The number you see on the scale doesn’t necessarily tell you if you need to lose weight. That’s because two people of the same height and weight can have different bone structures. They may contain different amounts of muscle and body fat. To find out if you are at a healthy weight, your healthcare provider usually calculates your body mass index (BMI). BMI uses your height and weight to estimate the amount of fat in your body. Once you know your BMI, you can plot it on a BMI-for-age-growth chart to see if you’re at a healthy weight.

Some people may go on a diet because they think they are supposed to look a certain way. Actresses and actresses are skinny, and most of the fashions are shown by super skinny models. But this look is unrealistic for most people — not to mention physically damaging to models and stars who struggle to maintain it.

A survey of tenth graders found that 60 percent made a conscious effort to lose weight. In response to the question “Have you ever tried to lose weight?” 36.5% of boys answered yes, compared to 73.6% of girls.

By the time they’re 12 or 13, most teenage girls start to go through natural and necessary physical changes: their hips widen, their boobs develop, and suddenly the way they look may not match the girls on TV or in magazine ads. Men develop at different rates, too. Those guys with the abs you see in clothing ads are usually in their 20s. Certain family dynamics along with the challenge of developing a separate self-identity contribute to an eating disorder.

There are severe consequences of starvation or fad diets for a person who is still growing. Unrealistic goals lead to feelings of failure and sometimes an eating disorder. Fad diets or fad diets can also throw your teen’s hunger signals off track. Restrictive diets that stipulate when and what you should eat at certain times make it difficult for people to recognize when they are comfortably full.

A person who is willing to take extreme steps to be thin could have an eating disorder. These include anorexia nervosa (starving oneself) or bulimia (eating and then vomiting deliberately). These are serious conditions that need a doctor’s attention. People with an eating disorder are obsessed with food and being thin. They do not maintain a normal body weight for their age and height. In fact, they may be structurally thin but still think they are fat. To prevent weight gain or continue losing weight, people with anorexia may starve themselves or exercise excessively.

Weight loss diets restrict the intake of certain foods, or food in general, to reduce body weight. What works for one person’s body weight won’t necessarily work for another, due to metabolic differences and lifestyle factors. Also, for a variety of reasons, most people find it very difficult to maintain a significant weight loss over time. Some believe that losing weight quickly can make it more difficult to maintain the loss over time.

A new study shows that teens who diet to lose a few pounds are more likely to skip breakfast and overeat — which may explain at least partly why they gain weight over time compared to their peers who don’t diet.

The researchers set out to uncover the reasons why teen dieting has been shown in earlier studies to predict later weight gain.

The behaviors they identified don’t quite answer the question, Dr. Diane Neumark Zetiner of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, lead author of the study, told Reuters Health.

It’s possible, she explained, that people at risk of being overweight may be more likely to be dieters, even though their starting weight was factored into the study’s analysis.

However, the findings suggest that dieting is a short-term solution that teens choose over healthier — and more effective — long-term strategies such as eating more fruits and vegetables and getting more exercise, Neumark-Zeitner said.

“We really want to discourage teens from dieting,” she added, noting that she and her colleagues previously found that most teen dieters use unhealthy weight control strategies such as smoking, fasting and skipping meals.

For their study, which was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Neumark Zetiner and her colleagues interviewed 2,516 teens in 1999 and again five years later.

Earlier, 56 percent of girls reported dieting while 25 percent of boys said they had dieted at least once.

After five years, the women on the diet were less likely to eat breakfast and were more likely to overeat, gaining 0.69 points more in their body mass index (BMI) than their non-dieting study colleagues. Boys who were on a diet were more likely to overeat, spend less time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity, and bounced back 0.77 points higher on their BMI than boys who didn’t try to control their weight by dieting.

The findings, concluded Neumark Zetiner and colleagues, suggest that children who diet are at risk of developing unhealthy physical activity and eating behaviours.

“My advice to parents is to redirect their children’s efforts away from dieting toward adopting eating and physical activity behaviors that they can engage in over the long term,” she told Reuters Health.

Other research indicates that teens who diet often gain more weight each year than children who don’t diet. One possible explanation: Many teens go on diets that greatly limit how much and how much they can eat. Then they abandon these food plans with a vengeance, overeating and regaining all the lost weight – and often more.

Neumark-Sztainer wrote a book for parents of teens titled “I, Like, Too Obese! Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices About Eating and Exercise in a World Obsessed with Weight.” She advised, “I encourage people to think less about weight, talk less about weight per se, and really focus on engaging in these behaviors for long-term health, of which a healthy weight will be one of the outcomes.”

Losing weight and getting in better shape takes effort. Have open conversations about habits that lead to weight gain like not exercising enough, skipping meals, drinking too much soda, or eating too much junk food. Tell your teen how weight and body shape run in families. If your family’s healthy size is a size 14, healthy food and exercise should be in order. It may take time for a child to find something they like to do. Some children need more positive experiences than others before they can enjoy an activity.

The study found that girls who ate a diet rich in calcium, including dairy products and foods fortified with calcium, did not experience a greater increase in body weight or body mass index than girls who followed their usual diet. Drink milk, including skim or low-fat milk. (Many teens mistakenly believe that milk has more calories than other drinks like soda. But a cup of skim milk has only 80 calories plus protein and calcium. A can of soda contains 150 calories from sugar and no other nutrients at all.)

Focus on the quality of your diet and make sure you feel satisfied at the end of the day. You can eat good food in reasonable amounts and still lose weight. Stay away from refined carbohydrates and sugars, and watch your calories, whether from fats or carbohydrates. Also, exercise is very important. You must make a plan that you can maintain permanently, if your teen wants to lose weight then he should turn to the food guide pyramid for guidance. Choosing more low-fat options from the grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein combinations in the pyramid will provide the energy and nutrients your teens need without the extra calories.

Unfortunately, people often find diets difficult to maintain, in part because they tire of avoiding certain foods, loading up on others, or feeling deprived and hungry. And their diet is often temporary, something that needs to be endured for a while before returning to the previous ways. As a result, any lost pounds return immediately after the diet is discontinued.

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