Weight Loss Tips for Teens
A teenager unsubscribed from my weekly Tummy Tips the other day and her reason was that I did not have enough weight loss tips for teens.
I love feedback whether it's negative or positive because it helps me make this site even better by providing the information that people want. That comment reminded me that a lot of young people read this site too.
One of the reasons I had not focused much on kids and teens when it comes to weight loss is because often times your bodies are still developing. There is a such thing as baby fat and in many cases, you will grow out of it.
Even if your stomach appears flabbier than the rest of your body, it is quite possible that will go away in a few years as well. You may not need to do any kind of stomach exercises. Your body could still be maturing and taking its shape.
If you are a teen or young person that is experiencing problems with your stomach or weight, I encourage you to talk to a parent and/or physician before you do any kind of dieting.
This world is filled with bad messages about body image. There's this pressure from society to be thin (often times, too thin), and many young people seek weight loss help when they don't even need it.
Once a teenage girl emailed me and she was 5'4 and 120 pounds and wanted to lose weight. Now, I didn't see a picture of her so I have no idea what her body frame is like, but that sounds like a perfectly normal weight to me. In this case, this girl didn't need a weight loss plan, she probably needed a counselor.
I don't say that to be funny, but it's true. The messages are youth are getting about being thin are ridiculous. And if you are a teen with unhealthy thoughts about your body image, put down the Cosmo magazine or whatever's feeding you those distorted body image thoughts, and start loving yourself for who you are!
Okay, I'm getting off my soap box now. :-)
Now, with that said, I do realize there are some teens that really do have legit weight problems and you do need help. If that's you, then I will provide some tummy flattening and weight loss advice for you here.
Again, I cannot stress how important it is for you to talk to a parent or doctor first. The reason I say this is because every person's body is different. Your reason for weight gain may be different than someone else's.
Maybe you have a gland problem. Perhaps it's hereditary. Only a doctor can give you specific advice about your individual weight issue.
Walk The Mall
Once a teen emailed me because she wanted to help her friend lose weight. I told her to develop some kind of weight loss buddy system where they could work out together. One of my suggestions was to go to the mall and walk.
Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise for weight loss, plus you can check out the latest styles in all your favorite stores. :-)
Buy pedometers and attach it to your waists so you can keep track of how far you've walked. Start out doing 1 mile and then as you get comfortable with that, increase it to 2 miles and so forth.
Watch The Fast Food
This may be a challenge for a lot of teens because if you are anything like I was, restaurants fast food places are probably like a second home. Poor diet (especially from fast foods) is the leading cause of weight problems for kids and teens.
Unfortunately many of you were raised on this kind of food so it's hard to cut it loose when the pounds start to come on. I don't know if you saw the movie "Super Size Me" but evidence was found that these foods are somewhat addictive. The more you eat, the more you want.
What's even sad is that many fast food chains actually target to kids because they know how important it is to get you hooked at a young age.
I cannot stress how important it is for you to learn to eat healthy when you're young. If you can master this now, it will be much easier to manage your weight as an adult.
Many overweight adults started out as children who did not know how to eat properly. This doesn't mean you cannot change your habits as an adult, but life will be much easier if you learn to eat right when you're young.
If you do go to a fast food restaurant, try choosing the healthier choices (chicken salad with low fat dressing, grilled chicken sandwiches).
To be quite honest, even the chicken sandwiches aren't the healthiest of them all, but they are better for you then the triple cheese or doubledecker burger varieties.
Most kids and teens don't have the money or means to join a gym, but thanks to school, there are plenty opportunities for exercise.
You could take on a sport in school, and if you don't make the team, you can always participate in intramurals. When I was in high school there were several different intramural sports you could join after school. The choices ranged from volleyball, soccer, softball, to tennis, raquetball and more.
Exercise at Home
There are tons of things you can do at home to get exercise. Get an aerobics DVD and exercise in your living room. Heck, you can get the whole family involved and make it a group event.
It doesn't matter what you do, the point is to get moving and get that heart rate up. That's what helps you burn fat. I know a guy that used to run laps in his garage if he was unable to get to the gym.
Walking around the neighborhood is another easy way to get some good exercise. If you have a pet, take them with you. And if your pet is energetic, you may even get some running in. :-)
You should exercise at least 3 times per week if you can.
Limit The Sweets
I used to believe that candy wasn't that bad for you because a lot of it (especially hard candy) was low in fat. In fact, some of it has no fat.
Candy is still fattening because of the sugar content. When sugar is not burned off, it turns into fat. So don't be mislead when you read a label and you see low amounts of fats. The calorie and sugar count matter too.
If you are craving something sweet, munch on some sugar free candy or fruit instead. Read this article about making healthier sugar substitutes.
More Important Advice for Teens
Because of the amount of e-mails I receive from teens wanting to lose weight, I decided to create a special article just for you.
My goal was not to come across as if I didn't want to help you, but I started seeing a trend develop and I wanted to address it here. Please take the time to read it.