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From fat to fab

Our weight affects our physical and mental health. And when you are a teenager, who are always conscious of looks and physique, body weight becomes even more important. What happens then when a teenager is obese and wants to fight it too?

There are various reasons why teenagers become obese. Most common of them are genetics, low physical activity, and unhealthy eating habits or may be combination of these. Few people also become overweight due to certain hormonal problems, though such cases are very rare. Also, one should know that not all children with a family history in obesity are obese and vice versa.

Adolescent obesity also tends to persist through adulthood; therefore obese teenagers often become obese adults. Moreover, habits that are formed during teenage are likely to continue throughout one’s entire life. And everyone knows that there are various harmful consequences of obesity; cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis social isolation and low self-esteem to name a few.

So what to do? Well, to start with, acknowledge that you are obese. Get in touch with your doctor and know your BMI and exactly how much your weight should be. Also, if you have any medical condition, tell your doctor and ask him what approach you need to adapt to reach your goal weight.

Here are a few tips:

  • Have a healthy, balanced diet
  • Avoid junk foods and sweets. Encourage yourself to have healthy snacks, like veggies and nuts, when you feel like munching something
  • Eat together with people whom you trust and tell them to keep a check on your eating habits and warn you when needed
  • Practice a physical activity that you enjoy like zumba, belly dancing etc
  • Exercise as a family and rediscover the benefits of physical activity
  • Ask your family to support you during difficult time
  • Most importantly, your emotional well-being is most crucial

To many teens, adolescence is a synonymous with junk food and chocolates. Although the truth is that it is a period of growth that leads to major changes in the body. Hence, if proper precautions are not taken, adolescence can lead to obesity or other eating disorders.

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If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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You might eat more if you are feeling sad or lonely

According to in-house counsellor Kshitija Sawant, there is a relationship between feeling low and over-eating.

Chicken nuggets, kebabs, beef burgers, soda and fries were my favourites, until they became my biggest nightmare. I used to enjoy eating food in moderation; I don't know when it became an obsession. I became an emotional eater. Every time I used to feel sad, I used to head to McDonald's and have a burger. I was happy till I was in grade 9, but then things changed. The only persistent horror of my reality was that I was a bit chubby. A bit healthy. I was constantly fat-shamed in school. People used to call me names such as "fatso" and "pig". It not only hit my self-esteem but also increased my chances of incurring diabetes.

Since I was fond of food, the bullies used to eat my lunch and hide the tiffin box. I used to go to the washroom and cry. Once I told them to shut up, and they hit me on my shoulders. One of them kicked me in the middle of the legs. Eventually, I hated going to school.

My final breakdown was when I wasn't invited for the school graduation. I felt unwanted, lonely and worthless. I sometimes used to pick clothes for my female friends, but after some times, my guy friends shunned me for being feminine. They said boys don't do that. I tried to kill myself when I was 15, but failed at the attempt.

Upon noticing my helplessness, my cousin brother introduced me to a counsellor. I was in therapy for more than a year.

According to in-house counsellor Kshitija Sawant, there is a relationship between feeling low and over-eating. “We tend to look for comfort when we experience pain or distress. Sometimes, we seek that comfort through food, particularly that which is rich in fats and carbohydrates, due to the calming effect it has on our mind,” she says.

Our in-house counsellor Kshitija Sawant gives tips on how to deal with bullying:

1. Become self-aware: Figure out your strengths, your weaknesses, what you love about yourself and what you don’t, what matters the most to you in life and what doesn’t.

2. Learn to accept yourself for the person you are: Before seeking approval from others, it is important to learn to love yourself first. Believe in yourself, no matter how difficult life seems. At some point, then the world, including your peers will come to believe in you.

3. Be assertive: Stand up for yourself and for what you believe in, even if it means keeping ‘friends’ or bullies at bay. Being assertive can seem really difficult at first, but the rewards are plenty if you continue to follow this trend in the long run.

4. Rise above the negativity: Instead of trying to seek approval from people, who try to bring you down, try to envision the ideal life you wish to live and start working towards those goals. Be true to yourself, go out, travel, meet new people and participate in new events, activities. Who knows, the life you deserve to live, might just be waiting for you on the other side that is outside your comfort zone!

We're here to help you. If you are in such a situatuon, contact us on [email protected] or chat with the Teentalk India expert by clicking on the LIVE CHAT option on the Homepage.

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.