How to Lose Weight Quickly and Healthily for Teenagers

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How to Lose Weight Quickly and Healthily for Teenagers

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Your lifestyle habits as a teenager can determine your health as an older adult. Unhealthy lifestyle habits could cause excessive weight gain, where you could one day come to the realization that it has taken a toll on blood and organ health. A common phenomenon is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is a build up of visceral fat around the liver. This disease could cause long term liver damage, as well as many other health implications. 

For teenagers looking to embark on a weight loss journey we have put together a short article that covers:

How To Lose Weight Fast For Teens?

Around a year ago, I remember watching a TV commercial from the NHS. The campaign was to eat less and move more. The idea is to get families to lower net calorie intake. 

To put this into practice, a teen could focus on embracing multiple lifestyle habits that can help lower net caloric intake. You could use the tips that we are going to cover, which may promote sensible eating to control the calories that we take in and help burn calories. This may tap into a lot of fat cells and help lose weight faster and keep it off. 

It is advised for teenagers to be assessed thoroughly to see if it is safe for them to be losing weight fast. It is important for a teenager not to just assume that they need to lose weight when they could already be in a healthy body weight range. 

Find A Teenagers Healthy Weight

To identify a healthy weight for a teenager, we could compare their measurements to the body index (BMI). The BMI will then indicate whether the teen is within the healthy body mass range. 

The measurements we need to use are: 

  • Age 
  • Height 
  • Gender 
  • Weight

For example, the teenager could be a 13.6 year old boy, with a height of 61” and weight of 160lb, this gives us a BMI of 30.2. According to the BMI, this teen would be classified as obese and within the 98th percentile for a male of this age. The normal range for a growing teen of this age would be between 14.5-20. 

If you are interested in calculating your personalized BMI for yourself or a teen that you know the CDC have provided one HERE.

9 Tips On Losing Weight Fast For Teens

How to Lose Weight Quickly and Healthily for Teenagers

We have included 9 expert tips on how to lose weight fast for teens. These include 6 tips to reduce food intake and 3 tips to increase calorie expenditure.  

Cut Back on Sugary Drinks

Sugary beverages are a recipe for disaster, but why so? Sugary drinks are practically liquid calories with almost no nutrients. A can of cola has ~140 calories from sugar, imagine drinking 5 of these per day? That is an extra 700 nonnutritious calories. It is quite common for teenagers to guzzle down multiple cans and bottles per day without feeling full. As a heads up, a current trend in the West is energy drinks. 

This causes calories to add up to a point where teens could reach a caloric surplus. A caloric surplus is where caloric intake is higher than the body’s needs for activities and normal bodily functions. The additional calories are likely to be stored within fat cells as fatty acids, thereby causing a buildup of excess fat mass and weight gain. The negative effects of teeth health is a whole nother rant altogether. 

In simple words, having too many soft drinks can make teens pile up body fat and gain weight.

My suggestion would be to replace the soft drinks with water and a few cans of the diet alternative, which contrary to common belief are safe in moderate amounts, say 2-3 cans per day. The diet alternatives have no sugar or calories, yet have similar hydration properties and “feel full” effects to plain water. 

A simple strategy like this may help cut back on hundreds of calories per day and promote some weight loss. 

Increase Physical Activity Through Sports 

With the rise of technology, anecdotally it is clear that sports participation among teenagers may be on the decline in the West. Through research, we can demonstrate that there is a clear link between a lack of sports participation and weight gain/obesity in teenagers. 

Sports participation can help burn calories in the short term, learn new skills, and build a healthy amount of muscle mass in the longer term. The muscle itself is the most thermoactive tissue in the human body. If teens hold a healthy amount on their frames, their metabolism could be boosted by ~6 calories per each pound of muscle tissue. 

Overall, sports can promote healthy body weight loss through burning calories in the short term and boosting the metabolism in the medium-long term. Popular sports in the West include: soccer, football, baseball, basketball, and volleyball. 

Cut Back On Devise Time

We have all seen it! It is common for teenagers to be distracted by their mobile phone devices. By doing so, they are missing an opportunity to increase non exercise related activity levels and burn more calories throughout the day. This level of inactivity is not great for teenage weight loss.

We understand that in this day and age, limiting device time is a difficult task, but try to take gaps out of your day to engage in other activities like: walking, cleaning up your room, going grocery shopping with parents, etc. This simple strategy may burn a few extra hundred calories per day to promote healthy weight loss. 

Cut Back On Junk Food 

I cannot stress the importance of limiting fast food when it comes to weight loss. These foods are usually saturated in unhealthy fats which make them more dense in calories. This increases the potential of tipping into a caloric surplus and gaining excess weight. 

Our suggestion would be to limit such foods to once or twice per week and observe a diet of mostly “healthy foods”  like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, etc. It is an option to visit a licensed healthcare professional who can work with you on a personal level to establish a varied diet. 

