With obesity among young people at an all-time high, it is important to steer teenagers towards healthy lifestyle choices so they can better maintain an ideal weight for their body type. Teens should be encouraged to ignore media’s unhealthy ideals and the super skinny trend presented in magazines, films and popular culture and instead seek a healthy weight to reduce their risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes.
Be realistic. Don’t let teens look to celebrities or models for inspiration when trying to lose weight. Consult a physician or nutritionist to determine a reasonable, healthy weight range to target.
Encourage smart eating habits. The key to losing weight is consuming fewer calories than is burned each day. That said, teens should be cautioned to avoid diets that require extreme cuts in calorie intake. Depending on their activity levels, the estimated daily calorie intake to remain healthy should range between 1600 and 1800 calories for girls ages nine to eighteen and 1800 and 2200 calories for boys also ages nine to eighteen.
Watch their intake of sugary drinks and have your teen drink more water. Trade junk food for healthy snacks such as fruit and vegetables. Stop them from eating when they are full or feeling emotional and help them resolve emotions in other ways, such as taking walks or writing about their feelings in a journal. Watch portion sizes to ensure that your teen is not over-eating. Don’t let them skip breakfast.
Get your teens moving. Doing a physical activity that they truly enjoy will ensure that they stick with it. If they aren't the sporty type, encourage them to make little changes, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to school instead of getting a ride. Guidelines for staying healthy suggest that teens should aim for at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. For weight loss, this amount can be increased or the intensity of the workout may be turned up.
Avoid diets and pills. Crash dieters usually gain all of the lost weight back as soon as they revert to their old ways. Don’t banish certain foods. Not allowing the occasional cookie will only make your teen want it more. Gradually make small and permanent changes that are easier to stick with rather than trying to completely overhaul your teen’s habits. Be patient and forgiving and ask family and friends for support.
Have your teen consult a physician before beginning any weight loss program or diet.