Archive for the tag - teen

Weight Loss for Busy Teens.

Dear Davey,

I’ve been the chubby girl my whole life but I’m hoping to graduate high school in another year with a healthier body.

I eat lots vegetables and hardly ever eat red meat, but I still have fatty areas around my body. Specifically, I’d like to target my inner thighs, back, lower abdominal and waistline.

I run from time to time, but I’m usually home from school late due to practice (I’m a student athlete) and other extracurricular activities. As it is, I only sleep 5 or 6 hours a night so I’m always exhausted.

Do you have any tips for my situation?


article-newHey Michelle,

It’s always great to see young folks committed to creating a healthy lifestyle!

First things first, let’s talk about your desire to reduce fat in specific areas of your body. Unfortunately, the science of weight loss doesn’t work like that. When your body sheds fat, it comes off according to its own agenda. Excess fat may come off of your face, your neck, your chest - anywhere! The process is outside of your control. Having said that, as your body fat percentage drops, it will eventually come off all the areas you mentioned above.

Let’s talk about your diet. A red meat-free diet that’s also high in vegetables doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose weight. While avoiding red meat is great for overall health, losing weight is really about creating a calorie deficit wherein you take in fewer calories than you burn. At least in theory, you could gain fat from eating too much broccoli!

Though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that teenagers count every calorie they consume, limiting calorie dense or nutritionally devoid foods like candy, sugary drinks, fried snacks, creamy foods, simple carbohydrates, etc is a good idea. Instead, opt for lean meats, veggies, complex carbs and some healthy fats whenever possible. And be very mindful of your portions.

When it comes to rest, researchers have found a likely link between weight gain and a lack of sleep:

According to the findings, sleep deprivation increased both self-reported hunger and levels of ghrelin (known as “the hunger” hormone) for participants. The less sleep that participants received, the greater their hunger. Because sleep-deprived individuals are hungrier, it’s very likely that they consume more food and a greater number of calories than their well-rested and less hungry counterparts.

It’s certainly worth rethinking some of your commitments to better support a healthy lifestyle. And you may find that by stretching yourself less thin, you’re able to give 100% to the activities you value most.

Regardless of age, all of us have busy schedules. But exercise needs to be a real priority as eating well is only one end of the equation. If you’re looking to achieve sustainable and lasting weight loss, a combination of diet and exercise are recommended to create the required calorie deficit. A few times per week, create time for physical activity. It can be rock climbing with friends or lifting at the gym. You need not spend countless hours at the gym to enjoy some real results.

While diet and exercise will yield many benefits, the most transformative benefits are beneath the surface - such as higher energy levels, better sleep habits and increased focus. These benefits will help you not just at school, but throughout your life.

I hope this helps!