Weight Loss for Teens: a short guide for parents

Obesity is a real issue in many countries. It is a very growing, serious and costly disease. 

“The prevalence of obesity was 42.4% in 2017~2018.” -cdc.gov

An Obese child will have a greater tendency to become an obese adult. That is a general knowledge and the sad truth.

While a chubby kid might still look cute, an overweight teenager will usually have to face “fat jokes” in school and might also develop inferiority complex, have a lack of self esteem or develop other personality issues.

Being afraid that their teenagers might feel unloved, a lot of parents are avoiding to talk about the issue of overweight or about losing weight with their overweight kids. They don’t want to make them feel bad, but it is very important to react if you see your child is quickly gaining an unhealthy amount of weight.

You love your kids, so you don’t want to make them feel bad, but you also want them to live a long and healthy life right?

So try to get your kids involved in activities and cook nice and healthy food from the beginning to make it easier for your children to stay healthy.

It can also be fun to get involved in a weight loss plan for your teen and a great opportunity to do some more family activities.

Let’s take a look at a weight loss plan for teens that any parent can enjoy and experience:

Weekend exercises

Physical exercises are needed to lose weight or keep a healthy weight. This doesn’t mean very strickt military style running activities before school…

To schedule weekend activities that are actually fun is the better way to make your child actually want to get moving.

Activities like bike riding, climbing, ball games, hiking, swimming, kayaking, stand up paddling will be great for your kid and good for your own health too.

Eating healthy

A lot of kids these days would definitely prefer a trip to the fast food joint than eating fresh fruits or vegetables. But why? Maybe because they are used to go to the fast food joint? Or because they are used to get convenience food at home? 

It won’t be easy to get your teen eat their greens if they have never had to eat it. So if your child is used to delicious healthy food from the beginning they might stick to it while being a teenager.

Be creative in preparing vegetables as part of the family meal. Or get to know how to prepare meals influencers are promoting (salad bowls, smoothie bowls, whatever it is that is popular and get posted on social media right now).

Experiment new vegetable recipes and get your teens involved to help you with the preparation. Talk about the benefits of these vegetables (or fruits) while cooking. If your kid has problems with common skin problems maybe mention how certain vegetables can make their skin healthier. Or how certain vegetables can make hair more shiny and strong. 

If there is a canteen at school, check how healthy or unhealthy they cook over there. Most canteens actually serve really nasty and unhealthy food (shame on that, schools should know better, because our brains need healthy, nutritious food).
So make sure to send your kid to school with a healthy packed lunch. (Check my recipes for more inspirations.)

Beautiful/healthy smoothie bowl
Choose fun family outdoor activities

Encourage sports

Now, a lot of teenagers are not into sports. But it is very important cause they are mostly sitting these day: sitting in a car/bus on the way to school, sitting during the lessons, sitting on their way back home, sitting at home doing home work, sitting to watch TV or play online games….. We know already that a lack exercise, bad food/too much food is one big factor when it comes to overweight.

But sport does not only help to lose weight it is also a great way to teach kids to become team players, or leaders.

Introduce them to simple sports and try to find out what they like or are interested in. Don’t talk about that they need to do sports to lose weight… 

If your teenager is not very keen with sports but like books more, encourage him to get to the bookstore by bike or engage your teenager to a game of who can walk to the bookstore faster.

In case that the school is just a few blocks away and there is a safe bike lane around, get him a bike to drive to school.

Education

First of all if the whole healthy eating thing is new to you too, educate yourself. There are a lot of great books and documentaries about food and a healthy body. It is important to know about this because if you like your teen to lose weight or get healthier they might have a bunch of questions you need to answer.

Then encourage the whole family to read or watch nice and easy references and reading materials/documentaries about a healthier living.

Talk about this as a topic for dinner or just as a casual conversation with your teenager.

Open communication is a key to acceptance. Your teen should be able to discuss apprehensions and concerns freely. Let them know that you as a parent will be happy to provide guidance and also join them with learning more about the topic.

Living and eating healthy is not as boring as many still think. Just try and do some research for healthy recipes online (Pinterest is a great source too) and you will see 🙂