Being a teenage girl is hard enough, but battling weight loss on top of that can add an extra level of pressure.
It is during these years that teenage girls become aware of the pressure that the media and society puts on their physical appearance and it can be hard to maintain a positive body image while creating healthy habits and enjoying your booming social life.
If you are wanting to lose girls as a teenage girls, it is important to do it the right way and not fall for scam or fad diet that will slow down your metabolism and cause you to rebound.
In this article, I’ll share some important keys to consider so you can achieve your weight loss goals easily and sustainably.
Let’s get started!
How To Lose Weight As A Teenage Girl
1. Take an honest look at your diet
The first step to making any progress with your weight loss goals as a teenage girl is to take a look at what you are currently eating and analyze it to understand why it is not working for you.
If you are simply going to follow a new regime without learning about what made you gain weight in the first place, you might fall into old eating habits and won’t achieve lasting results.
A lot of restrictive diets will tell you to eat one exact meal plan without telling you why it works. While it might get you results, you won’t know what to eat if you are in a different situation or you simply are tired of eating the same.
The key to sustainable weight loss is that you don;t feel deprived and are able tomake good fdecisions regarding food without having to eat the same meal plan all your life.
To do this, I recommend you to keep track of what you eat regularly for a few days or a week, if possible. Write down all your meals and snacks trying not to modify your usual diet and then analyze it based on the following tips on this list.
2. Understand how weight loss happens
Regardless of what any diet trend or fitness “guru” wants you to believe, there is no hack to lose 10 pounds a week or a magic combination of foods for a flat stomach.
Weight loss happens when you are in a consistent calorie deficit, meaning that you eat less calories that your body needs to function. This “forces” it to free fat from fat cells and convert them into energy to fuel your body.
On the contrary, when you eat more calories than your body needs, it will store the excess as fat, thus making you gain body fat.
The reason why it seems that a particular diet or workout is the key to weight loss is simply that they help you create a caloric deficit. Diets do it by reducing the number of calories that you eat and workouts do it by increasing the number of calories that your burn.
Ultimately, foods and exercise are indeed key to weight loss but it is important to remember that there is no magic diet or exercise that works outside of this basic principle. This way, you don’t need to depend on one specific meal plan or routine to achieve your goals.
3. Choose whole foods when possible
As a teenage girl, you are more likely to be in situations where junk food is the only option available. Whether you go out with friends to a burger place or you have a sleepover with pizza and fries, junk food is part of teenagers’ social life.
Unfortunately, processed foods are very high in calories and trans fats which is not only bad for your health but will also go against all your weight loss efforts.
On the other hand, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, tubers, and grains are low in calories and high in fiber and volume. This means you can eat a lot of them while keeping your calories low and staying full, making it easier to avoid cravings and helping you lose weight effortlessly as a teenage girl.
4. Avoid high-fat foods
Foods that are high in fat such as butter, cream, cheese, nuts, and high-fat condiments have a high caloric density which means that they provide more calories per volume, making it easier to eat a lot of calories without getting full.
In contrast, choosing foods that are low in fat and high in fiber makes you automatically eat fewer calories while still eating large and filling portions
An easy way to understand this is to imagine a plate full of boiled potatoes vs. a plate full of cheese. The potatoes are more filling yet they have fewer calories while the cheese has more calories and is less filling, hence making you more likely to overeat it and ruin your weight loss efforts.
Avoiding high-fat foods is a quick and effortless way to reduce your calorie intake and help you lose weight as a teenage girl.
5. Say No To Oil
So far, we have talked about junk/processed food and high-fat foods but oil deserves its own mention since it is one of the most refined, calorie-dense foods in the grocery, and cutting it out of your diet is the easiest way to avoid a lot of unnecessary calories.
Although some oils contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals, most of them are removed in the extraction process so the final product is a calorie-dense food with almost no micronutrients.
They contain 40 calories per tsp and 120 calories per tbsp, which can really add up if you add to every meal you eat. Plus, it is cheap and males products last longer so they put it in cookies, crackers, pre-packed food, and even some types of bread.
Ultimately, you can get the essential fatty acids found in oil from whole plant based foods so there is only benefits to cutting out oil from your diet.
If someone else in your family does the cooking for everyone, try sharing some of these low-fat recipes with them so they can see how delicious and healthy oil-free meals can be.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
If you are still not drinking 2 to 3 liters of water a day, you are missing out on an easy weight loss hack. If you are wondering if water can actually help you lose weight, the answer is yes!
