So I'm concerned about my brother. He's actually the reason I decided to get back into fitness/weight loss, because I thought if I went to the gym with him, we could spend more time together and I could help him get straightened out nutritionally.
The problem is, he is really skinny. He's around 5'7" (my estimate), and weighs like 110 lbs. He's 15. This wouldn't be *such* a concern because I know boys that age can be just super skinny while they're growing, no matter what they eat... but he thinks he has too much body fat. I don't think he has any (well, apart from the basic amount inside that is required... but seriously he's very lean, you can't pinch an inch anywhere as far as I can tell). I'm trying to get him to focus more on trying to build up muscle rather than to lose fat... which I know he can't do without eating enough, but it's hard to get through to him. He won't touch any junk food, no sugar, and he's wary of ANY carbs unless they come from vegetables.
So I would be very grateful if someone knew of a resource that had information for what a GROWING boy needs in terms of calories, carbs, protein, etc, on a daily basis. Especially one who is trying to weight train and works out 5x a week!
We are going to see a nutritionist together but the appointment isn't for another few weeks.
I suspect he may have an eating disorder. I'm trying really hard to mentor him, and make him understand that a) he isn't fat, and b) he needs to eat properly if he wants to attain his fitness goals (one of which is to build muscle). He's a great kid, very smart, he's reading up on strength training but the info he's getting is for adults who are done growing, I'm sure, and a lot of it is all this low-carb stuff that I don't think applies to someone who is so skinny. I'm also worried that if he gets too much into protein supplements that he'll hurt his kidneys!
give me a second -- I'll get you some websites
I think a lot of people don't realize the misnomer on anorexia.
Your brother's abstinance of junk food and carbs seems to be more that of another eating disorder.
Check this website out:
I don't think pushing another "ideal" body image on him may be the best idea. Instead teaching him to eat well and eat healthy would be better.
Telling him to bulk up, get muscle, and become a "man" isn't the solution. If anything it's making things worse.
Find out why he's so unhappy first and help him find ways to boost his self-esteem that are appropriate to him. I rather think the eating and appearance issues aren't the root of the problem.
I weighed about the same when I was that age (and same height). I'm guessing he also has a small frame. My family constantly brought me to the doctor to make sure I was still healthy and not too skinny, and he always said I was fine. But constantly being told I was too skinny and needed to gain weight, I ended up taking their advice, and it was a big mistake. Avoiding junk food is not a sin, as long as he's not starving himself and eating healthy. Everyone has body fat, and if he's concerned about his, have him calculate his BMI and he'll see that he's that he's thin, but healthy.
I should clarify, that I didn't suggest to him the idea of going to the gym. He said he wanted to go, so I said I'd go with him anytime (which has been great for me). A big part of the reason why I am going with him is to try to figure out what's wrong. I'm not trying to tell him he needs to go to the gym to bulk up, but I'm trying to shift the focus away from "less body fat."
I don't think he's concerned with getting stronger to be able to win fights or anything like that. He has his black belt in karate! He has lost interest in karate though.
I've been trying to suggest to my mom that they all go to family counselling. There are a lot of issues that my family has, that affected me very much when I was living at home. I had something of an eating disorder myself. I always felt extremely guilty for eating any "junk" which was basically banned from our house. I'm 23 now and I've been living on my own since I was 17, so I've been out of the environment for a while, but I think he's really feeling it.
Both my parents have issues with food. My dad has been known to throw junk food out if it comes into the house, because he can't "trust himself" with it around. My mom eats like a bird, sometimes I swear that however much I put on my plate, she deliberately puts half as much. Not that I eat with her often, since I don't live there, but when I do.
See, our parents act very supportive, they say they're concerned about how fixated he is on his diet... but then my dad gives him **** for having a scoop of white rice with his dinner, saying "You should have brown rice, that crap is bad for you." It's frustrating to me.
My dad is also a very political person, and he believes that we all have it soo good here in North America, that we should devote ourselves to fighting all the injustices in the world. And the message is, if you aren't doing that, you are not good enough, you're selfish, you're bad.
Also this kid has been alienated from his friends recently because they've all been getting into drugs and alcohol, and he doesn't want to go down that road. So I think he is feeling a bit socially isolated. He plays computer games and has friends online, but my parents are always trying to cut back his time with that too.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, I know about a lot of the things that are going on, and through talking with my brother during our time together (which we're spending a lot more time together now), I'm understanding more and more about how he's feeling... but really I think he could use some counseling and I don't know if my parents are going to get him there. My dad doesn't believe in counseling. I guess maybe they could send him on his own, but I think the family perspective would be the best... it's just that dad probably would not go.
But, the resources you have all shared with me are going to be helpful. I think what I really need to do is convince him that he needs to eat enough if he wants to keep growing.
I am so sorry to hear that. I hope you tell your brother the exact same thing. Sometimes just having someone else who understands can be enough to get him through. Maybe encourage him to spend the weekend with you and away from his parents. I did that with my little sister and she was always very grateful. Families can sure be dysfunctional, I know mine is. Even with all us kids grown and out of the house there is still a lot of problems. Let your brother know you understand his situation and that you will always be his friend.
I'd like to add a website to your repertoire -- especially if you think he may have an ED
This site is dedicated to eating disorders of all sorts and has a plethora of information available to site visitors/users.