For Overweight Teens Only: Look Leaner, Instantly

Stand tall, look leanerThere’s no doubt about it, if you want to lose excess weight, it’s all about making minor adjustments to your diet and lifestyle habits. But as any overweight teen knows, some days are a breeze. While others are a real struggle when simply passing on a sugary soda and reaching for water can feel like a Herculean effort.

Don’t let anyone fool you, it takes effort to shape the daily habits needed to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. You should celebrate even the smallest of victories like drinking water instead of soda. After all, they all add up, snowball even, into a healthy lifestyle that delivers you the ultimate prize: a leaner, healthier you.

While you work on your weight loss goal, there’s no reason you can’t look slimmer today.

A good habit with instant results

One easy way to instantly look leaner is to stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back and hold your head high, and you’ll look up to 5 pounds lighter. Why? When you grow an inch, but don’t gain weight, it’s like losing 5 pounds on your growth chart. Although you’re an inch taller, you look lighter because you’re stretching the same weight over a taller body frame. Standing up straight, instead of slouching, has the same effect. And, you could gain up to an inch, just by standing up straight.

Stand tall, look leaner

Classically trained dancers have pretty much cornered the market on perfect posture. Their basic techniques are perfectly suited for just about anyone who wants better posture, but especially for overweight teens who also want the bonus of looking leaner. The good news is you don’t need to spend years in dance classes to master these moves. Simply follow these three steps:

1. Pull your shoulders back

When standing around, imagine you have a straight rod or stick holding you up from head to toe. You can get at sense of what it feels like to stand up straighter with the following exercise. Stand up and grasp your hands together behind your back. With your arms straight, stretch them up and away from your body. Hold for a few seconds. This automatically pulls your shoulders back. To help maintain better posture, a good stretch that dancers use is the butterfly stretch. You can use it too. Raise your right arm straight above your head and hold it there, then raise your left arm. Alternating between your right and left arm, reach up a bit higher like you’re trying to pull something out of the sky. Do this for 8 counts. Bring both arms down to your side like a butterfly opens its wings.

2. Avoid “sitting on a hip”

If you tend to slouch to one side when standing, dancers call this “sitting on a hip.” It changes your center of gravity and puts increased pressure on the supporting hip. (To feel the difference, stand on one leg and then pull up on the hip.) To stand taller and look leaner, stand with your weight equally distributed between both legs.

3. Hold your head high and look forward

Save the texting for another time, and hold your head up and look forward as you stand (or walk). You’ll not only stand taller and look leaner, you’ll avoid putting excess pressure on the back of your neck, which can lead to a stiff, achy neck.

To be sure, diet and lifestyle habits are at the heart of any successful weight loss journey. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look leaner right now simply by standing up straight.

Nutrition Nugget

When it comes to making dietary changes, your best option is to aim for progress, not perfection. Successful teens focus on controlling food portions, yet still enjoy their favorite foods, only in moderation. Find out what other tips overweight teens have used to successfully lose weight in our post,  Overweight Teens Share Success Tips, New Study.

Here’s to standing tall!

Kathleen Dunn, MPH, RD
Co-author of Eating for A’s

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PS – Teens, we’re here to help you on your quest to be the best you. If you have any questions or need additional information, just join us on Facebook and drop us a note. Take it one day at a time. Soon you’ll reach your goal.  Work hard, play hard, study hard, and have fun! Good luck, the EatingFor Team is cheering you on!