely eats candy, and prefers to have fruit for his snacks.  Granted, I probably make more pasta for dinner than is entirely healthy, but there are always veggies and usually a lean meat that goes along with it.  Part of me thinks it’s just genetics catching up with him, but I also think it’s somewhat early for it to have caught him.  He’s not even close to puberty.  That’s when I started getting curves.  Before that I was a scrawny little stick of a girl.  I don’t really understand why he is starting to get thick at the age of 7.

Recently, he asked his dad to start running with him.  So, even though my hubs is not a runner, he is an amazing father, so he has been running about 3 times a week with my son.

For Christmas, he asked Santa for three things . . . a Wii U, sweatpants and weights.  He, of course, got all three . . . and then some.  But last night I watched him use his weights for the first time.  His dad was teaching him some different techniques, including instructing him on how to do a proper push up and sit up.  And even though I was proud of him for recognizing that he needs to try to be healthy, I couldn’t stop thinking about this kid:

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. . . and it started to freak me out.  Now, obviously, I would never let him get to this level of craziness.  I mean, this took some massive levels of parental support and/or delusions.  Like Honey Boo Boo levels of derangement, people.  No way that any young boy should ever look like this.  It’s obscene.

So, I’m sitting there, watching my 7 year old son use 2 pound hand weights, hoping that we have not just landed ourselves on top of that proverbial slippery slope, sliding us straight down to that kid up there.

I will not deny that this entire family needs to get healthier.  And while it is not a resolution, I also plan to get off of this massive weight gain merry go round that I have willingly and deliciously thrown myself onto.  My hubs has actually been successfully dieting for a few months now and has lost a good amount of weight.  He took a break to eat regularly for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and still lost 5 pounds that week!  While I, on the other hand, have taken about a year long break, apparently.  And have gained quite a bit.  And by that, I mean pregnancy levels of weight.  Shameful.  So it is finally time to do something about that.

And apparently my son has decided the same thing.  So, why am I so nervous?  Am I crazy to worry that he is just too young to be worried about weight gain and using weights?  Or is this a normal thing?  Obviously, I will stay vigilant about his progression, and keep up a dialog with him about “healthy” versus “weight loss” and/or “muscle gain.”  But I am definitely concerned.

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What are your thoughts?  Should I be worried?  Anyone else ever have to deal with this type of issue with their kids?

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42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. about100percent
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 09:02:07

    We have definitely not had this issue with our kids; it seems we are always trying to get them to make healthier choices. It becomes less of an issue of what they are into and more of how we handle it. I think if he is exercising moderately and eating well, you have nothing to worry about. Monitor his new obsession closely; like anything, if you feel it is taking the place over most other things in his life, it may be time to guide him into other interests.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 13:30:00

      Yeah, I’m keeping a close eye on it and making sure he doesn’t get obsessive. So far, he is just enjoying working with weights, and I’m enjoying his recent desire to eat more salads. 😉

      Reply

  2. renée a. schuls-jacobson
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 09:08:43

    I think as long as you continue to tell him that it’s wonderful to be fit, but the most important thing is the person INSIDE, he’ll be just great. Also, boys tend to get skinny then chub. Then eat a lot, then sleep a lit, then grow and get lean again. Very different than the way girls develop. That said, I think it’s awesome that your son is kind of spearheading the family into better fitness in 2013. For that, he should be praised! Sounds like a great dude!

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 13:31:27

      He is definitely a great little dude! 😉 And I sense a growth spurt approaching, so hopefully that’s it. But nothing wrong with making healthier choices and learning how the muscles in your body work at the same time! 🙂

      Reply

  3. buttah
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 09:22:45

    My little man has had the same obsession since he turned six…and we are approaching his 7th bday in a few weeks. Granted, Hubs and I do workout regularly in the evenings together in our “home gym”, so he does see us lift weights and such. We are trying to set an example for him to be healthy and fit, as well as eat healthy foods. We are in no way obsessed or push him to work out at all…but his school is very pro-active in getting kids excercising in some way shape or form. He is a member of the school’s Running Club, and they track and chart how many miles they have ran (or biked), and also encourage active “play” as well. Basically just get their little tookuses OUTSIDE and away from the electronic devices and get them moving. But anyway…yes, I think it is something that maybe kids these days go through. They see “hot fit” actors/celebrities/athletes and maybe want to be like that?? Either way, just watch him to make sure he’s not overdoing it for his little body, and maybe even see if there is a local gym that has some kind of “kid fitness camp”? Or encourage some other sport or karate? I think it’s awesome that he is bringing the whole familiy together to excercise! Keep up the good work!

