Adolescence is a confusing and challenging phase in life thanks to all the puberty changes and growth spurts. At this stage, you may be overconscious about your looks, and if you are overweight or obese, you will definitely be interested in knowing the best ways to lose weight. The seven years as a teenagar are some of the best, or worst that you may have in your life. Due to the various changes in the body, your self-esteem and confidence may be crushed. It is no wonder that many cases of teenage bullying involve overweight or underweight kids. You can finally put all that worrying on hold because in this read we cover the best evidence-based tips that will help you shed some pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Read about weight loss tips for teens here!
Average Weight For Teenagers
How much should a 14-year-old weigh? Before delving into how to lose weight for teens, you need to understand your body. Several factors contribute to the average weight, therefore this amount may fluctuate from year to year. These include gender, age, height, growth rate, level of physical activity, and diet. With regards to weight and height, the Nutrition Realm website gives the following breakdown of the 50th percentile of weight and height for teen boys and girls (12).
|Age Range (Years)||Height (Boys in inches)||Weight (Boys in lbs)||Height (Girls in inches)||Weight (Girls in lbs)|
Remember, the scale is not the only representation of healthy body weight, for instance, muscle mass may cause one to weigh more, yet their BMI indicates that they are healthy. A healthy BMI for both boys and girls in their teenage years is between 15.3 to 26.3, based on their age group and gender. Nutrition Realm gives a detailed tabulated breakdown of average BMI for teenage boys and girls as follows (12).
|Age (Years)||Underweight (Boys)||Healthy Weight (Boys)||Overweight (Boys)||Obese (Boys)||Underweight (Girls)||Healthy Weight (Girls)||Overweight (Girls)||Obese (Girls)|
|13||15.2 or below||15.3- 21.5||21-6-25||25.6 or above||15.2 or below||15.3-22.5||22.6-26.2||26.3 or above|
|14||15.9 or below||16-23.5||23.6-25.9||26 or above||15.7 or below||15.8-23.2||23.3-27.1||27.2 or above|
|15||16.6 or below||16.7-23.3||23.4-26.7||26.8 or above||16.2 or below||16.3-23.9||24-28||28. 1 or above|
|16||17.2 or below||17.3-24.1||24.2-27.4||27.5 or above||16.7 or below||16.8-25.5||25.6-28.8||28.9 or above|
|17||17.6 or below||17.7- 24.8||25-28.1||28.2 or above||17.1 or below||17.2-25.1||25.2-29.5||29.6 or above|
|18||18.1 or below||18.2- 25.5||25.6-28.8||28.9 or above||17.4 or below||17.5-25.6||25.7-30.2||30.3 or above|
|19||18.6 or below||18.7-26.2||26.3-29.8||29.7 or above||17.7 or below||17.8-26||26.1-30.9||31 or above|
However, you should let a qualified dietician calculate your BMI and tell you if you are overweight or within a healthy weight range.
Best Ways To Lose Weight- Healthy Weight Loss Tips For Teens
What can I do to lose weight? You may have come across quick weight loss-friendly food lists or diets that promise speedy results in a short space of time, but these are not recommended because they are unsustainable and may be harmful to your health. To lose weight, your focus should be on being at a healthy weight, and not how soon you will be a size or more less. During your teenage years, your body is still growing and changing, which means that getting enough of all the right nutrients is essential to health and development. Therefore, ignore any tips on how to lose weight fast for teens (10).
You need to set realistic goals and embrace a healthy lifestyle, which involves following a healthy weight loss diet, engaging in physical activity, and other lifestyle changes such as getting adequate sleep and reducing stress for long-term success. Here is more on the best ways to lose weight.
Healthy Diet To Lose Weight
You are what you eat, therefore, you should not expect to lose weight if you are eating junk or more calories than those you burn in a day. Consume nutrient-dense foods which are more nourishing (13). Remember, as a teenager, you are still growing. Therefore, you have higher requirements for particular nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus than adults (17).
Foods To Eat. Healthy Diet Tips
Vegetables And Fruits
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables because they are nutritious and contain fiber to make you feel full for longer. Vegetables also have powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals, i.e. unstable molecules which may cause damage (8). Packed with water and fiber to make you feel more satisfied after meals, it has been established that vegetables help teenagers maintain a healthy body weight by helping them keep appetite stable, minimizing the chances of overeating.
Do not cut out carbohydrates completely. Incorporate whole grains and less refined carbs that contain natural fiber. These include vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains (such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal), and legumes.
