Lose Weight Safely for Teenagers and Avoid Adverse Problems

Lose Weight Safely for Teenagers and Avoid Adverse Problems

Introduction

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Americans who are obese. Almost 9 million children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight, and this number is still growing, according to information gathered between 1999 and 2000. An excessive amount of body fat will result in the person being 20% heavier than their ideal body weight. Teens who are already overweight are more likely to be obese than adults.

Teens who are overweight (in fact people of all ages that are overweight) are at risk from a number of health issues like Heart Disease, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Stroke, Cancer.

Teens who are obese are more likely to find that they are not fit, have a low self esteem, and have a bad general wellbeing. It can lead to social disabilities and unhappiness, which in turn may cause them stress, and in some cases, make them mentally ill.

According to a study done in 2004, overweight children are more likely to be involved in bully than their normal weight peers. The development of their own personal identity and body image is an important goal for any teenager.

There are a number of causes for obese teens, some of which are related to how much energy they put into their bodies, how much calories they get from the food they eat, and how well their metabolism is. It is possible that it is a result of psychological, family or physiological issues.

The Family

If there are two overweight parents, children and teens are more likely to become overweight. If they take part in any physical activities, this can affect the teen.

Inactivity

An American child will spend an average of several hours a day watching television or using a computer. This time used to be spent doing some form of physical activity, as a large amount of teens and children are now overweight as they eat high calories snacks while watching tv or playing on the computer.

Heredity

It was found that children with overweight mothers have been found to be less active, and often gain more weight than those children born to mothers who are a normal weight. We will look at various ways to help overweight teens lose weight, without resorting to fad diet and other methods.

Psychological Issues

The biggest problem for overweight teens is the teasing and abuse they receive from their peers at school. According to a recent survey, overweight teens rate their quality of life as low as young cancer patients who are having chemotherapy. Many overweight teens will be hard on themselves, and will often be mistreated by others according to a 2001 study by Latner and Stunkard.

Teens who are overweight are more likely to suffer from other problems such as cardiovascular, orthopedic, gastrointestinal, respiratory, hormonal, neurological and metabolic diseases. In the US, there are some weight loss programs for kids that combine psychological therapy with behavior modification therapy to improve the teens self esteem, as well as their physical health.

Parenting Your Overweight Teen and Improving Their Self Esteem

The first step in addressing the overweight problem is to teach teens the importance of proper eating habits, nutrition, and physical activity. It will only produce positive results if they are helped to become more focused on the types of food they consume and increase the amount of physical activity that they do.

If you want to give your child a severely restricted diet, it should only be done with medical approval and proper nutrition supervision. If their height is at a healthier percentage to their weight, then a diet may be started. You can increase the amount of physical activity your teen does with the help of the following steps.

1.  Assess the Health of Your Child

Do you allow your teen to lead a sedentary lifestyle, or do you allow them to be active? It's important that you introduce changes to these areas of their life gradually, if they are given plenty of chances to over eat at any time.

It is possible for a teen to spend up to 24 hours a week sitting and watching TV. Do you eat most of your meals in front of the computer or TV, or do you eat in the kitchen or dining room?

If the foods are high in fat, sweetened or low in nutritional value, then find healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit and vegetables.

2.  Don't Shame your Child into Losing Weight

An overweight teen will know that they weigh too much, but they don't know how to achieve a normal weight. It can be difficult for a parent to help their child achieve a healthier body while loving them the same way they are.

We can teach our kids to visualize a healthy meal, one that is half salad or vegetables, a quarter and the rest is fish, meat, poultry or soy, but you also know that at some point, they will sneak either sweets or cookies.

It is possible for a parent to continue teaching their teens to see their plate. It creates a sense of portion control, which is helpful when the parent is not around. When visiting a restaurant this portion control can also be practiced.

3.  Family Physical Activity Promotes Self-Confidence

It's a good idea to do physical activity several times a week. The amount of physical activity for an adult is 30 minutes. For children it is 60 minutes. If you want to lose weight, more physical activity is necessary.

