Stay healthy for summer


With warm, sunny days just around the corner, around 15,000 students jump on the wagon of fad diets and dangerous amounts of exercise in order to achieve an “ideal” summer body.

“Kids want to fit in the swimsuit right away, but in reality, the safe way to lose weight isn’t going to be overnight,” Nurse Practitioner Nancy Duensing said. “It might take a while to drop the weight, but teens will end up healthier in the end.”

To stay out of harms way, but still accomplish weight loss, lose no more than one to two pounds per week, Duensing said. To shed the weight, there needs to be a balance between a healthy diet and a regulated amount of exercise.

“A lot of times, teens believe the best way to lose weight is to stop eating or to start skipping meals,” licensed dietician Tina Woolley said.“When students start skipping meals, they shut down their metabolism and make it harder for themselves to burn calories and lose weight.”

Restrictive diets force the body to lose out on nutrients needed to function properly. Approximately 15,000 adults and teens were reported resorting to weight loss supplements and fad diets to compensate for the nutrients lost while dieting, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Lots of supplements on the market haven’t been tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s hard to tell if the supplements teens are ingesting are actually safe or effective,” Duensing said. “While many supplements have been proven to help weight loss, the side effects of the drug end up becoming more trouble than it’s worth.”

Certain supplements can contain unknown amounts of chemicals that claim to improve weight loss. When people drop pounds too fast on supplements, ketones or fats can begin to break down, instead of metabolizing the nutrients in, according to Woolley. Prolonged use can lead to acidosis, an increase in acidity levels in the blood and other body tissue, which can take away minerals from the bones, joints and muscles.

“The best way to lose weight it to do it the old fashioned way,” Duensing said. “Regulated amounts of exercise will always give the best results.”
While exercise proves to be the most effective, it should be practiced in moderation. Exercise takes a wrong turn when teens begin to exceed their cardiac capability and start burning excessive nutrients, according to Duensing. Signs of exaggerated exercise include: decreased performance, fatigue or even weight gain.

The main idea of exercise is to increase the heart rate and capture the cardiovascular benefit. The duration, frequency and intensity of exercise is where the real benefit lies. Eating natural foods with low fat, lean meats, plenty of fruits and vegetables and cut down on the refined sugars will cut down some weight; but don’t only rely on foods only to drop pounds.

“I try to run outside or on the treadmill and play soccer to keep myself in shape,” junior Jen August said. “Most days, I drink five or six bottles of water and really try to stick with yogurt, granola bars or pretzels for snacks.”

Whether it’s with a healthy diet or exercise routine, moderation is key in dealing with weight loss.