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Be the Boss of Your Weight Loss
Wow, summer is over. School is in, welcome back! Even though the pressure of swimsuit season is now a thing of the past, how comfortable are you really with your own body? How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? How do your clothes fit and make you feel? Did you know according to the CDC obesity is on the rise with nearly 14% of today’s teens being overweight. MTV has a show dedicated to obese teens “Return to Fat Camp” and the 1st Lady Michelle Obama is personally addressing the growing problem that is sweeping our nation. In the meantime, TV bombards us with a plethora of fast food options, skinny supermodels confuse us with what is an ideal body weight and most of us don’t have an exceptionally fast metabolism like Lebron James. When we need a break instead of an apple a day, we’re encouraged to reach for that Kit Kat Bar and many of us are not consistently active in physical activities, spending way too much time engaged in sedentary activities such as Facebook, Texting Skype and video games…well, at least we don’t have overweight thumbs.
There are many who aspire to lose weight and may say they’ve tried but it is simply a futile endeavor. Well, that is not true! Despite the discouraging facts, we do have the power to change how we look and feel. No, change is never fun; yes, at times it can be extremely hard to motivate yourself and the results appear to occur very slowly. But, it is possible to lose weight at a healthy pace and keep it off. It may take more than one attempt to find the motivation, new foods to enjoy and an exercise plan that works for you, but the change will be worth the new confidence and new clothes. Now is the time for you to take charge and “Be the Boss of Your Weight Loss!”
Before getting started let’s talk about your BMI (Body Mass Index) which is a measure of your weight in portion to your height. This is one of the key factors that determine whether you are at a healthy weight, overweight, underweight or at a high risk of becoming obese. I would suggest that you calculate your BMI either with your doctor or check out this website http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/dieting/bmi.html. This is step one, your weight loss has yet begun.
Next let’s eliminate the myths, these will only hinder your motivation and discourage your progress. The top 3 myths about teens and weight loss are:
Teens that have tried and failed at losing weight many times before don’t ever succeed.
Not true, studies show that 7out of 10 teens lost and gained weight multiple times, however consistent effort to exercise and small modifications in diet provided success to losing weight.
For teens skipping meals is a good way to cut calories
The only thing you get from meal skipping is a headache and skipping can actually cause you to gain weight since it slows down your metabolism. In fact, meal skippers tend to weigh more than people who eat regular meals. Why? Because Meal Skippers' tend to overeat later in the day to compensate for skipping breakfast or lunch. Instead of skipping a meal, cut a few calories from each meal, eat smaller portions and find lower-calorie alternatives to the high-calorie foods you love to eat.
Teens don’t have the willpower to lose weight
Yes we do, willpower is useful when it comes to fighting those cravings, but other factors can impact our weight, including genetics, culture, home environment, activity level and health issues. The good news is eating a healthy diet and exercising can help you overcome these influences and you become empowered from your small steps towards success.
Having a support system to help encourage you throughout your weight loss process is very important. Don’t create strict or unrealistic goals; keep your weight loss plans simple and safe, no fad diets or extreme weight loss drugs. Tell your parents, a friend or a relative about your weight loss plans. Express calmly that you are in control; you need love, support and encouragement not someone who will become a “food cop” or constantly nag you about your weight. But for them to love you no matter your size, believe in you and help you be realistic about both your goals and progress. Ask your parents if you could assist in planning meals to create a weekly menu for healthier eating even on a budget.
Be mindful about those after school snacks and your consumption of large carbonated drinks; sometimes we opt out for the less healthier choices to accommodate our busy schedules, but if you are serious about your weight loss it is important that you start with minor changes. Focus on losing one to two pounds per week. Slow and steady wins the race. Studies show if you lose the weight slowly you will be more likely to keep it off. The National Institute of Health recommends dropping one to two pounds a week for safe, effective weight loss. Two pounds a week can add up fast over one year that’s 52 pounds. (Ok! Just for fun the next time you are at the grocery store grab five 10 lb bags of potatoes…yep, that’s how much weight you can lose in a year.)
So to get you on your way towards losing weight today, I have gathered a few tips for you. Hopefully these small changes in your diet and lifestyle will encourage you to make bigger ones. Some of these tips you may already know about, but haven’t used …
Breakfast! Breakfast! Breakfast!
Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast loss weight faster and keep it off. Having a morning meal helps to break the fast you were on while you were sleeping, jump starting your metabolism helps burn calories throughout the day.
Green Tea…is for me
The slimming ingredient isn't caffeine. Antioxidants called catechins are what help speed metabolism and fat burning. Don’t forget the H2O! Hydrate your body-Water alone can’t help you loss weight but it can stop you from overeating because a lot of times we mistaken thirst for hunger.
A 2006 study of 91 obese people conducted at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic found that eating half a grapefruit before each meal or drinking a serving of the juice three times a day helped people drop more than three pounds over 12 weeks. (I’m not promoting this as a fad diet just some medical info)
When choosing to take control of your weight, you are lowering your risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and most importantly diabetes. Due to obesity 13,000 teens a year are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and it continues to be on the rise with our generation. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin which helps our bodies use glucose for energy or the cells ignore the insulin. Unfortunately there is no cure for type 2 diabetes and it doesn’t play favorites to race or gender; it is a nasty disease resulting in long-term complications such as vision loss, kidney failure, nerve and blood vessel damage. This medical issue is so serious that the month of November is dedicated to Diabetes Awareness.
To help you become the “Boss of Your Weight Loss” I recommend the book “Eat this…Not That” by David Zinczenko, this is a fun little book that identifies what to eat and what not to eat when it comes to fast food and those tasty temptations; interesting facts and a great guidebook. I also encourage you to join www.teenweightlossclub.com to blog with other teens about both your struggles and your successes. And www.teens.sparkpeople.com is another excellent website that helps with both exercising and healthy eating tips as you start to drop those pounds. As teens there are many things beyond our control and ability to change but we can make a change in ourselves, so today make a change for a healthier you, “Be the Boss of Your Weight Loss.” And, as always it’s my goal to keep our teen generation “healthy as a whole”.