Some teenage girls are overweight or obese, while others simply think that they are too fat. Establishing healthy eating habits in the teen years is an important part of creating a healthy lifestyle down the road. Encourage your teen girl to follow a healthy eating plan rather than following a strict diet plan.
Diet vs. Healthy Eating
There’s an important distinction to make between eating healthy and going on a diet. When you are on a diet, you strictly reduce the amount of food that you eat, sometimes eliminating certain types of foods altogether. This can cause cravings, which you may cave into, gaining back any weight you’ve lost. Healthy eating, on the other hand, encourages you to make healthier food choices, which can typically lead to natural weight loss. With a teen girl’s developing body, healthy eating is the way to go.
To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you eat. Some people find success by switching to eating only healthy foods, which tend to be lower in calories. Others count calories, which allows you to eat any food, so long as you don’t eat too many calories in a day. Both techniques can work as a diet plan for a teen girl, but no matter which you choose, you should never dip below 1,200 calories per day, according to the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource.
If you want a specific program for your teen to follow, look for diets that either focus on calorie counting, such as Weight Watchers, or look for diets that focus on shifting your eating habits to healthy foods, like the South Beach Diet or the Eat Clean Diet.
Avoiding Crash Diets
Crash diets are tempting because they claim to help you lose a great deal of weight in a short period of time. However, they often do more harm than good. The weight loss that they cause is water weight, which you will regain as you return to a normal eating plan. If your teen follows a crash diet, the low calories that she was eating due to the crash diet may reset her metabolism at a lower level, which may mean that she gains back more weight than she lost, making it more difficult to lose the weight again.
Eating Disorder Warning Signs
The pressure to be thin means that eating disorders are a big problem among teenage girls. Watch out for signs of an eating disorder in your teen, such as sudden change in appetite, dramatic weight loss, discomfort around food and secretive behavior. Catching disordered eating early can make healing easier.