The key thing to a teen losing weight is to have much healthier habits. Today, teenage obesity is a growing problem, and there is plenty you can do as a parent in order to help your teen with any weight problems he may have.
Although there is no magic formula to helping your teen lose weight, the real key to succeeding is by helping them to lead a healthier kind of life that they can then carry on into adulthood.
1. Talk to your teen
If your teen is overweight, then they are probably concerned about it too. Aside from there being long term health issues involved, such as high blood pressure or they may suffer from diabetes, there are also the social and emotional issues involved as well.
Offer your teen the support and gentle understanding that they are looking for, and help them to take control of the problem.
2. Unrealistic Images
For many teenage girls, their weight and how they look can be a very delicate matter, and you should remind them there is no perfect body out there. Remind them that, what might the right weight for one person, is not the right weight for somebody else.
Instead of talking to them about fat or thin, encourage your teenage to focus on behaviors which will promote a much healthier weight. If you want to, talk to your family doctor, and he will help to set realistic goals for your teenager with regard to body mass index, and the weight they should be based on their age, height and general health.
3. Resist using quick fixes in order to lose weight rapidly
Help your teenager by teaching them how to lose weight, and then keep it off. Many of the fad diets around are likely to rob your teen of essential nutrients, iron and calcium that they need in their diet, as they are still growing.
Don’t allow them to take weight loss pills or other quick fixes, as they will not address the root of the problem, and the effects of these types of treatment are short lived.
It is important to remember that only permanent changes in their habits will help the weight they lose to stay away.
4. Increase the amount of physical activity your teen does
Like any adult, a teenager will need to do about 60 minutes of physical activity each day. But this does not mean that they have to do it all at once. They can, instead, do the activity in short bursts throughout the day in order to help burn off any excess calories or fat.
Team sports, which they do at school or at a local sports hall, are a great way for your teen to get active. However, if your child isn’t an athlete, or finds it difficult to participate in certain sports, then encourage them to walk, cycle or skate to and from school, or just to walk a few times around the school before they begin classes. Why not suggest that they spend at least one of each day away from the computer and do something a little more physical (may be you can get them to take the dog for a walk)?
Try and get them to do some household chores, like vacuuming or washing the car, as they have aerobic benefits as well.
5. Ensure that your teen has breakfast
If you have a teenager who finds that it’s too difficult to get up, try to get them up a little earlier than normal in order for them to have some breakfast. How many times have you heard people say “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? A good nutritious breakfast will help jump start their day AND their metabolism, and will provide them with the energy they need to face the day ahead. You may also find that it stops them from eating too much during the rest of the day as well.
If your teen is not keen on high fiber cereal or whole wheat toast, then why not suggest they eat what was left over from the night before. You could even suggest a piece of cheese, a small handful of nuts and a piece of fruit instead, as they will be just as good for them, and do the same job as the cereal or toast does.
6. If your teen snacks, teach them to snack wisely
It may be difficult for your teenage child to make healthy choices when they are at school, as often the hallways are lined with vending machines, but it is possible. Why not try and encourage them to replace even one bag of chips each day with a much healthier grab and go option from home, such as frozen grapes, an orange, strawberries or other fresh fruit? They may even like to take some sliced red, orange or yellow peppers, a few cherry tomatoes or baby carrots instead.
7. Watch the size of the portions of food that they have each meal
When it comes to the portions that a teen eats, size really does matter. If you can, encourage your child to cut back and to stop eating when they feel full. You may find that just one slice of pizza, or half the pasta on the plate is enough to make them feel full.
8. Look at the calories in the drinks that they have
An average 12 ounce can of soda has 150 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar in it. Also, the calories and sugar that you find in fruit juice, specialty coffees and other drinks can also add up quickly as well. So getting your teenager to drink more water, instead of soda and other sugary drinks, will save on the calories and their sugar intake as well. Why not suggest that they drink flavored water, seltzer water or unsalted club soda instead?
9. Let them have the occasional treat
Allowing your teen to have a late night pizza whilst at a friend’s, or some nachos when at the movies, need not derail your teen’s healthy eating plan.
Instead, suggest that when they are out, they have a breadstick with sauce instead of garlic bread…or that they share a snack with their friend, instead of having an order to themselves.
It is important that you let your teenager know that they are in control, and the occasional treat is okay. The most important thing is getting them to lead a healthier lifestyle.
10. Ways of getting the whole family involved
Rather than just singling out your teenager to lead a healthier lifestyle, why not adopt these healthy habits for the whole family? After all, not just eating healthier foods, but getting more exercise is good for everybody.
a. Why not encourage the whole family to eat more fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains? It is important that you set a good example for all your children.
b. Forget the junk food, and although healthy foods often cost more, it is a good investment in your child’s life.
c. Why not try out new recipes or healthier alternatives to those family favorites?
d. Don’t allow anyone to eat while sitting on the couch, as this will curb mindless eating at other times that they sit watching the TV, or when on the computer.
e. Arrange some family activities, such as walks in the evening, or visiting a local recreation center at the weekend.
11. Be positive in your attitude when helping your teen to lose weight
Being overweight does not always lead to a lifetime of low self esteem, but your acceptance of your teen’s weight problem is critical. Remember to listen to your teen’s concerns regarding their weight, and comment on their skills, efforts and accomplishments.
Make it perfectly clear to your child that your love for them is unconditional, and not dependent on how they look. Why not help your teen learn to express their feelings in much healthier ways, say by writing down what they feel in a journal?
If your child is struggling with low self esteem, and finding it difficult to cope with their weight in a healthy way, then consider looking for a support group, formal weight control program or professional counseling to help them.
There are many support groups around which will provide your teen with the tools to counter any social pressure and cultivate a positive attitude with regard to their self esteem. This will help them to take control of their weight. These benefits will then last them a life time.
Related: Check out "The Healthy Teen Diet" – A Safe & Effective Weight Loss Designed Specifically for Teen Health