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 13:34:20

      He actually sat down with his dad and made a chart of workouts and reps for each week. It’s really adorable. He is so serious about it. I think it’s also something he is enjoying that his dad is involved in, which he appreciates. Dad travels a lot, so anything they can do together is a bonus. He is actually in karate, although we had to majorly talk him into it. Now he loves it! He starts that in 2 weeks for the winter session. He also is always doing some type of sport. This spring will be baseball. He really is very active. I have no idea where the chub came from! Hopefully it’s a growth spurt as mentioned by others. Thanks for your input!! 🙂

      Reply

  4. Cheryl S.
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 09:56:46

    I have a 7 year old daughter. She is a perfectly healthy, normal girl. I’ve already heard some of the “fat” comments from her. From doing some reading, “the experts” say that the best way to have your children have a good body image is for you to have one too. They say that when kids hear you being negative (I’m fat, I hate the way I look, I wish my thighs/butt/hips/whatever were smaller) it really effects them.

    Instead, it should be about being healthy (food, weight, exercise, etc) and about what your body can DO. He has strong legs so he can run, etc. Keep it about being healthy and you should be OK.

    Honestly, it hurts my heart when I hear my 7 year old tell me she’s the “fattest” of her friends (She’s not anywhere close to fat). Sad that we are all so affected by media, etc, at such a young age.

    Good luck and a happy HEALTHY new year!

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 13:36:52

      That does make my heart sad to think that your daughter considers herself “fat.” It really is a testament to the society we live in. Sigh.

      And although I pretty much call myself (and the hubs a bit) big fatties on here, I have never once referred to either of us as fat to my kids, knowing full well what a negatively charged word that is. We don’t degrade ourselves or each other in front of the kids. To my friends or hubs? Hell yeah, I’ll bitch about my fat ass. But never ever to my kids. We do try to focus on “healthy” rather than “weight” as well.

      Reply

  5. Go Jules Go
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 10:22:56

    It’s a fantastic question, Misty, and it sounds like you and your husband are doing everything right, in terms of encouraging your son while keeping an eye out for red flags. I agree with the comment that the best way for kids to have a healthy body image is for their parents to have one, too. That was NOT the case in my family, and I went (willingly) on my first diet when I was 9. It’s been a hot mess ever since.

    I think the family getting healthy together is always a great plan of action – and I hope you know you’re beautiful now, and always!

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:12:05

      I had the same thing. My dad was naturally slim and fit, so could eat anything. But my mom? Always on some new fad diet, always talking about her weight, always saying she was fat. No wonder I’ve turned into the healthy and self posessed woman I am today! Snerk. :-/

      Reply

  6. cornfedgirl
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 11:12:46

    I agree with the other comments here- good on the little dude! My sister and I grew up exercising while our parents did not. It was kind of frustrating (still is) that they would give me only the option of McDonald’s when traveling and would never consider a hike. What I’m saying is that I was in tuned with diet and exercise at a young age but it never went to an unhealthy level. My parents, on the other hand, are both unhealthy in the other direction.
    You are aware of the extremes associated with food and exercise so it sounds like you won’t let him go overboard- but I will say that as a society, our bad habits and poor lifestyle choices are easily embraced by others. Yet when we try to make improvements, we are often judged and criticized even more harshly. That seems messed up to me!

    Reply

  7. Danna
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 12:33:16

    I agree with everything above. My 11 year old and I ran together to train for a 5k last year (I’m a “runner” and she wanted to try a race) and it was a great time for us to be outside and talk. We love to eat all kinds of food – from vegetables with quinoa to butter laden cakes and potato chips with chemically laden sour cream dip.
    The only thing that I wanted to add with your son’s recent change is that he could just be getting ready for a growth spurt. I have noticed that with all of three of my children one day I would look at them and think, hmm gotta stop buying the Chips Ahoy and then in a few months they’d be two inches taller and the grandparents would accuse us of starving them.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:15:43

      Yeah, I’m hoping growth spurt. And I am all about everything in moderation. I tell him that even the bad things that he loves (bacon, whipped cream, chips) are ok every once in a while. Just not to make those things the entirety of your diet. He gets that. That is so great that you are running together, especially if it’s something that she sees you doing and wants to spend time in your world. Bravo, mama!

