Teen Weight Loss

Teen Weight Loss Camps: A Judgement-Free Environment

As adults, there are times where we’d like to stand out, to grab extra attention and be noticed for being unique…and therein lies the difference between us and teenagers.

From adolescence right up until well into college, teenagers often just want to fit it, to belong to a group, to find safety and acceptance in numbers. Stepping out alone can be terrifying, which is why the idea of being shipped off to a “fat camp” is not something most kids are looking forward to–even when they need to lose weight and just such a place may turn the tide of their weight gain. They don’t yet realize that a weight loss camp, specifically for kids, is full of other teens going through the same challenges and who are therefore able to offer each other special support.

Here’s what we’ve learned after more than four decades of creating weight loss camps for teens: An obese teen is an unhappy teen and cliques of kids at school or on sports teams are often the cruelest to that kid who already feels like he or she isn’t worth much. Name-calling, shunning, mocking get to be second nature to the kid who is different in any way and obesity makes kids different from most of their peers. The weight gain often comes as just the time that teens are particularly body conscious (and perpetually exposed to images of anorexic models and steroid-enhanced athletes) and, combined with hormonal changes, an overweight kid is in for a rough ride.

Even well-meaning parents can add to the pain. Criticism, spoken or just perceived, can make teenagers feel even more down on themselves, which may lead to emotional overeating, which means more weight gain and less self-esteem–and the cycle continues. A good weight loss camp, with a proven history of providing a safe and judgment- free haven for kids to work on their weight problems, is one way to break the cycle.

At Camp Shane, counselors are trained to immediately nip any bullying or cruelty in the bud, encourage campers to concentrate on helping one another face (and conquer) their weight issues, and provide a safe place to learn new habits and make new friends. At such a camp, teens can open up and talk to each other without fear of judgement and a problem shared truly is a problem halved.

Together with the staff and “a little help from their friends” overweight teens can start down the road to a healthier and happier life and weather the inevitable storms of adolescence.

Summer Weight Loss Camps

Summertime Experiences at Weight Loss Camp for Teens

As soon as the Spring months come around. every teenager starts counting the days till summer vacation and “no more teachers, no more books”, but the summer months are still times of learning and new experiences–some of them life-changing.

Kids head in a multitude of different directions during the summer months. Some kids head off to jobs to dip their toes in the wage-earning world they will enter soon enough. Others travel abroad or here in the US, trying new things like rock-climbing, white-water rafting, or just mastering the skills needed for their first time alone on an airplane. Others volunteer, helping others, learning skills that will help them and our society. All are gaining confidence that will stand them in good stead in their futures.

Another direction some kids go into, particularly overweight teens- is retreating to the couch, bowl of popcorn in lap, to play endless video games as their weight balloons and their self-esteem plunges. As parents, you may be at your wit’s end about what to do and how to motivate and get your teen off the couch and out in the world.

As teen weight loss experts and owners of the longest-running weight loss camp for kids, we’d like to offer a suggestion: Consider the extra time your teen is home in the summer as an opportunity to spend some real time together…nonjudgmental time–time to allow your teen to open up to you about how they really feel about their obesity and how they feel in their own skin.

There really is no need to point out that your kid is overweight. They know they are and they find it shameful, but most don’t know how to stop the endless cycle of overeating and then feeling terrible about themselves.

When they are home, provide every opportunity for them to move their bodies in helpful (and fun ways), this will not only strengthen your relationship with your teen, but will get you moving too! Challenge them to a tennis tournament or teach them to play handball, and making sure your house is stocked with plenty of fresh, wholesome (and nutritionally sound foods)–suggest that they might like to spend a few weeks helping themselves face their weight problems at a weight loss camp especially for teens.

At weight loss camp, explain that there they will be surrounded by kids just like themselves–no need to feel badly there about putting on a swimsuit–and there they can take charge of their own life (as they soon will do in “the real world”). Suggest that you are willing to treat them like the adults they soon will be and that you will arrange for them to have this opportunity at a weight loss camp for teens-if they will take the opportunity to do something for themselves.

Emphasize that this experience will not be a “boot camp” or “fat camp” but a place to have fun, play sports, learn about healthy food, and grab control of this problem that is plaguing them. Away from the eyes of their friends, it will be easier. Paint a picture of how great it will be when they show up for the first day of school in the fall with a whole new look, and a whole new outlook on life. Their energy will be up, they will be happier in social settings and be confident at making better food choices when they are out with their friends. The things that your kid will learn at just such a teen weight loss camp will stay with them long past their graduation day.

Fitness Exercises to Lose Weight

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.