|Question: My adolescent daughter looks like she’s putting on some extra weight. I don’t want to say anything to her that will damage her self-esteem, but I also don’t want her to gain weight unchecked. What do you recommend?
Answer: Adolescence really is a difficult time and saying anything about her weight could indeed damage her self-esteem. Instead I would suggest focusing on how she can start living a healthy lifestyle and start laying the groundwork to help her grow into a healthy adult.
One way you can start is by making sure her diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables. If you can, bring her into the kitchen and get her involved in making healthy dinners for the whole family, featuring lean protein and lots of healthy vegetables. This would be a great time to talk about how the right foods give our bodies the energy we need to get things done, while the wrong foods, such as simple sugars and over processed carbs, can zap our energy and negatively effect our moods.
Make sure that you don’t forget the importance of exercise. If she’s interested in sports, encourage that interest and help her get the exercise she needs. If she’s not very athletic, help her find something active that she can enjoy, such as going for walks with friends, swimming, or trying a non-competitive sport that isn’t too intimidating.
You have such an important job in helping her grow into a healthy and active adult. I wish you all the best!