Dr. Phil and his son, Jay, have lots of advice for teens (and parents of teens) who are unhappy with their bodies. Following are some of their key points.
Buy a copy of Jay's Ultimate Weight Loss Solution for Teens, and Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom for more.
Body image is not the same thing as self-image.
Teens need to ask themselves if the way they see their bodies affects the way they see themselves. "They define themselves by saying, 'I'm the fat kid,'" says Jay, who reminds teens that they are so much more than how they look. They are their skills, talents, hopes and dreams.
Children model themselves after their parents.
"Kids with one overweight parent have a 79 percent likelihood of becoming overweight adults," says Dr. Phil. Through Jay's extensive research into teens, he has discovered that the number one place that teens turn for advice about their weight is their parents.
Set realistic and attainable goals.
Sixty-eight percent of teens think that Britney Spears and Barbie have the most perfect bodies. Dr. Phil and Jay remind teens that celebrities are often the product of lighting and make-up and personal trainers — and Barbie is a doll.
If the food at the school cafeteria is unhealthy, teens should make the effort to pack a lunch. If they are going to hang out at a fast-food restaurant, they should eat before they go, or choose a healthier option there.
Parents have the power to create a no-fail environment for their kids.
"They can't eat what's not there," Dr. Phil says. When the mother of a 220-pound, 14-year-old girl doesn't recognize the role she plays in her daughter's weight issue, he asks her the following questions:
"Where is your daughter getting the food? ... Who buys the food? ... Who chooses the food? ... Who prepares and presents the food?"
Take responsibility for the role you play in your child's life.