To Teen Girls On A Diet, Try These 6 Rules Instead

To Teen Girls On A Diet, Try These 6 Rules Instead

Counting calories will only make you feel worse; take it from me.

About a month ago, I tried counting calories to lose weight. I wanted all the usual things: a flatter stomach, thinner thighs. But mostly, I just wanted to feel better about myself and my body. And for some God-forsaken reason, I believed that counting calories would get me there.

It’s worth noting that my self-confidence has never been flawless; having struggled with anxiety for many years, I can say that my self-esteem oscillates much more than is healthy. And I’m really, really working on it. But sometimes, my organization-dependent brain looks to solve the wrong problem with a faulty solution. In other words, instead of handling the core issue of low self-esteem, I decided to count calories.

And I’m not the only teenager who does this, either. One in every 2 teenage girls and 1 in every 4 teenage boys have tried dieting as a way to change how their body looks. And about a third of teenage girls who diet are already at a healthy weight!

These numbers seem staggering to me, but they have been around for a long time. And the media is definitely to blame — but I’ll spare you from my melodramatic, millennial soliloquy.

But I’ll tell you what: counting calories didn’t fix my problem. Sure, I lost a little bit of weight, but I also lost my connection with food and my connection with my friends. I was so focused on eating the right amount of food, the right kind, the perfect kind, that I stopped being involved in group discussions. I secluded myself to my phone, where I looked up things like How to lose belly fat quickly and does drinking tea make you lose weight and Gigi Hadid abs diet.

And focusing so much on the numbers left me feeling detached from what I ate. It didn’t matter if I liked it, or if I was still hungry when I was “done.” I thought in macros and numbers. And it was unhealthy for both my body and my mind.

I checked my stomach in the mirror multiple times a day. I went to the gym intending to burn as many calories as possible in 30 minutes, which often led to very sore muscles and a sore ego. I thought about food all the time, even when I wasn’t hungry and especially when I was. I shouldn’t have had that ice cream last night. My stomach looks awful. I wish I had abs. I’m hungry again. Is it okay to eat?

If I’m honest, even after stopping counting calories, I still have some of these thoughts. I still am learning not to check my stomach every time I go to the bathroom, and I’m still trying to coach myself to not treat food as either “good” or “bad.” And I’m trying to enjoy what I eat, and eat what feels good for me.

I realize this may sound kind of sketchy if you’ve been on a diet and it has been helping you lose weight: but you don’t have to count calories to feel good about yourself and your body. I promise, it will only make you feel worse.

But what should you do instead?

Here’s my tentative plan for myself. I urge you to copy it.

Rule 1: Exercise a little every day. Do activities that you enjoy rather than the ones that burn the most calories.

Rule 2: Eat well most of the time: eat a few veggies, a piece of fruit or two, whole grains and non-whole grains, and have an indulgence or two every day.

Rule 3: Do not count calories. It is okay to be mindful of portions, but eat until you are full. Do not stop eating just because you feel like you should be full by now.

Rule 4: Eat slowly, and savor your food! Eat things that you enjoy and this shouldn’t be hard at all!

Rule 5: Drink lots and lots of water, especially before and after your workouts!

Rule 6: Make your goal to be healthy and strong, not thin.

If this is hard for you to envision for yourself, I understand. I’ve only made the switch to stop counting calories in the past few weeks, and sometimes I still find myself reaching for the calculator to estimate the calories in my meals or thinking that I shouldn’t eat something I enjoy because it is “bad” for me. But I still feel like I am making progress. Every day, I focus a little less on my body and a little more on fitness. Every day I Google less and less. And I eat things I like to eat! I exercise in ways that feel good for me, in ways that build endurance and strength, not a flat stomach. And I’m still working on it. But I know that these rules are much better rules for my overall health and wellbeing than anything I was telling myself before.

And it might just be the ice cream talking, but I think I feel a lot better about my body, too.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Stop Apologizing For Who You Are And Be Unapologetically You

"Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person." -Gerard Way


Role models are very important. Role models play a role in helping shape who you are, whether that be your parents, grandparents, church family, teachers, friends, or even celebrities. Many of your role models can be unapologetically themselves. Who wouldn't want a role model to be unapologetically themselves? You can have as many role models as you want, but the biggest role model you will ever have in your life is yourself. You can learn a lot from other people, but I guarantee you can learn more from yourself.

Whenever I have kids, I will teach them so many things, but the main thing I want them to learn is that it is okay to be yourself. It's okay to be yourself in a society that frowns upon uniqueness, creativity, equality, faithfulness, magnanimity, helpfulness, hard-workers, independence, love, optimism, self-confidence, and thoughtfulness. I was raised like this and I turned out okay, but I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. Our generation isn't perfect. The generation before us wasn't perfect. The generation after us won't be perfect. Society isn't perfect and they will never be perfect.

People in society think they are perfect and they practice perfection and grace, but really practice arrogance, belligerence, cruelty, cynicism, deceitfulness, dishonesty, foolishness, greed, impatience, jealousy, materialistic views, pessimism, thoughtlessness, unkindness, unreliability, untrustworthiness, and vagueness to the world.

This world is filled with bullies, but as Michelle Obama said, "When they go low, we go high."

Rise above the hate, rise above the pessimistic views, rise above and become the greatest that you can be. In the end, what matters is how you view yourself, not someone who you won't see in twenty years. Don't lose hope. Society will try and bring you down, but please remember to rise above it. Be unapologetically you.

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