The best weight loss plan for teen girls starts with accepting the fact that skipping meals will sabotage your weight loss efforts.

Going long periods without food, especially when you’ve been exercising, will most likely slow down your metabolism.

There are exceptions, but for many teenage girls, this will be the result.

And this will make losing weight difficult.

When teen girls go long periods without food, this teaches their body to STORE fat, rather than burn fat and lose pounds.

This is because your body, being deprived of food for long stretches of time, won’t “know” when the next meal or snack is.

The body then becomes better at holding onto stored fat, and storing even more fat from food when it finally comes.

Teen girls often skip breakfast, and if they eat anything at lunch, it’s often a few bites of something, or maybe a soda and potato chips.

For teen girls trying to lose weight, a chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, and fruit juice or skim milk, will be far more satisfying, and contribute to your weight loss plan.

I’m assuming that if you’re a teen girl reading this article, you are overweight, even if by 10 pounds.

Some teen girls are obsessed with losing weight, even though they are already on the thin side.

If you’re a teen girl on the heavy side, keep reading.

You must eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and somewhere along the way, a snack or two in between meals.

Focus on fruit, natural fruit juices, vegetables, whole grains, chicken, fish and beans, and go light on beef.

Try to enjoy beef and potatoes without the gravy, which is 100 calories per tablespoon.

Exercise BEFORE you eat, not after. Exercising before you eat will make your body more efficiently utilize calories from the after-workout meal.

It’s perfectly okay for teen girls to lift weights. Teen girls will not injure themselves if they use proper form and start with light weights.

In fact, lifting weights causes far fewer injuries to teen girls, percentage-wise, than other physical activities that are more common for teen girls, such as soccer, lacrosse, basketball and running.

Chest Press. Shutterstock/Travelerpix

Lifting weights will fuel weight loss, shape and tone your body, and that includes toning the stomach and slimming the waist.

Leg Press. Shutterstock/Aleksey Boyko

Adding lean muscle will raise resting metabolism. For weight loss, please do not take up smoking.

If a teen girl starts smoking in the name of losing weight, you will one day be saddled with the ongoing struggle of trying to quit this stinky, expensive, harmful habit.

Look around you at a crowded outdoor area; you’ll see plenty of fat women smoking.

A teen girl might lose a little weight from smoking, but she’ll eventually gain that weight back, and even more, as she gets older and increasingly tired from lack of exercise and lack of lung power.

If you want to put something long and slender in your mouth, make it a carrot or celery stick.

Teen girls should include cardio exercise for their weight loss plan, several times a week. 20 minutes of vigorous cycling, walking, stepping, dancing, swimming, kicking, or use of a cardio machine all count as effective exercise.

Finally, skip the diet pills. These are drugs that will not teach your body to become naturally efficient at burning up fat.

Lastly, if you’re a teenage girl struggling to lose weight, don’t take laxatives and don’t take diet pills. Stay natural, stay clean, stay healthy.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.