Weight loss in teens: How to get them to do it right

Like most adults, teenagers too long for an attractive body and an ideal weight. However, improper ways of losing weight may result in serious consequences to their health and wellbeing.

To lose weight in a positive way, healthy habits must be adopted and this is where parents can play an important “mentor” role.

Be sympathetic

Offer your child support and sympathy. Being overweight is often devastating to both their physical and mental wellness.

Thus, as a parent, you should be helpful and understanding. Show your willingness to help whenever they need it.

Be realistic

Try to help them understand that there is no perfect example of the right body image. Everybody has their own size and shape so it is unrealistic to expect that everyone look the same.

Losing weight, besides being beautiful, is also about being healthy and confident. Take your child to a specialist so he or she can get a more realistic idea of the right body goals that suit them best.

Take it slow

Explain to them the dangers of fad diets and its negative effects on their health. Help them understand that losing weight and maintaining weight loss is the work of a lifetime, not a one-time endeavour.

Discourage them from taking weight loss pills as these bring about more harm than good. Only a good diet plan and exercise regimen can bring about a positive and lasting result.

Take up exercise

An hour of physical activity a day is important to a teenager’s well-being. To ensure they stay committed to physical activity, keep in mind that:

  • Exercise at any level of intensity is acceptable.
  • Let your child pursue the activities they like. Do not force them into any structured programme of your choice.
  • Be a good role model. Active parents can inspire their children greatly. Find activities that the whole family can join in. This can also help improve parental care and strengthen the parent-child bond.

Adopt a healthy eating plan

Teens love eating snacks. Instead of fast foods, encourage them to consume these snacks:

  • Fresh fruits like berries, oranges, or grapes
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Fortified milk
  • Crackers
  • Salads

When it comes to eating, not just the food itself but the way one eats matters. Encourage them to eat small portions and use small plates.

Eating slowly is also preferable. Encourage your child to stay hydrated. Pay attention to their liquid intake and count the calories they consume in the beverages they drink.

If possible, cut off soda and other soft drinks, and opt for flavoured but calorie-free water.

Be positive

Listen to your child and give them encouragement or praise on their effort to lose weight. This will keep them motivated and feel loved.

If your child suffers from stress due to weight loss issues, get them the appropriate support group or professional help.

This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.