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stfuitzshawna
stfuitzshawna asks:
Q:

I am a 17 year old student at high school and I'm found to be quite pretty. But I'm  overweight and that's my biggest thing in school.

I am overweight :( But found to be pretty and I just think that people say I am pretty to make me feel better.
In Topics: Self esteem and identity, Teen issues, Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
May 19, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Being 17 yrs. old can be very stressful especially when it seems like the amount of friends you have and the way you look are the most important things.  It's a great compliment that people believe that you are pretty.  You should believe it too!!  Everyone has certain characteristics that make them beautiful.  However, you know as well as anyone that inner beauty is just as important as outer beauty!  Friends that love you no matter what you look like are true friends.  

If you think you are overweight try talking to your doctor about safe and effective ways to lose some weight and live healthier.  Simply walking for a few miles each day is very good for your body and can easily help you get more in shape.  Remember, don't try to start a weight loss plan before contacting your doctor first.  

I know peer pressure to look good and fit in is very strong in high school.  Remember that each of us has gifts and talents that make us beautiful in many different ways.  If your life begins to focus too much on your physical beauty, you will lose sight of having fun and enjoying the people around you that like you for exactly who you are.  If you feel like your self-esteem is suffering right now stop in and talk to the school counselor for a few minutes about your feelings.  It helps to get things off your chest!

Take Care
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (6)

PaulaE.
PaulaE. writes:
Pretty girls come in all sizes.  The words that come out of your mouth show the world if you are pretty or not on the inside. It sounds like You are.  
As someone who had recently gained a major amount of weight I sympathize. In high school though, I had the opposite problem. No one is happy with their bodies in high school.
This may sound weird but I find watching "What not to Wear" on TV to be helpful.  Basically you want tops to be long enough to cover bulges and bottoms, but not so big you look like you are wearing a tent. You want to show you have a waist but not look like you out grew your outfit.  V-necks create length and narrows.  Do your make-up and hair conservatively but stylish.
Unfortunately jerks will be jerks. Ignore them.
Eat healthy, exercise, see the doctor and all that.
Most of all the best thing you can wear is a smile.  That sounds lame but is true.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Beauty is only skin deep :) A beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most people do not realize it, but different perceptions of one person can vary. The most important one is how you view yourself. We tend to be our harshest critics. But in reality, you are very special b/c there is only one of you. I would write down some things that make you special. Then, focus on these attributes and set goals for the weight. If you want to lose weight, I would do it right. Don't stop eating and starve yourself, this will only cause health issues and lead to further weight gain. Make an appointment to your doctor with your parent or see a specialist about weight loss. Sit down and come up with a healthy plan. Most of time if you increase your exercise and choose better foods ( veggies instead if chips), this will make a positive change. However, some adults and children do have metabolism challenges this is why it is important to discuss it with a professional. I personally had people call me "snooty" in highschool, which was funny b/c they based that on how I looked until they actually got to know me, their opinion changed. So keep that ind ;)
> 60 days ago

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jmonson
jmonson writes:
I was also overweight in high school. Even if they aren't sincere ( and they very well may be), the fact that they want to make you feel better shows that they care about you. Focus on being a good friend and on activities, because being overweight is not an issue that should overshadow your entire life. If you do want to lose weight, talk to a doctor and then try to change just one thing instead of everything at once, like walking 10,000 steps a day, instead of your diet, exercise,etc. One thing that I have learned since high school is that everyone has their own issues that are just as important to them, so they probably aren't very concerned with yours. And know also, that God loves us no matter what size we are or what problems we have! :)
> 60 days ago

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Louiseasl
Louiseasl , Child Professional writes:
Hello and thank you for writing as I know there are other teens and parents who are seeking answers to similar questions.

Many fellow panelists have given great responses.  I think that at 17 you need to ask yourself some basic questions, regardless of size about eating habits and your overall health.  Even skinny people can have terrible eating and exercise habits and be very unhealthy.  

Here is what I would ask yourself (and be honest):

Are you healthy as determined by a physician? If you have not had a recent physical consider getting one.

 If you are overweight, is it more genetic (your family are above the average)?

Are you healthy based on medical standards (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.)

Do you try and practice portion control and eat a diverse set of foods (such as fruits, vegetables, meats and grains)?

Can you help with meal preparation to introduce healthier foods to your family meal time, if needed.

Do you get daily exercise?

Do you snack after dinner?  (And is it a healthy snack or not?)

Do you eat when stressed, upset, tired?

Do you practice unsafe habits such as binging and purging?  If so, please seek professional help or confide in a school counselor.

After you have answered these questions, you can then determine how to go forth about trying to gain control, if needed, of your eating habits.

 Groups such as Weight Watchers have an excellent program and are accustomed to working with teens. They do not promote unrealistic body weight or body image.  They strive to make all of their clients healthy.  

Please note that at 17 you have many years ahead of you for making new friends, furthering your education and attaining career goals.  Yet, the most key element in success will be that you are happy with yourself as a "package" and that includes mainly the  "inside" of you  (your talents, capacity to learn, ability to establish good relationships, etc.) and a bit of the outside.

My grandmother who was small and a bit overweight use to tell me all kinds of sayings from the "old country" to help me feel better about my short stature and "non-skinny" build.  ( I also wanted straight hair like all my friends, but got really curly hair instead!)  She use to tell me that great things come in packages of all sizes. You need to open them up to see what is truly valuable. She use to say things like a pebble  in a small box with fancy packaging is still a pebble.  Yet, an television in a big unmarked box may not look as fancy on the outside, but the value for day to day living far exceeds that of a single pebble.  I hope this little analogy helps you to understand that you are of great value!

Please see the websites I have added below.

Good luck and please let us know how you are doing.

Regards,

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Owner of Signing Families

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angiez_online
angiez_online writes:
My first thought was..."what a smart kid"! You not only identified what the problem is, but you also identified with your friends trying to make you feel better. Sounds like the making of a wonderful person.
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi!

You are talking about two different topics.

Pretty is referred to by the way one acts, treats others, facial features such as eyes, mouth, nose and how it all comes together.

Overweight is a health condition.

I'm sure that when you're told that you are pretty, they mean it---YOU are pretty!

Overweight though is a medical concern that at 17 years old, you should address now.  Now don't misunderstand me, some people who lack maturity or just basically or not as "pretty" may make rude comments about ones weight, but others who are more concerned about your (or anyones) health, will just refer to it as something that you should be aware of for your own health benefits.

If you are concerned that your weight is over an ideal zone for you, you should visit a health care provider and discuss these issues.  Be certain that you don't suffer from other medical conditions that could cause weight gain and discuss what would be an ideal weight for you and how to achieve it.  You may want to visit with a nutritionist to plan a healthier menu that would include exercise and a proper schedule (as what times of day you eat, sleep,etc).  They will be able to monitor your blood pressure, check for vitamin deficiencies and record your progress, change your calorie intake if necessary and educate you in what would be a healthy lifestyle.  

I recommend that you get started with this, and achieve an ideal healthy appearance to go with your natural beauty and then you can have a complete package of intelligence, pretty & healthy.

I wish you all the luck and strength it takes to reach your goals!
 
Please, stay in touch and let us know about your progress.  We here at education.com or here to help and root for you all the way.  Please contact us with any concerns and questions that you may have or just for a little support as you go through your lifestyle changes.  

Best Wishes!
Karen

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