The levels of obesity worldwide are affecting the younger population. With the sedentary lifestyles owing to the television, computer and the automobile, many teenagers are now growing to be dangerously overweight. Overconsumption of processed foods does not help either. Because parents are holding multiple jobs just to make ends meet in these economically trying times, ready-to-eat foods from boxes, fastfood fare or a pizza takeout has become the standard culinary fare for most families today. It is not healthy and it compounds the problem of teens who are trying to lose weight.
If you are a parent of a child struggling with teen weight loss issues, it is your responsibility to encourage healthy living in your teenager to help solve the problem. What most parents of these teens fail to realize is that there are more issues rather than the weight that teenagers struggle with as they try to come to terms with the fact that they are pounds heavier than their peers. Teenage girls, for example, have to fight back feelings of inferiority when they realize that their crush has fallen for the most popular girl on campus who is obviously pounds lighter than she is. This might seem trivial to adults, but for teenagers still forming their own identity, this can be devastating. Thus, it is important to show your all-out support to your child as he or she struggles to overcome the problem.
Before you go about suggesting activities to your teen to help him or her manage the weight, you must first let him or her understand that they are not losing weight because they have to be “thin.” Notions of thinness are taken out of proportion in this country. It has been the cause of all sorts of eating disorders and emotional confidence and anxiety issues. Instead of harping on the “you have to be thin” theme, tell your teenager that teen weight loss is all about getting fit and healthy. You have to make them understand that they need to reach a certain weight appropriate for their age and height, otherwise they risk developing high blood pressure and diabetes.
Once that has been clearly understood, you have to make your family lifestyle and your environment conducive to teen weight loss. Make breakfast mandatory for everyone in the family. This can be admittedly difficult since the habit of sleeping late, waking up late and skipping the most important meal of the day has already been ingrained in our psyche. But it must be done, even if you have to douse cold water just to get them on the table to eat. Eating breakfast reduces the need for your teen to snack heavily on empty calories. Even more important, it gives them the energy to fuel their day. Where food is concerned, encourage them to eat healthy. Thus, instead of putting ice cream or pastries inside the fridge, put in fruit slices, Graham crackers and low fat yogurt instead.
Limit television and Internet/computer/video game times. Promote family activities like playing badminton or going on hikes together. Plan an activity every weekend that encourages movement– a trip to the bowling alley or a game that you can play together is a good idea. Remember that teen weight loss can be achieved faster if you make it a family affair. When everyone rallies behind a struggling teen, success cannot be far behind.
Energetic fitness fanatic who has lost more than 40 pounds in the past year.
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