Not only is water completely free of calories but it provides many weight loss benefits like helping you burn more calories and stay full in between meals which will stop you from mindless snacking.
If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day you might actually think you are hungry when you are simple dehydrated.
Additionally, if you are used to drinking sugary juices or soda, just by replacing them with water. you will make a huge impact on your diet and cut down on a lot of unnecessary sugar and calories.
Sugar can also create addictive tendencies so if you are drinking juice or soda, you might get cravings for candy and other sugar-filled foods which won’t contribute to your weight loss goals.
Water can also help you avoid bloating by keeping your digestion in check and flushing toxins out of your body. If you are regularly bloated, you might think you have gained weight when you are only retaining fluids or gas so increasing your water intake will help you avoid it while helping you be more comfortable overall.
If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can try adding some lemon drops, ginger, and cucumber slices, which at the same time will help you stay hydrated and prevent inflammation.
A great tip to motivate you to drink more water during the day is to get a water bottle with time markings like this one and bring it everywhere with you. Aim for 2.5-3 liters of water per day. After a few days, your body will get used to it and you’ll naturally crave more water every day.
7. Don’t fall for weight loss scams
As a young woman, you have probably noticed that diet culture and weight loss products are everywhere in the media.
The diet industry is a multibillion-dollar business that preys on women’s insecurities in order to sell them a magic pill that will make them “lose weight without even trying”.
The younger you are, the easier it is to fall for one of these tactics so it is important that you stay alert and don’t trust these claims without doing some thorough research first.
As I mentioned in #1 if this list, there is a science behind weight loss and no amount of diet pills can escape it so most of this products never deliver on their promises. If a product claims, it can make you lose a lot of weight without changing up your diet and moving your body, it is lying.
Ultimately, if you want to consider some weight loss product, look for real testimonials and make sure they are approved for teenagers.
8. Eat a high-protein diet
Besides being an essential macronutrient that performs vital functions on your body, protein is an essential part of any successful weight loss diet.
One of the most important roles of protein during weight loss is to prevent lean muscle loss which is key to maintain a healthy metabolism and achieve a lean “toned’ look. (1)
A weight-loss diet without an adequate amount of protein can cause you to lose muscle mass instead of fat tissue. This will not only not give you the aesthetics results you are aiming for, but will also slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight in general.
Additionally, protein takes longer to digest so it’ll help you stay full and avoid cravings.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a ‘muscular’ person, we all have muscle tissue and it burns more calories than fat tissue. This means that the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn while doing nothing which will make weight loss easier.
Food like eggs, fish, tofu, mushroom, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, black beans, blackeyed peas, garbanzo beans, sprouts, and edamame are great sources of protein to include in your diet.
If you struggle to eat enough protein or simply want the convenience of protein shakes, you can also consider a protein powder supplement. Here are some of my favorite plant-based protein powders that support weight loss and are also free of additives and sugars.
9. Do Not Be Afraid of Carbs
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss, probably caused by a series of low-carb fat diets like Atkins and Keto.
However, carbs are the most efficient energy source for your body and brain so removing them can make you feel tired and grumpy.
Instead of removing carbs altogether, learn to differentiate them and choose the ones best for your goals.
- Refined carbs like processed sugars and refined grains have been stripped of almost all fiber, vitamins, and minerals so they provide no nutrients and are considered “empty” calories. They are also digested quickly, so they can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar that cause you to overeat and put on weight, among other health concerns.
- On the other hand “complex”, or whole carbs like whole fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains contain the fiber found naturally in the food and provide the energy your body actually needs. They will help you stay full and energized so you are more likely to stay on track.
Not only there is no reason to remove whole carbs from your diet but nobody can maintain long a regime that leaves you exhausted and irritable so cutting out complex carbs can actually be prejudicial for your long-term goals.
10. Get support from your family
As a teenage girl, you probably still live at home and are not in complete charge of the food available to you. This is why it can be helpful to ask your parents or caregivers for their support in your weight loss goals.
If they are able to support you, they can then make sure you have healthy foods available at home and consider it when they are in charge if cooking.
If they want to take a step further, they can make it a family thing and implement diet and lifestyle changes that will benefit all of them
11. Don’t skip meals
While it might seem like skipping meals is a good way to cut a lot of calories, it has actually shown to be prejudicial for weight loss.
When you starve your body for a long time, it’ll demand more food in your next meals in order to compensate for the lost energy so you have a bigger chance of overeating.
