Meal Planning

TEEN HEALTH | APPLES TO ORANGES

June 11, 2020

We are all a reflection of our up-brining, we all have a story that has moulded our securities and in securities… myself included.

When I google ‘weight loss tips for teens’ I am horrified at the content that is readily available for all precious tweens, teens, parents and carers to utilise i.e. “Teenage girls weight loss secrets”, “How to Lose Weight Fast for Teens’, “Teens, you can lose weight fast and safely”. “Parenting tips for fast teen weight loss”, “Top tips for teen boys wanting to gain muscle fast” … SOUND ALARM!

There are so many issues with this I truthfully don’t know where to begin. When did the focus for teen health, vitality, development and disease prevention become so direct to weight loss? Long-term health that individually optimises nutrition and naturally fosters sustainable weight management is so much deeper than the visceral concept of energy in- v’s energy out, which has the potential to become so incredibly damaging. Shouldn’t our focus for developmental health align nutrition & body respect with building confidence, driving inspiration, encouraging physical activity, and nourishing individual interests and hobbies? I mean, tell me who doesn’t thrive on positive reinforcement!

Food and physical relationships aside, this time is so incredibly crucial for optimal hormone, cognition, bone and muscle development, for without optimal nutrition (and I don’t mean watching calories), how can anyone (at any age) truly thrive? With so much information so widely available on so called ‘nutrition’ which predominantly emphasises on what children and teens should be skipping …. I believe on flipping this negative coin and turning this conversation into one that that discusses all the beautiful whole foods your children (and family) should be having to provide nutrients and minerals to nourish, support and optimise a thriving immune systems, energy, mood, concentration and skin health.

A beautiful relationship with food and body image should first address underlying drivers, for a teen that is mentally nurtured so too has to powder to become physically nourished. When parents and carers are seeking guidance, it is important to note first and foremost that this is a complete family affair. As a parent, older sibling or carer, it is your influence that has the power to mould healthy habits (I say mould here because every child and teen thrives on autonomy), it is after-all this influential age where established habits become lasting habits. Think back to your own child/teen years, tell me doesn’t see a part of their body image or nutritional habits that are a reflection of family members? I certainly do! And although my mum’s presence was truly room stopping, her insecurities certainly became my insecurities.

As both an adult and health care professional, I am extremely aware that my words have the power to positively create a lasting impact. An integral part of my practice with teens & their families is to reassure that we ALL develop at different stages and rates…one moment their bodies are somewhat apples-to-apples, although be it granny smith to Fuji with similar shapes and heights… & then, what may feel like simply overnight some are budding or blooming well beyond the rest and others a little later. To nurture this individuality is fundamental to confidence… where there should be no measurement of comparison through external influences such as Instagram, media and even their own 'BFF's'. Most importantly, this is a beautiful time, this symbolises you becoming ‘you’

Thinking back to my youth, I can reflect on times when I felt insecure and if I’m being honest, a certain detest for my appearance at times which I saw in so many of my close friends also…some of which sadly, their parents were not supportive (not mine PS!) which has left a lasting and damaging taste on their food and body relationship, and thus overall insecurities.

Some signs I can now recognise, which may appear familiar in your home or perhaps still in you:

> Feeling so completely unhappy when leaving the house.

> Changing outfits a million times and never feeling happy.

> Not wanting to go out at all.

> Avoiding clothes shopping and feeling ultra-frustrated and short tempered when doing it and NOT liking ANYTHING!

> Avoiding mirrors all together OR looking at any reflection available all the while pulling and tugging at clothes.

> Avoiding photo’s or covering face or body parts when in the photo.

> Complete negativity, frustration and temper in the presence of treat foods.

Bodies morph, ebb and flow throughout life. Your teen cannot can’t stay the same as your 10-year-old slender figure, or you the 22yr-old athletic body. With hormones can come weight fluctuation, however with intuitive and wholesome nutrition and a well-grounded health foundation your children’s (and your) body & soul will be a true glowing reflection of the respect it is shown.

If you are wanting individual guidance for well grounded and lasting teen health advice please call anytime for a 15 minute chat to see if I am the right fit for your family, or you can book into my junior’s program for 15 years and younger via the booking tab.