Tips for healthy weight loss in student athletes - Yahoo! Sports

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It's important for all athletes to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and to replace nutrients lost during vigorous workouts. This basic premise even applies to high school athletes who may be struggling with their weight, weight loss or body image. It's essential for coaches and parents to play a proactive role in monitoring the weight loss of student athletes. Healthy weight loss is possible for student athletes when it done correctly and monitored successfully.

Know your body.

One of the most important things your child or your student needs to understand before losing weight is to know their own body. Not all bodies are created equal, even when you are talking about playing a particular position or sport. Be wary of weight loss talk that doesn't take into account your child's particular body type or focuses on comparisons with others.

Watch the yo-yo weight loss/gain.

Yo-yo dieting is never an effective weight loss method, though this is often practiced by athletes trying to qualify for a certain weight class. Manipulating their water weight through excessive sweating or increased water intake may be effective for a pound or two, but shouldn't be used as a long term weight-management tool.

Do not limit food and liquids after workout.

If you are hungry or thirsty after you work out, do not deprive your body. Stick to snacks that are a good mix of protein and carbohydrates. Fruit, veggies and cheeses (cottage cheese or yogurt) are great options. Water or milk, instead of sports drinks or carbonated beverages are also a better choice for athletes who are trying to lose weight.

Do not over-exercise.

Daily practices, weekly workouts, and games can create a strenuous schedule for your student athlete. Do not let your child exercise extensively above and beyond this schedule in order to lose more weight.

Small changes can go a long way.

Strive for healthier options if you are trying to lose weight. When you're planning a snack, opt for hummus on raw veggies instead of tortilla chips. Make small changes that don't necessary decrease your caloric intake by a large quantity but will improve the quality of food that you eat.

Be wary of rapid weight loss.

For an athlete who is working out on a regular basis and also interested in losing weight, coaches and parents should be concerned about weight loss that occurs too rapidly. This may inhibit your child's ability to replenish nutrients lost during exercise. It could also be indicative of a larger problem such as the beginning of an eating disorder. Weight loss in athletes should be gradual.

Healthy weight loss is possible for student athletes. When monitored by coaches and parents, teens are more likely to achieve success and stay safe.

Kelly Herdrich has a bachelor's degree in education. She's a mother of three future student athletes. Kelly was born a Washington Redskins fan. She'll die a Washington Redskins fan.

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18 Oct, 2011

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