Archive for February, 2010
I wish I could take the credit, but I can’t. He did it himself, through determination, subtle and not so subtle changes and, thankfully, a growth spurt.
I’m writing about my son, to whom I should give a moniker — The Bean. He morphed from a butter bean, to a jelly bean, to a string bean in front of my very eyes.
In the fall of 2008, this 13 year-old boy weighed 260 pounds and was climbing into the 3XL shirts and pants. Getting him to do any kind of physical activity was a battle of wills. Getting him to eat vegetables – even harder.
On the edge of his teenage years, it was time to take some steps. We started by eating one serving of vegetables each night. It would have been easier if I instituted the “stick pins in my eyes” rule – every night was a battle. Watching him gag on salad made for great drama, but there are other things I’d rather do in the evening. (Watching spinach dangle from his orthodontic bracket while he gagged was rather amusing at first, but that grew old, as well.)
Two items constituted our saving grace – V8 Juice and Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Pancakes. Those he could handle and those he had every night. Chicken nuggets, fish, turkey burgers, or whatever – all came with a serving of V8 and a spinach pancake.
The other change: no more school cafeteria food. A bagged lunch with a sandwich, applesauce and V8 was in the back pack every day and the lunch line was verboten. We also made sure we were on a walk every evening.
It was a couple months later when I saw the first signs – his pants kept falling down. Smaller pants were purchased and in six weeks, they fell. He shrunk to my pants size and then, they were too big. The Bean lost 100 pounds. His waist went from 44 to 32 inches. His clothing size, from 3XL to men’s medium.
Kids like The Bean often experience the Asperger’s Spiral, which is like The Butterfly Effect in hyperdrive. Something happens which affects something else until it exponentially spirals out of control. This time, The Bean experienced a long-term occurrence of the Reverse Asperger’s Spiral. A little weight loss led to a little more energy, led to a little more physical activity, which led to a little more weight loss. When the growth-spurt came, he sprouted vertically. For a parent who, all to often, experiences the Spiral, this is a joy to observe.
Many have expressed concern over his dramatic weight loss and to all I can assure, The Bean’s doctors (pediatrician, psychiatrist) are completely on board and were absolutely giddy during his last visits. His dad is giddy too.
For a kid who has many, many challenges ahead, obesity doesn’t need to compound them. Now, we’re trying to keep the incline pointed in the right direction by making healthy choices and proceeding down the road.