Teenagers in Turmoil

I can relate to the worries and concerns a parent faces when their teen panics at the onset of puberty and the fluctuating weight that can sometimes accompany it.

I can relate to the worries and concerns a parent faces when their teen panics at the onset of puberty and the fluctuating weight that can sometimes accompany it. 

Adolescence is the make-or-break age when most teenagers begin to shape their self-image and establish their place in society; a beauty-conscious society heavily influenced by the glamour of the entertainment industry can distort that image. As parents, we should understand that the most critical part of setting a healthy example is to help our teens confront pressures from the media as well as those from peers.

On Thursday’s (March 11, 2010) show, I met Lori and her daughter Brice, two beautiful women who are both struggling with their weight. My first concern was the physical example Lori had set for her daughter, but what resonates with too many young people is something 16-year-old Brice knows all too well: The challenges of being an overweight teenager go far beyond what’s physical.

In the midst of these challenges, what stood out most to me was the loving and supportive relationship between Brice and Lori. It was evident from the first moment I saw them together that these two were extremely close, and for Brice and other teens like her, that is an essential component to weight-loss success.

Dieting and exercise may be key, but when overweight teenagers are struggling daily to combat poor self-image and social isolation, it’s possible they could be doing more harm than good. When all they care about is squeezing into a peer-accepted image, they become prone to abusing diets or over-exercising in hopes of finding weight-loss shortcuts. Unfortunately, those shortcuts become emotionally dark detours, and making matters worse, they may hide them from their parents in shame and embarrassment.

I applaud parents like Lori, who has built and sustained a platform of preparedness with her daughter.  Because the two of them share such an emotionally supportive and comfortable bond, it becomes a much-needed constant for Brice to rely on. Also, it’s a bond that helps them map out a dieting and exercise plan conducive to the healthiest results.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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