By Maddi Bourgerie
While the arrival of spring break brings the hope of warm weather and sunshine, for many it also means the start to bathing suit season and a time to bare all. And that leaves students like junior Megan Bournique feeling the need to tone up for spring break due to the pressure society creates to be stick-thin.
Bournique said everyone sees flaws in themselves and spring break brings pressure to get rid of them quickly. Using many different methods, students try to shed pounds fast. However, for teens, being healthy while losing weight isn’t always factored into the plan. And many students try to lose weight not realizing it’s harmful to their bodies, according to health teacher Emily Good.
Crash dieting is the first idea for a quick result, Good said without a doubt, crash dieting, or not eating, is very harmful to the body and is the wrong method for weight loss.
“People don’t understand bodies go into starvation mode, not knowing when the next meal will be,” Good said. “It actually reduces the burning of calories and weight loss. Food for the body is like fuel for a car. Without fuel the car doesn’t run efficiently and the same will happen to a body without food. Diets where people stop eating all together actually slows metabolism down, counter reacting the plan to lose weight in the first place.”
Other concerns are that weight loss methods can lead to anorexia or bulimia nervosa, conditions students are educated about in heath class. However, there are a number of other disorders that aren’t quite as obvious. Many students can obtain these disorders without realizing it.
St. Vincent Physician Deborah Davis, a pediatrician with several teenage patients said, “Many think they are simply being healthy, but in reality they are being over-obsessive about diet and exercise. For example, eating less and working out more may be mistaken for healthy dieting, when in reality it’s not. Eating less calories and working off more is depriving the body (of) nutrients.”
Recently, there has also been a trend of taking a prescription pill called Adderall as a diet supplement. The pill is prescribed to students with ADD/ADHD, but many have recognized the side effect of weight loss. Junior Kaylee James takes Adderall for ADD- like symptoms. “It helps me pay attention more and then my mind is solely set on finishing my work,” she said. “However, since I started taking it, I have noticed many side effects. It makes me in a bad mood, and I lose my appetite as well as interest in food.”
It is the side effect of loss of appeite, Davis said, that can attract people to the drug. However, Davis warned these are only temporary fixes and, in the long run, can be very unhealthy.
Without doctor supervision, she said, people can easily take the wrong dosage and potentially harm one’s kidneys or liver. For the students who are prescribed Adderall they are monitored and watched closely for safe results, Davis said.
Additionally, use of Adderall can turn into a disorder just like anorexia or bulimia in the way that someone can be obsessive with losing weight and will do anything to get there. “Many don’t realize that their life has become consumed with losing weight, working out or eating,” she said. If you start getting abnormal thoughts about these subjects, seeking counseling may be needed.”
Good suggests alternative healthy ways to reduce weight. Forgetting all the short cuts and combining eating well and exercising is the healthy way to lose weight, she said. The biggest tip, however, is eating in moderation and watching portion sizes. Good also said for students to see quick results they should work out at least five days a week for at least 30 minutes
Bournique said she works out at least four times a week and maintains a healthy organic diet. She said she is confident about herself and has found a routine that works for her to stay healthy while staying in shape.
“Everyone is self conscious at some point but there is no need to harm yourself to be thin. Just eat healthy, work out and don’t over do it. Not everyone is the same size, so be confident.”
HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS
Cut back on junk foods that are high in sugar, such as candy and soda. These foods will give you more calories than needed and will not leave you feeling full. This is because foods high in refined white flour and sugar are digested very quickly.
Avoid white breads, white rice and or any grain that is not 100 percent whole wheat. Food that is digested quickly means you’ll be wanting to eat more.
Eat low-calorie foods that are digested slowly. Foods that are high in fiber will accomplish this, such as fruits, vegetables, 100 percent whole grain, brown rice and oatmeal.
Eat smaller, frequent meals instead of three large meals per day. Eating less calories more frequently will allow your body to better utilize the calories you provide without storing them as fat. To avoid hunger, eat snacks between meals and drink plenty of water.
STRAIGHTHEALTH.COM / SOURCE