If your teen is overweight, it’s important for him to shed the pounds to avoid a lifetime of higher health risks. Fad diets are tempting because they promise a quick fix, but they often don’t work in the long run. The best way for your teen to lose weight is to stick to tried and true healthy methods.
One pound equals 3,500 calories and if your teen eats fewer calories than she needs, she’ll lose weight. Ask your pediatrician how many calories your child should be eating and try to limit her food within this range. Calorie counting appeals to many because there are no foods that are off limits. The key to making it work is to fill up on lower calorie foods and monitor portion sizes.
Some teens can lose weight simply by changing their diets to healthier ones. Instead of reaching for the bag of chips as an after-school snack, your teen might eat cut vegetables and hummus. Instead of pizza for dinner, you might serve a stir-fry over brown rice. This ultimately works because you are reducing calories, but since the focus is on eating healthy rather than dieting, it can help foster a positive relationship with food in your children.
People can eat too much when they don’t think about what they’re eating. Encourage your teen to pay attention to his body and true hunger signals. He should stop eating when he is no longer hungry and only grab a snack when he is hungry, not because he’s bored. Don’t force him to clean his plate if he feels full. Discourage him from sitting down to watch TV with a full package of cookies.
Liquid calories can quickly add up and if your teen is primarily drinking soda, juices or other sugary drinks, it’s adding to her waistline. Simply switching all or most of these drinks to calorie-free water can help her stay hydrated, create a feeling of fullness so that she’s not eating as much and help her lose weight.
Diet is only part of the weight loss equation. The more your teen moves, the more weight he can lose. Encourage him to participate in some extracurricular activity that involves moving, like sports or theater. If he’s not into that, he might enjoy bike riding, walking or lifting weights. Exercise videos allow him to work out in the privacy of the home. Even something like a Wii video game console can help increase the calorie burn.