Unfortunately, weight loss for teenage girls frequently means, for many, improper dieting. These crash diets or experimentation with laxatives and diet pills can often lead to eating disorders, malnutrition and other significant health problems.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, almost 70% of girls have tried to lose weight or go on a diet prior to their eighteenth birthday. This means kids are making the effort to drop the pounds – but do they really need it, and are they doing so in a way that’s truly helpful?
Instead of simply encouraging your teenage daughter to eat healthy meals, it’s also important to instruct her on healthy weight management habits that she can use for the rest of her life.
To learn how you can teach your child healthy weight management and weight loss habits, keep reading.
Encourage Gradual Weight Loss
If your child does actually need to shed some weight, a responsible parent should always encourage slow and gradual weight loss. The ideal rate for weight loss is 1-to-2 pounds per week. Anything more is often an indication of poor nutrition.
Additionally, rapid weight loss is often only temporary with the surprising likelihood of not only regaining all that was dropped but also continuing to gain beyond the original weight. Such a see-saw pattern is not only discouraging, but it unhealthy for the heart.
In contrast, weight loss that’s gradual is more likely to be sustained in the long term.
Cut Out Fizzy Drinks
Among the greatest weight gain culprits for teens is high-sugar beverages like soda, energy drinks and sugary juices. Instead of routinely serving or providing these, encourage your teen to drink water as a replacement for the other calorie-laden liquids.
Make It a Family Affair
The best approach to teaching your teenager healthy eating patterns is to practice at home. If you don’t already do so, stock your kitchen with healthy foods, prepare well-rounded meals, and provide snacks that are nutritious, filling, and tasty.
When it comes to needed weight loss, teens who have the support of their families are often much more successful at weight loss and maintenance than those who do not. In addition, children who grow up trained in healthy habits at home tend to embrace them for the rest of their lives.
Make Breakfast a Priority
Teenage girls frequently skip breakfast – whether because they don’t feel hungry, are running late, or think doing so will help them lose weight. The truth is, taking a few extra minutes for your daughter to eat a nutritious breakfast will not only fuel the body and brain, but will also kick-start her metabolism, meaning she’ll burn more calories throughout the day.
Discuss Body Issues
If you suspect your teen is wrestling with her weight or has body image issues, it’s critical to discuss these concerns with her openly. You should resist the temptation to chastise or blame her for extra weight or poor dietary habits.
Rather, encourage your daughter to open up about eating patterns, whether her goal is truly a diet, why dieting has become such a priority (if indeed it has), and her own body image concerns. Weight loss for teenage girls is a touchy subject, but parents should not consequently allow the discussion to go ignored. Her lifetime health is at stake.