Thursday, March 04, 2010

A BIG problem?

If you know me in real life this will come as no shock.  I am FAT.

Obese.

Ugh, I hate that word.  I hate that title.  But it is true.

FAT.

I've been different weights to be sure, but I've never beyond the truth of that monniker.  I wonder if I ever get skinny if I will still be fat, sort of like how and alcoholic is still an alcoholic after years of sobriety.

But I am not writing that today because of me.  I'm writing because of baby goat.

When he was small, so small and early, weight wasn't an issue.  Or rather gaining weight was the goal.  We spent 6 months on fortified breastmilk to keep the calories up.  But it has become increasingly clear that gaining weight is not ever going to be baby goat's problem.  All signs point to a metabolism like mine, or Mr. Goat's.

He started life at 4 lbs 7 oz.  He weighed in on Monday at 29 lbs 3 oz.  97+ percentile.  Off the charts.

The doctor didn't admonish us and say he HAS to lose weight.  He said to watch it and to be mindful of feeding him healthy foods and only when he is hungry.  Baby goat already gets pretty healthy foods - fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, breastmilk in pretty good proportions.  He is just a good eater.

And yet, this is causing a crisis for me.

I've grown up fat - despite healthy food.  I've been teased.   I struggled against my mom trying to help because while I knew that she was trying to help as a teenager it sounded like a question of worth and not a question of health.  I know full well the ease which I can overeat and the lack of an off switch I seem to possess.

And that is about me.  But how do I, with all my food issues, my FAT, my overeating, protect baby goat from that?  How do I teach him healthy habits?  How to I ensure teach him to value healthy eating while unconditionally defending his worth, his preciousness and my love for him?

He's one.  He doesn't know.  There is still time.  The Doctor isn't too worried...yet.  I am worried.  I fail at weight issues thousands of times a day it seems.  I make bad choices.  I need to change for me I know, but even more so I worry about him.

And yet to name it as a problem almost allows it to be a problem. Am I overreacting as a new parent?  Is my overweight childhood self coming out?  Would I be better off calming down and be mindful of his eating and see how it goes as he starts walking and being even more active?

Is naming it creating it?  Is ignoring it perpetuating it?  His baby goat doomed by his genes and his parents?

I don't know, but this worries have been swirling in my since Monday.  I know a FAT life.  I would protect him from it if I could, but I know the food issues that can come from manically seeking to prevent it too.

So I write and think and overanalyize and crave cookies to make it seem better and wonder where to go from here.

Mr. Goat says this post is melodramatic.  He's right of course.  It is channelling my very best skills of overreacting, anxiety and fatalism.  I can acknowledge that, but the question remains:  How can I teach my son something that I have not mastered myself?

20 comments:

darcie said...

It's tough - that's for sure. Talking about it will do more good than harm - that much I do know. My boy is a GREAT eater - but falls off the charts the opposite direction as he doesn't register even the 5th percentile-he also NEVER. STOPS. MOVING. even in his sleep.
I am confident that once baby goat is more mobile-and the weather is nicer-and with you being mindful of what, and when, you are offering to baby goat - he is going to be just. fine!
(my kids would eat junk all day every day right up til bedtime even if they weren't hungry (and never sit down to eat a meal if we let them) and some days they do that!)
hang in there.
this parenting thing sure isn't easy but you can't beat yourself up...you just have to do what you can and roll with the rest - we are here for you -

Hyacynth said...

Oh, my heart just hurts with you. I grew up "fat" too. Now I call it unhealthy. Because in college, I dropped the pounds but I still wasn't healthy.
Finally, after a year of marriage, I made a decision that seriously altered my life. I went to a Curves and learned how women's bodies really work and finally, finally, finally understood honest to God sound nutrition. And after three years, four dress sizes smaller and dozens of success stories witnesses, my husband and I actually bought our local club.
I'd be happy to talk with you about nutrition and exercise myths and realities if you think you might like to hear about it.

simplicity said...

I will be praying for you Liz and how to work on this. It is late and I have so so so many thoughts and feelings on this issue and you (and your very important WORTH), your beautiful son and just the entire issue at hand but I worry that I won't make much sense this late! Just know I'll be praying.

Melinda said...

I know exactly how you feel...I've always been large (from the time I was born) and have the same struggles you describe.

I don't think you are being melodramatic, because that implies that you are creating tension for the sake of tension. I think your concerns are valid, albeit a little misdirected right now.

