Question:

I have a goal of losing weight from 135 lbs. to 120 lbs. I am 17 years old and I go to LA Fitness every day. According to my calorie tracker, I eat 1,200 calories every day and burn 450. Can you please give me some healthy tips so I can lose weight faster? Because I am not seeing the changes I want to see.

– Rimsha M.

Answer:

At 17 years of age, you need plenty of energy (even if you’re done growing in height). Your tracked 1,200 calories simply are NOT enough for most boys or girls of your age, who should consume at least 1,800 calories. If you are truly overweight, meaning your height is 5’1” or less, then your high level of physical activity should create enough of a deficit for weight loss. Bravo for hitting the gym for daily exercise! Nutritionally, you can make sure your calories are spread out in at least 3 meals comprised of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy plant fats. Without its snacks or desserts, the 2-week sample weight loss menu from ChooseMyPlate.gov should give you an idea of what to eat. Get plenty of water and sleep, too! Focus on the health habits you are improving, and the scale will eventually follow.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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