Strict diets are not a good idea, especially during your teenage years – your body is growing fast, your developing nervous system is forming essential connections, and you need good levels of the right nutrients. To be healthy, you need to eat enough food and a good balance of different foods – diets limit both the overall amount of food and the range of foods you can eat.

This is a time in your life when you will probably become more aware of your body, and you may feel pressure from your friends, peers or social media to look a certain way. This pressure can lead some people to over-exercise, skip meals and follow diets and, in extreme cases, this can lead to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

Find out if you’re overweight; if you are, you will do yourself much more good if you stick to a balanced diet, cut down on foods that contain lots of sugar and fat (such as sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks and fast food) and get plenty of exercise.

If you’re worried about your weight, please talk to a trusted adult about it. Sometimes we can have a distorted view of ourselves and think there is a problem with our size and shape when really there isn’t. Your school nurse or GP will also be able to give you straightforward, sensible advice.

You will find great tips on healthy eating for teenagers from the British Nutrition Foundation here and some sound advice about eating disorders here.

Also read our page on:

Eating disorders