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Teenage Problems/help please

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My name is Erikah i am 12 and im thinking about not eating compleately for 15 days and very little food after the 15 days my reason being is because i am sick and tierd of people calling me fat im 5 feet 4 inches 152 lbs my grandma says i should only weigh 90 lbs any help

Answer
Hi there Erikah,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

Firstly, food is a fuel that our body needs in order to keep it healthy. It turns the nutrients from food in to things our body needs so that it can do what it needs to do on a daily basis. Food provides us with energy as well as with vitamins and minerals that protect our bones, our sight and our bodily functions; so stopping eating completely will have a very bad (and potentially dangerous) effect on your body. Healthy weight loss should be between 1 to 2 lbs a week and this can easily be done by changing your diet and increasing your exercise...you do not need to starve yourself!

I have used the figures that you provided to look at something called your Basal Metabolic Index (or BMI) and this gives you an indicator of whether or not you are over weight and potentially putting yourself at risk of things such as diabetes and heart problems. Your BMI came out at just over 26 and it should be around 18. What this means is that you are carrying more weight than you should be for your height but it also tells us that you are not so overweight that you cannot lose it naturally, given what we said before.

So although your grandma may be calling you fat and making you feel bad, the only person that should ever have an issue with your weight is you and nobody else. If you are happy with your body (ignoring what your grandma says) and you think that you are healthy and comfortable with it, then that is all that matters. We are all unique and individual and make our own decisions in life; it is not for anyone to bully us into making decisions that we may not have done normally or to make us feel bad. Nobody has that right to do that to us.

If you are serious about losing weight and want to do it healthy so that it lasts in the long term then that is fine but do not think that by starving yourself that you will achieve this because you will not. If you starve your body of the fuel that it needs then it will begin to shut down and can potentially kill you. You have to lose weight gradually over a long period of time and healthy amounts. Here are some things to think about:

1. Do not skip meals: skipping breakfast can mean that you over-eat at lunch and skipping lunch means that you will overeat at dinner.

2. Eat smaller portions but more regularly so that you are eating little but often and this will stop you from getting hungry.

3. Choose lower fat options where available and that includes milk, butter, cream and cheese as these all contain a lot of calories.

4. Make a larger part of your main meal with carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice or pasta as this has a filling effect on your stomach.

5. Eat to a strict schedule so your body gets in to a rhythm of when to expect food.

6. Swap chocolates and crisps for fruit or low calorie bars.

7. If you do find that you are getting hungry, have a glass of water as sometimes your body thinks it's hungry when it's actually thirsty.

8. Increase your daily exercise by getting off the bus a stop earlier or taking the stairs instead of an elevator.

By doing all of the things above and getting into a routine of doing them, you will gradually begin to lose weight at a healthy level and the weight will stay off. There may be times when you will get hungry but this will be until your body has got in to a cycle of your new eating pattern.

If you are still concerned about your weight or if you find that you are losing too much weight too quickly then you will need to go to a doctor and get yourself checked out.

Remember, your body belongs to you and you are the only one that has any control over it; so let people say what they want and don't let it affect you. Nobody has a right to make you feel bad. If you are happy then forget what other people think.

I hope that helps.  

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)

Expertise

My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.

Experience

I have volunteered for AllExperts.com for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with Advice4teens.co.uk, Teenadviceonline.org and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

Organizations
The Albert Kennedy Trust

Publications
Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

Education/Credentials
BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients
Allexperts.com Advice4teensuk.org Teenadviceonline.org lycos.co.uk askjeeves.com Connexions Direct

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