Additionally, skipping meals can increase your craving for fast food, making you more likely to eat things outside your diet than if you’d stick to at least three meals a day.
Studies show that teens who skip breakfast are more likely to be obese than those who regularly consume breakfast (6).
Not eating for a long time also makes your glucose levels drop, making you tired and sluggish so you are unable to go perform your regular tasks or to think about working out.
If there is a rare occasion when you know you’ll be out for a while without healthy food available, you can consider a meal replacement shake, which is easy to bring with you can provide your body with the energy it needs while keeping your calories low and making you full until your next meal.
12. Avoid crash diets
If you are feeling uncomfortable with your body, it can be tempting to try and lose weight as fast as possible by following an extreme diet. But, the problem with restrictive fad diets is that they never work long-term and can even have fatal side effects.
These types of diets often encourage people to eat a ridiculous number of calories way below your basic needs so your body doesn’t receive the nutrients your body it needs to perfom its vital functions.
If that is not enough, restrictive diets can actually slow down weight loss and make it harder over time since your body adapts to a limited food intake (2).
It might seem like these diets “work” at the beginning especially if this is your first time restricting your food in such a way. However, since they are so extreme, they are impossible to maintain so you will end up abandoning it and you’ll gain back the weight and even more since this time your metabolism is slower and your body is used to less food.
No fad diet is going to give your lasting results nor they are worth ruining your metabolism over. Instead of focus consistent, healthy weight loss that you can maintain over time.
13. Plan ahead and avoid the temptation
Parties and social situations can be challenging for people trying to lose weight at any age. But especially, as a teenage girl when you are just experiencing your independence and the peer pressure is at its all-time high.
Not only you need to navigate being surrounded by treats and snacks that you would normally don’t keep at home but you might also worry about being questioned by your friends.
But you don’t need to miss out on parties or going out with your friends. You can deal with these situations successfully by planning ahead.
If you are going to a restaurant you can do some research and find out if they have something on their menu that fits your diet or you can suggest going to a place where you know you’ll have something to eat.
Ultimately, if you know you’re going somewhere that won’t have a lot of options for you, go ahead and have a good meal an hour before you go so you are truly not hungry when you get there. Depending on where you are going it’d also be smart to bring some healthy snacks with you so you are not tempted in case you get hungry.
Do not make the mistake of skipping meals all day to “save: your calories for later”. By that time, you’ll be starving and end up eating more than you’d ever done in the first place.
It might also be helpful to focus on yourself during first few weeks of starting a new diet plan so you can build good habits and be confident in your choices.
13. Set yoursel up for success
Having measurable realistic goals is key for successful, sustainable weight loss.
But, how do you know if your goals are realistic?
While the numbers vary from person to person, it is recommended to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. (3) To achieve this you’d need a 500-1000 daily calorie deficit created through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity.
If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you might see more drastic faster results. While if you don’t have a lot of weight to lose, it will take a little but more time since your body is at a comfortable level and will hold on to those pounds.
Another way to set yourself up for success is to create both process and outcome goals. “Exercise for 30 mins 4 times a week” is an example of a process goal, while “Lose 15 pounds” is an outcome goal.
Process goals allow you to recognize your journey and efforts and don’t rely solely on results to measure your progress which will help you stay motivated and get the results you want.
14. Consider Meal Prepping
Meal prepping is not only good for saving time and money but it can also result in more successful dieting.
When you prepare all your meals in advance you are in full control of what you are eating, leaving no space for making decisions when you are hungry and are more likely to go for poorer choices.
A lot of people notice that they start losing weight when they make their meals in advance simply because they are eating healthier more nutritious foods that are naturally lower in calories than any store-bought meals.
Additionally, when you meal prep it is simpler to calculate the calorie count since you know all the ingredients used and how many servings are in a recipe. This gives you further control and makes it easier to stay on track towards your weight loss goals.
Not to mention that you’ll be less likely to eat out or order food since you have all your delicious and healthy meals waiting for you!
15. Find & Keep Your Motivation
Having the right mindset is a key component of your suceeding in wegith loss journey.
If you are reading this article, you clearly know that you want to lose weight but what are the reasons behind it. Defining them and writing them down will help you stay committed to your goals and remember why you started when you feel like giving up.
Try to go beyond the obvious reasons like “being thinner” and think of how can your weight loss impact your life in a significant way whether that is feeling more confident, looking your best for a special event, or being fitter for a hike or competition.
