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My teenage daughter wants to go on a diet. I think she looks fine, but she reads those teen and beauty magazines and wants to look like all the movie stars. Help?!
If there is one message I'd like to get
across to teens it's this: don't diet. Dieting is really the ultimate
eating disorder because it denies us the ability to stay in touch with
our feelings of satiety and hunger. Better to eat when you're hungry and
recognize when you're full. Eat slowly; savor your food; and, feed your
body well. In other words, nourish your body with foods and beverages
that contribute to beauty, health and peak performance. Find physical
activities that you enjoy, and think of exercise as play. If we eat
well, and enjoy physical play everyday, a normal healthy weight will
follow. But once we start restricting ourselves, and starving our bodies
of the nutrients we need, we'll get sick, have low energy, and set the
stage for eating disorders. The second message to teens is this: realize
that the pictures we see in "women's" and "beauty"
magazines are unrealistic images of women. The underlying message in all
advertising is that we aren't good enough the way we are. So, we need
product X,Y or Z to be happy--which of course is not true.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., Former Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri-Columbia