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Old 11-14-2011, 02:56 AM   #1
Mike Gray
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Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

Hi guys!

I could use a little advice:

My 13-year-old son is *burly* - tall and broad-shouldered for his age. He's shorter than I am - I'm 6ft, he's about 5'6" - but his feet are bigger than mine (size 12.5-13), his hands are bigger and heavier than mine and his wrists are noticeably thicker. I look forward to seeing the man he'll become - I'm jealous already!

Development: He hasn't quite hit puberty yet - voice still high and only the occasional pimple.

He's also a bit on the heavy side. He weighs about 150#. (When I got married at 23 I was 6ft tall and weighed about 155#!) With the size frame he has, he doesn't look fat with a shirt on, just BIG. But when he has his shirt off there's definitely some extra padding and kind of a general softness. He loves sports - both of my kids are Crossfit regulars and I'm opening a garage gym - but the combination of those whacked-out, growing kid proportions (which is natural!) and the extra weight makes it frustrating for him. For example, he can do the basic lifts with decent form and impressive weight (for his age) - but he can't do a pull-up. He loves soccer (we're Swiss) but he's slow (not just because of weight - those big feet tend to get in a tangle!)

He's proud of his size, but he's also self-conscious about the extra fat. Just yesterday, he told me he'd like to start doing zone or paleo. A lot of our CrossFit pals follow those diets very strictly, and he looks up to them.

Current eating: We live in Switzerland and eat what people here would consider a healthy but normal diet. Good: Eggs every morning, big fresh salads at least once per day, lots of milk, lots of cooked fresh veggies, not quite enough meat. Questionable: potatoes, bread, pasta, orange juice, cornflakes, sweetened yogurt on a regular basis. Extras: cookies around Christmas time and ice cream or pie (or both!) on special occasions - say once in two weeks. When my son is out with friends (maybe twice a week) he'll add some sugary drinks, chips and candy.

There's obviously room for optimization here. With the metabolism I have, I've never needed to bother, but I would be happy for all of us to change our family eating habits.

On thew other hand, I want to be particularly careful to get my son dialed in right. He's got some big growing coming up, and I definitely don't want him to be putting in too FEW calories. There's a big machine there and I want to make sure it gets plenty of fuel.

In particular, I wouldn't know how many zone blocks he would need. Also, I need to make some family recommendations that are kid-friendly enough that my son (and his 14-year-old sister) won't get sick of them once the initial excitement wears off.

Can you guys give me some tips?
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:10 AM   #2
Michael Dries
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

Don't do zone. You'll end up 1) calorie restricting a growing child which is just silly. 2) might give him a complex about blocks and calories, etc, which is just not something he needs to worry about.

Your best bet is to sit him down and explain what are good decisions about the food he eats. It's also a great opportunity to teach him about a goal setting and consequences of his actions (i.e. you eat junk you won't reach your goals).

He should be allowed to eat unlimited amounts of meat, veggies, fruits, tubers, rice and nuts if he has no allergies. Tell him to avoid anything with an ingredient list or that comes in a foil package (i.e. junk food). You admittedly said he doesn't get enough meat, which means he may(or may not) be getting enough complete, useful protein. I'd start upping the meat intake, base more meals around the concept of, half a plate of animals, half a plate of veggies.

At the end of the day though, he's a kid and will probably slip. How much daily exercise does he get? It's too bad you're over in Switzerland as he'd probably be a good fit for american foot ball. :-)
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:41 AM   #3
Bill M. Hesse
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

I would agree with the above. Especially as this kid hits puberty he sounds like he is going to have good potential. Education of good eating choices would be what I would do. Training smart and eating good is what he needs to have crammed in his head and it just may stick with him the rest of his life as some studies suggest.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:12 AM   #4
Mike Gray
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

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Originally Posted by Michael Dries View Post
How much daily exercise does he get? It's too bad you're over in Switzerland as he'd probably be a good fit for american foot ball. :-)
i (the kid) ride my bike up a steep hill to school every day and have sports on every day every once in a while i go to crossfit and workout.
and by the way, there is american football here in switzerland.
thanks 4 the advice
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:26 AM   #5
Justin McGinley
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

Everydaypaleo.com wfs has a lot of info about getting kids to eat quality food. You might want to go there.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:33 AM   #6
Mike Gray
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

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Originally Posted by Justin McGinley View Post
Everydaypaleo.com wfs has a lot of info about getting kids to eat quality food. You might want to go there.
Thanks - as you see from the post above, my son is motivated about this! (And, if you don't mind my bragging a little, for someone with English as a second language, he probably spells better than I did at his age!)

Mike, the Dad
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:44 AM   #7
Rebecca Roth
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Gray View Post
Hi guys!