Is Baby Goat walking yet? Babies do slim down once they start crawling and then moreso once they start walking. It sounds like he is a good, healthy eater and that is wonderful! The best thing you can do for him is be a good example. This not only means eating healthy, but also not berating yourself over your weight. It's hard, I know. But we can love others unconditionally, we should be able to love ourselves unconditionally as well!

JM said...

You are clearly aware of the issue and I am sure that no matter what size baby goat is he won't have cause to be concerned about the quality of your love for him. Don't worry about being melodramatic either, that's just a part of being a mother sometimes. As for his current weight, I wouldn't worry about it. Both of my boys are big and have always been in the upper ninetieth percentile for weight, especially in their first year. Before mobility really sets in that chub just has no where to go. It's a sign of your genuine care and concern for Baby Goat that you are thinking about this, but for now when he is still so young I wouldn't let it be a heavy worry.

Elizabeth said...

I don't think that you are being overly dramatic. I think that it's important as parents to examine ourselves...but that's different than beating ourselves up over everything.

Your post got me curious so I just looked it up and my son weighed 26lb 11oz at his 1 year visit. I can tell you that I was concerned too. But now, he's almost 4 and he weighs 38 pounds. I wish that I had known that was normal when he was 1. Walking made all of the difference.

I've also tried hard (and sometimes failed) at not giving food to him as "treats." It's easy for me to use food as a reward for good behavior, but long term, I know it's not a good thing to teach him.

But we just do the best that we can. That's all we can ask of ourselves. Thank you for writing this and being so open and honest.

Valerie said...

Ok, so if you're anything like me, it really won't do much good for me to simply say, "Don't worry." Mainly because if I were in your situation, I'd worry too. Sure, you can try to limit Baby Goat's diet, but then you have a cranky baby, and I haven't heard much about baby aerobics (although I'm sure something like that exists).

So, here's my advice: 1) If you're really, super concerned, do your research. I'd try talking to your doctor some more. Ask him what a healthy amount to eat each meal / day / etc. might be. If Baby Goat's way over that (or way under) try gradually reducing the amount, one day at a time.
2) Make sure you're setting the example. As I'm sure you've already thought, if you reach for cookies/ice cream/chocolate whenever you're stressed, he will too eventually. Also, try to make walking, running, playing games super fun.
3) Wait until he starts walking. A lot of the weight is bound to drop just because he's moving more.
4) As he gets older (4, 5, 6) get him involved in every sport imaginable. Sure, it may be a little harder for you, but it's a great social builder. T-ball is always a good start. (Random side note: Hans used to play hockey, but quit quite a few years ago (as I'm sure you know). However, he's still better on the ice than all of our friends, and it's great to see him so happy and relaxed. Find a sport that Baby Goat really likes and try to stick with it).
4) Make him work for food. This isn't as bad as it sounds. I mean, really wait until spring or summer, and take him to an orchard or berry farm to pick his own tasty treats. It's a great family outing (I used to do it as a kid), but it also helps to teach a little patience food wise. Plus it teaches the basics of food prep. First the berries grow, then you pick them, then you wash them, THEN you can either cook them or eat them. While eating berries straight from the plant is awesome, it definitely doesn't serve to teach patience. Plus, take it from someone who used to eat pears straight from the tree, finding a worm is NO fun!

Alright, enough of my saga. I hope I haven't rambled on for too long. One thing Baby Goat will never have to worry about though is whether or not you love him. The fact that you're even writing this blog shows how much you care. Good luck!

Kate said...

That must have been the toughest post you've written. If I was close enough, I would give you a great long hug. That took some bravery, and there is nothing melodramatic about truth and the bravery to tell it. The honesty has to be the first step towards acknowledging the need for change.

Change such as this is difficult, but the long term effects for both you and E. would be well worth the efforts. I pray that you will find the answers and the means to take the steps you need.

Roxy said...

Hugs Liz. That had to be hard to write. You are a great mom. I agree Baby Goat will slim down once he is walking. But maybe ask your ped for a referal to a nutritionist. I'm not a huge fan of them (we saw one for celiac, and knew way more, but I think for this they would be a ton of help). Maybe they can help you come up with a game plan for the future.


call or email me anythime.

Becky B said...

I may not be a mother, but I did grow up fat. I've been fat as long as I can remember. Sure, there are pictures of me from when I was a little girl, too young to remember... I look normal in those pictures (and downright cute), but it sure didn't take long for me to "fill out," so to speak. So, on at least one level, I can relate to this post.

