A great many teenagers are overweight and in a bid to lose weight, leap rather too enthusiastically into some sort of low calorie or low fat diet and/or launch into a punishing exercise programme. Sadly, everything about this approach is unlikely to result in weight loss and more than likely to result in fatigue, mood swings, lack of focus and for girls, menstrual complications. During your teens, you are still growing and developing (both brain and body) and when there are pieces missing from the jigsaw, growth and development are compromised. If ever there was a time when you have to eat well and regularly it is now. You are likely fed up hearing that sugar is the enemy but there are countless ways you can satisfy your sweet tooth and lose weight without having to body swerve every sweet treat. The biggest favour you can do yourself and your waistline is to get sugary, fizzy drinks right out of your life (and that includes the diet and zero versions which are full of health-disrupting chemically-skewed sugar substitutes).
A Few Diet Secrets
Don’t Cut Calories. Resist the temptation to go on a very low calorie diet. Quick weight loss may result but it will be short lived as your body begins to feel cheated and hangs onto as much energy as it can by storing it in your fat cells which is exactly what you don’t want! Give it everything it needs - fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats and good levels of protein - and it will feel loved and cherished and keep the metabolic fire glowing and happily encourage stored fat to be burned for energy so fat cells shrink and stay shrunk.
Gain Some Muscle. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat (not rocket science!) but a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat so when you build muscle, which is also very good at munching its way through calories, you burn stored fat and look leaner. You also feel stronger and have more energy for sport and having fun. Muscles love a diet rich in protein and fat and not only does a healthy dose of vegetables in every meal and snack provide a wealth of protective plant chemicals to keep your immune system strong but the vitamins and minerals they provide spark up the action of enzymes that help to burn stored fat if you are carrying excess.
Feed Your Brain. The brain is 60 percent fat, mostly saturated fat but around one third is polyunsaturated fat and both types are crucial for the health and integrity of the nerve fibres that facilitate the transmission of messages between brain cells so a diet that skimps on fats robs the brain of the raw materials it needs to keep the communication lines open. Saturated fats from the meat and dairy produce of pasture-fed and happy animals and essential fats found in fish and fish oils, seeds and seed oils and eggs laid by birds fed on seed-rich diets enhance communication between nerve cells within the brain. And, healthy fats don’t make you fat! It is the heat-treated and chemically-skewed fats and added sugars in many processed and fast foods and almost all junk foods that make you fat - and sick!