With all of the eating disorders that are diagnosed in teenage girls today, I was really surprised to see this headline at The Chicago Tribune online: How to Lose 10 Pounds Before Prom. While the article did have several good nutritional key points – getting enough sleep, avoiding high calorie coffee drinks or sodas, and try out new fitness challenges – the overall message of this article was negative and possibly harmful. I was disappointed that a reputable news organization of this magnitude posted a piece that was more worthy of a gossip magazine.
Teenage girls, now more than ever, face tremendous pressure to look like movie stars in every regard, with weight being the most important overall. Going to prom can be an enormous event in the year of a high school student, but it is by no means the entire year. I’d rather see information directed to teaching girls (and boys as well!) healthy habits to integrate for a lifetime. Talk about making good food choices and fueling your body for energy and studies. Talk about how strong bodies can be, what a person can learn to achieve and overcome; but promoting this information in the guise of a quick “weight loss” effort does a disservice to all of those who are out there trying to help teens be healthy. There is so much pressure on teenage girls today, much of it self directed but media based.
Sorry, Chicago Tribune. You had a good opportunity and you dropped the ball.
What can we or should we tell our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and students as they prepare for one of the most exciting events of their high school careers?
- Don’t let this become the first of a lifetime of event-based crash diets. When you live an overall healthy lifestyle, prom, vacations and weddings don’t need anymore stress than what to wear.
- If she is concerned about her weight, help her lay the foundation for eating more nutritiously and living more actively and not to hold prom over her head.
- Teach them about setting small goals and how to incorporate these changes into their everyday life.