Many girls make their first attempts at dieting during their teenage years. If your teen is eager to shed a few pounds, dieting may be a good choice. However, it is vital that any diet plan she undertakes is a health-conscious one that promotes lifestyle change instead of offering a quick fix. If your teen is ready to tackle dieting, guide her through this process to ensure that her efforts don’t endanger her health.
The Need to Diet
Before you sanction a diet for your teen, make sure that she actually needs to diet. As the Canadian Pediatric Society reports, 33 percent of all teen girls who engage in dieting are actually at a healthy weight already and are only dieting because they view themselves in a negative or false light. If your teen is already slender and begins to talk to you about dieting, encourage her to maintain a healthy body weight, not allowing herself to drop below what is comfortable for her frame.
While some diets claim that you can lose weight quickly by eating from a restrictive list of foods, these diets are almost never healthy in the long run and do not promote permanent weight loss. Teen girls should always select a diet that consists of eating a balanced array of foods. If your teen’s diet of choice has her giving up some foods or food groups entirely, it is likely not the best choice as she will almost certainly miss out on nutrients that she needs for good health.
Forget Fast Food
Many teens pack on the pounds when they allow themselves to munch on nutritionally unsound fast foods. Encourage your teen to give up fast food entirely if she is aiming to lose weight. If forgoing fast food completely isn’t an option, talk to her about the healthy choices she can make when ordering from a fast-food menu.
Skipping the Snacks
If your teen is munching on something nearly every time you see her, she is likely going to end up packing on the pounds. Before your teen undergoes a crash-diet effort, remind her that these between-meal calories are having an impact. Encourage her to stop her snacking. By sticking to her three-square meals a day, she can likely greatly reduce the number of calories she consumes each day.
Dangers of Over-Dieting
When your teen diets, she should have a set goal that she is trying to achieve. Be mindful of your teen’s dieting efforts to ensure that she doesn’t overdo it with the calorie counting. Over-dieting can lead to a host of problems, most notably the development of an eating disorder. Between 1 and 2 percent of all American teens suffer from an eating disorder. For many of these teens, the eating disorder first started as overly restrictive dieting.