      Reply

  8. Danielle Charlton Geer
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 14:36:38

    7 year old is probably headed for a masssssive growth spurt, which would explain the apparent chubbiness. I would worry, too, to have a child that young so concerned about his weight. Did some horrible child (who needs to be beaten down) tease him or make him feel bad??

    I never stressed weight with my boys, mostly because they were all super skinny, but my middle son did chunk up a tad between 12 and 13 for about 20 minutes. Then he grew six inches and was once again skinny.

    Exercise and eating right are awesome, but worrying about weight at 7? Not good.

    Poor baby. Like I said, I’ll bet he grows overnight.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:17:46

      We asked if anything happened at school, or if anyone said anything to him, and he said no. I think he would tell us, because he’s not at the surly hiding things from his parents age yet. But he is quiet and introspective, so it’s possible something happened and he doesn’t want to say. Either way, I’m hoping it is a growth spurt and he slims out soon. But right now, he’s just being healthy and even eating better, so it’s all good for the moment.

      Reply

  9. winopants
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 15:26:56

    Yup, it definitely sounds like he’s headed for a growth spurt. Adorable though that he’s interested in fitness at such a young age. In spite of having family members in the fitness industry, I never had the bug to run or lift weights at age seven. I was more interested reading or being on the computer!

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:19:08

      Oh don’t worry. He’s still super interested in playing on his Wii U and kindle. But he’s also always been a super active kid that would prefer throwing balls around outside and running bases than sitting inside if given the choice. Every time.

      Reply

  10. mark
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 16:25:43

    Taking a break from gorging myself with Lindor Truffles, to say good luck, and the awareness you have of the slippery slope is very likely enough to keep it from turning into a problem. It’s a little pricey for a 7 year old but I do enjoy tracking my activity with the FitBit tracker. I’ve got the old “Ultra” that they don’t sell anymore (replaced by the FitBit One), but perhaps a Zip? The free account provides pretty awesome feedback on how active you have been and motivates more activity with badges/milestones etc. Back to my truffles. Nom nom.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:21:04

      Damn, Mark. I would say save some truffles for me, but I too am trying to be more healthy. Way to rub it in! Right now, he’s just got a chart of how many reps he does with his weights each day. That’s the only tracking he is doing. He’s not even weighing himself, since it’s not about weightloss, but about health. But thanks for the tip!

      Reply

  11. Jeff Laws
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 21:03:53

    I was a little worried about my 10 year old getting chunky since both her parents are but she hit a growth spurt and thinned out quite a bit. But I still worry that it will come back. I’m guessing your on top of it enough to not let it go to far but you should always keep an eye out. That is what us good parents do.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:22:19

      I guess as parents we are always worrying about something that our kids are doing that might be a bit too much like the negative aspects we see in ourself. Weight is a big one for the hubs and I that we worry about, us both being chunksters. We are definitely keeping an eye out.

      Reply

  12. Valerie
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 21:52:29

    It’s good that he said that he wants to be healthier, and not just lose weight. Being healthy is a lifestyle change that requires work. But the benefits are really worth it!! One day, I’ll be healthier… If I could only stop eating McDonald’s…

    Hugs!

    Valerie

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:24:46

      Ha! Yeah, that is the one thing I actually do NOT allow him to eat. Or anyone in the house (well, the hubs sneaks it occassionally, jerk). Watch Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, Super Size Me, and watch the extra scene about the experiment they did with the fries. After seeing that, I have never eaten at a McDonald’s again, and refuse to allow my kids to eat there. I am a very mean mommy.

      Reply

  13. She's a Maineiac
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 06:19:05

    My ten year old son has always been super active (bordering on hyperactive) so I’ve never had any issue come up with him wanting to exercise or ‘stay healthy’ because he just naturally does it anyway. I think as long as the issue of weight isn’t talked about or even brought up, things are just fine.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:25:37

      See, that’s the weird thing. My son is super active as well. He doesn’t lounge on the couch eating chips and playing video games. Maybe it’s that growth spurt everyone is mentioning. We’ll see.

      Reply

  14. weezafish
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 06:45:41

    Great post Misty. If it helps, I have no concerns about your sons new obsession with you and your Hubby around to guide him 🙂 Jeez that muscle bound kid in your pic!! Honey Boo Boo indeed. Our bodies keep growing and changing up until our early twenties, so healthy and fun I think is about as far as any child needs to take it.

    Reply

  15. agirlwhogames
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 10:05:39

    I am desperately trying to find the article I read several months ago about that kid in your photo and I can’t. Google, you have failed me. But if I remember correctly, the “kid” is 16 and has a genetic disorder that prevents him from accumulating adipose and cellulose. The 5-year-old bodybuilder from Romania, Giuliano Stroe, is much more terrifying.

