Teen Weight Loss Secrets
Successful teen dieters reveal their weight loss strategies.
How Parents Can Help Teens With Weight Loss continued...
"The hardest part about helping kids lose weight is resistant
parents who don’t want to change their own behavior," says Boutelle.
Experts agree that it's a bad idea for parents to nag or say things like,
'Haven’t you had enough?'" to their overweight teens. Instead, let your
children know you are there for them and willing to help -- then back off and
let them decide when they're ready.
"Parents need to give their kids some space without feeling like they
are giving up on them," says Gilbert. "When parents are
overbearing, their suggestions backfire, and the teen misses out on the
important motivation that comes from making decisions for
Experts advise talking to them about the pros and cons of being overweight.
But use examples they can relate to. For example, talk about the impact their
excess weight will have in gym class, not on their health.
"They could care less about health or what is going to happen in 10
years," says Boutelle. "They live in the present."
Teens should also be involved in the process, Fletcher says.
"Ask them to help decide which snacks and foods should be on the grocery
list and which ones should we eliminate for the entire family, not just the
overweight teen," says Fletcher.
One of the best things you can do for overweight teens is to help them feel
good about themselves, experts say. And one way to do this is to help them
cultivate their assets and strengths.
"If you can help your child feel good about herself, it will empower her
and help her resist the torment," says Fletcher.
And a teen who feels empowered is more likely to tackle a weight issue.
Exercise for Teen Weight Loss
Model behaviors are not limited to the kitchen.
"Active parents usually breed active kids, so if you want your kids to
become more physical, lead the way," says Boutelle.
She also suggests turning off the television and limiting computer time.
Parents may want to reconsider allowing teens to have TVs in their
"Studies show that kids who spend hours in front of screens are more
sedentary, and to make it worse, there is a strong tendency to be snacking
mindlessly while sitting," says Boutelle.
Keeping It Off
For virtually all the teens profiled in Weight Loss Confidential,
regular exercise has become a way of life.
"Exercise, a healthy diet, and changing behaviors is what is going to
make a difference and help kids lose weight and keep it off," says
Fletcher asked teens what helped them resist falling back into bad
"The overwhelming response: These kids did not want to return to the
painful days when they were overweight." She adds, "The kids are
also happier, more self-confident, enjoying an improved quality of life, and
feeling better in general."
Fletcher’s son, Wes, agrees. "I'm simply happier in a lot of ways.
I have less anxiety about my appearance, my weight is no longer ever-present in
the back of my mind, I feel healthier, have more energy, and have learned to
enjoy many new kinds of foods," he says.