Health & Wellness Articles

A Teen's Guide to Weight and Body Confidence

What You Need to Know about Weight, Body Shape and More

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As a teen, your weight and body are changing in a lot of ways that you might not want any part of. You might be worried about gaining too much weight, or just feel awkward of self-conscious about how you look. SparkTeens cares about you and your body, so we developed this guide to help you understand what you can and can't control when it comes to your changing body.

We recommend that you take your time reading this guide. You can start by clicking on topics that appeal to you, or by reading the guide in order.

Your Changing Body: What's Normal?
Your Weight
Types of Bodies: How They're Different
Are You at a Healthy Weight?
Building Body Confidence
Strategies to Boost Your Body Image

Your Changing Body: What's Normal?
During adolescence, your body will change. It's normal for your body to begin looking less like a child's and more like that of an adult. One of the biggest developments that teens experience is physical maturity, which changes the body composition of both guys and girls.

You may want your body composition to be different, but your body is programmed from birth to prepare for adulthood and like it or not, this includes weight and shape changes during adolescence. Guys maintain a fairly consistent level of body fat before and after puberty, but will develop two times more muscle mass during adolescence than girls do. The body of an adult man is usually leaner, taller and stronger than that of a woman's. On the other hand, girls will gain body fat during puberty (in the breasts, butt and thighs), and this is a normal and necessary change for physical maturation. An adult woman's body is usually curvier than a man's, and this extra body fat is necessary for everything from menstruation to pregnancy. Check out the physical changes that teens can usually expect:

Guys Have… Girls Have…
30 billion fat cells 30 billion fat cells
Smaller fat cells Larger fat cells
  More fat cells in their waist   More fat cells in their lower body
"Apple-shaped" bodies "Pear-shaped" bodies
Greater muscle mass Greater body fat
The hormone testosterone The hormone estrogen

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Member Comments

  • 18-25 BMI is what is healthy from what I know. Not that being a bit above or bellow is very serious if your body has a different frame. - 3/29/2014 8:09:27 PM
  • Here it says BMI is between 18 and 27, but SparkTeens told me a good BMI range was 15 to 22. So which one is right? - 3/28/2014 6:07:29 PM
  • Love it:) - 1/26/2013 12:57:45 PM
  • as far as body type, only 6 months ago i was athletic/slinder, and now when i look in the mirror i see a big blob. my boobs, my legs, my stomach... it all looks bloated and gross to me. and no, its not just mind over matter, it that i actually gained 30 lbs in 6 months. thats 5 lbs a month!!! thats terrible!!!!!!!

    i dont think it has to do with how i was born, i think it has to do with being in control. - 8/9/2012 12:18:22 PM
    Why are they encouraging us to be in denial about our bodies? We need to realize that we need to change for the better, not give excuses as to why we "can't" look like models. Of couse we can look like models! Body type has nothing to do with that!
    - 2/24/2012 5:35:47 PM
    This is my favorite article :) This really helped me view other bodies and mine differently. - 11/25/2010 7:15:01 PM
    this article is so great, it really helped. i'm someone with low self esteem (i've been that way for ages) and i'm working on it!! - 9/7/2009 8:00:34 PM
    Thank you so much! I always disliked my body, even though I eat right and exercise daily. Now I know that it is just part of me, and I should love it anyways. - 9/4/2009 9:56:42 AM
    As far as confidence goes, I know that I first got some confidence back after watching the video below. Some people would say that it encourages pride in being overweight, but personally, I think it's really helpful as it shows you, firstly, you're not alone, and secondly, being fat isn't a horrible tragedy. No, it's not GOOD, but it doesn't make you any less of a person.

    A Fat Rant, by Joy Nash
    ?v=yUTJQIBI1oA - 7/10/2009 6:33:42 PM
  • I feel really great aftet reading this articl. I liked how it told you all the ways on how you can be more cofident about your body. - 5/3/2009 11:41:27 PM
    i loved the bit about complimenting yourself, i think it's really easy to get into just focussing on negatives and forget to do that. i'm really going to work on this now and i'm going to promise not to think anything about myself now that i wouldn't say to my best friends. thankyouuu, really good advice :) - 4/30/2009 7:01:52 PM
  • This helped sp much! I love reading it when I'm feeling down about myself. - 3/28/2009 12:19:27 PM
  • KGAJA14
    This was a great article! I really feel better about myself now! Thanks! - 3/28/2009 12:17:16 PM
  • Thanks! this article was very helpful - 3/5/2009 4:39:52 AM
    Thank you for this article! I really enjoyed reading it. Sometimes I feel insecure about my body, even when people tell me I have no reason to. It's good to be reminded that a) others feel the same way I do and b) body changes are totally normal! Thanks again. :) - 2/8/2009 3:57:55 PM

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