Nowadays there is more pressure than ever to be in great shape. We are constantly exposed to images on TV and in magazines of models with impossibly perfect bodies while our social media feeds are a never-ending stream of pics of our friends trying to look as cute as possible.
It’s natural for teen girls to compare their body image with their friends or their favorite actresses and singers – but with modern lifestyles, sometimes it can be hard to avoid putting on the pounds.
The good news is, if you know how, it can be easy to take control of your weight. You don’t need to do anything extreme or make yourself suffer – you just need to be more aware of your eating habits and your lifestyle and then make a few small changes.
Here are nine proven tips that will help you start losing weight fast.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Perhaps the most important and obvious part of losing weight – or not putting on weight in the first place – is having a healthy, balanced diet. Most people are familiar with food pyramids and other recommendations, and this is what you need to stick too.
Everyone should make sure they are consuming enough fruit, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates etc. and not eating too much sugar or fat – avoid junk food as much as possible.
You might consider a short-term carb detox – but remember, carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet too and you shouldn’t cut them out completely for long periods.
Be aware of portion size
One smart tip is to make sure you are eating the correct portion size. Many people tend to finish whatever is in front of them, and if you are overloading a big plate, you may end up eating too much.
Remember, it takes our body about ten minutes to realize it’s full before it sends the message to stop eating. This means you can easily eat too much before you receive that message.
A simple way to avoid this is to work out the correct portion sizes or even just to use a smaller plate. Also, avoid eating directly out of packages – otherwise it’s hard to judge how much you’ve consumed.
If you eat the correct portion size and still feel hungry, simply wait a short while for the message that you’re full to arrive. You will see that the feeling of still being hungry quickly passes.
Deal with hunger and cravings – know how to snack properly
Another very important part of losing or controlling weight is to understand hunger and cravings and to know how to deal with them.
Losing weight doesn’t mean being hungry all the time – in fact, it’s very much the opposite. If you are constantly ravenous, you will be thinking about food all the time. However much will-power you have, you will eventually crack and will probably end up gorging yourself on junk food.
The key is to manage your hunger by knowing how to snack properly. If you eat the right snacks, you won’t be hungry all the time and you are less likely to start craving the wrong things.
If you feel hungry, eating fruit is a great way to ward off the cravings. Other good snacks include things that will fill you up without adding lots of calories – think of foods with high fiber or protein content.
Limit sugary drinks
Try to break the habit of drinking sugary drinks every day. Sodas are full of calories, and by consuming just one can per day, your calorie intake over the week will increase significantly. Drinking two or more cans daily will see your weekly calories soar.
For example, one average can of soda contains about 150 calories, so one can per day works out at 1,050 calories a week. Drinking two cans per day works out at over 2,000 calories per week – and that’s before you’ve had anything else.
Also, beware of coffee shop drinks like lattes and macchiatos – they are often full of sugar and will hugely increase your calorie intake. Black, un-sugared coffee on the other hand is great – it contains no calories, increases metabolism and even reduces hunger.
Understand why you are eating
Another important aspect of weight control is to understand why you are eating. Is it because you are hungry and need food or is it because you are bored, lonely, upset or something else?
If you are eating for reasons such as these, you need to identify the reason and find another way to deal with the issue that doesn’t involve food.
Treat yourself sometimes
Allow yourself some treats – it will be good for morale. If you turn your weight management program into some kind of army-style loss camp, you will end up obsessing about food before eventually giving up.
Allowing yourself a soda, a latte, some chocolate or a pizza from time to time is not just ok, it’s actually very important. Once a week is fine – but it’s a treat, it’s not something you can do every day.
Know the best exercises to lose weight
Exercise alone won’t help you lose weight, but with the proper diet and lifestyle, it can also help speed things up and help you maintain a healthy weight.
There are two parts to this. First, try to make a habit of walking instead of traveling by car. Walking for 15 minutes won’t take much time or effort, but it helps burn a few extra calories. If you build this habit into your daily life, it soon adds up. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is another quick fix.
The other part is to build a short exercise routine or workout program into your day.
If you can spend even five or ten minutes doing push-ups, squats or sit-ups, it will burn a few extra calories – but more importantly, it will build muscular body mass. This will increase metabolism and help burn off calories more effectively.
Sleep plays a very important part in controlling your weight for a couple of reasons. First, sleeping properly gives your body time to rest, repair itself and keep itself healthy. Keeping healthy and sleeping enough raise your metabolism, helping burn off calories more efficiently.
There’s also a psychological or behavioural aspect to it too. If you stay up late, you are more likely to become hungry or simply eat for the sake of it. Put simply, if you go to bed early, you’re not eating – but if you sit up till two in the morning, you’re more likely to graze on snack foods.
Weigh yourself every day
Many people believe it’s best to weigh in once a week or perhaps once a fortnight. The thinking is that your weight varies from day to day according to many things like how much water you drink and how much food is in your stomach, so stepping on the scales daily is a waste of time.
However, even though your weight may rise or fall naturally, by checking every day, you can keep an eye on which direction you are moving in and make adjustments. If you gain weight every day for a few days, you might decide to do a little more exercise or eat a little less to compensate.
Some teens find it helpful to keep daily charts of their weight loss program and their loss success to help motivate themselves.
Don’t obsess – and stay healthy
While being obese can lead to health problems, losing weight too quickly or being too skinny can be just as bad. If you don’t eat enough or if you don’t give your body all the necessary nutrients it needs, you may seriously damage your health.
Above all, remember that those photos you see in magazines aren’t real. They’ve all been digitally altered, and real people don’t look like that – so you shouldn’t try either.
If you are worried about weight gain or body fat, speak to your doctor. By considering your age, your height and other factors, they will be able to help you work out your ideal weight and also give you more detailed health information.
Don’t try to lose weight too quickly, don’t starve yourself and avoid any fad diets – this is not a healthy way to do things. However, if you follow our tips and take things slowly, you should be able to lose any excess weight safely or prevent yourself from gaining any more.