“I am too fat, Mom”–A special for teenage girls

I’m fat. I’m too skinny. I’d be happy if I were taller, shorter, had curly hair, straight hair, a smaller nose, bigger muscles, longer legs. Do any of these statements sound familiar? Are you used to putting yourself down? If so, you’re not alone. As a teen, you’re going through a ton of changes in your body. And as your body changes, so does your image of yourself. Lots of people have trouble adjusting, and this can affect their self-esteem. This leads to being unhappy with yourself and your body. Today more girls are on diets and more girls are overweight than ever before. But not liking your body – and not being able to enjoy food without guilt – takes the fun out of life. You can wind up feeling bad most of the time. The reality is girls gain weight in their teens. This is normal. Putting on 16-18 kilos between age 10 and 14 is not unusual or unhealthy. But, by being physically active, you can make sure your weight gain is under control and you feel good about it. Live by the advice below and before you know it, you will have a lifelong healthy attitude towards exercise and food.

Eat Only When You’re Hungry: Everyday you’re faced with temptation. Food is a big part of birthdays, holidays, and just hanging out with friends. Instead of eating just because food is in front of you, eat only when you are hungry. When you go on a diet, it makes things worse. You deprive yourself, and when you see any tempting food around, you tend to overeat.  If you eat small snacks every couple of hours, you will keep you hunger under check and not feel the need to eat or overeat or eat the wrong foods when they are in front of you.

Stay Away From Yo-yo Dieting: Sure, the miracle diet of the week can melt away kilos. But within a few months, when you are back to eating your normal food,  your weight is right back to where it started, and often goes up from there. Yo-yo dieting is much worse than carrying a few extra kilos. You gain more weight over time and also gain more fat. And if that’s not enough, you skin loses its elasticity from expanding and shrinking in body size.

Realize You Are More than Your Looks: In our society, girls get the message that what they look like is more important than what they can do. The way you look or how much you weigh has nothing to do with what you are capable of or your worth. Be confident about yourself and that will show through your body language.

Know the Truth About Eating Disorders: An obsession with food, or not eating food, is bad for you, plain and simple. But below the surface, it’s not about food at all. It’s about how you feel about yourself. If you don’t like how you look, or who you are, losing weight is not going to fix that. Pay attention to how much time and energy you spend worrying about your size. If food or feeling bad about your body is all you can think about, talk to someone you trust, like your mother or a school counselor.

Take a break from Media: It’s hard to look at a bunch of gorgeous models and not feel bad about what you see in the mirror. The truth is, most models don’t look like models either. Computer airbrushing enhances photos so models look taller, thinner, and more glamorous. According to a Dove advertising campaign that was done a few years back, almost 99 percent of all images are retouched. Try taking a break from any media that makes a mess of your body image.

Finally, get physically active! Exercise is not just for boys and doesn’t have to be humiliating. Done right, it’s a great way to get strong and healthy. You need about 30 minutes of activity, five times a week to make a difference. The key is finding things you enjoy and making them a part of your everyday life, like brushing your teeth. Cross training helps build your overall fitness and helps you to stay fit and not get injured. It also keeps things interesting. Here are the different kinds of exercise to work into your routine – Aerobic exercise helps keep you heart and lungs strong. Examples include dancing, walking briskly, jogging, biking, swimming, and playing some sport, such as football, basketball, tennis, or badminton. Strength training helps keep your muscles and bones strong. Examples include weight training, working with resistance bands, and even some asanas of yoga. Flexibility and Core body training helps develop a stronger trunk, pelvis, and lower back, and better balance. Examples include Yoga and Pilates.

But don’t get carried away! Some girls get obsessed and take exercise too far. You need to take at least one day of rest every week. Be aware that you are not feeling exhausted all the time.  Live by these rules and say hello to a healthy and confident new you!


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