Currently the number of overweight teens is increasing.
Teens with weight problems, have often been overweight children.
As teens, the bad eating habits picked up as young children, in addition to making poor food choices, leads to excessive weight gain in teenagers.
Combine that, with lower activity levels, and an overweight teen, may become obese. This could inevitably, carry on into adulthood.
It is a proven fact that we “live what we learn”, therefore if parents have poor eating habits, children may also.
Teens are also notorious for becoming fast food junkies.
With burgers and fries containing hundreds (and even over a thousand) calories, making this type of choice for just one meal a day, can lead to an increased weight gain.
Now that the fast food restaurants offer lean choices, there are other options. However, some teens do not choose those items that are lower in calories and/or fat.
If you have an overweight teen, or are an overweight teen, it is difficult to make life style changes that will have a lasting result.
However, with statistics pointing to an increase in diabetes and heart disease in young adults, not making a change, could result in a major health problem, not to mention a shorter life span.
Starving yourself is not the answer.
Yo-Yo dieting (losing and gaining weight, over and over again), appears to mess up one’s metabolism over time, making it harder to lose weight.
Studies are now showing that 5 to 6 small meals a day may be the key. The meals give your body a continuous supply of food, which is used for lasting energy. Breakfast is proving to be the most important meal of the day.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are essential items to include in your daily meals. They are full of vitamins and nutrients, as well as fiber. Some suggest eating organic fruits and vegetables, but that is a choice only you can make.
Lean meats and fish/seafood are great sources of protein. Proteins can be found in red meat, chicken, turkey, seafood and dairy products, etc…. Avoid fatty cuts of meat.
Eliminating “white foods”, is another answer. White foods are items such as sugar, white bread and buns, pasta, and white rice.
Sodas are full of sugar. Diet sodas use artificial sweeteners, which gets a bad rap as well. The best choice for liquid, is water.
Better choices are breads made with whole wheat. The first ingredient should be “whole wheat”. Items made with whole wheat are also higher in fiber. Fiber also makes you feel full, faster. The benefits of a high fiber diet are numerous.
For rice and pasta dishes, substitute white rice or pasta, with brown rice, and/or whole wheat pasta. The taste difference is minimal. In fact, brown rice has a great nutty flavor.
For those who crave chocolate, dark chocolate is proving to be a better choice. Studies show that chocolate made with high cocoa content (70% +/-), is much better for us. By eating dark chocolate, you will find your craving may be satisfied by eating just a small portion.
And finally, we all know that increasing our activity level, will burn calories. Exercise and strength training adds muscle. Adding muscle, will aid in burning calories faster. Plus, muscle gives your body more definition.
Losing weight in the teen years can have many advantages. Here’s just a sampling of how a teenagers life may change, by dropping excess weight.
1) You will feel better
2) You will be healthier
3) You can wear more of the latest fashions
4) You can avoid derogatory comments from peers
5) You can go into adulthood with better health
6) You may become a role model, and motivate others to do eat healthier, as well Maybe even start a teen support group.
7) You will have more energy
8.) You will spend less money if meals are prepared at home, instead of eating out. Also, filter your own water, instead of buying bottled water
9) You can learn how to cook healthy meals
10) Your may have less cavities
11) Acne problems may disappear
11) You can break the “bad eating habits” cycle, and may avoid passing it onto to your children
12) You may do better in school, as you are eating breakfast and nourishing your brain, prior to going to school.
13) You may become more popular in school
14) You may be able to sign up for sports, cheer leading, and/or dance, and have extra stamina
15) You may be happier
For those who are looking for more detailed information on teen weight loss, Dr. Phil’s son, Jay McGraw, has written a book that discusses teen weight issues in detail. It can be ordered online here:
Remember, prior to starting any weight loss program, consult a physician. Your family doctor may also have options for weight loss programs that are modeled for teens.
For more on children’s weight issues, read How To Raise A Fat Kid