I could use a little advice:

My 13-year-old son is *burly* - tall and broad-shouldered for his age. He's shorter than I am - I'm 6ft, he's about 5'6" - but his feet are bigger than mine (size 12.5-13), his hands are bigger and heavier than mine and his wrists are noticeably thicker. I look forward to seeing the man he'll become - I'm jealous already!

Development: He hasn't quite hit puberty yet - voice still high and only the occasional pimple.

He's also a bit on the heavy side. He weighs about 150#. (When I got married at 23 I was 6ft tall and weighed about 155#!) With the size frame he has, he doesn't look fat with a shirt on, just BIG. But when he has his shirt off there's definitely some extra padding and kind of a general softness. He loves sports - both of my kids are Crossfit regulars and I'm opening a garage gym - but the combination of those whacked-out, growing kid proportions (which is natural!) and the extra weight makes it frustrating for him. For example, he can do the basic lifts with decent form and impressive weight (for his age) - but he can't do a pull-up. He loves soccer (we're Swiss) but he's slow (not just because of weight - those big feet tend to get in a tangle!)

He's proud of his size, but he's also self-conscious about the extra fat. Just yesterday, he told me he'd like to start doing zone or paleo. A lot of our CrossFit pals follow those diets very strictly, and he looks up to them.

Current eating: We live in Switzerland and eat what people here would consider a healthy but normal diet. Good: Eggs every morning, big fresh salads at least once per day, lots of milk, lots of cooked fresh veggies, not quite enough meat. Questionable: potatoes, bread, pasta, orange juice, cornflakes, sweetened yogurt on a regular basis. Extras: cookies around Christmas time and ice cream or pie (or both!) on special occasions - say once in two weeks. When my son is out with friends (maybe twice a week) he'll add some sugary drinks, chips and candy.

There's obviously room for optimization here. With the metabolism I have, I've never needed to bother, but I would be happy for all of us to change our family eating habits.

On thew other hand, I want to be particularly careful to get my son dialed in right. He's got some big growing coming up, and I definitely don't want him to be putting in too FEW calories. There's a big machine there and I want to make sure it gets plenty of fuel.

In particular, I wouldn't know how many zone blocks he would need. Also, I need to make some family recommendations that are kid-friendly enough that my son (and his 14-year-old sister) won't get sick of them once the initial excitement wears off.

Can you guys give me some tips?
The one thing that jumps out at me, is that you say he has "lots of milk" in his every day diet. If he plans to take up serious weightlifting this might be okay, but if he does not for any reason want to grow like a baby animal, he shouldn't be drinking milk. Milk is great for getting big, but tends to be a huge hindrance to those trying to lose fat, it is also full of sugar (primarily naturally occurring lactose and most in US has added sugar as well).

Try simply cutting out the milk, and have the "questionable" items more sparingly (2-3 times a week total for all questionable items combined is probably reasonable), and I bet he will have great results.
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Last edited by Rebecca Roth : 11-14-2011 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:32 PM   #8
Nick Karrasch
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

I wouldn't restrict him eating milk and dairy (unless he is lactose intolerant) at his age, especially if he hasn't gone through puberty. As you no doubt know most children who have a little extra weight will naturally shed it as they grow, make sure he knows this too.

I would echo the comments on food education. Teach him what is healthy, how to make good food choices, and how to read nutritional labels.

Don't restrict calories in any way (including the zone diet).

Teach him about sugar but there is nothing wrong with him enjoying some unhealthy food/drink once in a while, again especially at his age. If he is very motivated reduce the consumption to once a week. It may help with his skin when he goes through puberty proper, and which can be a significant source of frustration for a lot of teenagers.

Up the meat intake!
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:20 PM   #9
Drew Cloutier
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

Since no one else said anything I will...

HOLY CR@P at being 13 with size 13 foot (same as Canadian sizes?)

Other then that totally agree with what has been said.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:19 PM   #10
Tricia Magrini
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Re: Zone/Paleo and a young teen (13)

I would also advise against the idea of zone or strict Paleo. Him learning his hunger signals as well as eating for pleasure, entertainment, and boredom....and differentiating between them is a great skill to learn early on. I think encouraging the better of two choices at mealtime is a great idea. He may not know ALL the ins and outs about dietary needs, macronutrients and the like. I'd focus on ironing out what are "anytime foods, sometimes foods, and special occasion foods" and letting him choose if he has the will/desire to adhere to those "rules" Talk about portion sizes. I like the guidelines (albeit paleo) a fistfull of protein, closed palm of fat and the rest of your plate with fruits and veggies as a great starting place. I learned how important setting guidelines on serving sizes is after learning a clients cantaloupe "snack" in her food log was a whole cantaloupe. GAH!
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