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Weight-Loss Solutions for Children and Teens

Eating disorders usually start in adolescence. Their roots are psychological. The results can be devastating. They can ruin a person's quality of life and, in extreme cases, can lead to serious illness and death.

As a parent, you want to know the warning signs. Eating disorders affect both men and women, boys and girls. When the problems are caught early, children with eating disorders have an overwhelmingly good chance of correcting their eating behaviors and regaining their mental, emotional, and physical health.

Here are the warning signals:

Lean Lingo

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by overeating and purging, or throwing up. It's harmful to a person's health. It's a serious psychological problem, so consult with a professional who specializes in eating disorders if you suspect your son or daughter could be bulimic. Anorexia is a psychological disease in which a person starves themselves seemingly to attain a very slim body. It's very serious and can lead to death. If you suspect that your son or daughter is anorexic, consult with a professional who specializes in eating disorders.

  • Overly high concern with body image. You'll be walking a fine line here, be-cause adolescence is the time of acute body awareness and comparison with others. A high concern is normal. An overly high concern could lead to problems.

  • Constantly telling everyone around them that they're fat. Some of this is normal, but too much is out of bounds.

  • Overeating but not gaining weight. This could be the result of bulimia, which involves bingeing and purging (self-induced vomiting). Warning signs of bulimia include (1) making excuses to go to the bathroom right after meals; (2) odd smells emanating from the bathroom after meals, often covered up with room sprays and fresheners; and (3) use of laxatives or diuretics.

  • Unexplained weight loss. This could be a sign of anorexia. The warning signs are (1) highly regimented eating patterns or not eating with family and friends; (2) thinking they're fat no matter how small they get; (3) denying feeling hungry; and (4) exercising excessively. Anorexics often become socially withdrawn.

  • Eating large amounts of food and feeling guilty or acting secretive about it. This could be a sign of a binge-eating disorder.

If you suspect a problem, first do your research. Read about the problem, search the Internet, and consult with an expert. Solving the problem is beyond the ability of your family and friends. You need professional help. So does your child. Get it.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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