8 Year Old Boy Worries He's Too Skinny


RevKT

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My son is 8 years old, about 50" tall and 55 lbs. According to charts that is fine. However, his waist is so small that even with the size adjustment tabs pulled all the way the pants are still too big on his waist. He is significantly smaller than even his friends who look a healthy weight. You can see his ribs and now that he has been Whole30 ish and the stomach bloat is gone he looks a lot smaller. He says he wants to be bigger like his friends, but only "healthy weight" like muscle. (I'm overweight so he knows that too much fat weight is not good.) He eats as much as he wants, but he's not a big eater and is the only kid who does not eat a snack at school even though I pack him one.

I am worried about two things:

1. Kids are so much bigger now, even those of healthy weight have more of a layer of fat than he does (he has a six pack), that he feels bad about his size. This could cause body image or eating disorder issues. For some reason all the boys are talking about how much they weigh and the biggest is termed "strongest." Although my son can run farther and faster than his friends and is physically stronger as well.

2. He is quite boney so even though he is technically the right weight, how do I know he is not too skinny? (The doctor says he's fine but also he doesn't recommend a Paleo diet.)

Any advice on helping him have a healthy body image and not think he needs to be bigger? Or how to know if he is too skinny?

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The doctor is right. Kids grow at different rates and there is nothing healthy to do about it.

I really understand where he is coming from. Although I was the tallest boy in school until about the 9th or 10th grade, I was skinny. I wanted to grow muscles like a body builder and I really tried in high school. I lifted weights and drank milk shakes with raw eggs just like my friends who were developing thick chests, arms, and shoulders, but I stayed skinny. Later in college, I was able to curl more weight than a professional wrestler who trained at my gym, but nobody considered me strong.

When I was a freshman in college, I remember meeting a body builder in his 50s with gray hair who told me he had been skinny as a kid and had not been able to grow muscles until he was in his 30s. I took comfort in his story and figured I would be like him and finally get the body I wanted when I was old. Funny thing is, now that my metabolism has changed and I can grow muscle, I don't want to be much bigger than I am now. And I wish I had the 6-pack abs that I could not make go away in college.

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Ugh, will be following your post. I can only offer empathy. I am new to the whole paleo idea and new to Whole30. My son is 10 and about the same size as your 8 year old! He is one of the smallest in his grade, smaller than most of the girls as well. He doesn't seem to have a huge issue with it, but it does bother him. His 8 year old sister is the same height and ten pounds heavier. He uses this to tease HER but she is not heavy, just thicker/sturdier than he is. He just started soccer, I hope the extra exercise will help him gain muscle at least. When he comes home from practice, he's famished, but the most he will eat is a scoop of cheerios (no milk) or a Z-bar. Geez. EAT SOMETHING, PLEASE!!! Sorry, I just wrote a whole rant about my son's diet. ~Jessica

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Thanks for sharing your story Tom. I will let him know that some people are just skinny and super strong! My husband is really thin too but he was an overweight kid so he can't relate to wanting to be bigger. Our son also starts CrossFit Kids soon and I think that will help.

Jessica, I find it hard to just let my son eat as much as he wants especially because sometimes he eats 3 bites. Other times he eats two servings of something. I am trying to let him regulate his own eating because my Mom made me eat everything and always said "It makes me so happy to see you enjoy what I made." And she made tons of creamy and sweet stuff. Now I have a binge eating disorder so I just want him to make his own healthy choices and learn to know when he needs to eat and when he does not. It sounds like your son knows when he is hungry and when he isn't, which is good.

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