Being a teen and being overweight can be a living hell in a society that already is not accepting of obesity, in high school your peers are even harsher. Your extra weight can make you feel like an outsider, un-attractive, and just not happy in your own skin. Trying to lose weight on your own can not only be confusing but dangerous as well, so here are a few tips I put together to help you on your quest of getting in shape and getting healthier.
1. Stop right there and check with your Doctor-You really want to lose weight, check with your doctor- Your doctor will know best, and still being a minor I strongly urge you to meet with your doctor before beginning any weight loss plan. Not only can your doctor suggest how much weight you should lose, they can also refer you to a nutritionist, who can help you set up your own personalized diet. And, depending on your health care plan, you can get reimbursed for joining a group such as Weight Watchers, and even for a gym membership.
But if for whatever reason you cannot or do not want to contact your doctor, here is how to go about losing weight on your own.
-First, check your BMI (Body Mass Index)- I use nhlbisupport.com/bmi. It is really easy, you simply just plug your height and weight into the machine, and you have your BMI. A healthy BMI is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9. If you are in (or below) the healthy range, I would not suggest losing weight-especially since you are still growing. If you are feeling out of shape try joining an after school sport, and trying not to eat junk food. Not only will eating healthy and exercising make you feel better, it will give you a mood boost.
Side Note: if you are in a healthy weight range and still feel like you are overweight, try confiding in a counselor or another adult you trust. Being obsessed with your weight can very easily turn into a dangerous eating disorder.
Healthy Eating Tips For All!
-Cut out the soda and other sugary drinks, as Americans we consume an average of 1/3 of our daily calories in beverages alone! To lose one pound you need a deficit of 3,500 calories. Just by changing calorie and sugar packed drinks for good ol’ water you can lose a pound a week easily!
-While we are on the topic of water, try drinking it iced cold, and MORE than eight 8-oz glasses a day. When you drink ICED cold water, your body needs to warm it up to body temperature to digest it. By doing this, your body is burning calories, and not consuming any since water has no caloric content. Pretty cool, huh?
Most people can lose at least ten pounds just by doing this.
-Try eating 5-6 mini-meals a day- if you are constantly eating, and you never get overly hungry, you will be less likely to crave and indulge in junk food. Try to always keep an apple, a yogurt, or a bag of trail mix with you for when you get hungry.
-Eat from ALL the food groups- ideally, your plate should be ½ vegetables, ¼ carbohydrates, and ¼ protein. Also, try to eat foods high in fiber, they make you feel fuller. Try having oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich on multi-grain bread for lunch, and rice & beans for dinner. You will feel so satisfied by these foods you will end up eating less without even trying!
-Get up, and Go- Exercise is key to losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. And, exercise does NOT have to be running. Try walking places with your friends instead of having your parents drive you. Take a kickboxing class, or a salsa class. And if you want to learn exercises on your own time, try getting a Pilates tape, or a book that will teach you resistance training. Most importantly, if you are exercising at a high intensity, three times a week is all you really need. But, make a point to be moderately active every day.
Good luck to all, don’t be frustrated, because it really can be easy to get in shape!