    And I agree with everyone else who says your son is heading for a growth spurt – my brother was an active little bunny growing up and hated processed sugar and carbonation (still does at 25 – no soda, candy, or cake for him. Unlike his sister, who practically lived on Mountain Dew and cookies for her first year in an apartment). But he would get a belly and slightly flabby arms and legs right before he grew an inch or two. He stopped growing at 19 – at a whopping 6′ 2″ – and hasn’t had a problem staying lean since. If you’re still concerned, though, you could bring it up at his next pediatric appointment.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:28:21

      I was so afraid that was going to happen!! I was looking for the Romanian kid, and actually thought that was him. That kid doesn’t look 16. I was hoping that in randomly picking a picture like that, I wouldn’t inadvertantly pick a picture of a kid with a condition. And I went and did it. Damnit! Thanks for pointing it out. Now I feel super bad.

      I’m hoping for growth spurt. But, but, no sugar or carbonation? What is wrong with that brother of yours??

      Reply

  16. Jen
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 11:54:54

    My little guy has gained a LOT of weight as a result of his seizure and anti-anxiety meds this year. As someone with a history of eating disorders, I have tried to approach it with a “Let’s all go ride bikes and eat veggie stir-fry for dinner!” mentality without focusing on the losing weight aspect of it. Of course, last week his dad told him he was going on a “strict diet”. yeah. . .that’s the perfect thing to tell a child with autism. In no way will THAT turn into an obsession. ((banging head on desk)). You’re doing the right thing, Misty; focus on the positive things like healthy food and exercise without focusing on weight loss. If you practice the first, the second will naturally follow. xoxo

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:30:32

      And . . . another reason why your ex is a supreme douche. FAIL.

      You are doing it right. In fact, I am doing a similar thing, as I made a stellar veggie stir fry this week which both of the boys LOVED. That’s right, I said veggies and love in the same sentence with my boys. Go figure! 🙂

      Reply

  17. Jennifer June Clark
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 14:30:27

    Kudos to your shortie for paying attention to his health! Yeah, could be a major growth spurt coming up, but! Our boy was always a skinny thing, got a bit plump, got taller, but didn’t lose the pudge. (We talk about diet all the time, the importance of exercise; I make him walk home from school everyday. He isn’t a sports guy and that is his only regular exercise. He also is mad crazy for carbs and sugar.) So, your boy will be just fine, ’cause you are on it.

    Reply

  18. Leauxra
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 23:18:25

    I was in incredibly good shape when I was 8-11 years old. I lifted weights, ran, jump roped, biked EVERYWHERE, cartwheeled, roller skated, hiked… We’re talking 18 hours a day in the summer. It would take a LOT for a kid to bulk up like that. Probably hormones, too.

    My nieces are 6 and 9, and both ice skate, are in yoga, and the older one wants to run a 5K.

    I would say… don’t worry about it.

    Even though I’m not a parent. And all my cats are either too fat or too thin.

    Reply

  19. Valentine Logar
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 08:14:28

    Why not just hang with him and watch. I would suspect some of this comes from what he sees and hears in the media. Reinforce his healthy desires and let him know he isn’t ‘fat’. Ask questions about what is going on at school.

    The kid in the picture, meh. His parents were unhealthy and what they did to their son was abusive.

    Reply

    • mistyslaws
      Jan 11, 2013 @ 14:33:01

      Yeah, realizing that the kid in the picture isn’t the kid I meant to be in the picture, but the kid that does weight lifting and has huge muscles at the age of 5? Yes, that is abusive. That’s the one I was going for.

      Reply

  20. Vesta Vayne
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 09:52:15

    That’s a tough one. Personally, I don’t think you have anything to worry about, though I can definitely see why you’re concerned. Fitness is very important, and I think it’s great your son wants to start such habits early. So long as he eats properly, there is no harm in exercising.

    I see kids working out with their folks all the time, it seems like a good way for the family to interact.

    Reply

  21. wcdameron
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 20:59:16

    You are a good mother, Misty. I don’t think you have anything to worry about, because if it got out of hand, you would notice. My guess is that the muscle boy in the picture above had parents who pushed him to do this. You have a son who wants to get healthy. Maybe someone said something to him at school? Let him use the weights and exercise at his pace and keep an eye out for obsessiveness.

    Reply

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