Should I Go on a Diet?

Should I go on a diet? Some people say I could lose weight, other people say I look good the way I am. But my best friend is always talking about her big hips and she’s a size smaller than me! What should I do?
Evie*

Friends, family, and even society can influence the way we see our bodies, leaving lots of people wondering if they should diet. But not all teens who diet actually need to lose weight. In fact, a constant focus on weight and dieting can become dangerous, leading to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

That's why the best thing to do if you have a question about dieting is to see your doctor. He or she can help you determine what is a healthy weight for you. If necessary, your doctor can refer you to a dietitian who can design a healthy eating program that works for your unique needs.

Even without your doctor, you can make smart food choices that keep you healthy. Substituting healthy foods for not-so-healthy ones and eating regular-sized portions will help any excess weight fall off naturally. Regular exercise can make you look and feel even better and help you maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that making lifestyle changes like these can have lasting results — unlike the temporary results from going on a diet.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2010

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