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.
Teenagers are especially vulnerable to the influence of society and may suffer from their pursuits of an ideal, causing even more injury or ruining their health and well-being. Thus, the main challenge for adolescent weight loss is to avoid harsh restrictions and developing mental disorders that will poison them for the rest of their lives.
Should Teenagers Go On Diets?
One study examined how losing weight between 12 and 17 years of age would affect weight ten years later. It turned out that teenagers on a diet gained more excess weight 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 had increased body mass index by an average of 5.9 points after ten years. Their peers, who avoided strict diets in the past, gained only 0.15 points during the same time.
Thus, adolescents generally should not go on a diet in the usual sense of the word. As in cutting calories, skipping meals and replacing them with special drinks. And even more so, using medications (if a doctor has not prescribed them).
What Methods Should Teenagers Use to Lose Weight?
Conscious eating is a safe method and helps to reduce body weight slightly in the short term (3.3% on average). And more importantly, getting rid of bad eating habits such as emotional overeating and binge eating.
An analysis of 18 studies on the topic found that while diet and exercise can help you lose a little more weight in the short term (about 4.7%), people start gaining weight later on. But those who have learned to eat mindfully, on the contrary, lose kilograms.
Here are some principles of this approach:
Remove all distractions while eating, especially TV, computer, and telephone. Do not combine food intake with other activities.
Pay attention to the taste, smell, consistency of food. Concentrate on the sensations while eating.
Try and eat only when there is the onset of physical hunger.
Finish your meal when you feel full, not when the food on the plate runs out.
It will take some practice, especially if the person uses food as entertainment or cleans a plate while looking at the phone, not feeling the taste and sensation of food. But in the end, it will help get rid of episodes of emotional overeating, teaching you to feel your body and its needs.
Choose Healthy Foods
It is unnecessary to completely abandon sweets and other favorite high-calorie foods, as strict restrictions threaten 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 in adolescence and 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. Unlike cookies and candy, these foods 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.
Get More Exercise
In one study involving 4.4 thousand girls between 14 and 22 years old, regular exercise was one of the best strategies for maintaining weight. Over the four years of the observation, the inactive subjects gained an average of 3.3 kilograms. However, those who played sports five 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 essential that the activities are pleasant to the teenager and do not cause additional psychological stress, only exacerbating the problems. Activity options may include:
Sports 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.
For activities unrelated to sports, try dancing, group fitness programs, laser tag, cycling, swimming, or any activity that will become a favorite hobby.
It’s also great to receive 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 are also habitual activities that can contribute to weight loss and last a lifetime.
And of course, for easy and healthy meals made at your convenience, try Mangia. New York’s favorite restaurant for fresh ingredients and satisfying recipes!