What is a healthy weight?
A healthy weight is the weight at which you feel good about yourself and have energy for school, work, and play. It's also one that lowers your risk for health problems.
Reaching a healthy weight isn't just about reaching a certain number on the scale. Eating healthy foods and being active are even more important. When you're active and eating well, your body will settle into a weight that is healthy for you.
What can you do to stay at a healthy weight?
It can be hard to stay at a healthy weight. But following these dos and don'ts can help.
Do eat healthy foods
Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods so that you get all the nutrients you need. On most days, try to eat from each food group. This means eating a variety of:
- Whole grains, such as whole wheat breads and pastas.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Dairy products, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Lean proteins, such as fish, chicken without the skin, and beans.
All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. If your favorite foods are high in fat, salt, sugar, or calories, limit how often you eat them. Eat smaller servings, or look for healthy substitutes.
Do watch how much you eat
Part of staying at a healthy weight means learning how much food you really need from day to day and not eating more than that. Even with healthy foods, eating too much can make you gain weight.
So listen to your body. Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.
It's a good idea to have healthy snacks ready for when you get hungry. Some healthy snacks are fruit, low-fat yogurt, string cheese, low-fat microwave popcorn, pretzels, and carrots.
Do some physical activity
When you're active on a regular basis, your body burns more calories, even when you're at rest. Being active helps you lose fat and build lean muscle.
Try to be active for at least 1 hour every day. It's okay to be active in smaller blocks of time that add up to 1 hour a day. Any activity that makes your heart beat faster and keeps it there for a while counts.
Diets don't work. Most teens who diet end up gaining back the pounds they lost—and more.
Remember that healthy bodies come in lots of shapes and sizes. Everyone can get healthier by eating better and being more active.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter M237 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Healthy Weight for Teens".
Current as of: May 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine