October 1, 2023

Top 10 Best Weight Loss Programs for Teens

Weight loss programs ranking for teens

Best Weight Loss Programs for Teens


Losing weight as a teenager can often feel like an uphill battle.

Just like mine, your body is going through so many changes already with puberty, and adding in lifestyle changes to lose weight can feel overwhelming.

Yet, with the right approach, losing weight as a teen can absolutely be done in a healthy and sustainable way!

The key is to understand about how many calories you need, setting realistic goals, increasing your activity, eating nourishing foods that make you feel good, seeking support when you need it, and focusing on developing lifelong healthy habits.

Let’s see how you can do it!


young woman deciding to go running outside to lose weight


First, Calculate Your Calorie Needs

The very first step If you want to lose weight is figuring out an appropriate calorie target based on your age, height, current weight, and activity level. This gives you a personalized daily calorie budget to aim for that will promote steady weight loss over time.

There are a few different equations you can use to determine your calorie needs. Here is one commonly used formula:

Calories Needed = Age x Height (cm) x 24 – 500

Let’s break this formula down step-by-step:

  1. Take your age in years
  2. Multiply it by your height in centimeters
  3. Then multiply that number by 24
  4. Subtract 500

This will give you an estimate of how many calories you need each day to maintain your current weight. To lose weight, you’ll want to aim for 500 calories less than that number.

For example:

If you are 15 years old, 160 cm tall, and moderately active, you would calculate your calories needed like this:

  1. Age: 15
  2. Height: 160 cm
  3. 15 x 160 = 2400
  4. 2400 x 24 = 57,600
  5. 57,600 – 500 = 57,100

So, your calorie needs would be around 2,375 calories per day to maintain weight. To lose weight, you would aim for about 1,875 calories per day.

To get maximum accuracy, use an online calorie calculator that takes into account your activity level rather than just an equation. Teen calorie needs range from 1600-3200 per day depending on age, size and activity level.

Anyway, always check with your doctor or dietitian to ensure you are meeting your growth and nutritional needs. Severely restricting calories can lead to health issues.


Woman counting calories in the food in front of her


Recommended Weight Loss Program for Teen

For many teens, joining a structured weight loss program can provide the guidance, support and accountability needed to successfully achieve weight loss goals. Look for programs that take a holistic approach with a focus on:

  • Balanced nutrition education
  • Fun physical activity promotion
  • Building self-esteem and body image
  • Developing healthy lifestyle habits
  • Supportive peer groups and coaching
  • Run by qualified professionals

Here are some of the top weight loss programs for teens to consider:

Healthy Weight Program

  • 12 week family-based program for youth ages 11-16
  • Meet weekly with registered dietitian, behavioral counselor, medical provider
  • Teaches nutrition, healthy behaviors, coping strategies
  • Customized food and activity plans
  • Available in-person or online/app options

Kurbo by WW

  • Popular app-based program designed for teens
  • Uses traffic light system to guide food choices
  • Coaches provide support and accountability
  • Promotes portion control, nutrition balance, exercise
  • Fun rewards program keeps teens motivated

MyPlate for Teens by USDA

  • Provides free resources and tools online
  • Helps teens learn about nutrition, fitness and wellness
  • Interactive quizzes, weight management tips, recipes
  • Encourages teens to find their healthy eating style

YMCA Teen Weight Loss Program

  • 12 week program with weekly meetings
  • Led by trained wellness coaches & dietitians
  • Group workouts, nutritional lessons, peer support
  • Teaches healthy habits for whole family
  • Develops skills for emotional eating and self-image

Finding a structured program tailored to teens provides medical oversight, an built-in support network, and increases accountability. This sets teens up for safe, sustainable success.



How Many Calories a Teenage Girl Should Eat to Lose Weight 

Once you know your calorie needs and the program you choose, the next step is setting a realistic weight loss goal. The recommended rate of weight loss for teens is about 1-2 pounds per week. This is considered a safe, sustainable rate that helps you develop lasting healthy habits.

To lose 1 pound per week, you’ll need a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. This can be achieved through:

  • Reducing food intake by 250 calories
  • Increasing exercise to burn an extra 250 calories

To lose 2 pounds per week, you’ll need a 1000 calorie per day deficit. This might involve:

  • Cutting 500 calories from your diet
  • Burning 500 extra calories through exercise

Cutting more than 500-750 calories from your diet is not recommended, as it becomes difficult to meet your nutritional needs. The rest of the deficit should come from extra physical activity.

