Permanent Weight Loss For Your Teen
It is a life changing experience and very exciting when your teen decides they are ready for weight loss. Their decision and commitment to lose weight may also influence parents and siblings to do the same. As the parent, you are a great influence and role model for your teen. One of the best things you can do to start their weight loss is address how weight gain occurred and how your teen can rebuild a healthy relationship with food. The following tips explain how to properly begin weight loss in your teen:
1). Understand what caused weight gain. It will not work to begin a weight loss plan without addressing why your teen gained excess weight in the first place. Being overweight and having an emotional attachment to food is very common. Those who are overweight may struggle with binge eating. Binge eating involves eating large amounts of food within short periods of time. Oftentimes those who binge have a hard time expressing their feelings verbally so they turn to consuming large amounts of food that are thought to suppress their strong emotional feelings. Stopping the cycle of binge eating is by far the hardest cycle to break and is a huge contributor to obesity today. To begin, encourage your teen to write down what they ate and how they felt before, during, and after eating. It will also help them to journal when not eating. The journal can serve as a healthy way for them to release emotional feelings they do not feel comfortable explaining.
If your teen is comfortable with discussing emotions they feel when they binge, counseling may benefit. Have them visit with an experienced counselor through their school or consider a local counselor who specializes in weight management.
2). Work towards healthier food choices. Everyone has a weakness with a particular comfort food. If your teen admits they are powerless in the presence of an unhealthy food, throw it out and find a healthier alternative. As an example, instead of eating regular potato chips, which have an average of 11 grams of fat per serving, opt for veggie chips. They provide the satisfying crunch but veggie chips have only 3 grams of fat per serving. My previous post, How to Introduce Healthy Eating Habits to Your Teen, explains how to find healthier food selections.
3.) Slow down eating. It takes an estimated 20 minutes for the digestive system to cue the brain that you’re full or satisfied. Therefore, your teen may save a few hundred calories in a meal by slowing down their eating. Any saved calories can be counted towards weight loss or used towards a modest portion of dessert.
The process of rebuilding a healthy relationship with food may take three months or longer. There will be days of hardship and fallbacks. However, whenever your teen thinks they have failed, always encourage them to keep pushing towards their goals.
Once the three tips above are completed, I will show you the next steps to follow. The next posts will educate you how to set goals with your teens’ weight loss, understanding calorie intake, and how to begin exercising.