Break the pattern by arranging activities that involve plenty of movement for the whole family. These activities burn calories, and serve as a setting for parent and child communication. There is no cost to go for a walk or bike ride. Taking the family dog for a walk in the evening will increase the metabolism.

4. How to encourage the right sort of behavior in your teen

The best way to help a teen who is overweight or obese is through your own behavior. It is not possible for a parent to tell a child to turn off the TV when they are watching it in another room or to stop using the computer when they are surfing the net.

The number one reason that children don’t eat healthy is because parents make unhealthy foods available. Why would any child want to drink water or munch on fruit or vegetables when they see the adults around them drinking soda or having a bag of potato chips?

If you want to lead a healthier life style, you need to do it one day at a time, and the end result will be worth the effort.

Advice for Helping Teens Lose Weight

Losing weight as a teen is different than as an adult. It's easier for teens to lose weight than for adults. The teenage body burns calories more quickly and easily.

Teens can start with a fad diet, but they should only use them for a week. After a week of using a fad diet, they should continue on a healthy diet that will allow them to lose weight more slowly.

A teen on a diet should also be more active. They are able to do this by exercising or participating in sporting activity. If they sit around at home watching TV or playing on the computer, their weight will increase.

You have more energy as a teenager so use it to your advantage by exercising and playing sports. In order to achieve maximum performance and productivity, teens need to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Simple Rules For Safe Weight Loss

The problem with weight loss is it’s hard to maintain. To help your teen lose weight, the key to success is by helping them lead a healthy lifestyle that they can carry on into adulthood.

1.  Talk to your Teen

Along with long term health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes, there are also social and emotional issues involved. Help your teen take control of the problem by giving them support and understanding.

2.  Unrealistic Images

It can be difficult for teenage girls to decide on their weight and appearance. You should remind them that there is more to life than a perfect body.

The right weight for one person isn't necessarily the right weight for another person. If you want to set realistic goals for your teenager with regards to body, you can talk to your family doctor.

3.  Resist Using Quick Fixes to lose weight rapidly

If you want to help your teenager lose weight, you should teach them how to lose it and keep it off. Don't allow them to take weight loss pills or other quick fixes as they won't address the root of the problem.

The effects of these types of treatment are fleeting. The only way to keep the weight off is with permanent changes in their habits.

4.  Increase the amount of physical activity

Like any adult, a teenager needs to do about 60 minutes of physical activity a week, but they don't have to do it all at once. Encourage your child to walk, cycle or skate to and from school if they aren't an athlete or find it difficult to participate in certain sports.

They can be given some household chores like vacuuming or washing the car. Aerobic benefits can be obtained by most housework.

5.  Ensure that your teen has breakfast

A good breakfast will help jump start your teen's metabolism. It gives them the energy to face the day and it also stops them from eating too much during the rest of the day.

You could even suggest a piece of cheese, a small handful of nuts and a piece of fruit if your teen isn't fond of high fiber cereals or whole wheat toast.

6.  Snack wisely

It can be hard for your child to make healthy choices at school. Encourage them to replace a bag of chips with a much healthier option, such as frozen grapes, an orange, strawberries, sliced red, orange or yellow peppers, a few cherry tomatoes or baby carrots.

7.  Watch the Size of the food portions

If you encourage your child to cut back and stop eating when they are full, they will have a much easier time getting their weight under control.

8.  Drinks

A 12 ounce can of soda has about 150 calories and 10 grams of sugar. The calories and sugar that you find in fruit juice, specialty coffees and other drinks can also add up quickly. They should drink unsalted club soda or flavored water.

9.  Let them have the occasional treat

Allowing your teen to have a late night pizza at a friend's or some chips at the movies doesn't derail their healthy eating plan. Suggest that when they are out, they have a breadstick with sauce instead of garlic bread, or they share a snack with their friend, instead of having an order of their own.

It's important to let your teenager know that they're in control and that the occasional treat isn't harmful.

10.  Family involvement

Adopt these healthy habits for the whole family instead of just telling your teenager how to lead a healthier lifestyle. It's important for you to set a good example for your children by encouraging them to eat more fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. The best thing to do is not eat the junk food. It is a good investment in your child's life if they eat healthy food. New recipes or healthier alternatives to family favorites can be tried.

