1. Eat Enough
While losing weight does involve limiting certain fatty foods and monitoring portion sizes, you still have to eat enough to nourish your body. Eating too few calories can send your body into “starvation mode,” which can not only make it harder to drop those unwanted pounds, but also lead to weight GAIN. So, if you’re thinking of drastically cutting your food intake, you may want to reconsider.

2. Consult With a Professional
Doctors, school nurses, and nutritionists can help make sure your approach will have the healthiest results. A healthcare professional can help you decide how much weight loss and exercise makes sense for you given your gender, body type, current weight and physical fitness. They can also help you come up with a personalized nutrition plan (how many calories you should have and from which foods) because everyone is different. Be sure to ask how increasing muscle might affect your body weight. You could be getting in better shape, but not losing weight because muscle is denser than fat! If you are not sure where to start, ask your parents or school nurse for suggestions.

3. Skip Extreme Dieting
Just because you read or hear about an “Amazing Weight Loss Solution!” somewhere doesn’t mean that it works or that it is the healthy or the right approach for you. You might be tempted to do a “no carb” diet or an “oranges only” cleanse, but beware. Crash diets may have initial results, but losing weight using these methods makes you more likely to put the pounds back on. The healthiest, and often the most effective, weight loss plans incorporate nutrients from a variety of sources.

4. Don’t Forget Breakfast
Breakfast will jump-start your metabolism and give you energy for the day. Eating a balanced breakfast with whole grains and protein can curb cravings and will prevent overeating in the late morning or at lunch.

5. Try to Add a Protein to Every Meal
Protein -- found in foods like chicken, tofu, eggs and fish -- helps build muscle and keeps your organs functioning. Protein also stabilizes your blood sugar, which can help curb cravings and keep you from having post-meal energy spikes and crashes.

6. Don’t Be Shy With Your Fruits and Veggies
Diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are associated with the most successful weight loss plans. They are low in fat and calories and loaded with nutritional value. An added bonus? They have fiber, which makes you feel full faster. You might be tempted to focus on fruit with all of its sweet flavors, but make sure to get a good balance of veggies in everyday, too.

7. Keep Healthy Fats as Your Friends
You want to stay away from saturated fat and trans fats, which can cause weight gain and are linked to numerous other health problems like diabetes. However, certain fats are important to keep in your diet even if you are trying to lose weight. Some fats (unsaturated fats and omega fatty acids), like those found in avocados, nuts, salmon and olive oils, can support brain function and heart health. In addition, they can keep your hair, skin and nails healthy. Who doesn’t want that?!

8. Limit Processed Sugar
The recommended amount of sugar in our diets is six to nine teaspoons a day, but the American Heart Association reports teens eat around 34 teaspoons of sugar a day! Sugar can be addictive and cause weight gain. So, try to eat a little less sugar, and watch out for sneaky sources of sugar like BBQ sauce, granola bars and some sports drinks. Read the labels on your food to see how much sugar is in a given product or meal. The numbers might surprise you!

9. Stick to Lean Dairy Products
Dairy products can be valuable sources of protein and other nutrients. However, many milks, yogurts and cheeses can contain unhealthy saturated fats. If you have a choice, opt for low-fat and fat-free options. In addition, dairy products, particularly yogurts, can have a ton of added sugar. Read product labels to see how much sugar is in a given serving.

10. Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods often have high amounts of sugar, unhealthy additives, saturated fats and trans fats, all things it’s best to avoid for your overall health. To get started, read food labels carefully to find out what is in a given product. It’s hard to avoid processed foods altogether, but lessening the quantity of processed foods you eat, even by a little, can make a positive difference in your weight loss quest.

11. Go for Healthy Choices When Eating Out
Eating out at restaurants can add to your waistline because all of the butter and fat that makes restaurant food taste so good can also mean you’re consuming 50 to 100 percent more calories than if you were eating at home. Be especially careful with fast food, which is often loaded with fats and preservatives. If you’re not sure what to choose when eating out, websites like HealthyDiningFinder.com can help you find restaurants and dishes that fit with your nutritional goals.

12. Watch Your Portions
Too much of anything adds up in calories, even the healthy foods. Talk to your doctor about the right portion sizes for your body. Avoid eating so much that you’re stuffed, and if you have a bag of snacks in front of you, read the label and stick to one portion.

13. Use Calorie Trackers Responsibly
Ask a doctor or nutritionist for tips on how to use a calorie tracker in ways that work best for your body. They are really good for counting calories, but they can often be calibrated for adults and consequently less helpful for teens who need a certain amount of calories and specific nutrients to stay healthy and on track to shed pounds. (Remember our mention of “starvation mode” earlier?)

14. Drink Enough Water
Teen girls need 10-12 8-ounce glasses of water a day and teen boys need 12-14 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Adequate water intake can help your metabolism stay active and burn calories effectively. It can also decrease hunger and calories consumed. To increase your water consumption, try drinking a glass of water before every meal, have a glass when you feel hungry and carry a water bottle to sip on throughout the day.

15. Get at Least Eight Hours of Sleep a Night
A lack of sleep slows your metabolism and increases hormones that can cause weight gain. The longer you are awake, the more likely you are to be snacking unnecessarily, too. It can be hard to get to bed with homework, jobs and midnight Netflix marathons, but do your best to get those ZZZs!

16. Get Moving
Teens should aim for at least 60 minutes of activity every day. Any physical activity helps boost your metabolism and burn calories, even small adjustments like walking to a farther bus stop or choosing a parking spot farther away. One note of caution -- don’t overdo it. As you read a few slides back, it’s important to stay rested and hydrated.

17. Find an Exercise or Activity You Enjoy
If you don’t love to exercise, you probably haven’t tried the right activity yet! Finding your favorite workout may take some experimentation with different classes or techniques. You might find you like group activities like fitness classes or group sports. Or maybe you want more solo, self-paced workouts like running or cycling.

18. Limit TV and Computer Time
The more time you are sitting in front of a TV or computer, the less time you are engaging in healthy, physical activities. If you’re watching TV, you’re also more likely to be snacking without paying attention to portion size. If you simply can’t break away from your Netflix binge, do jumping jacks during pauses and in between episodes.

19. Set Goals
Setting goals can help you get into a healthier mindset. Give yourself small goals that you can easily achieve at first, like cutting back on soda, eating more fruits and veggies or adding 30 minutes of exercise a day. You can make goals bigger as you start to see more results.

20. Recruit a Friend
It’s easier to stick with a program, whether it is exercise or healthy eating, when you are doing it with someone else to help keep you on track. Find someone to join you in your workouts, and do your best to surround yourself with people who share your healthy lifestyle habits.

21. Get Your Family Involved in Healthy Eating Habits
Try to get your family on board with your new healthy lifestyle. (It will be good for them, too!) It’s easier to keep to healthy eating habits when everyone at home is supportive. For example, if your parents stop buying your favorite junk foods, you won’t be tempted to eat them.

22. Keep a Diary of Your Daily Food, Exercise, Sleep and Water
Keeping a diary is the best way to see what you are really doing as far as your health is concerned. You might be surprised about how little sleep you are getting and how many unneeded calories or sugars you are getting from snacks or sodas. Because health diaries show your progress clearly, they can also inspire you to keep making healthy decisions.

22 Tips for Teens Who Want to Lose Weight
Image Via: livestrong.com

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