Dear Ms. KnowBody,
I have had a problem with my weight for quite some time now. I have tried changing some things, and it is going pretty well. My biggest problems are my stomach and thighs. I think they are huge, and they won't go away. I know that I must eat healthy for me to lose weight, but the rest of my family doesn't buy the things I need and I don't have a job yet. Could you suggest something that I could do about it? Please help me. Thank you,
Your concerns about weight and body shape are totally common and normal! Almost everyday girls write to tell me that they think their body is too big. They ask for help with weight loss. Here's my take on it:
A teenage girl's body is changing quickly -- growing taller and filling out every year throughout adolescence. Some girls gain weight before they grow taller, and some grow tall before gaining weight. Either is normal and necessary for your body's healthy development.
Our bodies are made to reproduce. So, weight gain during puberty helps your body to prepare itself to have a baby (which is why you get your period). If you go with the flow of puberty, exercise, eat healthfully, and don't try any radical diets, your body will eventually settle into a weight that's healthy for you.
BUT, that's not what you wanted to hear. If you are overweight (talk to your health care provider to find out) the best thing to do is move your body more, make healthy food choices, and eat moderate portions of food. For example, stop drinking soda and other sugary drinks, and you will easily cut lots of empty calories from your diet. Try walking to school (if you can), riding your bike, playing sports after school, dancing, etc.
Eating healthy can be hard when you don't have access to healthy foods. Ask your parents to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products for you to eat. Tell them how important it is to you, and maybe you will be surprised at their response. (They may even start eating healthier too!).
Other ideas include planting a garden, or volunteering at a community garden. Gardening is a great, inexpensive way to be active, spend time outside, and grow fresh vegetables to eat.