Helping Teens Lose
From Parade 24 July 2005
How can I help my teen lose weight?
Self-Respect is the No. 1 cause of weight and body issues among 13- to 18-year-olds. Girls and boys are bombarded with images of the “perfect” body- a fleeting and unattainable standard- and carrying just a few extra pounds can be traumatic for some adolescents. Issues of self-image and peer pressure only increase as the scales tip.
Relationships are a driving force in encouraging your teenager to slim down, says Brian Alman psychologist and author of Keep It Off. “The best way to help a teen lose the weight and keep it off is to be a compassionate, caring, positive and respectful.” he adds. “The more you respect a teenager’s ability to figure things out for himself the more likely he is to listen to you, eat intelligently and be more physically active.”
Take a 10-minutewalk with your teen and find out what is going on in his or her life. “Listen-really listen-to what he or she says,” advises Alman. “Spend time doing an activity you both like, and continue to do this regularly. Why? Relationships are our biggest motivators.”
This can be difficult for parents who are worried and frustrated, he admits. But, cautious Alman, “the most effective way to increase weight gain, bulimia, anorexia, and negative body image is to be judgmental critical, negative and disrespectful.
There is no quick fix here, and the numbers say it all: Two out of three adults in the
Tap into the resources at your child’s school or in your community. The majority of kids don’t have a clue about how to eat healthy. A few classes on basic nutrition can help your teen make better choices. Look for similar assistance in setting up a suitable exercise program.