Teen Weight Loss: The Healthy Way

I have been referred many local teens from the surrounding towns of Walnut Creek, CA Danville, CA and Lafayette, CA that want to lose weight and look their best. I feel qualified to counsel them because of my own personal problem as well as 25 years of teen counseling. Majoring in nutrition was a huge help to my success with weight loss and absolutely nutrition education is what a teen needs to lose weight and keep it off.

Let me tell you about my teen Diane, that attends high school in Walnut Creek, Ca and plays soccer and works out the opposite days. Diane is certainly active but because of her busy schedule ends up eating most of her food at the end of the day. Breakfast was Honey Nut Cheerios and the rest of the day she would consume smoothies, Think Thin and Cliff Bars as well as yogurts that she buys at Whole Foods in Walnut Creek, Ca near her school. Diane was eating a low fiber, low protein and high sugar diet. At night with her family she would eat double servings of meat and starches and often skip the veggies. There would be snacking at night of bowls of cereal which Diane thought was a healthy choice.

I calculated at night she was consuming at least 1500 Calories. I explained to her that a full hour of intense exercise may only burn 400-500 Calories. If you are not changing your diet and reducing caloric intake exercise alone will not help you lose weight. In my initial session with Diane I evaluated a food diary and showed her where her meals were lacking protein and fiber. I taught her how to read food labels for serving size, calories, fat, protein, fiber and sugar. I always tell my client the food label is backwards. We do not have the metric system and do not go by grams. Why is protein listed as the last item when it should be first along with dietary fiber? I continued to teach Diane that 1 oz. of protein is equal to 7 grams. Now she could see that her Honey Nut Cheerios has a skimpy 2 grams of protein compared to Kashi Go Lean that has 13 grams of protein or about 2 oz. of protein. When you add a cup of milk you get an additional ounce of protein and a breakfast with 3 oz. of protein. I was adamant with Diane that she must consume at least 8 ounces of protein and 15 grams of fiber until dinner. I asked Diane to bring in a list of favorite foods and with that list I set up a meal plan for her. For breakfast Diane agreed to have Oatmeal or Kashi Go Lean with some fruit. Diane liked the idea to take as a mid-am snack an apple with peanut butter, beef jerky or a pack of almonds. Diane was open to trying fresh grilled chicken strips that she can buy at Trader Joe’s also in Walnut Creek and have with a cup of mixed beans and salsa. Now she is making it a routine to take the second serving that she used to have for dinner and save it for lunch the next day and add veggies that she likes.

When she came home from school before soccer practice she liked the idea of having a hearty lentil soup or even oatmeal. Diane has traded in all her smoothies for fresh fruit and is drinking more water than ever, has eliminated bars and now enjoys low sugar Greek yogurts.

Diane reported after our meeting that she went off to practice at 5PM feeling better than ever with high energy. She no longer came home famished and can control her portions at night and did not feel the need to snack endlessly at night. She is happy with a fudgeiscle or creamisicle.

Diane and I worked together for several sessions and discussed social and restaurant eating with friends and family. I taught Diane not to go to a party hungry and fill up on unhealthy junk food that is usually available at teen gatherings. When it is a buffet, I taught Diane to first scan the choices and set up a plan instantly in her mind and keep to it. She makes room for dessert and eats less starches and fat.

Diane has lost 10 pounds in one month and we are still working together via phone and e- mail. Her goal is to lose 10 more pounds before the summer.

NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING IS COVERED BY MOST INSURANCES. Call (925) 855-0150 or e-mail me at Lifeweight1@yahoo.com and tell me about your nutritional concerns.

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