Social pressure can make being overweight even more difficult for teens than it is for adults. For 13 year-old girls just entering high school it can make everyday life downright daunting. If you'd like to lose your belly fat, you have to lose weight all over. The good news is that it's the perfect time to learn healthy habits that can stick with you for a lifetime.
Watch Your Diet
Stay away from empty calories like junk food, soda, energy drinks and juice. Instead, focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein like chicken and fish. Food is meant to fuel your body, not kill time or enhance a movie, so make sure you only put in the very best. Get involved with meal planning and preparation; your parents will appreciate the help. Ask your doctor for a more precise figure for your size and habits, but 13-year old girls generally need about 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day. Eating more without burning it off will make you gain weight. If you don't exercise, you'll need fewer calories to avoid weight gain.
To lose weight on your 2,000-calorie diet, you need to exercise for about an hour every day. On a brisk walk or bike ride, you should work hard enough that you can hold a conversation but not sing a song. The more exercise you get, the faster the weight will come off. You can also use weight training to help you gain lean muscle mass that will make your body burn more calories. Start with body weight exercises like pushups, pullups, squats, dips and lunges, and add weight gradually as you get stronger. Don't add too much weight too soon, because your muscles and bones are still developing and may not be able to withstand the stress yet. If you feel any pain when lifting weights, stop and use a lighter weight.
Check into your school's sports program, and sign up for whatever looks fun. Even if you don't make it through tryouts for any of the junior varsity teams, intramural teams take anyone who wants to play. If your school doesn't offer intramural teams, most community centers do or may be able to point you toward a local league. Sports practice isn't frequent enough to be a substitute for regular workouts, but it gives you a fitness goal based on something other than the way you look. When you exercise with a performance-based goal in mind, you are more likely to stick with it. You'll also spend time with people who have at least one interest in common with you, and you may even find a good workout partner.
Be Aware of Phases
According to the World Health Organization, at 13, you are just coming off of your peak-velocity growth spurt. At this stage, your body may be naturally filling out in preparation for another growth spurt, so some change in appearance is normal. You'll reach your adult height at around 16, which is a better time to assess whether your weight is normal for your height. Many girls go through a chubby phase at 13 only because their bodies have stopped using so many calories for vertical growth, but their food intake hasn't changed. By adopting healthy habits now, your next growth spurt can leave you with a lean, athletic shape and a brand new lifestyle that will keep it that way.