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Apr 25, 2012 07:55 AM

Teaching chow pups moderation

One of my pups is a chip off the old chow block. He spends a great deal of time thinking about what he'll be eating next. He likes to cook and bake with me and even reads cookbooks and food magazines. He's actually brought me recipes on several occasions that he wants to try. In a lot of ways, this is really great, but how do you teach moderation without creating food "issues". He's a lot like my mom was at the same age (he's 5) and my grandmother turned her into a fat kid probably in part by making an issue of everything she ate. He ice skates and spends a lot of time outdoors, so activity isn't an issue, but it wasn't with her either. Any words of wisdom?

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  1. Just be honest, and model moderation. No issues, just provide a variety of reading material and activities (which it sounds like is already in place), and carry on conversations about other things without making it a big deal.

    1. Just read this article today. It doesn't precisely address the issue you raise, but it might give you some ideas.

      2 Replies
      1. re: small h

        Thanks for this smallh. I was a chubby kid and the shame just made me eat more. I love that this kid turned his struggles into a positive and loves doing his videos and snack challenges. And that the family is portrayed as still struggling with healthy choices every day. So many health and fitness types become all-or-nothing evangelists.

        1. re: julesrules

          You're welcome. I think it might be inspirational to kids in similar situations to see that one of their own has had some success in a way that seems achievable (if not exactly easy).

      2. Don't let him overload his plate and enforce the idea of a "proper" portion. Remind him that he can have more servings when he finishes the first ones. A big factor in overeating is too much on the plate. It tricks our brain about how much we've eaten.

        1. I had trouble learning moderation when I was a kid. Looking back, my mom is pretty sure I either couldn't recognize the sensation of fullness, or something was off in my wiring and the signals for fullness never got through to my brain. At three years old I could easily eat a pound of green beans in a sitting, and still want more. I would sit at the table with a distended belly, and ask for more. I loved pretty much any food, and want to eat it all.

          My mom had to give the babysitter strict instructions to not give me more food than she (the babysitter) thought was reasonable. The babysitter was an older woman with two grown children and many years of experience in childcare, so she had a decent eye for appropriate child-size portions. For family meals (pretty much every dinner and most breakfasts), my mom prepared and served standard 4-serving recipes for a family of four. She would serve me about half a serving of each dish, and I could get the second half if I still wanted it after a few minutes of family conversation. By middle school or so I had learned to self regulate. I think getting involved in cheer leading and basketball helped a lot because I could tell I was slower and less agile at after school practice if I had over indulged at lunch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mpjmph

            Mpjmph, are you, or were you, a fast eater?

          2. I believe a child of that age is old enough to understand the types of food our bodies need. We talk about "everyday foods" and "sometimes foods" in our house. Without getting to hung up on issues of weight, I focus on the idea that some foods are better for our bodies and so we have to eat more of them. I also find it helpful to be really generous with the veg part of our meal; they don't usually ask for more veg but will eat what is provided. If one of my sons wants more food and he's had enough "sometimes food" he is offered fruit.