Helping Overweight Teens Gain Control of Their Lives
Adolescence is a scary time (think back to the endless waiting for the invitation to the big dance or what to do if your friend is driving drunk or to hoping your college of choice will accept you). Every day teens are faced with situations they never faced before and lots of choices to be made with no guarantee their decision is the right one.
Double the terror for the teen who is overweight. When it comes to teen weight loss, they think the deck is stacked against them. They are the kid not asked for the date, the one either made fun of or reduced to always being the jolly fat kid –the class clown, rather than the star athlete–always the best friend, never the girl or boyfriend. They hear the whispering in the hall when they pass and they face trying on new clothes for school with a dread a skinny kid can’t imagine. Trying out for sports is an exercise in humiliation and watching everyone else get ready for the prom is a lesson in shame.
Weight loss camp can put an end to these miseries for the overweight teen and teach them a truly vital lesson in living that can be applied to every situation in their future: You can take control and change your life. Nothing is et in stone and your life can be happy and fulfilled, not ruled by hiding, shame or embarrassment about the body you inhabit. That body can be changed and that successful, confident, and happy person inside can come shining through.
At weight loss camp, everyone is treated with respect and support. The entire staff is trained to help a teen overcome the obstacles in their way–starting with shyness (isolation is one of the coping techniques of an overweight teen), low self-esteem (teens are taught to accept where they are as a starting point and build from there) and avoidance of risk (at camp, everyone is encouraged to try and everyone makes the team, shares the glory, and is recognized for their own special talents and abilities.)
Positive reinforcement is the order of the day and bullies and trash-talkers are immediately taught that type of negative behavior doesn’t fly at weight loss camp (Counselors do understand that some teens put others down to build themselves up. They then help the kids learn a new way to build their self-esteem).
Kids are given the tools to change the way they eat: nutrition information, cooking classes, instruction in how to make healthy choices–and once given the tools, make better decisions.
No one is treated like a child at camp, All the teen contribute their creative ideas and suggestions to the group and all are praised for their contributions. Teens flourish under such encouragement and their outlook about themselves and their bodies starts to change. They leave camp with more information, a better outlook, and much more confidence. Such increased self-esteem helps them face all their trials in life-not just those connected to weight. Just one summer can change their entire lives for the better.