What you write about here is something that terrifies me. I'm worried that if I ever become a mom (which I really would like to do someday), that I'll just end up with a miniature version of me that will grow up (and out) too quickly and contribute to the "childhood obesity epidemic" that you hear about on the news all the time. And it'll be ALL MY FAULT.

But you know what? It's not your fault. It won't be my fault. It's not like you're raising your kid on Big Macs and deep-fried Twinkies. Like you said, you're providing healthy foods for him. At this point in his life, that's the best you can do. Also, you're aware. Often, that's all it takes to change things for the better.

Good luck. :)

Tiffany said...

Well Liz you've known me for as long as I can remember and I too have struggled with weight all my life, still do every.day. I too have concerns with my kids and I certainly don't want my two daughters, especially, to experience what I went through. And fingers crossed, so far, so good. Now I am sure part of it is that they have half their fathers genes which helps a bit. The other thing is I constantly expose them to all kinds of healthy food, even if I don't like it. I never like veggies as a kid and I still don't. BUT I provide them at every meal and they eat them at every meal and they LOVE them. The kids would most likely honestly choose the healthy choice. Em's favorite food is broccoli and Jack would choose and apple or banana over a cookie and Ceci actually asks for salads. That being said, we don't keep the junk food from them either. We have both healthy options and the not-so healthy options in our house. And we make sure our kids catch up choosing healthy options once in a while too. I also cook 90% of our meals and they are all encouraged to help. Sure it takes a little longer, but they understand how food comes together and what goes into cooking and doing it well and healthy. We also sit down for meals together. I realize this is easier with the kids being younger but even with Patrick away, I still sit down at the table to eat dinner with the kids. It eliminates the snacking and watching tv syndrome. That being said, sometimes for a special treat we have a picnic in the living room or popcorn and a movie but we really actively try to keep the food at the kitchen table.
As soon as we were able, they were enrolled in swimming lessons, not just for the exercise but more for a life decision. I wanted them to be safe around water. Jack has played all kinds of sports and he genuinely loves. We try to expose him to everything now that he wants to try. It is a lot of running around but worth it. Em loves ballet. She has loved ballet since she saw the Nutcracker when she was 3 and that was it, she was done. She dances and she loves it. Ceci, well, she is just busy and we take walks and run and play outside.
Now this is just works for me. I am certain there will be a time when I have to step it up a bit but right now it helps. It also helps me to keep my weight in check. I fluctuate a bit here and there and I am by no means where I want to be but I am not gaining any more so that is good for me.
As for E, you need to listen to these other posts, he will thin down as he gets more active. Walking totally changes things. I would watch it. I would talk to the doctor about the proportion size and how much is too much for his age but I also wouldn't worry too much at this point. Now, if he's 60 lbs. at age 3, then that's another story. Keep exposing him to good foods and relax. And take a key from your doc, they will tell you when it is time to worry. Now I know that is easier said than done but it is true. I have had many visits where I have gotten a "we need to watch this and if by next visit..." and sometimes, it goes away all on its own and sometimes, we get to the next visit and we have to figure out a plan and work it.
And you have to look at it this way, from where he was last year at this time, this is a good problem to have. It is correctable and he has rebounded and avoided any potential problems from him being born so early. You have done a great job and you will continue to do so. The fact that you are concerned about this is a testament to what a good mother you are. I love you so much!

Tiffany said...

P.S. So sorry for the novel! ;)

dayfullofgrace said...

This is tough stuff. I have struggled with food a lot in my life and while I’ve been lucky that it hasn’t gotten TOO out of control, my weight is always in the back of my mind. (Very interesting what you said about still being fat even once you’re skinny, like an alcoholic.) I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for 6 months and it has dramatically changed how I view food. Seth and I are doing it together – the weight loss has been a great benefit, but more than anything we realized we had to change our eating habits so that we could be good models for Anna. And it’s funny, I never gave much thought to people on the other end of the spectrum who are concerned about being underweight, but Anna has always been small for her age and that concerns me, too. She’s in the 20th percentile right now, the highest she’s been, and she isn’t walking yet so I am concerned about calorie burn when she starts doing that. (And she’s a great eater too – so it isn’t that. The girl just has much faster metabolism than her mama!) My point is – it’s always something!! There is no end to the worry when you’re a parent :)

I think awareness is half the battle. You are a great mother and you’re doing fine. There isn’t a magic cure – it’s something to work at every single day. I will keep reminding myself of this too :)

Call or write any time you want to chat more, my dear :)

togetherforgood said...