People should not be allowed to eat while sitting on the couch. This will make people think twice about mindless eating. Walks in the evening and visiting a local recreation center on the weekend are some of the family activities that can be arranged.

11.  Be Positive in your Attitude when helping your teen to lose weight

Being overweight doesn't always lead to a lifetime of low self esteem, but your acceptance of your teen's weight problem is critical. Make it clear to your teen that your love for them is not dependent on how they look, and that they should write down their feelings in a journal.

If your child is struggling with low self esteem and finding it hard to cope with their weight in a healthy way, then consider looking for a support group, formal weight control program or professional counseling to help them. Many support groups will provide your teen with the tools to counter any social pressure and cultivate a positive attitude. They will be able to take control of their weight with this. They will live a life time with these benefits.

When the Pendulum Swings Too Far

An overweight teen is obsessed with losing weight and pushes the pendulum to the other end of the scale. Anoremia and bulimia are more dangerous than being obese. It's difficult to understand how eating disorders affect people who look healthy and fit. They are at risk if their eating problems are not diagnosed early.

Get to the root of their problem and discuss how they feel about themselves. You can find out why they want to lose the weight in this way. People who are suffering from eating disorders will need help. Self help groups can help with these eating disorders.

How do I recognize if my teen is suffering from an eating problem?

Most people are good at hiding symptoms of eating problems, but here are some signs that can help you identify the problem. Does their skin have a glow or is it dull and pale? The eyes are bright or dull. Is the hair full and shiny or is it flat and thin? Do they look like skin and bone, or have they got good tone? Did their energy levels decline? Has the menstrual cycle of a teenage girl changed? Track your teen's bathroom habits discreetly. Are they always going to the bathroom after they eat because they want to get rid of food?

Teenagers with an eating disorder will often play with the food and say they are not hungry, or that they ate earlier when they were out with their friends. You can discreetly check with the school to see if they are eating. It's important that you don't ask too much, or you'll get them to hide the problem from you.

If you can, you can keep an eye on what they are reading on the internet. It could signal a bigger issue if your teen loses a lot of weight in a short period of time. Critical weight loss is even more serious than weight gain.

Conclusion

There are many ways to help a teen who is overweight to cope with their weight issues. Many weight loss programs that are designed for adults and children rarely have weight loss as a goal, but rather aim to slow or halt any weight gain so the teen will not grow into their body weight for the next several months or years.

This can mean the difference between eating for the rest of their lives versus having to eat until they are much older and have difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight. It is estimated that for every 20% excess body weight a teen has, they will need about 1½ years weight maintenance to obtain their ideal body weight.

This makes sense – kids are more malleable, their behavior patterns more similar to the way they would behave if left to their own devices. Teens are also at a very delicate time in their development.

The three forms of intervention that a parent may consider are:

Physical Activity

There are many ways to help teens lose weight. And one of the most effective ways to accomplish that goal is to adopt a formal exercise program, or just simply become more active. There is evidence to show that exercise and other forms of intervention are a successful way to help teens lose weight safely.

Diet

If you allow your teen to fast or drastically reduce their calories, they will be stressed out and it may affect their growth. It's important that they have a balanced diet with moderate restrictions on the amount of calories they consume.

In order for your teen to be aware of what is most beneficial for them, they need to be educated on the nutrition values of foods.

Modification of a Teens Behavior

There are many behavioral strategies used on adults which can be successfully applied to teens.

Self monitoring and recording food consumed has been identified as an effective way of improving health and nutrition. Regular physical activity such as exercising or playing sports helps people to avoid obesity and develop a healthy lifestyle.

The rate at which they eat their food should be slowed. They should limit the time and place they eat and give them incentives to eat less.

It is easier to prevent a teen from being overweight than it is to treat it. It's important to help teens build their self esteem and address any psychological issues that they have, as prevention focuses on educating the parents about providing their children with a good diet and plenty of physical activity.

Allie Leon, Chief Fun Officer

Our editorial team at Fun First Family hopes your family can benefit from some of these highly discussed topics on the Internet today. Please do email us funfirstfamily@gmail.com for suggestions.

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