Being overweight when you’re a teenage girl can be a very negative experience. You have to deal with teasing, abuse (both verbal and physical), social isolation and emotional torture. You’ll obsess about clothing (to hide the fact that you’re overweight), worry about what others think of you, and worry about how your friends will view you now that you’ve gained excess weight. Because of the emotional impact that being overweight can cause, it’s important that you choose the right weight loss plans for teenage girls so that they can lose weight quickly and effectively while staying healthy.
Teen girls who are overweight often have a life that’s similar to teens that have diseases like cancer. They suffer from depression, social isolation, and a terrible self-image. Other kids will also perceive them as being lazy and much less attractive.
Teenage obesity is dangerous and like any weight-loss problem, there’s no single magic solution. Still, there are a lot of things you can do about it. Diet and exercise are most important. Parental support and guidance is also very important. Just make sure you realize that losing weight takes time and requires patience to see it through.
Eating Disorders And Dangerous Diets
Because of the sheer power of peer pressure, there is a very likely chance that an overweight teen girl could develop an eating disorder. Overweight teen girls are more at risk for developing bulimia and or anorexia. Also, girls are more likely to try diets or weight loss methods that are very unhealthy and even dangerous like very low calorie diets and diet pills.
This is why it’s very important for parents to be actively involved in their teenage girl’s weight loss plan.
How Parents Can Play An Active Role In Their Teenage Girl’s Weight Loss Plan
It’s almost impossible for teenage girls to lose weight by themselves. They need a support system that includes good role models (the parents). If parents are overweight then their children are much more likely to succeed if the parents lose weight as well. If the parents are overweight and do nothing to slim down, then it’s going to be very difficult for the teen girl to lose weight.
What parents who are engaged in teen weight loss help should NOT do is nag or scold their teenage girl. They shouldn’t say things like “You really shouldn’t eat that” or “I don’t think you should eat any more.” Instead, parents should back off and allow their kids to make the decision when they are ready to start lose weight.
Domineering parents often have their suggestions blow up in their faces. What weight loss plans for teenage girls experts advise is that parents should have a conversation with their teen girls about the pros and cons of carrying excess weight. Kerry Boutelle, an obesity expert from the University of Minnesota says that parents should talk to their kids about things they can related to, such as how the weight will impact their ability to play school sports or the impact it will have in gym class.
On WebMD, Boutelle says of teens and weight loss that, “They could care less about health or what is going to happen in 10 years. They live in the present.”
That’s why talking to them about potential health benefits will fall flat and have no impact. Parents need to be involved by helping their teenage girls create grocery lists, making their teenage girls feel good about themselves, empower them, and also try and join them by losing weight themselves.
In order for teen girls to lose weight and keep it off there has to be regular exercise. Ideally, according to the Cleveland Clinic teen girls should try and be physically active for at least an hour a day. They should also try and adopt an exercise plan that includes elements of aerobics/cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility.
Before starting any weight loss plans for teenage girls make sure they are ready for it. If the she has been sedentary then exercise should start out gradually. Start out with 15 minutes of light walking and then gradually build up to longer bouts. Teens that have been sedentary shouldn’t start out exercising heavily because there is a greatly increased risk of injury.
Parents should also try to be active with their teen girls. Parents can try and limit the amount of television watched each day. They can also limit computer and game playing time. Many children today spend far too much time on computers or sitting in front of the television. Instead they should be engaging in physical activity.
What kinds of physical activity should be included in weight loss plans for teenage girls?
- Walking or running with the dog
- Bike riding
- Inline skating
- Strength Training (lean muscles – burn more calories):
- Resistance bands
- Rock climbing
- Push ups
- Free weights
- Weight machines
Core Body Exercises:
- Sit ups
- Leg lifts
- Reverse crunches
- Bicycle crunches
Exercise each week should be planned. Try 3 days of intense exercise like running or aerobics at a gym. Then the other 3 days try lower intensity exercise like walking or light swimming. The 7th day should be spent resting.
It’s very important that your teen starts out slowly, especially if she’s been sedentary. Also talk to her doctor before she starts any weight loss plans for teenage girls.
According to the US Dept. Of Agriculture sedentary teen girl should be getting around 1,400 to 1,800 calories per day. Active teen girls should be getting anywhere from 1,800 to 2,200. You can download the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines For Americans (Including Teen Girls) here
All diet plans for teen girls should be healthy and balanced. To lose weight quickly while still remaining healthy teen girls should NOT consume foods that are processed or high in fats and sugars. Now, parents do not want to severely limit their children’s intake of such foods. A strict diet will be almost impossible to enforce and even more impossible to maintain for long periods of time. Instead parents should encourage their teen girls to eat these types of foods:
- Lean proteins (turkey, fish, lean meats)
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy
- Nuts and seeds
It’s important that the new diet isn’t construed as a “diet” but an overall lifestyle change. When you say “going on a diet” it implies a limited time activity. In order for a teen girl to lose weight and keep it off for life she’ll need to adopt a diet that she can maintain for the rest of her life.
This is why teaching healthy meal planning strategies, grocery shopping skills, and healthy cooking skills are such an important part of any weight loss plans for teenage girls. One way a parent can really help is to enroll their teen girl in a cooking class or two. This gets them interested in healthy eating and also teaches them what they need to know about food and food sources.
The MayoClinic page on teenage girls weight loss suggests that parents try and make sure their teen girls have breakfast:
A nutritious breakfast will give your teen energy to face the day ahead. Even better, it might keep your teen from eating too much later in the day.
If your teen resists high-fiber cereal or whole-wheat toast, suggest last night’s leftovers. Even a piece of string cheese or a small handful of nuts and a piece or two of fruit can do the job.
Parents should encourage smart snacking. This includes providing healthy snacks that will prevent unhealthy snacking at vending machines, fast food restaurants, etc.
Some snack ideas include:
- Frozen grapes
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Bean burrito
- Hummus on a pita
- Popcorn (no butter)
- Trail mix
- Tuna on whole-grain bread
- Vegetable soup
- Rice cakes and peanut butter
- Peanut butter and banana on whole-wheat bread
- Fresh fruit
- Sliced peppers
- String cheese
- Graham crackers
- Baby carrots
- Low-fat yogurt
- Cherry tomatoes
There are successful behaviors that every teenage girl who wants to lose weight should have. They should eat more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, more low-fat dairy and lean meats, less fat, drink less soda, eat less processed foods like chips and cookies, avoid fast food and avoid boxed or packaged foods.
Parents should help by providing support and by keeping the house stocked with fresh and healthy foods. It’s okay to have a few treats, but not too many. Also portion size is important. Teenage girls who are trying to lose weight should scale back on portion size, eat slowly, and learn to stop eating right before they are completely full.
Remember that you should consult your doctor before starting any weight loss plans for teenage girls.