I grew up fat too. I have had weight issues and poor self-esteem because of them for my whole life. And I have been so paranoid. Both of my boys (now 7 and 5) were always top-of-the-charts as babies, now are normal, just-average sized boys. But now I have a daughter and boy oh boy to I worry about projecting my issues onto her. I don't have any wisdom for you, except that you're not alone. :)

amy said...

What a post... I can totally identify with this. I grew up in So. Cal as the chubby kid. It felt horrible, especially when I went home to my weight obsessed family. And even now, after losing the weight and being at a small size, whenever I look in the mirror, I see that same fat girl. I get no sympathy (and I don't want it) because I look "small" but I will never recover from being that fat girl and like an alcoholic, i will always deal with eating issues. I'm terrified of passing this down to my children, both physicall and psychologically. it's so incredibly difficult to never let my "fluffy" daughter feel like she's anything less than perfect, but also to teach her how to eat a healthy diet.
Anyway, I so appreciated your post. You're not alone and very strong to put it all out there. Very much a first step.

Amelia Sprout said...

Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I've always struggled with weight, and I've been anorexic and I'm obese. He's only one, and when kids are that age they go through chunk up/stretch out phases, and one appointment does not make a pattern. It is not worth stressing about it.

For me, having a kid was a wake up call about my own unhealthy habits. I realized when she was almost two that I was giving all of the healthy food to her, because I wanted to make sure that she had a good start, and not taking good enough care of myself. It is still hard. I am an emotional eater, and I love all kinds of things that are just no good for you.

I have an odd suggestion for you, and I don't want you to take it the wrong way. Have you thought about going to a nutritionist? I realized I honestly had no idea about what I really should be doing for food for a little kid, or even for myself. Even someone like me who grew up vegetarian, was way off on how many servings of veggies you should be getting. Not to mention I had no idea how big a serving was for a toddler. I also became a lot more aware how much unnecessary sugar there is in "kids" products. It was a great learning experience and everyone in the house has benefited.

Rebecca said...

That must have been a hard post to write. The fact that you are having these thoughts is a testimony to the fact that you are a wonderful mom. We parents can only do the best we can. We'll obsess about the effects of our work, so know that your worries will never go away. All you can do is to keep doing your best. If you do, I believe Baby Goat will grow up a happy, healthy boy.

Monkeymama said...

I agree with everyone else that E might drop on the chart a bit when he starts walking.

Also, you and Mr. Goat are both tall - he's bound to be at the top of the charts due to genetics.

The book Child of Mine, by Ellyn Satter, has been recommended to me many times and I'm just reading it now - it talks about feeding your child in a healthy way - both healthy foods and with a healthy mindset. It might give you some tips too.

It's really hard, as a parent, to see clearly in areas where we struggle ourselves.

scrubmama said...

I didn't read all the comments, so maybe this has been said, but kids are SO malleable. Adults who are obese have a hard time changing because all of the hormones, etc. involved in regulating eating have about reached their set point. But kids can still change it! If you can, borrow Complications by Atul Gawande from your library--there's a chapter on gastric bypass and he goes into a little detail about hunger regulation.

But anyways, my point is, he is not you. Which is a relieving and stress-inducing thought all at the same time ;)

If it helps you at all, Littlescrub was 26lb at her 1 year, and 27lb at her 1.5 year...and 3 inches taller and RUNNING. I do think (just anecdotally) that
1) breastmilk is super-chub-inducing, but easily burned off
2) kids will always ask for more if they love the food (i.e. littlescrub and mangoes), not necessarily because they're hungry
3) i never should have to worry if my kid "got enough"....her metabolism is so spot-on that if she hardly eats one day, she invariably will pig out the next day. it's been really hard to let her control how much she eats, but honestly, she's probably better at regulating her eating habits than i am.

Random Tangent said...

you are not over reacting. you are trying to be proactive. it sounds to me like you have already started to set good eating habits with healthy food. the next step is being more 'active'. remember that the little activities that add up. take a walk after dinner. go play at the park. take the stairs a few times a week. stand rather than sit when possible. and DON'T beat yourself up (especially when you slip). you are a wonderful parent and by being aware and making the changes now, even the little ones, you will all be better off for it.