Dear Dr. Wallace:
I’m not sure I can attend my cousin’s wedding because I really packed on some extra pounds on my 5-foot-3-inch frame over the holidays. Her wedding is in three months, and I need to lose at least 15 pounds.
My sister suggested that I just go on an intermittent fasting diet for the next three months. Will this diet hurt me? I’m 16 years old, and I do have a propensity to gain weight rather quickly if I eat too many rich, high-calorie foods.
— Seeking a Solution, via email
Dear Seeking A Solution: Intermittent fasting is pretty simple. You eat within a shortened period of time each day, and you fast the rest of the time. If you’re not eating right now, you’re fasting. And if you extend your fast a bit longer, you can benefit from it. This actually can transform your eating habits such that you eat less food overall, since you only eat within a relatively short window of time each day. Those who fast intermittently usually eat all of their food within a window of time between eight to 10 hours.
Typically, an individual might eat only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 or 8 p.m., for example. After that time, only water is consumed, in any amount the faster wishes. It typically is a bit tricky to get started, but once an individual gets into a routine, his or her body adjusts, and it becomes easier to stick to. As with all diets, please check with your family doctor in advance to ask if an intermittent fasting diet is suitable for your particular health profile.
Weight management can be a major benefit of intermittent fasting, and for some individuals, this eating schedule provides big payoffs over time and can be helpful for regulating insulin while maintaining a healthy weight.
Dear Dr. Wallace: I live with my parents in Los Angeles, and my teenage brother and I are pretty close. We’re just two years apart, but we are different in a lot of ways. We boys often talk to each other about how two kids from the exact same two parents can be so different.
Our parents both worry about everything we do in our lives. They love to focus on our grades, our citizenship at school, who our friends are and what we do when we are not home.
Neither one of us has gotten into any trouble at all for them to worry about. But despite this, they continue to hover over us and fret about everything we do or might do.
My brother recently told me he feels like they don’t trust us, and I kind of have to agree with him on this. What can I do to change this situation so that our parents can chill out a bit?
— Trouble-Free Brothers
Dear Trouble-Free Brothers: Are you completely sure you’re not giving your parents anything at all to worry about?
Most parents are concerned about their children’s overall well-being and physical health, as well as their performance in school. Believe it or not, this is a good sign and a good thing for you and your brother. Why? The alternative is much worse. Parents that take no or little interest in their children typically set those children up for failure. Over all the years I spent as a high school administrator, I saw a high correlation between students who got into serious trouble and parents who did not take much interest in those children.
Whether your parents worry more or worry less, it’s still your job to do well in school, behave yourself and treat others how you would like to be treated.
If you and your brother stick to the routine that has brought you this far, things will turn out fine. Someday, you may each become parents, and I trust you will each take great interest in your respective children and their lives.