How to lose and maintain weight loss if you’re a teen

Teens are at high risk for obesity.

In today’s world, childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the problem has dramatically escalated in America since the early 1990s. Youth aged six to 19 years, which accounts for approximately 9 million children or 15% of children, are overweight.

Unfortunately, a lot of teens take drastic measures when trying to lose unwanted pounds. After years of poor eating and sedentary lifestyles, they suddenly want to lose weight. But drastic weight loss usually reappears quickly. Taking proper steps to manage weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is the recommended approach for everyone, and especially teens since they are learning life-long habits.

There is a single basic concept regarding weight loss and it is important to instill this fact into the minds of anyone attempting to lose or maintain a healthy weight. To lose fat, it is necessary to burn more calories than you consume. A combination of both exercise and healthy nutrition can make weight loss effective and long-lasting.

Teens need to understand that weight loss is not an event — it is a journey and something that must be managed for the rest of their lives. The following steps will lead the way for healthier eating, a more active lifestyle, and a better outlook on life.


Step 1

Establish a realistic weight loss goal.

Everything that begins with a goal is more effective. When you know how far you have to go, it’s easier to decide how to get there. Teens should determine their ideal weight based on a doctor’s recommendation. The Metropolitan Weight Tables are one valuable source of determining ideal weight, but keep in mind that these tables are not the only consideration. Although the tables were updated in 1983, the 1959 tables are still considered the gold level-1. Set a goal that is realistic and healthy.

Step 2

Watch daily caloric intake.

Managing calories is a daily requirement. The more calories a person consumes, the more weight they will gain unless they are active enough to burn off calories. The Mayo Clinic has a great calorie counter to help you determine the appropiate calories needed based on age, height, and other factors. Since 3,500 calories equals a pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 calories more than you consume to lose one pound. If calories needed to maintain your weight is 2,000 per day or 14,000 per week, then you would need to reduce caloric intake by 3,500 calories to lose one pound. That’s a reduction of 500 calories per day.

Cut calories in multiple ways:

  1. Reduce food intake and manage portions of food consumed.
  2. Replace high-calorie foods with lower calorie options.
  3. Increase intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.
  4. Avoid sugar and empty calories.
  5. Replace one high calorie item daily with a lower calorie item. For example, eliminate sweetened carbonated sodas from your diet and add a fresh glass of orange juice or flavored water with no sugar added.

Learn to manage calorie intake.

Step 3

Learn to read labels.

To help manage caloric intake and reduce fat, sodium, and other ingredients that increase weight gain, learn to read labels. Eat foods that are low in fat, sodium, and other ingredients. Learn more about food label reading by visiting the U. S. Food and Drug Administration website.

Step 4

Get moving.

Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight require people to get moving. Small changes can make a big difference. The President’s Challenge offers a wealth of information for teens searching for ways to become healthier and more active. An active lifestyle results in better weight management and a healthier outlook on life overall. Turn off the computer, television, phone, and other electronic devices. Tie on your tennis shoes and get outside. Play basketball with friends, go to a gym, walk around the school track with friends, play tennis, go swimming, or do anything that keeps you moving. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk instead of driving. Do whatever you can to add activity to your day and do it with a friend. Just 10 minutes per day for 5 days per week can make a difference.

Step 5

Drink plenty of water.

Weight loss is much easier and more efficient when you drink plenty of water. Teens need lots of water to replace fluids lost through activity and normal digestive processing. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily will help flush toxins and fat from the body. In addition to water, lots of decaffeinated, sugar-free beverages are recommended.

Step 6

Journal every day.

People who keep a journal of foods they eat every day are more likely to consume less. Journaling about how you felt on a particular day, accomplishments you met, and other things about your day can clear your mind and allow you to focus better on things that need attention. It takes approximately 30 consecutive days of repeated behavior to create a habit. Make journaling a habit and it will boost your ability to manage weight.

Things Needed
• Clearly defined goals
• Fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats
• Supportive family and friends
• Information on food label reading
• Journal or notebook
• Commitment to making healthy lifestyle changes

Tips & Warnings
• Never try crash diets or resort to drastic means to lose weight
• Use healthy, proven techniques to lose weight sensibly and keep it off
• Avoid diet pills and supplements
• Drink plenty of water
• Celebrate short-term successes
• Offset calories with activity
• Remember, weight management is not an event — it is a journey.


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