Realising my son was a lot like Sam was not a good feeling.

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We’ve shared Sam’s story and it’s provoked a lot of reaction, one mum shares her feelings after watching it…

Sam’s Story was a wake-up call.  Realising your ten-year-old son sounds a lot like Sam is not a good feeling.

We’ve always tried to give our children good food. We love our food, we cook a lot, eat lots of fresh fruit and veg and buy farm shop meat.  As babies, I pureed and mashed enough home-cooked meals to rival the yummy mummies.  As toddlers, we chose fruit and rice cakes for snacks, while fizzy drinks and sweets were a definite no no.  But as they’ve grown up we’ve gradually relaxed the rules – first the kids’ party food, then the occasional McDonalds after swimming lessons and now biscuits (always plural!) and a glass of milk after a busy day at school.  We still sit down at the table for meals as a family, we don’t buy sugary breakfast cereals and we’ve cut down on fruit juice.  But still, if I am really honest, I’m shocked to think how we’ve let the bad eating habits creep in and take hold.

It’s been obvious for a while that my youngest son has a sweet tooth and a big appetite. But we made excuses for him.  He’s always enjoyed food more than his brother, who is a real fussy eater, so if anything we’ve encouraged him to eat a lot. Asking for seconds was rewarded, compared to a sibling who worried us by picking at the food on his plate.  And he was a slim and active little boy.  We thought  “Oh well, he’s always playing football and out on his bike, so a piece of cake and a hot chocolate won’t do him any harm at the weekend.”

child on tyre 1But lately, the results of that sweet tooth and those second helpings are beginning to show around his waistline and I don’t like it.  He’s really not fat.  In fact, you might see him and wonder what on earth I am talking about, but we can see the changes and have started to worry he might struggle with his weight as he gets older.

But more importantly, he doesn’t like it either.  He’s already becoming self-conscious about his ‘wobbly tummy’.  He gets embarrassed if his button won’t do up and covers up quickly when he gets out of the bath.  It’s hard to know how to react.  There’s a strong temptation to tell him he is wonderful just the way he is.  I am wary of giving him an eating disorder or making him too focused on what he looks like, rather than who he is.  But ignoring this would be irresponsible.  I need to tread carefully, but like any parent I want my children to live a long and happy life.  Thinking about the health problems he could face based on eating habits I’ve allowed him to develop in front of my eyes terrifies me.

So, I’ve decided we’re going to make some changes, to try to get back on track.  Cut out the sugary treats and unhealthy snacks that have found their way into my shopping trolley.  Question the requests for seconds sometimes and just try to make sure there’s always a healthy option available.  I also need to talk to him more about food, encouraging him to keep on enjoying what he eats and to involve him in cooking new, healthy meals.  Ultimately I have to help him to cut down on those snacks that taste delicious now, but could harm him later. Who wants bowel cancer and Type 2 diabetes to be a part of their child’s future?  Not me.

See how Sam’s story affects you, watch it below…

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