Teenagers struggle with weight issues just as much as adults and due to lack of guidance are far more likely to follow fad diets. These fad diets are not only potentially dangerous, they are generally ineffective yielding only temporary results, and the diet itself is not sustainable.
What teenagers really need is some healthy habits that they can incorporate into their lifestyle to really see longterm results. Here are 12 sustainable ways for teens to lose belly weight.
12 Easy Ways For Teens To Lose Belly Fat
1. Don’t Skip Breakfast
In a scientific study from Rush University Medical Center called The Science Behind Breakfast, it explained the benefits of eating breakfast every morning.
One major benefit is that breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism, which automatically helps you burn more calories during the day. When you eat breakfast, you are letting your body know that there is plenty of food to eat.
When you skip breakfast, your body gets the message that it needs to conserve energy instead of burning calories. Some examples of healthy breakfasts that you can eat are oatmeal with fruit and nuts, chia seed pudding, overnight oats, and smoothies.
Take The Quiz: Which Veggies Fight Abdominal Fat?
2. Watch Out For Stress
Teens are under a lot of stress today. Stress from homework, problems with friends or relationships, stress from figuring out what to do in their future, and so much more.
Stress increases your risk of obesity due to a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is released when the body is under large amounts of stress, and it causes weight gain.
Help your teen relax so they can lose more weight. Great ways to relax are to do yoga, go for a walk, read a book, or play a board game.
3. Get Active
Exercise is one of the best ways to burn fat and gain muscle. Muscle is amazing because it boosts your metabolism, which will help you burn more calories throughout the day.
Not only that, muscle takes more calories to maintain than fat does, even at a resting rate. A scientific study posted in Obesity, a Research Journal called Neurobiology of Exercise explained how exercise is one of the best ways to limit obesity.
Some fun exercises to do are: dancing, hiking, jogging, biking, jump rope, swimming, and strength training. The great thing is that all of these exercises can be done with friends!
4. Make Sure to Drink Lots of Water
Teenagers are prone to drinking more sugary drinks than water. Whether it’s from the vending machines at school, or the cafeteria, it’s not uncommon to see teenagers drinking large amounts of pop.
Sugary drinks are full of empty calories that contain no nutrition. In order to lose weight, teenagers should substitute those drinks for water instead.
If plain water doesn’t taste good, try freshening it up and changing the flavor with some lemon and other fruit slices. Alternatively, teenagers can drink seltzer as well if they prefer.
5. Stay Away From Added Sugar
Foods that contain added sugar (processed food) are extremely unhealthy for teens. Not only do they cause blood sugar spikes, they cause weight gain as well.
Limiting the amount of unhealthy and processed foods that teens eat is a great way to lose weight. Foods such as candies, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods should be limited and replaced with foods that contain natural sugar such as fruit.
If you want to bake a healthy dessert for your teen, try using healthier foods to sweeten it such as dates.
6. Eat More Fiber
Fiber is something that fills your body up, and helps promote regular bowel movements. Fiber acts as a broom in your colon, helping to keep everything moving.
An article in Science Daily called Soluble fiber strikes a blow to belly fat explained that the more fiber you eat, the easier it will be to lose weight.
The foods that have the most fiber in them are fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and root vegetables. Nuts and seeds also contain high amounts of fiber.
7. Stop Watching tv
A scientific study posted in the us National Library of Medicine called Television viewing and childhood obesity explained that watching television causes weight gain by three ways.
These ways are: the displacement of physical activity, an increased amount of calorie consumption while watching tv caused by snacking or the effects of advertising, and thirdly, reduced resting metabolism.
Instead of watching tv, the best thing to do is something active. Even going for a walk around the block or going shopping with friends is better than watching tv. There are so many activities that teens can do such as hiking, dancing, and more.
8. Make Meals Smaller, and Eat More Frequently
Instead of eating 3 large meals a day and that’s it, it’s better to eat 3 smaller meals a day with 3 healthy snacks.
Eating more frequently throughout the day boosts your metabolism, which will help you burn more calories.
One way to eat smaller meals is to put food on a smaller plate or bowl, which will automatically make it seem like you are consuming more food even though it’s really the same amount.
Healthy snacks include fruits such as apples, grapes, vegetables dipped in hummus, air-popped popcorn, or a handful of nuts.
9. Support Group
Having a support group is very important for teens. Losing weight is easier if you know that there are other people trying to do the same thing that you can bond with.
A great way to get a support group is to join some type of fitness class. Whether it be a dance class, a yoga class, or a spinning class, these are all great ways for teens to meet new people and form a support group.
Search your area to see if there is a weight loss group or club for your teen to join. Not only will they meet new people and make new friends, but it will help keep them motivated and inspired, and keep them on track.
10. Do Not Restrict Calories!
Restricting calories is something that many teens gravitate towards because that’s what they might see their friends doing, or they might think that’s the only way to lose weight.
Teenagers should never eat less than 1200 calories a day for women, and for men it’s a bit higher at 1800 calories a day. Once you go below this number, your body will go into starvation mode and hold onto all of the calories that you eat, instead of burning them.
This is the exact opposite of what teens want, so it’s important for them to realize the consequences of severely restricting their calories. Severe calorie restricting can also lead to eating disorders.
11. Listen to Your Body
It’s very easy to continue eating even after the point of fullness. This causes weight gain because you are consuming more calories than your body needs.
In order to avoid eating past the point of fullness, try to eat slower and chew more. This will make it easier to sense when you are full compared to just shoveling food in quickly and only realizing how full you are after you finished eating.
12. Make Sure You Support Your Teen
Losing weight can be very hard to do on your own. It’s important to let your teen know that you are there to support them and help them.
Help them make healthy choices by buying healthy food when you go grocery shopping, and make healthy dinners and meals as well. If the kitchen is stocked with healthy foods, healthy foods are what your teen will eat.
Make exercising fun for them by doing activities with them. Showing your support makes all the difference on their weight loss journey.
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