Adolescents often lack a basic understanding of their nutritional needs. In an effort to educate this group, writers Carrie Wiatt and Barbara Schroeder came up with the idea of a book just for teens. "The Diet for Teenagers Only" offers the information teens need to make smart meal choices and develop a healthy regime that will last a lifetime. Wiatt and Schroeder were invited on the "Today" show to talk about their book. Read an excerpt.
This book is for you. You’re a teenager, and over 70 percent of teens are dissatisfied with their body or weight. That’s a lot. Many of you might be on diets that are really designed for adults. Or you’ve already tried a bunch of different diets and ways to eat. (One girl we interviewed for this book said, “I ate a grape a meal. I figured that’s what models do!”)
Chances are, these dieting approaches aren’t working for you for lots of reasons. They’re hard to stick to. You’re not really losing weight. And worst of all, you’re probably hungry and feeling deprived a lot of the time. You might even feel guilty about the way you eat, and that doesn’t feel good.
We want you to feel good about yourself. Which means you need special information, secret dieting tips, and most importantly, knowledge about what’s happening to you and your body right now.
Here’s the deal. You are in the biggest, most important growth spurt of your life. This is the most critical time for your to learn to eat right and treat your body with the respect (and the nutrition!) it deserves. If you don’t, you might stunt your growth or develop health problems!
So that’s why we got together. We want to give you the secrets to eating great and losing weight if you need to. Carrie runs an amazing business in Los Angeles called Diet Designs. She figures out how many calories, fat, and other nutrients each client needs (many of her clients are celebrities, including Melissa Joan Hart, Jewel, Salma Hayek, and Tiffani Amber Thiessen), then her company delivers fabulously delicious food to them. So not only does Carrie have a master’s degree in nutrition, she also has real-life experience in designing diets that taste good and really help you lose weight. In this book, you’ll find the best of Carrie’s recipes and diet tips, specifically designed for teenagers only! (Wait until you try the Magic Muffin recipe!)
Barbara is an Emmy Award-winning reporter who has worked in Los Angeles for a long time and she has often interviewed Carrie on TV. Barbara also has a 15-year-old daughter, and they both have learned a lot about nutrition along the way.
So here’s a diet designed just for you and your rapidly changing body. Follow it for 7 days and lose some weight. Then, if you need to lose more, you’ll know how to do it safely and maintain your ideal weight for life. Our hope is that you’ll never have difficult issues with food and weight again.
But be realistic. We want you to really, really understand that you should look the best you can for your body and body type. (Find out in chapter 3: Am I Fat?)
Don’t forget, you have lots of pressure on you right now — school, boys, family stuff, friends, and popularity issues. Plus TV shows and magazines are flooding you with pictures of impossibly thin models! You’re also being bombarded by thousands of food ads a year, all trying to sway the way you eat. Don’t let these images get to you!
Fight back, be as fit and nutritionally smart as you can be, and know that once you accept yourself and believe in yourself with all of your heart and soul, you’ll be able to look in the mirror and say, “You know what, I like myself. Just the way I am!”
Let’s get started!
Barbara and Carrie
“Daughter, I cannot give you anything so complete or perfect or pure. But I can give you something better. Your body ... and the fierce love of it that no one can take away.”
--Linda Nemec Foster, from the poem “History of the Body” in the book “Living in the Fire Nest”
Things They Never Told You
Grab a pen or pencil and take a few moments to write down, right here, what you think of your body and what you would change about it if you could do anything you wanted.
Here’s what some of the girls who answered our teen diet surveys said:
“I would change my boobs, thighs, and stomach.”
“I would have skinnier arms, a flatter tummy, and not a chubby chin.”
“I’m thirteen years of age. I weigh a massive 165 pounds. I’m so sick of being fat, being teased, and not being able to fit into any nice, trendy clothes. Please help me, sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.”
“At the age of nineteen, I’ve been on about ten diets, and I keep re-gaining the weight I lose. Help!”
Most of the girls we talked with said they were unhappy with their bodies.
And most admitted to us that they really don’t know what the best way is for teenagers to lose weight. The best way is definitely not a diet designed for adult, whose nutritional needs are vastly different from yours. You need a special diet designed for teenagers only.
Now some of you may actually need to drop a few pounds, while others may just need a better body image reality check. Either way, chances are you could be eating a lot smarter nutritionally, which means you need to know a few things about what’s happening to you.
Right now, you are in the biggest, most critical growth spurt of your life.
You’ve probably been through puberty or are in the last phases of it. During puberty (when the body “grows up” and is capable of giving birth) the bones in your legs and arms grow long, hips widen, breasts develop, you get curvier, hair grows in new places, your waist becomes fuller, and you gain some weight.
It may feel weird to be filling out, like maybe you’re getting fat, but remember it’s normal. Without this change, you wouldn’t have periods or ever be able to have babies! Your body is also releasing hormones like estrogen, FHS (follicle-stimulating hormone), and LH (luteinizing horming). They can affect your moods as well as your energy levels. It’s really an incredible process when you think about it. But because of all these growth and hormone changes, it can be a tough time to diet.
Excerpted from “The Diet for Teenagers Only,” by Carrie Wiatt and Barbara Schroeder. Copyright © 2005 by Carrie Wiatt and Barbara Schroeder. Excerpted by permission of Regan Books, a division of Harper Collins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without written permission from the publisher.