My mom says that you’ll probably agree with her. I hope not.
I’m 15 years old and want to go on a diet. I’ve always been heavier than the other girls in my class at school. And while my friends, don’t tease me about my extra weight; I can’t buy the same cute outfits that they can when we go shopping at the mall.
Boys flirt with them and ask for their phone numbers, but never do that with me. People always tell me that I have a pretty face and I’m fun to be around, but I see that the thinner girls get invited to more parties and get more attention.
I’ve decided to lose weight and want to go on a diet. If I start now and diet through the summer, I’ll be thinner in September when school starts. But my mother says I’m too young to diet.
Rene, I know other girls my age who are on diets. Is 15 too young to go on a diet – and if so, when can I start to lose weight?
There are a couple of things in your letter that jump out to me, namely the fact that you told me off the top you mom said I would agree with her. You know what? She’s right; I do agree with her to an extent. Here’s why.
DO YOU REALLY NEED TO GO ON A DIET? That’s the first thing you need to establish. In your letter you said you’ve always been “heavier” than the other girls and talk of your “extra weight” but are you within a healthy weight range for your height? You can figure that out by asking your pediatrician. He or she has been monitoring your height-weight ratio since you were born and will be able to tell you if you if you need to lose a few pounds.
GET ACTIVE: If your doctor says you need to lose a few pounds there are a few things I want you to remember. This is about long-term health, not a quick fix. You know what that means? No fad diets! No eating cabbage soup for a week, subsisting on grapefruit alone or veering into other dangerous practices that have the potential to cause lasting damage to your health and metabolism. Instead, and I’m sure your doctor would agree, you need to make good, healthy choices and then get out there and get active. Take up a sport or active pastime that you enjoy and get moving.
WORK ON THE INSIDE: This is the part of your note that stuck out to me most. You talk about the other girls, the clothes they buy and the attention they receive. This is where your thinking is a little skewed perhaps. We all have something about ourselves that we don’t really like. Whatever that is becomes the reason for all of our problems and the thing that is keeping us from succeeding. I’m not sure the fact that those girls buy different outfits or are smaller than you (if they really are) is why they get attention from boys. Maybe they’re friendlier or smile more?
Also we have to make sure it is the type of attention you WANT. If boys are staring at the girls because their booties are hanging out of the bottom of their mini-skirt, well, that is the wrong type of attention. The right kind of interest comes from the boy attracted by a friendly face and warm smile who then comes over to learn more. So instead of trying to diet to lose weight, work on having something to say, no matter what the scale reads
Charlotte: I hope this makes sense to you. Bottom line, you need to develop an accurate view of what’s going on. I haven’t seen you so I can’t judge if you’re too heavy but your mom can and it sounds like she and I are on the same page. Be yourself and run your own race. Being self-directed is tough at any age, much less the teen years. But now’s a good time to start working on that as it’s a skill you will need for the rest of your life.
Good luck honey!
Do you have a question for a mom but don’t want to ask YOUR mom? Just Ask Rene !