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How Can a Teenager Lose 20 Pounds?

author image Diane Lynn
Diane Lynn began writing in 1998 as a guest columnist for the "Tallahassee Democrat." After losing 158 pounds, she wrote her own weight-loss curriculum and now teaches classes on diet and fitness. Lynn also writes for The Oz Blog and her own blog, Fit to the Finish. She has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Florida State University.
How Can a Teenager Lose 20 Pounds?
A teenage girl is playing frisbee with her family. Photo Credit: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images

If your teenager wants to lose 20 lbs., first check with her doctor. If her doctor agrees that losing weight is appropriate, your teen can use specific strategies to lose the weight she desires. Small, deliberate changes will help her create a calorie deficit and to become more active throughout the day. She should plan on losing 1 to 2 lbs. per week.

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Small Meals

If your teenager is accustomed to eating large meals, help him reduce his caloric intake without being hungry by eating five to six small meals spaced evenly throughout the day. An example of a healthy breakfast is a cup of yogurt and a piece of fruit, followed by a sandwich and some fresh vegetables for lunch, according Teach your teen not to skip meals, as skipping a meal may trigger him to eat too much later in the day. Plan his meals ahead of time.

Fat and Sugar

To lose 20 lbs., your teenager should learn how to read the nutritional labels of the foods she eats to determine the fat and sugar content. She should not eat any foods that contain trans fats or high amounts of sugar. Help her make good choices by following the Weight-Control Information Network's guidelines of eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. She should also eat protein-rich foods such as beans, chicken and nuts. Most fast-food meals are high in fat and she should avoid eating those altogether.


Encourage your teen to drink water throughout the day and avoid sugar-filled, calorie-laden beverages. The average American drinks nearly 90,000 calories a year of juices and soft drinks, according to "Reader's Digest." Avoiding beverages that do not satisfy his hunger will save him hundreds of calories a week. Those calories saved will help him create a calorie deficit and enable him to meet his weight-loss goal quicker.

Lifestyle Changes

In his book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution for Teens," author Jay McGraw encourages teens to make everyday lifestyle changes by cutting back on the amount of television they watch, spending more time outdoors and surrounding themselves with people who support their new choices. Encourage your teen to make gradual lifestyle changes to keep her motivated and excited about losing weight.


Teens need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but that doesn't necessarily mean 60 solid minutes at a stretch, according to the Weight-Control Information Network. Your teen can break up his exercise into smaller pieces throughout the day. If he is not interested in participating in sports, encourage him to take walks, ride his bike or inline skate. Involve the whole family by signing up for a fun run and training together.

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