Teen Weight Loss Secrets
Successful teen dieters reveal their weight loss strategies.
Teen Weight Loss Woes
For Fletcher, her desire to help her overweight son became a passion for
finding solutions to help overweight teens. She interviewed 104 kids to learn
what life was like when they were overweight, and what helped them lose the
weight and keep it off. The results were published in Weight Loss
Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight and Keep it Off and What They Wish
"Their stories broke my heart. Being overweight affected their
popularity, self-esteem, ability to get dates -- everything that is important
to a teenager," says Fletcher, who also wrote the Thin for Life
series on weight control in adults.
One of the teenage girls in the book described boys groping her as if it
were acceptable because she was overweight.
"The pain and suffering of being an overweight teen was what finally led
most of these teens to embrace serious weight loss," says Fletcher.
How Parents Can Help Teens With Weight Loss
Teens cannot succeed at weight loss alone. They need supportive parents who
create healthy home environments -- and who serve as good role models. When
parents succeed at losing weight, their children are more likely to succeed as
well. But when a teen has overweight parents, it's often very difficult for
that teen to lose weight.
"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.