Keys to Helping Your Teen Lose Weight This Summer

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Remarkable weight losses at Wellspring Camps show that a very low fat diet, use of a pedometer, and a supportive home environment are the keys to weight loss success for overweight or obese teens.

Aspen Education Group has announced remarkable outcomes from its 2004 weight loss summer camps. Last summer, campers at Wellspring Camps lost between 4-5 lbs. per week while improving self-esteem and mood dramatically. Then, in an unprecedented finding, six months after they returned home from Camp, 91% of campers continued or maintained the weight loss they achieved at Camp. The average camper went on to lose another 7.4 lbs. at home.

If your child is overweight, you might want to know some of the keys to success at Wellspring Camps, and subsequently at home. Here are a few ideas you might use to make a difference in your child’s health this summer.

Diet: (a) Very low fat: The low-carb diet fad is nearing its end. So adopt the only diet that proven successful over a long period of time: a healthy, very low-fat diet. This means eating no more than 20 fat grams per day (or about 5-10% of total calories from fat). This may sound extreme and difficult to do at first because Americans eat about 80 fat grams per day now, on average. Yet, research has shown that this more extreme approach is easier to follow effectively than trying to decrease fat consumption more moderately. In other words, if you and you teen agree, then simply try to eliminate all sources of fat in your diet. This means eliminating all fried food, regular fat cheese, and high fat meats.

(b) Very tasty: Just because you eliminate fat, that doesn’t mean you and your teenager won’t really enjoy your food. You can order pizzas without cheese and sprinkle fat free cheese on them and put them back in the oven to melt the healthier cheese, for example. You can have baked French fries, buffalo burgers, turkey hot dogs, frozen yogurt, and many other fun and healthful foods.

Activities: You can buy pedometers (small devices that hook onto pants) and measure the steps you take every day. Your teenager should aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, which amounts to about 1.5 hours of walking per day and about twice the number of steps obtained by average adults. The whole family can make this a project; no one has to train for a marathon to reach this important goal.

Supportive home environment: The whole family can participate in the quest for improved health by changing the foods available at home and those ordered at restaurants. Eliminate all forms of high-fat foods. Substitute baked snacks (like pretzels) for fried snacks (regular chips), and just get rid of butter, oils, regular cheeses, and other problem foods. You’ll find that everyone will get used to the non-fat versions of foods and will find them very enjoyable, if you keep working at making them so. The family could also wear pedometers and seek out as much activity together and alone, as possible.

Hundreds of participants are benefiting from this approach at Wellspring Camps this summer. You and your family also can achieve some of these benefits if you follow these guidelines. To learn more about Wellspring Camps and Academy of the Sierras, visit or call 866.364.0808.

Aspen Education Group is recognized nationwide as the leading provider of education programs for underachieving young people. As the largest and most comprehensive network of therapeutic schools and programs, Aspen offers professionals and families the opportunity to choose a setting that best meets a student’s unique academic and emotional needs. An industry innovator, Aspen was voted among the top education companies by Eduventures, the leading independent education industry research firm. Aspen’s programs have been profiled by major news and television organizations, including: U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, ABC’s “Good Morning America” and the syndicated TV program “Dr. Phil.” For over two decades, Aspen Education Group has been achieving successful outcomes for families. No other organization in the therapeutic education industry offers a more enlightened approach or a more reputable network of quality programs.

For information about Aspen’s other therapeutic schools and programs, visit or call (888) 972-7736.

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