Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Dieting and Eating Disorders:
“I want to lose weight!”

Hey Terra,

I know that I need to lose 10-15 pounds because I'm 5'3 and weigh about 130-135. I think that is too high. All my family members say that I'm a little overweight, and I am embarrassed every time they talk to me about it... So Please help me. And maybe I don't need to lose that much but, I still need to lose some.


Dear Embarrassed,

Your family is not being helpful at all and I'd suggest that you talk to your parents and let them know that you don't appreciate their remarks about your weight. Tell them that their comments are HURTFUL to you. This is not a good way to show that they love you. Hopefully they will get the message and let your other "family members" know that they need to stop this because it's not okay.

Has a doctor ever told you that 130-135 is "too high" for your height and body type? A person's ideal weight depends on a lot of things that are particular to that individual.

Weight is a health issue. It has nothing to do with trying to get yourself to look like some model or movie actress. That's a load of crap and I sure hope you don't buy into it. Too many girls fall into that trap and end up forever hating who they are because they don't feel thin enough or "perfect" enough. Some become anorexic, bulimic or compulsive overeaters and, in case you didn't know, eating disorders can kill you. Check out these interviews I did with teen girls:

If you exercise (because your heart and muscles need it and it's good for your spirit, your mood and your brain) AND you eat healthy foods when you're hungry and you stay away from junk food, you'll be doing yourself a huge favor. Most people who are truly overweight (and I don't believe you fall into that category) have gotten that way because they use food as a drug. (I'm serious!) Many are hurting inside because of some terrible past wound. Instead of dealing with the sadness or anger or hurt in a productive, direct way, those people "comfort" themselves with lots and lots of food. They may feel good while they are eating and numbing the uncomfortable feelings from the past, but the good feelings don't last long. Besides, overeating will endanger their health terribly and they'll end up feeling more and more miserable about themselves.

You need to know that there's a huge difference between your self-image (how you feel about yourself as a unique, goodhearted person with many talents, abilities to share and goals and dreams to accomplish) and your body-image (your perception of how you look). If you feel pretty good about the kind of person you are but then you start buying into all the negative messages you get about your body, you run the risk of starting to feel like you aren't such a good person because you don't have a "good" body. This is another dangerous trap that millions of teen girls and women fall into.

So, instead of asking me or anyone else for "tips" on how to lose weight or going on some diet which will never work because diets DON'T work, here's what you can do to change what's going on here:.

  1. Talk to your parents and let them know that you don't appreciate anyone's comments about your weight and let them know that you expect them to stop saying these things. (This isn't going to guarantee that they will change since you can't control the behavior of others.) If they don't stop, then realize that YOU can choose to get upset by their comments or YOU can choose to ignore the comments. You have that power.
  2. You have the power to become more conscious about what you eat, how much, why, and when. If there is a bunch of junk food in your house (like chips and crackers and candy and ice cream and cookies and sugar cereal) it's going to be harder to resist that stuff. But not impossible! Maybe someone else in your family has an interest in losing a few pounds. If so, make that person your ally and try to organize a "healthy food" shopping. But if you have to do it alone, then figure out a way to do that. You can't eat healthy foods if there aren't any healthy foods around? Do you know what healthy foods are? We're talking veggies and fresh fruits and all kinds of lean meats like chicken and turkey and fish, eggs, low fat milk, yoghurt, whole grain breads, brown rice, etc. check out this site about eating healthy and you'll learn a lot:

  3. Become your own best friend. Take care of your body (with good food and exercise that you enjoy) and your mind and spirit. Surround yourself with TRUE friends. Get enough sleep. Recognize when you're feeling stressed and de-stress when you need to. Get involved in activities that you love, that you're good and that make you feel good about who you are.

Once you make a decision to live the life you want, the number on the bathroom scale become totally insignificant.

Does this makes sense to you?

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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