Here are some tips for reaching your calorie deficit each day:

  • Move more – aim for 60-90 minutes of heart-pumping activity like walking, running, swimming, sports, dancing. Strength training is important too for building muscle.
  • Snack smart – 100 calorie snacks like an apple with peanut butter, lowfat string cheese, veggies and hummus, hard boiled egg, small handful of nuts.
  • Size down – get single serve portions or share larger servings; use smaller plates.
  • Skip empty calories – limit foods with little nutritional value like sugary drinks, flavored snacks, and desserts.
  • Meal prep – plan ahead and pack healthy snacks and meals for the day to avoid impulsive choices.

The most sustainable approach is making small swaps and increasing movement rather than extreme restriction. Patience and consistency are key – losing 1-2 lbs per week will lead to major progress over time!


Increase Physical Activity


Teen woman doing sprint outside to lose weight

Exercise and movement are absolutely critical for weight loss. Increased activity helps burn extra calories to create a deficit, builds metabolism-boosting muscle, reduces body fat, and improves energy levels and fitness.

Teens should aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity per day. This includes all types of heart-pumping exercise like:

  • Walking
  • Jogging/running
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Sports – basketball, soccer, tennis etc.
  • Dance classes
  • Aerobics or cardio classes
  • Circuit training
  • Active play/games

In addition, it’s important to incorporate 2-3 days per week of strength training. This can be done at home using bodyweight, resistance bands, or lightweight dumbbells. Strength training builds muscle mass which increases resting metabolism.

Here are some tips for staying active:

  • Find exercises you genuinely enjoy – you’ll be more likely to stick with them. Experiment to find what you love!
  • Set reminders to break up sedentary time. Aim for a 5-10 minute movement break every hour if sitting for long periods.
  • Schedule workouts in your calendar to create accountability. Treat them like any other appointment.
  • Do activities with friends, family or sports teams to stay motivated.
  • Track your activity with a wearable device or app to keep yourself on target.
  • Only spend 1 hour or less on non-active recreational screen time per day.

Making movement a daily habit is critical for weight loss and overall health. Find ways to increase your steps and work activity into your normal routine. The more you move, the better you’ll feel!


Make Smart Food Choices

Nutrition is just as important as exercise when it comes to weight loss. To reach your daily calorie target, focus on eating foods that are low in calorie density and high in nutrients. These foods will fill you up on fewer calories, control hunger, and provide energy for your active lifestyle.

Aim to fill at least half your plate at each meal with non-starchy veggies and fruits. These are very low in calories and packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Great choices include:

  • Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots, cabbage, green beans, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, snap peas
  • Apples, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, melon, grapefruit, peaches, pears, plums

Choose whole grain carbohydrates – they digest slower to keep you fuller longer. Go for oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread, popcorn.

Pick lean proteins like chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, beans and lentils. These give you energy and help you build muscle.

Healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butters enhance nutrient absorption and promote satiety.

Drink plenty of water – aim for 8-12 cups per day. Being even mildly dehydrated can cause fatigue, headache, and false hunger cues.

Limit highly processed foods like chips, cookies, fast food, sugary drinks, fruit juices, white bread – these are calorie dense but provide minimal nutrition.

Watch portion sizes – use smaller plates, weigh or measure servings, avoid going back for seconds unless still truly hungry.

Meal prep – spend time on weekends batch cooking healthy meals and snacks for the week ahead. Planning ahead helps you stick to your calorie target.

Making balanced nutrition a priority will make reaching your weight loss goals so much easier. Focus on nourishment, variety and moderation – not restriction.


Final Thoughts

Achieving a healthy weight during your teen years is very achievable when you take a smart, safe approach. Calculate your calorie needs, set realistic goals, increase activity, fuel your body well, seek support and focus on lifelong habits.

With commitment to consistency and self-compassion, you can get to a weight that feels great both physically and mentally. The journey has its challenges, but you have so many resources to help you succeed! Stay focused on your reasons “why” and the rest will fall into place one small step at a time. You’ve got this!