Wholesome Protein Sources
These make you feel fuller for longer, which prevents overeating. In a 2013 study done on 20 teenage girls and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was demonstrated that those who took a higher-protein breakfast were less hungry and ate less snacks during the day than those who took a lower-protein, cereal-based meal in the morning (5).
Not all fat is bad fat, and because you are still growing, as a teenager you require more fats than adults. Therefore, you should not cut out too much fat because it will negatively affect your growth and development. Swap unhealthy fats like those found in sugary baked products and deep fried foods for the healthy ones such as nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty fish, and olive oil, that also contain protein may promote weight loss (9). Other than overall growth, healthy fats fuel the body and are key in proper development of the brain (15).
Follow A Healthy Weight Loss Diet Which Guarantees Consistent Weight Loss
Avoid fad diets, even those promoted by your favorite celebrity, because they encourage you to give up a particular food group to lose weight, thus, preventing you from benefiting from the nutrients in those foods. Such meal plans are very restrictive, therefore, your body will not function optimally. Note that consuming too few calories may slow your weight loss because the body adapts in response to the limited food intake (19).
Take water and other sugar-free drinks such as unsweetened tea. If possible, switch to non-fat or low-fat milk. These zero-calorie drinks promote weight loss because they regulate your appetite by minimizing your urge to snack when you are not really hungry (1). Hydration also enhances athletic and academic performance. If you don’t like plain water, make an herb or fruit-infused water.
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Foods To Avoid
Try not to consume:
These include soft drinks and artificially flavored water. They have high sugar content which significantly contributes to weight gain. They also increase the risk of specific health conditions like acne, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, 2 diabetes, and dental cavities.
Foods High In Added Sugars
For example cookies, candy, sugary cereals, and sweetened processed foods should be limited. They are also low in fiber and protein, therefore may cause your appetite to fluctuate leading to overeating during the day. Also, they may negatively affect your sleep, academic performance, and mood (6). One study established that young females who took a high-sugar beverage for breakfast became hungrier and ate more at lunch than those who consumed a low sugar drink in the morning (20).
The So-Called Diet-Friendly Foods And Drinks
They are highly processed and may contain unhealthy fats and artificial sweeteners, among other unhealthy ingredients. Some studies have found that artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame may cause weight gain (3). Go for whole and unprocessed filling snacks and meals.
Eating too much processed foods may result in weight gain because these foods are high in calories and low in important nutrients.
Other Food-Related Tips
Other food-related tips are:
- Slow down and stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied to avoid overeating.
- Control your portions.
- Always go for brands with at least 3 grams of fiber.
- Eat foods from each food group (fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins, healthy fats and oils) every day, unless you are allergic.
- Add flavor to your foods using spices and herbs .
- Do not give up treats completely. Enjoy your favorite food once in a while, for example ice cream and chocolate, to prevent extreme cravings.
- Eat mindfully by paying attention to what you consume to develop a better relationship with food. Doing so has been proven to help adolescents make less impulsive food decisions which promote healthy body weight (16).
Mindful eating practices include:
- Do not eat when distracted, say watching TV or on smartphones because you may end up overeating.
- Chewing the food thoroughly leads to a better relationship with food.
- Eating slowly for your brain to get the message that you are satisfied. It takes about 20 minutes for this to happen (10).
- Take a few second break as you eat to prevent serving another portion that may not be necessary.
- Include at least a fruit and vegetables in every meal so that at the end of the day, you will have consumed the recommended 5 servings. You can decorate them to make them attractive for you to enjoy eating them. You may also make puree and smoothies with only healthy ingredients.
- Have a predictable meal schedule, including 1-2 healthy snacks, to better manage your hunger. Do not skip meals because you may end up overeating in the next, or settle for highly processed snacks. Also, skipping meals changes your metabolic rate, making it easier for you to gain weight.
- Plan your weight loss journey so that you can know if you are on track or not. When you begin the journey, keep a diary or journal of what you eat, when you eat, and the feeling you had before eating. Reviewing the diary will help you identify emotions associated with your eating habits.
Workout Plan For Teenager
Physical activity is essential for helping you shed pounds. You should:
- Follow a well-balanced fitness routine that combines strength training, aerobics, and flexibility workouts (10).
- Focus on workouts that build muscle to burn more calories. This may include strength training to lose weight and tone your body. Other than weight training, try pilates, resistance bands, or pushups.
- Increasing overall daily activity may increase your muscle mass, helping your body to burn more calories efficiently. It will boost your mood, which may help decrease symptoms of depression in teens (18).
