A better weigh way: girls are striving--and starving!-- for unattainable goals. But here's the thing: The numbers on the scale mean *a lot* less than you think.
As it turns out--yes. Studies show that girls who regularly step on the scale are more stressed out about their bodies than those who step aside. It's time to stop being weighed down by digits--and instead, start taking positive steps to feeling amazing.
DITCH THE SCALE
WHAT GIRLS DO You jump out of the shower and onto that bathroom scale like clockwork.
THE WEIGH-IN Stop that! Why? Because girls who weigh themselves frequently are far more likely to use diet pills and laxatives, skip meals, binge eat and vomit, shows a recent University of Minnesota study.
And, get this: Those girls who weigh themselves often are actually also three times *more* likely to be overweight than teens who don't focus so much on the scale (ironically, stressing about weight leads girls to seek comfort in, yes, food).
So here's the deal: Skip the scale. If you're going to the doctor for regular checkups, as you should, you'll be weighed then--and that's all that's necessary.
KNOW TOU ARE *NOT* A NUMBER
WHAT GIRLS DO There's a number in your mind that you'd give just about anything to weigh--and you're fixated on it.
THE WEIGH-IN Your best weight isn't a number-it's a range. And chances are, you're well within it. "Consider two girls, ages 15 and 5-foot-5 inches tall," says dietitian Joanne Larsen. "A healthy weight range is 113 to 137 pounds."
Hello, that's a 24-pound difference! "One girl may participate in sports and have higher muscle mass and lower body fat," Larsen adds. "She may be toward the upper end because muscle is heavier than fat. The girl with average body fat and muscle mass may be more toward the middle of the range. Both are at a healthy weight for their height."
DON'T FEAR "PUBERTY" POUNDS"
WHAT GIRLS DO You're getting taller, you're getting curves, you're getting your period...and you're getting freaked out.
THE WEIGH-IN Let's make one thing perfectly clear: "Teen girls are supposed to put on weight," says Larsen. "When girls grow in height, they should experience a corresponding increase in weight. And each girl develops at a different rate." Did you know that dieting in your teens can actually stunt your growth? "Most girls reach 90 percent of their adult height by age 18. If you don't gain enough weight, you may not grow as tall as you should genetically," says Larsen.
NIX NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
WHAT GIRLS DO It was news that shocked everyone but, well, maybe teen girls themselves: Last year, over 80 percent of 10-year-olds confessed they were afraid of being fat.
THE WEIGH-IN Most doctors believe the best way to determine a person's healthy weight is with the body mass index. "BMI creates a relationship between the appropriateness of height to weight," says Larsen. "It takes the focus off the scale." Figure out your BMI by going to the Healthy Kid Calculator at dietitian.com. Weigh yourself--just this once!--to put it in the equation. Not in a healthy range? See your doc.
LIVE YOUR LIFE!
WHAT GIRLS DO The obsession with food and weight eats away at some girls--and pushes more important (and fun!) parts of life off to the side.
THE WEIGH-IN The road to anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder and compulsive exercising is short-and the way back is long and hard. Don't get us wrong: Being mindful of your overall health and fitness is always a good thing. But if you feel your worries about weight are becoming all-consuming, talk to a parent, guidance counselor, doctor or any adult you trust. You can change your outlook and come to embrace a healthy you. Every inch!
BY AMANDA FORR
DO SIZES REALLY MATTER?
This just in: All clothing sizes are not created equal. A recent retail industry survey found a "large" shirt at one store measured 38.5 to 40.5 inches, while another store s "large" was 36.5 to 38. One GL editor even fit into a size 4 and an 8 from the same store on the same day! Instead of shopping for a number, just shop for what fits best.
CIRCLE OF CONFIDENCE
While the media and celebrities often get the blame for body dissatisfaction among teen girls, research reveals that the biggest pressure comes from within your own circle. Turns out, crews with low body satisfaction talk about dieting and thinness, while groups with higher self-esteem are less likely to engage in negative eating behaviors. So vow right now to stay more positive by steering convos away from body complaints and criticisms.