Putting your list of reasons somewhere you can see them every day will help you stick to your plans and trust the process. It is shown that people whose weight loss motivation comes from within are more successful compared to those who do it because a doctor or parent told them so. (5).
Another great way to stay motivated while you work towards your weight loss goals is to celebrate your progress.
You can join social media weight loss groups for teenagers where you can share your success and be celebrated by other who are on the same journey. Gaining pride in your accomplishments will help you stay committed.
You can also reward yourself with a new workout top, a night out with friends, or a relaxing bubble bath. Just try to avoid rewarding yourself with food or things that are too expensive so you can make sure you are able to get them.
Keep in mind that behavior changes are as important and worthy of celebrations as reaching a certain number on the scale.
16. Make exercise a part of your life
Exercise is an important part of a healthy life and provide numerous benefits, inclduing promoting weight loss.
However, it is not critical for weight loss nor it can “fix” a bad diet whcih is why it is key that you focus on your nutrition first and your exercise ecind.
That being said, exercise will make weight loss easier and help you’ll get arguably better results. Not only does it burns calories helping you create a calorie deficit but it also maintains and builds muscle mass which means you’ll achieve a leaner more “toned” look by combing diet and exercise.
It also makes your body produce endorphins which will give you a mood boost and help you stay motivated in your weight loss journey.
The great thing about exercise is that you can choose whichever activity you prefer and they’ll all have a positive impact on your weight loss results. Whether it is walking, dancing, swimming, or joining the gym, aim to exercise three to four times a week for at least 30 minutes.
17. Build a positive relationship with your body
Research shows that a positive body image is one of the most effective weight loss aids you can have.
However, the message the media and society give to teenage girls is that they must be thinner or more muscular to be loved and successful.
Their goal is to make you believe that your self-worth is solely is based solely on your outward appearance so they can then sell you their latest product to “fix” whatever issue they made you think you have.
This results in 53% of American girls being “unhappy with their bodies”, which grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.(6)
It is important that you become aware of the impact of the media and society on body image so you can reclaim a positive relationship with your body that supports your goals. This means accepting and loving your body, before, after, and during your weight loss journey.
Practice appreciating all the things your body can do for you and surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging.
It is also helpful to look at yourself as a whole person inetas of focusing on specific flaws or aspect of your body.
Finally, avoid comparing yourself to others, especially to idealized images often shown in the media.
Teenage Girl Weight Loss FAQ
1. What is the best diet for a teenage girl?
The best diet for a teenage girl is one that consists mostly of whole foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean meats (if youe eat those).
It should also avoids processed foods and fast foods including pizza, burgers, soda, pastries, candy, and fried foods since they provide no nutritiinal value and are high in calories.
The best diet for sustainable weight loss is one that promotes healthy eating habits instead of fad diets since those not only do not work but can make you “rebound” and gain even more weight.
2. How can a girl lose stomach fat?
Unfortunately, you can not spot reduce so in order to lose stomach fat, you’d need to lose weight in all your body and that will result in losing fat in your stomach as well.
That being said, check out this article to learn some hacks on how to encourage your body to lose belly fat
3. How much weight can a teenage girl lose in a month?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s 1 to 2 pounds per week. That means, on average, that aiming for 4 to 8 pounds of weight loss per month is a healthy goal.
While it can be tempting to try to lose as much weight as fast as possible, losing weight at a rate higher than recommend can actually slow down your metabolism and make it harder to maintain the results.
4. How do I know if I am overweight?
Factors like height, age, level of activity, and diet impact the average weight for teens.
However, the scale isn’t always the most accurate representation of healthy body weight so experts use the BMI formula to determine if a teenager is overweight or not.
The tool recommended by the Center for Disease Control check for all weights including healthy weight, overweight, obesity, or underweight conditions.
To calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) divide your weight by height squared or you can use this calculator.
See the table below for the weight for teenage girls:
As a teenage girl, losing excess body weight through a healthy diet and exercise can help you improve your health, self-esteem, and quality of life.
Avoiding junk and processed foods, incorporating exercise into your routine, and eating whole, nutritious foods are effective ways for losing teenage girls to lose weight.
However, is important to remember that the number on the scale does not define you worth or make you less or more succesful. Taking care of your mental health and creating a positive body image is as important as developing healthy food habits and lifestyle changes
Talk to a doctor or a registered dietitian and engage in safe, healthy weight loss practices to reach your goals.