teenager now underweight

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teenager now underweight

Postby khjeffords » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:31 pm

I'm hoping someone can give me some pointers. Our whole family (my husband, myself, and I) began a WFPB diet about a year ago using the guidelines provided in Maximum Weight Loss. My son, age 15, has lost 87 pounds in that time. We never restricted the amounts he ate, made sure he got lots of starch and legumes and never restricted plant based fats like nuts, seeds, and nut butter. He reached his goal weight last month, but has continued to lose weight this month. Ideally, as he is still growing, I'd like his weight to stay around 180 which is the top of the "normal" scale for his height of 6'3". He has dropped down to 174 and is having a really hard time keeping the weight on. Do you have any tips for growing teenagers, and how much do I need to worry about him being on the lower side of normal weight weight while growing? Thanks for your help!
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Re: teenager now underweight

Postby jamietwo » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:53 pm

Congratulations on transitioning your whole family to this healthy lifestyle! Your son will arrive at the weight that is right for him by eating this way. At the weight he is now (174), he is still at a BMI of ~ 21.7. If you plug in a weight of 150 at his height and age, he'll still be a healthy weight, so he has lots of wiggle room. I raised a 6'3" son eating this way (lifelong), and he has always been slim ... and healthy!
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Re: teenager now underweight

Postby michaelswarm » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:45 pm

Jeff Novick has commented it is better to be in the bottom half of normal BMI (21.75-18.5). But depends on personal goals. Resistance exercise is good for adding muscle weight. Depending on genes, over 2-3 years we can be talking 10-20+ lbs muscle. If your son already exercises and has trouble keeping the weight on, there are multiple WFPB bodybuilders with adjustments to habits, that amount to increased calorie density, more calories, more frequent meals, larger portions, etc.

My kids are 4, 5 and 7. Too young for the gym. I encourage them to get outside, run and swim, etc.

Congratulations for getting the whole family on board, especially a teenager!
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Re: teenager now underweight

Postby NYDCTash1 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 5:05 pm

My daughter is 16 and 5 foot 5 inches. She has been vegetarian her whole life and vegan since 1/15/2021. She kept gaining weight until July 1st, 2021, when we started trying this diet, so cutting out oils and nut butters. Within 3 months she went from 150 pounds to 125. She was thrilled, as was I! She also exercises vigorously 6 days a week.

Unfortunately, she hasn't had her period since last August. We went to her naturopath today for a different issue and the doctor said she had lost another 10 pounds and now the doctor's worried because she hasn't had her period in 173 days. And she mentioned words like 'famine' and needing to get bloodwork done. I am now a bit panicked and my daughter doesn't want to gain weight again. So many of her friends have EDs, I don't want to go down that route! Help!
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Re: teenager now underweight

Postby Lyndzie » Wed Jan 19, 2022 7:44 pm

A height of 5’5” and 115 lbs is a BMI of 19.1, is well within the healthy range. That being said, skipping periods points to something being off. Eating when hungry until comfortably full of appropriate foods is good guidance for all ages. I’m no doctor, but you might want to get someone who went to med school to run some blood work and see what is amiss.

(As an anecdote, I am 5’3” and was down to 98 lbs at one point in high school, and my periods were like clockwork. This may not be weight related at all.)
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Re: teenager now underweight

Postby NYDCTash1 » Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:07 pm

Thank you so much for your reply. She has requested getting bloodwork done, so we'll look into that. She seems to eat a lot to me, always eating until she's full and eating a lot of variety... Unfortunately the periods stopped right when we started this, so it at least appears to be linked. It's good to know that might not be the case.
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