The information below can apply to anyone, but I put it together for youths that are trying to make a particular weight in their sport.
Below reflects the opinion of Whiz Kids Sports, and we also refer you to what we consider to be, information you should consider. We are not saying to parents, coaches, athletes, etc..., that we're recommending that you do what is described below. By pursuing any of the practices described below or anywhere on this website, you are performing them at your own risk. Whiz Kids Sports will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of trying to emulate what we have described or made available for you to consider.
I am not an advocate of any particular diet. What I believe in greatly, is trying to establish good habits for a life time. I include a lot of technical info below, but the bottom line in my opinion, is like me, you need to change your identity and actually become the person that can carry out the good habits and reduce and eliminate the bad ones to the point where it is not a strain to live a healthy lifestyle. To fall short along the way is ok, provided you get back up and try again. Sheer will power, typically, will only take you so far.
Books that I feel that can help in this area include BREAKING THE FOOD SEDUCTION, EAT TO LIVE, EAT TO LIVE COOK BOOK, and HOW TO LIVE FOR LIFE THE END OF DIETING.
First we must consider the individual’s body type, and what may be an acceptable amount and rate of weight loss. If possible consult a health professional; doctor, nutritionist, etc…, that is qualified in the area of youth weight loss. Seeking education and acting on the proper information in this area is vital!
Excessive loss of muscle mass and a slowing of the metabolism can occur when calories are restricted too much. Muscle loss can be minimized and a sufficient metabolic rate can be maintained when the restriction of calories is modest, intake of enough protein, a balanced intake of carbohydrate and fat, and if possible do some resistance exercises that are appropriate. Our bodies burn calories even as we sleep, but of course more calories are burned during physical activity. Be sure the athlete is consuming enough calories to support his/her activity level.
In addition to team practices, many youngsters have enough energy to do some type of supplemental exercise to burn more calories at the appropriate times. Rather than just sitting around and playing video games or watching television, many can participate in safe but active play, or something similar. Consulting a Fitness Professional may be very helpful here. If the individual is mature enough, safely using a treadmill, or something similar may also be an option. Please, however; don't let this lead to over-training. Be sure the athlete gets enough rest and sleep.
As for diet, it is suggested that we eat 4-6 small meals per day (every 3 hours or so). This is tough for kids to do during the school year, but too much time between meals slows our metabolism and trains our body to hold onto fat, since it knows that more food won’t be coming anytime soon.
According to registered dietician Stephanie Bowles, flexibility is needed to allow for the various schedules and activities within each family. Establishing cut off eating times and other unnecessarily restrictive decisions can result in disordered eating for kids. In terms of healthy snacks, Bowles also adds;"I would include healthy snack options, such as a protein source combined with a carbohydrate source. By adding protein with a carbohydrate source, the snack is not absorbed as readily, leaving a sense of fullness or satiety. In other words, there is a slower release of energy from carbohydrates. The combination of protein with carbohydrates is also beneficial in that carbohydrates assist
the muscles in using protein more effectively".
Our main focus should be to provide enough nutritious food to support good health; utilizing appropriate portions; and hopefully having recipes that make the food taste good while staying within an acceptable calorie range. The “Food Guide Pyramid” is also a very useful tool in helping us achieve a balanced diet. Getting a registered dietician involved is very wise here.
Lastly, it is a mistake to go into a training session hungry, and to wait too long before eating after the workout is over. The body needs the nutritional support of an appropriate pre and post workout meal.
Safe weight loss is gradual weight loss, about two pounds per week, with a focus on attempting to lose body fat.Those that had the foresight to adopt a sound weight loss strategy during the off-season and/or early pre-season should be commended, but I’d also like to extend caution to those attempting quick weight loss.
The difference in your athlete’s weight before and immediately following a training session, for the most part is a reflection of how much fluid was lost, rather than how much fat was burned.As the person drinks fluids, a lot of that weight will come back, as it should.One of the more dangerous quick weight loss methods is to deprive a person of fluids before exercise, and then further deny fluids during and after exercise. This can even lead to death! Important factors in how much harm is done, are how much and how fast the dehydration.Individuals differ, and no one can identify with certainty when an athlete is entering the danger zone in regards to dehydration! Plastic suits, extra layers of clothing, and other practices that don’t allow the body to properly cool can also be very harmful; as can diuretics, which increase urine output and can affect electrolyte balance.
One safe weight loss tip concerning water weight is to examine the sodium intake of the athlete. Sodium is very import for the maintenance of our health and certainly should not be eliminated, but consuming too much sodium can lead to excessive water retention. The average American consumes far more than the 2300 mg that the USDA sets as the standard for our maximum intake. Processed foods like fast foods, frozen foods, and salty snack foods are typically very high in sodium. So start reading labels and add up your milligrams, but I repeat; sodium is very important to the maintenance of health, and you should consult your doctor with questions about specific needs of the person in question, and about the appropriate minimum sodium standards. I would also suggest that you consult the appropriate doctor for any quick weight loss strategies.
At the end of the day; please be open to the possibility that a higher weight class may be best for your athlete. This may be what is necessary so that the athlete is able to eat properly throughout the season, and to build muscle instead of losing muscle because of inadequate nutrition.
The safest long term strategy for weight loss in overweight people is to focus on attempting to lose fat by a modest restriction of calories, trying to simply burn more calories than is taken in. The use of the “My Plate App” and the help of a licensed dietician can help you plan for a balanced and health enhancing diet.