A Message For Teens
I created this page because I get an overwhelming amount of e-mails from teens desperate to lose weight. I felt I needed to create a special message to you.
I am honestly not comfortable giving weight loss advice to teens for two reasons...
1) Your body is still maturing and may lose some of the fat on its own. Yes, you can still have baby fat in your teens. It happened to many of my friends.
In junior high school, a friend of mine was taller and chubbier than most kids our age but when she got to high school she evened out and looked fabulous! In fact, she still does!
2) Many teens have very poor self esteem and a distorted body image thanks to the media which has helped shape the horrible message that "thin is beautiful" and a little extra weight is not.
I get e-mails all the time from perfectly healthy teens who aren't really overweight at all, but still want to be thin because they associate thinness with beauty, or someone at school has teased them.
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight if you are indeed overweight, or perhaps you want to tone up. But if feel you are less of a person because you have a few extra pounds or you are starving yourself to get thin when you're already healthy, then the problem is probably not with your weight.
It's with your mind.
A Weight Conscious World
We live in a world that accepts people who are thin over people who are not-so-thin. I largely blame the media and the fact that parents don't teach their children to have a healthy body image.
Teenagers grow up with Cosmo and Us Weekly magazines glued to their fingers. It's only natural to believe thin is how you should be to get accepted in this world. If this message is constantly force fed into your brains, what else are you supposed to believe?
It's really a shame.
So when I get e-mails from teens, I hesitate to give advice because I don't really know if your weight is really a problem or if you are just suffering from low self esteem, distorted body image, etc.
There's one thing to be overweight and unhealthy versus someone who is perfectly normal and may be suffering from an esteem problem that makes you think you should be thinner... when in reality, you're just fine.
So my dilemma is that I can't tell from an e-mail if you really need to lose weight or not, and I'm certainly not a qualified physician that can give you the advice you need.
Now, for the teens who are indeed overweight for your frame (and a doctor has confirmed this), please make sure you read the article that I created just for you.
Also read the tips below...
1) Encourage your parents to let you see a doctor. S/he can give you specific advice for your situation. It could be a thyroid problem that could be handled very easily.
If your doctor won't help you, then find one that will. I got an e-mail from a girl once whose doctor told her she was beyond help.
No one is beyond help and that doctor should have his license burned. There is someone out there that can help you. Ask your parents to find a doctor who cares.
2) Eat healthier foods. Limit the fast food, sweets, (even sugary drinks) etc. and replace those foods with fruits, veggies and lean meats.
3) Ask your parents to start buying healthier foods and limit the junk food.
4) Exercise in your home with an aerobics DVD a least three times per week.
5) Don't starve yourself! That slows your metabolism and when you resume your normal eating the pounds will come on even faster. You'll have even worse problems with weight when you get older.
6) Crunches will help but only if you are exercising regularly and eating healthy. If you do crunches without changing your diet you'll just end up with a bigger stomach because you're building muscle on top of your existing fat.
7) With all due respect, please do not e-mail me with your stats and ask if I think you are overweight. I cannot tell from an e-mail because everyone's body frame is different.
Someone may be 5'4" and 120 pounds and be perfectly healthy, but someone else with a larger frame could have those same stats and be greatly underweight.
Again, I am not a doctor and that's why you should seek advice from a qualified professional first. Not your friends. Not your boyfriend. Not your girlfriend. Not the TV. And certainly not a magazine.
There are teens all over the globe are starving themselves and creating unhealthy diet plans that are harming their young, healthy bodies.
Then they go on to become adults who have an even harder time with weight because they've harmed their metabolisms at a young age. If you are starving yourself to lose weight, believe me, you are damaging your metabolism.
Those people who are teasing you because of your size, hate themselves. They pick on you to make themselves feel better. You may not believe this now but when you get older you'll understand.
I've never been overweight but I was very underweight as a teen so I know what it's like to be teased. When I look back on those kids I realize how unhappy they truly were and many of them went on to become unhappy adults.
I guarantee you that people who stoop low enough to make you feel bad do not love themselves. And that is not your problem, it's theirs.
I know it's hard. No one likes to be teased and it feels awful not fitting in. But it's important to ask yourself why you want to lose weight.
Is it because you are really an unhealthy weight (consult a doctor) or are you OK and you just want to be thin to fit in or be liked by the opposite sex, friends, etc.?
Everyone Can't Be Thin
Let's face it. Not everyone can or will be thin. Sometimes your family genes cause your natural weight to be heavier than "average." You may not ever be the size you want to be.
But what you need to focus on is being healthy for your own body's frame. So that may mean you weigh more than your friends or the "average weight" on paper, but if you're healthy then that's what you should be most concerned about. Then learn to love yourself... no matter what size you are.
I know that is such a cliché statement and you hear it all the time, but it's so powerful. And when you really learn to appreciate who you are no matter your size, then you won't care what other people think and you'll live a happier life.
That's such a hard concept to grasp as a teenager because I know you want to fit in and be accepted. But if you can absorb that message when you're young, you'll enjoy life so much more. Trust me... it takes time to develop that attitude but it's worth the work. I promise.
Often times the problem isn't really your weight. It's the fact you feel less than your friends or not as pretty as your peers. So that makes you feel more depressed. Then you think the only way to feel better is to lose weight.
What you may not realize is this makes the weight loss process even more difficult because you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You're too busy hating yourself for the way you look to stay motivated to eat right and exercise.
And if you are overweight, this doesn't mean it's wrong to want to be healthier, but you can learn to accept that your size doesn't define you as a person.
You have the power to change your eating habits and make the lifestyle changes one day at a time. Don't expect it to happen overnight. Just be patient.
Also remember to live life to please yourself, not anyone else. If a person can't love you for the size you are, then they don't deserve to be in your life!
And if you are feeling depressed about your situation, check out AttackDepression.com. It's a great site on self esteem, depression and motivation.
May God bless you, and remember beauty comes from within. People who tease you may seem to have the power and make your feel bad, but I guarantee if you knew some of the anger and sadness these people feel inside, you would realize you are way better off than they are.
You may not see or understand this now, but in time you will. I guarantee it.
A Video About Teasing
I didn't understand this when I was a teenager, but people who tease are really upset with themselves or their life in general so they tease other people to make them feel better about themselves. And they look for people who have low self esteem because they are easy targets.
There's nothing you can do to change how mean people are, but you can change how you react and deal with it. Watch the video below to learn how to free yourself from the horrific feelings of being teased.
I wish you all the best. :)