Monday, August 06, 2007


Every now and then--though frankly not very often--I get lulled into the false sense that my teenage son is developing just fine: decision-making, grades, talents, logic, and ability to communicate with others all seem to be gradually and demonstrably inching up with each passing day.

But yesterday I was rudely yanked out of said comfortable lull, and quickly remembered that what Dr. Phil says is absolutely true: the part of teenagers' brains that helps regulate judgment and reason just isn't developed yet. I just got MORE absolute PROOF.

Despite many caveats from family and doctors, Kid has feigned obliviousness to the fact that he is becoming overweight and, except for dance, hardly ever exercises at all except whatever they make him do in gym at school. But now it's summer and there's no gym. His only exercise is digits at the keyboard and an occasional romp in a friend's swimming pool. I respect and heartily promote his interest in all the arts and don't care at all if he chooses not to participate on sports teams. That's just not who he is. But the weight gain is concerning, and so are the poor eating choices and lack of exercise. If they don't change, Kid's going to have a heart attack during his first year of college because he'll go buckwild crazy eating the wrong things with no supervision.

And that, friends, would really piss me off, because we have put an extraordinary investment of love, time and money into Kid. And he hasn't exactly been an angel--far from it. A pain, oftentimes. If I only had a nickel for every tortilla and four dollars back for every six-dollar brick of cheese and gallon of milk he's consumed over the past two years, I could pay for that extra year of college he'll need after screwing up freshman year. Not to mention how much pizza (or--should I say--how many whole pizzas) he's eaten while we weren't taking inventory.

If we are what we eat, he's The Big Cheese. He eats however much there is, including what I hide in the freezer. I keep trying to have cheese so that I can use it for specific purposes in planned meals, but by the time I get to the day of the meal I've planned, the cheese is always gone and I can't cook what I planned. Pretty much everything from the grocery store disappears within two days after it's purchased. If I buy one pound of something, he eats one pound. If I bought 89 pounds of something, he'd eat 88 and not leave enough to do anything else with. Whatever there is, he eats until it's gone.

Clearly I am a Dangerous Enabler. It's up to me to stop buying tortillas and cheese! It's up to me to quit buying any groceries at all! If we just didn't have any food in the house, he wouldn't have a problem.

Anyhow, on the weekend I noticed Kid at the computer, honest-to-goodness actually looking up the new FDA recommended food pyramid ( He's taking an American Government course in summer school, so my bet is they talked about regulatory bodies such as the FDA. Bodies. Hah.

(I must say, in my opinion, the "new" food pyramid is completely nonsensical and fails as a piece of "graphic art." To me it communicates nothing but a marathoner running Capitol steps for some cause-- rainbow pride?--but I digress.)

Kid was making a list of recommended foods and servings. This is what he ultimately came up with for a full day worth of meals (he typed up a list and printed it):

3.3 oz. whole-wheat grain bread
1 oz spinach or lettuce
1 oz. carrots or sweet potatoes
1.5 oz. black beans or kidney beans
3.5 oz. corn or potatoes
2 oz. green beans, beats [sic], or asparagus
2 oz. tomatoes, eggplant, or mushrooms
.5 oz. olive oil
7 oz. beef or chicken
4 oz. cheese
4 oz. milk
3.5 oz. banana
3 oz. apples

45 minutes fast biking or running
7.5 min push-ups
7.5 min sit-ups
strech [sic]

I thought that was okay, except the "fast" exercise, which he hasn't gradually trained for. But at least he was thinking about taking responsibility, and putting forth some effort to figure out his needs.

Then I discovered the actual plan. As I watched him carefully weigh the items on the kitchen scale, I realized his gathering wasn't a day's worth of itemized, meal-by-meal eating. He went into the cabinet and got out the blender. Yes, he was going to make a day's worth of sustenance all in one fell whizz.

Before I could prevent it, he dumped it all in; asparagus, frozen corn, milk, bread, cheese (of course!), tomato, carrots, banana, olive oil.

Quickly I felt both faint and sick, and left the room. Little brother was shrieking, "Nooooo!! That's groooooossss!" Kid turned on the blender, and that was it.

He poured it into a big plastic glass and started walking around the open floorplan with it, sipping as he ambled. He said, "See, it's not bad! In fact, it doesn't taste like much of anything at all!" as the rest of us turned our heads.

Later, I made him clean up the huge mess he'd made (including spraying puke-colored blended gook all over the kitchen door and its window panes). I also noticed some items in the refrigerator. One was the less-than-half-empty cup, with plastic wrap floating over the top. The other was a Tupperware container spilling over onto the shelf with the remainder from the blender.

I'm guessing this diet will go well. If anything could put a person off his appetite, that would be it. And, someday--perhaps soon--maybe he'll go back to eating his veg, fruit, bread, milk and cheese separately, or in sensible combinations and quantities. And I will remember as a mantra, every day, what Dr. Phil said.


At 8/07/2007 6:25 PM, Blogger Nance said...

Oh. My. God. I am without speech. For me, that is a Programmed-to-Fail Diet. Keep us posted.

At 8/29/2007 10:28 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

Oh yuck, yuck, yuck.

And he consumed it?

At 9/02/2007 10:50 PM, Blogger sputnik said...

Yes, tuesday, my darling! He ate more than half of it! A whole blender-ful! What you see in the bowl is the second half, from which he tasted a cold spoonful; then he laughed outrageously and said, "Mom! What was I thinking? This is sick!" And he turned around and put it down the garbage disposal, which you cannot see behind his elbow. I wish I could say he ran the water and the disposal, but his brain, you know, what Dr. Phil said.


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