Weight Loss NHS
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16 Year Old Girl

Hi, I'm 16 and I hate my weight. I guess I'm not too heavy for a 16 year old but compared to my friends it's embarrassing. I started going to the gym not long ago and was really determined and motivated but I lose motivation really quickly and start eating chocolate and things again.... I don't really choose what I can eat at tea time but at Dinner I have salads and for breakfast I have porridge, is that OK? How often should I go to the gym and how many calories should I eat to day? I want to be around 8-9 stone... How should I go about staying motivated? I've never lost weight before I don't think and sometimes I feel like I can't ever lose weight, but I think it's because I never stick at it for long enough, a week and I just want that one piece of chocolate.. what can I do?

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Hi there , You seem to be trying really hard , have you seen the special portion plates you can buy that show you the correct portions of carbs , vegetables and meat , so if you cannot chose your own tea time meal atleast who ever is making it for yoyou can see they are getting the portions right. Try and get a friend to go. to the gym with you then it will be more fun and you will have somebody to encourage you , it will make it easier. Good luck and let us all know how you go on


It reads like you are forcing yourself to make changes. If that is the case, you aren't going to want to keep those changes are you? Just try to make one or two changes at a time, so they become your new habits, and make them enjoyable.

Sugar is addictive, so you will crave it, especially if you cut back too far on your (real) food and your blood glucose falls. I eat double cream, and no longer eat chocolate.

Keep to a palm-size of protein at each meal, that will provide the amino-acids you need for growth and repair, and also satiate your appetite for longer. However, you don't want more than this, as an excess can easily be used for fuel, and that yields toxic side-products such as urea and ammonia.

Keep your carbohydrate intake to less than a third of your kcalories. Eat low Gi carbs to prevent excess rises in blood glucose glycemicindex.com . Avoid foods that are high-Gi, and foods such as baked beans or yoghurt that also spike insulin (and insulin-like growth factor IGF1).

Make up the balance of your meals with natural-fats, sufficient to keep your weight-loss to about 2lbs per week. One week per month up your intake a little, not so much that you regain weight, but enough to let your body know that it's not starving and doesn't need to lower your metabolic rate.

Aerobic exercise should be done to improve heart, lung and circulatory functions. At least once every four days. It's as important not to do too much as it is not to do too little; the first thing your body has to do following a work-out is put back what has been used, before it can increase its functional capacity.

Similarly, resistance exercise should be done for each body part at least once every four days. Here, the amount of resistance you can control determines your progress. Especially lowering weights in a slow, controlled manner usually means that only one set (series of repetitions of an exercise) is sufficient.

Learn to relax, and get enough sleep which will support repair, replenishment, and also assist regulating hormones. Similarly, daylight exposure will keep your circadian rhythm in harmony, and regulate vitamin D for example.

Good luck!

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Hi Holly

Porridge for breakfast and salad for lunch sounds fine. At your age you have not finished growing, so it's very important that you are eating enough healthy food (but having a little chocolate occasionally is ok).

You say that you guess you are not too heavy for a 16 year old, so do you really need to lose weight? You may be bigger than your friends, but we are all different. Wanting to weigh 8-9 stone may not be right for you, it will depend on your height and build.

Have a look on the NHS website if you want to find how to work out things like calories and a healthy weight. Find some exercise you enjoy.

Have you been able to talk to your mum, or someone close, about all this? it might be helpful.


Honestly, take a friend with you if you aren't already. It makes going to the gym a lot more fun! :)

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HI Holly

I'd echo a lot of what has already been said and for what it's worth I'd say that at your age of course you need to know about what is nutritious but don't get too hung up on the food front just get an exercise habbit. If you find something now that you enjoy it'll stand you in good stead for the whole of your life. If you have a friend who'd like to join you at the gym then all the better. You could also look at taking up a team sport - that way the friends are part of the package.

Oh and on the subject of chocolate - don't ever 'give it up'. You'll only feel deprived and want it even more. Maybe just have it occasionally and learn to view it as a treat.

And finally before I get of my hobby horse.... keep in touch. We're all on here for the same reason and it's a great place to get help and advice. Have a look around at what others are posting - I'm sure there are plenty of other people your age on here in similar situations.

All the best


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At your age, don't get into the dieting game. Your body is still growing and developing and it needs protein, so make sure you include something like eggs or meat of some kind, also dairy products like milk and yogurt. A lot of what we've been taught in the last 20 years is now being proved to be wrong so keep an open mind because ideas will inevitably change during your lifetime. Having said that, it's undeniable that too many people are very much too fat, and we see this wherever we go. Why is that? Mainly the fact that food is now so highly-processed and so readily-available in the form of takeaways, fast foods, ready meals and snacks. We are reminded of food at every turn and it's possible to eat, eat, eat, never have your mouth empty! This means that your poor pancreas never gets a rest, is constantly required to pump out more insulin, and eventually it gets tired - result - increased incidence of Type II diabetes.

When I was your age we had no snacks and we didn't go to the gym because we were very much more active in our daily lives than people are now. So, watch the snacks! You don't need them. There are now far more opportunities to join in a healthy sport than ever there were. The gym is only one option - there are new ideas cropping up all the time based on dancing, sports that anyone can join, you're spoilt for choice. Chocolate is fine, but don't use it to make yourself feel happy - that's called comfort eating and it's a road you really don't want to go down.


Hi hollyeo,

If you use the NHS BMI calculator, I understand that to be age-weighted. That might give you an idea as to if you are overweight or not, and if so, by how much.

I don't really advocate the usual idea of dieting for people in their teens, but I do think it may be worth while thinking about just why you eat, how much you eat and how often.

At one level, people eat to take in nutrition. But people also eat for many other reasons, such as social ones, they eat to be part of a group, they eat to show gratitude to those who have fed them, they eat particular foods, or prepare their food in particular ways, because they believe it's fashionable, it's the 'in' thing to do, or whatever. And many, many more reasons too.

Perhaps, it's more helpful, at your age, to start getting a handle on just what you do really eat. That's hard, by the way. In fact most people who keep a food diary significantly under-report the amount they eat. But if you are very honest with yourself, you may well find that you are actually eating significantly more than you think you are.

And that could well be the key to you taking control of your body weight and getting yourself into some better eating habits.

I now eat loads less than I used to. But I never, for one moment, thought that I was eating much more than my body needed. However, I clearly was doing exactly that, because once I kicked the junk out of my diet and started doing some serious portion control, my body weight dropped appropriately.

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You are doing well why dont you try zumba classes they are great fun

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