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Obesity and Weight Management

I am 13, female, and weigh 170

12/13/2007

Question:

Hi I am 13 and i am a girl, and i weigh about 170. My mom left me when i was 5 and ow my dad takes care of me. I have tried not to buy junk food and eat veggies like my dad tells me but its hard and i cant stick with it. I even tried Weight Watchers and i cant stick with it. its hard. Can you help me?

Answer:

Congratulations for first recognizing you need to make some changes and taking the first steps. These are the first few stages in making any lifestyle change. Do not be discouraged that you have been unable to keep the changes you have made consistently. This always happen in the process of making a change.

At 13 years, it will be important for you to have some support from your family. I know it may be difficult since your dad is a single father, but other family members like your aunts or grandmas can be your support. My suggestion is to have your dad set up an appointment for you with your doctor to discuss your concerns. Ask your physician for a referral to a dietitian or a program in your community that can help you eat healthier and be more active.

In the meantime, here are a few suggestions. Don’t try to do them all at one time. Try out 1 or 2 of them and as you get better, you can make more changes. Most importantly, be patient. Remember it took you a while to gain the excess weight, it will take a while of practicing healthier lifestyles to see a change that you can maintain.

1. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.

2. Try not to snack frequently between meals e.g., snacking on chips or crackers or fruits 45 minutes after lunch. Then going back again 1 hour later for another snack. Instead plan your snack, so you have lunch and 2-3 hours later, you sit at a table and have a snack and be done till the next meal.

3. Limit your eating (includes meals, snacks, drinks) to your kitchen.

4. Remember to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

5. Try to drink water instead of sugary drinks. Just cutting off 1 can of pop a day can really help you maintain a healthier weight.

6. Try to get 30-60 minutes of activity each day. Remember this can be as simple as using the stairs instead of an elevator.

7. Reduce your television, computer, etc time. Use that time instead to find a hobby that involves any kind of activity.

Good luck!

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Response by:

Ihuoma U Eneli, MD Ihuoma U Eneli, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Medical Director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University