choosing the right sport for your body

Corey and Angie, twin brother and sister, enjoy playing all kinds of outdoor games and sports with their friends. They especially love playing pickup games of basketball and touch football. On particularly nice days, Corey and Angie have been known to kick around the soccer ball, toss around the baseball, or go on long runs.

In just a month the twins will be high school freshmen and neither can figure out which sport to try out for in the fall. Corey is deciding between football, soccer, and cross-country. Angie is debating whether to try her hand at a sport she has never played, like field hockey, or go with one she knows, like soccer or cross-country. They’re facing a dilemma a lot of teens face — which sports to play and which sports to give up.

So Many Sports, Only One You!

For some people, choosing which sports to pursue throughout high school is hard because they have never really played an organized sport before and aren’t sure what they’ll most enjoy. For others it’s a tough decision because their friends don’t like to play the same sports.

No matter what your sports dilemma is, you have to make the decision that is best for you. If you’re great at soccer but would rather play football because you think it’s more fun, then give the pigskin a go (just make sure it’s cool with mom and dad)!

Sports are meant to be fun. If there is a sport you really enjoy but you aren’t sure if you can make the team, try out anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? If you get cut you can always try another sport. And sports like cross-country and track don’t typically cut participants from the team. You can still participate even if you’re not on the meet squad.

Find a Healthy Weight

Stop eating when you’re full. Lots of people eat when they’re bored, lonely, or stressed, or keep eating long after they’re full out of habit. Try to pay attention as you eat and stop when you’re full. Slowing down can help because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize how much is in your stomach. Sometimes taking a break before going for seconds can keep you from eating another serving.

Avoid eating when you feel upset or bored — try to find something else to do instead (a walk around the block or a trip to the gym are good alternatives). Many people find it’s helpful tokeep a diary of what they eat and when. Reviewing the diary later can help them identify the emotions they have when they overeat or whether they have unhealthy habits. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can give you pointers on how to do this.

Eat less more often. Many people find that eating a couple of small snacks throughout the day helps them to make healthy choices at meals. Stick a couple of healthy snacks (carrot sticks, whole-grain pretzels, or a piece of fruit) in your backpack so that you can have one or two snacks during the day. Adding healthy snacks to your three squares and eating smaller portions when you sit down to dinner can help you to cut calories without feeling deprived.

5 a day keep the pounds away. Ditch the junk food and dig out the fruits and veggies! Five servings of fruits and veggies aren’t just a good idea to help you lose weight — they’ll help keep your heart and the rest of your body healthy. Other suggestions for eating well: replace white bread with whole wheat, trade your sugary sodas for water and low-fat milk, and make sure you eat a healthy breakfast. Having low-sugar, whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk with a piece of fruit is a much better idea than inhaling a donut as you run to the bus stop or eating no breakfast at all! A registered dietitian can give you lots of other snack and menu ideas.

Finding a Healthy Weight

Tips for Success
Therefore, the best weight-management strategies are those that you can maintain for a lifetime. That’s a long time, so we’ll try to keep these suggestions as easy as possible!

Make it a family affair. Ask your mom or dad to lend help and support and to make dietary or lifestyle changes that will benefit the whole family, if possible. Teens who have the support of their families tend to have better results with their weight-management programs. But remember, you should all work together in a friendly and helpful way — making weight loss into a competition is a recipe for disaster!

Watch your drinks. It’s amazing how many extra calories can be lurking in the sodas, juices, and other drinks that you take in every day. Simply cutting out a can of soda or one sports drink can save you 150 calories or more each day. Drink water or other sugar-free drinks to quench your thirst and stay away from sugary juices and sodas. Switching from whole to nonfat or low-fat milk is also a good idea.

Start small. Small changes are a lot easier to stick with than drastic ones. Try reducing the size of the portions you eat and giving up regular soda. Once you have that down, start gradually introducing healthier foods and exercise into your life.

Finding a Healthy Weight

Weight loss is a tricky topic. Lots of people are unhappy with their present weight, but most aren’t sure how to change it — and many would be better off staying where they are. You may want to look like the models or actors in magazines and on TV, but those goals might not be healthy or realistic for you. Besides, no magical diet or pill will make you look like someone else.

So what should you do about weight control?

Being healthy is really about being at a weight that is right for you. The best way to find out if you are at a healthy weight or if you need to lose or gain weight is to talk to a doctor or dietitian, who can compare your weight with healthy norms to help you set realistic goals. If it turns out that you can benefit from weight loss, then you can follow a few of the simple suggestions listed below to get started.

Weight management is about long-term success. People who lose weight quickly by crash dieting or other extreme measures usually gain back all (and often more) of the pounds they lost because they haven’t permanently changed their habits.