ABOUT THIS BOOK
Going through puberty means you're going through a series of dazzling physical, intellectual, and emotional changes called the growth spurt.
But it's really not a spurt. It actually takes a few years.
If you're going through puberty, you're in the process of gaining half of your adult bone mass and weight, the last inches of your height, and the ability to reproduce.
At the same time, you're beginning to think more critically. You're acquiring the intellectual and emotional ability to make decisions, including healthy food and lifestyle choices.
AND ALL OF THIS IS HAPPENING AT ONCE!
In order to support this rapid growth, you have very specific needs for food and physical activity.
Be Healthy! It's a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness, and Feeling Great will help you understand the basic information you need to stay healthy and fit.
And feel great.
AND HAVE A GOOD TIME DOING IT
Be Healthy! It's a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness, and Feeling Great gives you the lowdown on how your body uses food; ideas for boosting the nutritional value of what you love to eat, choosing from a fast-food menu, and shopping for food; information on how to link food and physical activity with fun and friendship; and advice on how to think positively and keep your spirits up, how to initiate change by advocating for yourself and friends, and how, when, and where to ask for help when you need 'it.
Involve your friends, family, teachers, and health care professionals (physician, pediatrician, nurse, registered dietitian) in evaluating the information in these pages and putting it to work for you in the context of your own cultural traditions, family structure, school environment, economic circumstances, and community.
Be Healthy! It's a Girl Thing: Food, Fitness, and Feeling Great will help you
• Have more energy
• Improve your ability in sports, exercise, and active games
• Focus and concentrate better in school
• Reduce stress and worries
• Boost your spirits
• Look your best
• Appreciate yourself for who you are
• Counter the negative influence of the media (like TV and magazines) on your food choices and your self-image
• Work toward getting more nutritious food and more choices for safe, fun physical activity in your school
• Up your chances of being healthy as an adult
• Establish and maintain a beautiful, powerful presence as you move through the world.
Even if you live in the middle of a city and are surrounded by concrete and buildings, you're connected to the earth.
Above your head the moon rises and the sky sizzles with stars, whether you can see them or not.
Below your feet the ground brings forth life in the form of plants–plants that enrich the air you breathe, plants with beautiful, delicate flowers, plants that can fascinate and shade and feed you.
Plants provide food and shelter for animals–animals that gallop or stroll across the land and moo or oink, quack and flap their wings and lay eggs, flip from streams, glide in the sky, ride the tide, cling to the rocks onshore.
You are a 100 percent natural, organic, living being on a planet that can nurture and comfort and energize you–and astound you. Food, physical activity, water, sunshine, and sleep can be balanced to support your healthy growth, peak physical, intellectual, and emotional performance, and a true sense of well-being.
PLANTS AND ANIMAL FOODS PROVIDE NUTRIENTS FOR PEOPLE
Nutrients are substances we absolutely, positively must have for energy, growth, and metabolism.
Don't let the word metabolism throw you. Metabolism is a set of chemical reactions organized in the body that allow you to grow, breathe, have your heart beat, digest food, maintain your body's temperature, and do other things that happen inside you.
Your body always, in all ways, uses energy–even when you sleep. In addition to growth and metabolism, it takes energy for your muscles to contract, which is how you move.
SO WHERE DO YOU GET IT?
Only certain nutrients in plant and animal foods have the potential to provide energy: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
In food, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats appear by themselves or in combination with one another.
Nuts have all three working for you, along with a laundry list of vitamins and minerals that help your body do its thing.
Vitamins and minerals are also nutrients, but they don't provide energy. Instead, they help Your body do stuff that it can't do without them–like form red blood cells and fight infections.
Foods contain different combinations of nutrients and have the possibility (potential) of producing different amounts of energy. The potential is measured in units called calories.
Extra energy (after meeting your growth and metabolic needs), regardless of whether it's in the protein, carbohydrate, or fat you eat, is stored as body fat. Reserves of energy stored as fat are converted back into usable energy only when you are in an energy-deficit state, that is, burning more calories than you take in.
Everybody has body fat and needs it. Fat cells are deposited just under your skin and insulate you from the cold. Fat helps keep your body warm and protects your internal organs; it holds them in place and acts like a cushion.
During puberty in girls, fat tissues increase as part of breast development. Hips and thighs change in size and shape in anticipation of a girl's bearing children someday.
Expect it. It's normal.
From the Trade Paperback edition.