Weight Loss: Dieting for Teens

Published:December 1st, 2011

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Being a teenager is difficult enough and it is even more difficult for teens that are overweight. They are teased and excluded by their peers and are setting themselves up for serious health issues later on. Moreover in this age of fast food and microwaves, it can be very difficult to adopt healthy eating habits but it is not impossible. Losing weight will require paying attention to what you eat, developing an exercise routine and surrounding yourself with people who support you in your efforts to lose weight.

Once teens start thinking about going on a diet, they should keep a journal and write down what they eat and drink throughout the day. The amount (helpings, number of things eaten, cans of soda, etc.) of food consumed should also be recorded. It also helps them to write down their feelings and what happened that day to determine if there are any emotional triggers to their eating. They should do that for a week and go back and look at the journal. As hard as it might be to look at it, it will give them insight into their eating habits and why they are eating the way they do. For example, if a teen eats a lot of chocolate on the days he is sad, he will realize that he need to find other, healthier way to deal with sadness. Or he may just realize that he drinks too much of his favorite soda and need to cut back.

Once teens start to realize the problem, they can start to modify their diets by adding more fruits and vegetables, decreasing portion sizes and cutting out or eliminating unhealthy foods such as candy, salty snacks and also those snacks that are high in fat and sugar. If they are unsure about how to go about changing their diet then parents can take them to a nutritionist who can help them develop a plan for successful weight loss.

Exercise is also an important component of losing weight and it does not always mean going to the gym. For many people, walking is the best way to begin exercising. Bicycling, jumping rope, hooping and roller-skating burn a lot of calories and are ways to exercise without thinking that it is exercise. Sometimes it is nice to have a friend to work out with. Moreover having to meet up with someone increases the likelihood of sticking to a schedule. As they eat better and exercise regularly, teens should weigh themselves weekly to monitor their progress. It is important to continue to write in the journal so that they can look at the whole picture and see how changing their diet and making exercise a part of their life is related to their weight loss.

Having people support teens as they make these changes is also very important. Hopefully, parents will be their first line of support and it is possible that the changes they make may encourage them to become healthier as well. Attitudes about food should be discussed among the family since many beliefs and behaviors are learned. All the healthy habits that are adopted over time will become part of their routine. It is important that weight loss should not become an obsession to the point where they are losing too much weight or develop anorexia or bulimia and parents need to be on the lookout for any signs that it might be.

Therefore while it is not always easy and there will be setbacks, but it is possible and once a teen has reached his or her goal weight, they will feel confident and have a healthier and happier life to look forward to.

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