Do Not Skip Meals

Initially, you might think that skipping meals can help cut back on some calories. This is true, however, you may experience hunger strikes, which can cause you to graze on high calorie snacks  like chips and candy bars way too frequently. As we know, these types of snacks are easily indulged and the calories add up way too fast. In turn, this could cause weight gain.  

Eat More Fiber and Protein

We could go on about the health benefits of fiber and protein, but let’s keep this section relevant to weight loss.

Firstly, these nutrients are highly satiating, thereby reducing the chances of overeating at the dinner table or snacking. This itself controls calorie intake and supports weight management.

Secondly, fiber and protein have the highest thermic effect due to their unique structure. Taking protein as an example, an equivalent of ~30% of its own calories are used during the process of its digestion, absorption, and metabolism. Let’s say that you consumed 200g of protein per day. This 200g protein would contain 800 calories (4 cals/gram), 30% of these 800 calories would be burnt for protein metabolism, which leaves us with 560 calories. 

Comparing protein to dietary fat, fat has an additional 5 calories per gram, but also holds a much lower thermic effect of ~3%. So ingesting the same 800 calories (88.8 grams of fat), would only yield 24 calories, leaving you with 788 calories. This does not mean that you should neglect dietary fat, as we have covered in the following section. 

Furthermore, dietary protein also has healthy muscle building properties. As we highlighted, muscle mass may encourage a faster metabolism. 

Consume Good Fats

Dietary fats should always be included as part of a healthy diet. Consuming good fat does not have a direct link with weight loss for teens, but they can keep you full so that you do not snack frequently. Healthy fats can also help regulate hormones and maintain good overall health. Fat sources could include: nuts, olive oil, avocado, etc. 

Find a Workout Regimen 

A workout regimen for teens can be a great alternative to sports as part of a healthy lifestyle. Similar to participating in sports, a workout regimen could help burn calories and tone muscles. The difference is a workout regimen allows you to isolate certain areas I.e., push ups for the chest muscles and body weight squats for the legs. 

Stay Hydrated

We all know that staying hydrated is crucial for organ health and brain functions which can modify academic and athletic performance. What many of you may not know is that water and fluids have a satiety effect. A study in the clinical nutrition research journal found that individuals who drink water before eating rice cakes were full on 123.3g, whereas waterless groups ingested on average 161.7g. This additional 38.7g of rice cake equates to ~148 calories. 

What To Avoid When Trying To Lose Weight As A Teen?

Teenagers should not be concerned with fad diets, “diet pills”, and how many calories they should consume per day. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle that includes two or more of our tips could help overweight teens help reduce weight and gain more self esteem. The tips are designed to change a teen’s habits to maintain a healthy net energy balance through exercise and nutrition. 

Conclusion

All in all, for a teen to lose weight, he/she needs to cut back on food/calorie intake or increase calorie expenditure through activity. 

The BMI is a great tool to estimate whether a teen is within a healthy weight range and if weight loss interventions are required.

 To control caloric intake a teen could: 

  • Cut back on sugary drinks
  • Cut back on junk food
  • Refrain from skipping meals 
  • Eat more fiber and protein 
  • Consume good fats 
  • Stay hydrated 

To increase caloric expenditure a teen could:

  • Increase physical activity through sport 
  • Cut back on devise time 
  • Find a workout regimen

Frequently Asked Questions

Would there be a difference in weight loss if a teen opted for healthy food opposed to processed foods?

The calories consumed and expended are what determines weight loss. Nutrient rich foods may be more satiating, so you might not eat as much food throughout the day.

What is the best exercise tip for teens to lose weight fast?

Stay active and play lots of sports

+ 6 Sources

Tnhealth has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  1. CDC. BMI Calculator Child and Teen. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published May 9, 2019. Accessed April 7, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/bmi/calculator.html
  2. Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review1–3. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2006;84(2):274-288. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/84.1.274
  3. Gallagher AM, Ashwell M, Halford JCG, Hardman CA, Maloney NG, Raben A. Low-calorie sweeteners in the human diet: scientific evidence, recommendations, challenges and future needs. A symposium report from the FENS 2019 conference. Journal of Nutritional Science. 2021;10. doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/jns.2020.59
  4. Glinkowska B, Glinkowski W. Association of sports and physical activity with obesity among teenagers in Poland. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health. Published online November 22, 2018. doi:https://doi.org/10.13075/ijomeh.1896.01170
  5. Offringa LC, Hartle JC, Rigdon J, Gardner CD. Changes in Quantity and Sources of Dietary Fiber from Adopting Healthy Low-Fat vs. Healthy Low-Carb Weight Loss Diets: Secondary Analysis of DIETFITS Weight Loss Diet Study. Nutrients. 2021;13(10):3625. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13103625
  6. Jeong JN. Effect of Pre-meal Water Consumption on Energy Intake and Satiety in Non-obese Young Adults. Clinical Nutrition Research. 2018;7(4):291. doi:https://doi.org/10.7762/cnr.2018.7.4.291

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