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A New Way of Life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Sick and tired of your big body? Well, throw out that cheeseburger and find a nice apple. Healthy eating will not only help you drop pounds, it will boost your self-esteem!

I was very chubby in seventh grade, but continued to eat whatever I wanted without exercising. In eighth grade, I was getting too big, so I decided to eat healthy and exercise. In six months, I lost 25 pounds. It may be harder for one person to lose weight than another, but don't get discouraged. Keep at it and you will see the benefits.

What works for me is Weight Watchers, which really just teaches you how to eat healthy. Once you lose weight, it is crucial that you don't start eating junk again because the pounds will come back. Weight Watchers teaches you to make smart choices, such as choosing fruit instead of a cookie, or burning off that burrito instead of sitting on the couch. Eating healthy makes you feel great!

Weight Watchers also teaches you to control your portion size. If you eat five or six small meals a day rather than three large ones, your metabolism will be more active, which allows your body to burn more calories instead of storing them as fat.

This healthy way of eating is based on a point system. Each day you are allotted a certain number of points depending on your weight. Fruits and vegetables are usually in the zero to three point range. Tomatoes, unsweetened pickles, celery, cucumbers and cauliflower are all zero points, so if you are super hungry but don't have any points left, you can still eat these "free" foods. The point system may seem confusing at first, but it's really quite easy and after awhile you don't even need the handbook. This diet is totally worth it! You will find that healthy eating is healthy living. I felt better and was less hungry on the healthy eating plan than when I was eating the way I used to.

Eating late at night is another bad habit. It's not good to come home at 10 p.m. and have dinner. If you eat that late, the energy won't be used so it will just turn into fat. The rule in my house is that we can't eat after 8 p.m. This keeps me from picking at food when I'm not even hungry.

Smart eating teaches people that they should not be underweight, either. Many teens suffer from anorexia and bulimia, but starving yourself only makes your metabolism slower. You can actually eat more and still lose weight when you are eating healthy. Foods like celery and grapefruit actually help you burn more calories.

Exercise is key for maintaining your smart eating habits. It uses stored calories and burns energy instead of storing it as fat. Weight is actually not as important as physical fitness. Studies show that people who eat healthy and keep themselves in good physical shape will live longer than those who do not eat well or exercise.

An important part of eating smart is drinking six to eight glasses of water a day. This will help fill you up so you feel less hungry. I notice a tremendous difference in how hungry I am depending on whether or not I've had my eight glasses of water. Plus, if you drink water most of the time instead of soda or juice, you'll drop pounds just due to the fact that you are drinking a calorie-free beverage.

Once you start eating smart, you'll be golden for life!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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