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During the adolescent growth spurt the shape of your body changes very rapidly, and this is a time at which many teenagers become conscious of their weight. Attention in the media is directed mostly to anorexia nervosa, the “dieters” disease “ that affects as many as one in 100 girls, but being overweight is far more common as many as one in five young adults are seriously overweight, and being too fat is not only unattractive but unhealthy. If you know you are seriously overweight, it’s no use hoping that the excess fat will go away. It won’t unless you decide to do something about it. Being overweight is usually due to bad eating habits; like other bad habits such as nail-biting, they can be changed, although it’s not always easy. However, the longer you put off the attempt, the more difficult the change will be.

Crash diets are not much use, although rapid weight loss may improve your confidence. In the long term you have to learn to eat a healthy, balanced diet which keeps your weight in the right range. Swinging from a week of starvation to a week of overeating is no good for your health and will irritate the rest of the family.

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