Weight Loss for Teens: Nine Terrific Tips
I am an overweight teenager. I have no idea how to go about dieting. Do you have any tips?Question:
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Figuring out a strategy for losing weight is a great first step! I have several tips for you that not only will help you lose weight, but help you to keep the weight off for a lifetime.
1. Forget blame and guilt: It is important for you to make sure that you don't blame anyone -- either yourself or your parents -- for where you are right now. Feeling guilty about your appearance is a negative feeling that won't help.
2. Take the long term approach: Look at what you are about to undertake not as a short term, quick, weight loss, but rather a change in lifestyle to last a lifetime. You will begin to make more nutritious food choices, add exercise, and cut back somewhat on your eating. If you falter along the way, you don't need to look at it as a failure because you know that you have a long time to make the changes. For example, if you go with your friends to eat at a fast food restaurant, and you indulge in a large order of fries, there is no need to feel guilty because you know that eating them is not a regular habit, and that at the next meal you will eat more sensibly.
3. Set reasonable goals: Losing one-half to one pound per week is very realistic. Don't drop your calorie intake to below 1,300 calories because it would be hard to get all the important nutrition that you need in less than that, plus, you probably won't feel satisfied.
4. Add daily exercise: I suspect that you may be caught in a vicious cycle of not exercising, eating and not having energy. Exercising actually makes you feel more energetic once you have made a habit of it. If you don't feel like you have energy to exercise now, start out with some physical activity that will get you moving, but won't require a lot energy. How about taking the dog for a walk? Or, if you don't have a dog, take the neighbor's dog for a walk. Once you have done some walking, every day for a couple of weeks, try running for a short distance. Get out on your bicycle, or roller blades, or shoot some baskets in the driveway. If you are at a loss for exercise ideas, speak to your gym teacher. I'll bet they would love to help you out. Most teachers are thrilled with kids that are self-motivated to improve.
5. Enlist the support of your family: Have a serious talk with your parents and ask them to help. They should be able to help you find materials on nutritious eating, and can help purchase the foods that will help, such as fresh fruits for snacks and whole grain cereals for breakfast. And they can avoid purchasing foods that will tempt you with poor choices, such as sodas, chips, candy, donuts or cookies.
6. Find measures of success besides weight loss: This isn't just about losing weight, it's about getting healthier for good. So, don't measure your success merely on how much weight you lose. Other things you can look at (for example) may be the amount of time you spent being physically active and not watching television, an increase in endurance (for example, biking for a longer distance or jogging for a longer period of time), or a week of making nutritious snack choices (for example, after school you picked a yogurt fruit smoothie instead of cookies and a soda).
7. Block out cultural messages that emphasize being thin: Decide not to focus on the television shows with actresses or actors that are too thin, as well as fashion magazines with overly thin models. In the real world, most people don't look like that. In fact, it is hard to look like a model and still get the appropriate nutrition from an adequate amount of food. Instead, take a look at high school and college athletes. Most of them are muscular, full bodied and brimming over with good health! You don't have to be a full fledged athlete to look or feel that way, but once you have developed an active lifestyle and good eating habits, you will.
8. Schedule a visit with your health-care provider: If you think your energy level is unusually low, have your mom or dad call the doctor. It may be that some health problem is contributing to how you feel.
9. Find your motivation from within: Weight loss won't happen unless the desire comes from inside you. No amount of outside pressure will do the job.
Good luck to you and have fun developing a happy and healthy lifestyle.