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How to lose weight for a teenager and not ruin health at the same time
How to lose weight for a teenager and not ruin health at the same time

Simple strategies without youthful maximalism and dietary "swing".

How to lose weight for a teenager and not ruin health at the same time
How to lose weight for a teenager and not ruin health at the same time

What is the difference between weight loss in adults and adolescents

According to research 1.


3., adults are more likely to reduce their weight for health, and adolescents - to improve their appearance, increase self-esteem and avoid peer ridicule.

Body rejection and bullying from classmates often lead young men and women to unhealthy methods of losing weight, such as skipping meals, fasting, using laxatives and diuretics. It all ends with breakdowns, episodes of binge eating, vomiting and gaining even more excess weight.

At the same time, according to the study, modern adolescents are much more likely to go on diets and try to lose weight through exercise than their peers 10 and 45 years ago.

Perhaps the culprit is the image of the ideal body, created by culture and implanted by the fitness industry. Even adults fall for it, starting to lose weight with normal body weight. On the other hand, teenagers, especially vulnerable to the influence of society and suffering from youthful maximalism, in pursuit of the ideal, risk even more injury, ruin their health and break their eating behavior.

Thus, the main challenge for adolescent weight loss is to avoid harsh restrictions and not to develop mental disorders that will poison them for the rest of their lives.

Should teenagers go on a diet

One study examined how trying to lose weight between 12 and 17 years of age would affect weight 10 years later.

It turned out that people who were on a diet gained much more extra pounds over the years than those who did nothing to combat unwanted volumes. Participants who used unhealthy methods of losing weight gained even more weight.

For example, overweight girls who tormented themselves with hunger, after 10 years had an increase in the body mass index by an average of 5, 9 points. Their peers, who avoided strict diets in the past, gained only 0.15 points during the same time. Moreover, it worked for overweight people, and for those who were not overweight.

Thus, adolescents generally should not go on a diet in the usual sense of the word: cut calories, skip meals, replace them with special drinks, and even more so use medications (unless they are prescribed by a doctor).

Instead, there are a few things you should try to help avoid eating disorders and build a healthier attitude towards food and your body.

What methods should a teenager use to lose weight

Conscious eating

This is a safe method that helps to reduce body weight slightly in the short term (on average by 3.3%). And more importantly, getting rid of bad eating habits such as emotional overeating and binge eating.

In an analysis of 18 studies on the topic, they found that while diet and exercise can help you lose a little more weight in the short term (about 4.7%), people start to gain it in the future. But those who have learned to eat mindfully, on the contrary, lose kilograms.

Here are some principles of this approach:

  1. Remove all distractions while eating. Especially TV, computer and telephone. Do not combine food intake with other activities.
  2. Pay attention to the taste, smell, consistency of food. Concentrate on the sensations while eating.
  3. There is only at the onset of physical hunger. In other words, when a person is ready to swallow anything, and not just wants a chocolate bar or some delicious snack.
  4. Finish your meal when you feel full. And not when the food on the plate runs out.

It will take some practice, especially if the person is used to using food as entertainment or cleaning a plate while looking at the phone and not feeling the taste.

But in the end, it will help get rid of episodes of emotional overeating, teach you to better feel your body and its needs.

Choice of healthy foods

It is not necessary to completely abandon sweets and other favorite high-calorie foods: strict restrictions threaten with thirst, breakdowns and gluttony.

Instead, you can shift the focus to healthier foods:

  • Replace sugary soda with water and sugar-free tea. There is a strong relationship between drinking sugary drinks and adolescence obesity. Even pizza and fries aren't nearly as bad as the liquid calories from soda.
  • Arrange snacks from fruits, vegetables, hummus, low-fat cheese. These foods, unlike cookies and candies, have fewer calories and sugar and more fiber and protein, which will make you feel fuller.
  • Add protein foods to every meal. These include eggs, chicken, dairy products, and legumes. Lack of protein in the diet increases hunger and makes you overeat.
  • Eat more whole vegetables and fruits. They are rich in fiber, which helps regulate hunger and is good for weight.

Physical activity

In one study involving 4,400 girls between the ages of 14 and 22, regular exercise was one of the best strategies for maintaining weight.

Over the four years during which the observation was conducted, the subjects added an average of 3.3 kilograms. However, those who played sports 5 or more days a week gained about 1 kg less than their peers.

Scientists have concluded that regular exercise is essential to maintain weight in the long term. However, it is also important not to overdo it here, as physical activity can be addictive and often eating disorders are paired with excessive exercise.

It is important that the activities are pleasant to the teenager and do not cause additional psychological stress, which will only exacerbate the problems.

Activity options may include:

  • Sport section. Such a choice will give the teenager motivation in the form of communication with peers and the desire for personal achievement. In addition, the coach will regulate the load, which will reduce the risk of overtraining and injury.
  • Activities not related to sports. Dancing, group fitness programs, laser tag, cycling, swimming - any activity that will become a favorite hobby, and not a forced suffering on the way to losing weight.
  • Activity in daily life. Even small changes can significantly increase calorie expenditure. For example, dog owners walk for about 248 minutes a week, even more than the recommended minimum for health and weight maintenance. Vigorous housework, walking, climbing stairs - the habit of physical activity can contribute to weight loss and last a lifetime.

What else is important for teenagers to lose weight

Although teenagers are less likely to be guided by their parents' opinions than children, family support can help.

First of all, you should not hint about the need to lose weight, talk about it in plain text, and even more so joke about this topic. Even if parents do so with the best of intentions, talking will not lead to changes in eating habits and weight loss.

Moreover, they are more likely to be perceived as offensive and judgmental, can impair self-esteem and lead to destructive methods of losing weight.

Instead, it is better to support the formation of healthy eating habits:

  • Prepare healthy food - without excess fatty sauces, oil and fast carbohydrates.
  • Teach your teenager to eat at home. This will increase the chance that he will choose healthy foods, rather than snack on chocolate bars and shawarma. And it will also eliminate the risk of unhealthy eating behavior: starvation, uncontrolled overeating and bulimia.
  • Do not buy a bunch of sweets and pastries that will be freely available at home.
  • Spend your vacation actively with the whole family.

At the same time, it is important that the parents themselves do what they advise. That is, they did not say, “Get off the computer, go for a walk,” while sitting in front of the TV screen.