- Sit less, and move more. Instead of taking the school bus, you may walk to school, jog up and down the stairs, help in the home garden, or patake in park or beach clean-ups as you gradually build up your fitness levels.
- Engage in physical activities that you enjoy, so that you do not feel like you are being punished to exercise. For instance, instead of playing team sport, you may hike or dance to lose weight.
- Exercise 4 to 6 times a week for at least half an hour.
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Other Lifestyle Changes
A healthy lifestyle does not stop at eating right and working out or being physically active. It also includes other healthy lifestyle changes such as:
- Minimizing stress which results in hormonal changes, such as elevated levels of cortisol hormone that may increase hunger, thus leading to weight gain (21). Physical activities and others such as meditation and yoga may help decrease the levels of stress by promoting feelings of relaxation. Your school psychologist or therapist may give you other tips for relieving stress.
- Getting adequate sleep which contributes to maintaining a healthy body weight. Sleeping for less than 7-8 hours every night may result in weight gain according to a study (14). Teengaers require more sleep than adults, with the recommended number of hours being between 9-10 hours a day for optimal body functioning (22). Your bedroom should be dark and distractions such as television and phones should be put off when sleeping.
- A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so make small changes that will be easier to stick with, rather than drastic ones that you will quit after a few tries. For example, you may begin by minimizing the junk you eat as you slowly introduce healthier options.
- Find other activities to do when you are bored or upset, such as taking a walk, so that you do not take the feeling out by eating.
- Diet pills, even the herbal or over-the counter ones may be dangerous to your health and do not guarantee long-term weight loss, therefore, avoid them (10).
- Find a role model who will help you understand that everyone has a unique body type, and even if you feel like the fattest kid in class, there’s no need to resort to extreme measures to boost your self-esteem.
- Social media, celebrity influence, and peer pressure may make you feel dissatisfied with your body, but don’t compare your appearance to others because such pressure will damage your body image, especially at this time when you are more susceptible to body image issues. Your goal should not be to look like someone else, but instead, your focus should be on becoming healthier, happier, and more confident in your own skin.
- The weight loss path is challenging, so forgive yourself when you backslide. Do not focus on the slip-ups, get back on track as soon as you can and move ahead.
- How to lose weight at home greatly depends on the support from your family members. Ask them for help and encouragement. It will be easier if more family members engage in mindful and healthy eating, as well as physical activity. As a parent, support your child’s weight loss journey, motivate them and help them feel good about themselves. Stock the house with healthy foods and partake in some of the physical activities with your child.
How To Identify Eating Disorders
Sometimes, you may have a difficult time losing weight even if implementing the tips mentioned above. This may be due to certain medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, and depression; therefore, you need to get the right diagnosis after talking to your doctor, who will perform tests and give you the accurate recommendations.
Teens can be susceptible to developing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating which may progress later in life (7). These should therefore be addressed by the doctor, who will give the appropriate treatment. Some of the signs that point to an eating disorder (4):
- Being obsessed with weight or body shape
- Drastic weight gain or loss
- Vomiting or laxative abuse
- Avoiding social gatherings that involve food, social isolation, and withdrawal
- Repetitive or constant dieting, overexercising, and skipping meals or snacks.
The Bottom Line
As an adolescent, you need to balance between the nutritional needs of your developing body and maintaining a healthy weight. Do not focus on how to lose weight fast for teens, because everyone has a different body that may react differently to weight loss plans, especially during your teen years, when so many hormonal and physical changes are taking place. The best ways to lose weight is to follow a healthy diet, exercise, be physically active and embrace a healthy way of life.
Other than making you look good and boosting your self-esteem, a healthy lifestyle will enhance your well-being in the long-run, and it will make it easier for you to live a healthy life as an adult. Use body image positivity and self-empowerment to motivate this newfound healthy lifestyle and remember to consult experts who understand weight loss before starting any diet or workout routine.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water (2020, healthline.com)
- 16 Healthy Weight Loss Tips for Teens (2019, healthline.com)
- Artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute: Are they really safe? (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Assessing Eating Disorder Symptoms in Adolescence: Is There a Role for Multiple Informants? (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls (2013,ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dietary Habits Are Associated With School Performance in Adolescents (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Eating disorders in adolescents: Principles of diagnosis and treatment (1998, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
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- How Does Liquid Sugar Harm Your Body? (2020, healthline.com)
- How To Lose Weight Fast: An Ultimate Guide For Teens (nutritionrealm.com)
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