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Ep. 9 : Anamaria Pontes on Athletics and Weight Gain During Puberty


Weight gain during puberty is a common issue for female athletes. It’s not only an issue that could affect their health; it also leads to decreased performance, increased risk of injury, and lack of confidence. We try to address this in all of our Mo’ Motion programs and the kids who have had success are the ones who are able to discover what works for them and what doesn’t. I wanted to talk with someone who could shed some light on this difficult subject, so I reached out to Anamaria Pontes.  Anamaria a registered nutritionist who works alongside our previous guest, Dr. Lewis Gross. She provides nutrition counseling and education to her clients that enables them to achieve optimal health. In this conversation we cover a lot of issues that will be helpful to both students and parents, so make sure you listen.

My personal experience with the consequences of neglecting nutrition.

The older I get the more passionate I become about nutritional issues – and there are a couple of reasons for that. First, my mother died early from a battle with dementia. There was no history of that type of thing in her family, and growing up, I observed how she neglected her personal nutrition. I’m convinced her lack of self-care when it came to what she ate contributed to her condition and ultimately her death. Secondly, I struggled with energy, weight, and performance during my basketball career and as I’ve experimented with my diet I’ve discovered things that I wish I had known then. I don’t want the students I’m helping now to have those same drawbacks to deal with. That’s why Anamaria is on the show today, to give us the facts about nutrition, building good dietary habits, and to set us up for success on and off the court.

On how long you should take to eat: It’s actually a positive thing to take longer to finish your meals. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to get the signals from the body that you’re actually eating, so if you finish a meal in 19 minutes your body will still feel that it’s hungry and then you will go for more.

Weight gain during puberty is not simply a matter of removing fat from your diet.

One of the reasons girls have an issue with weight gain during puberty is because of the changes going on in their bodies. But often they are also fighting bad nutritional information their parents and the other adults around them received years ago. It’s not true that eating fat will make you fat. There are essential and healthy types of fat that everyone must have, and I’ve discovered personally that eating more of the right kinds of fat has contributed to me being the leanest I’ve been in my entire life. You can hear my guest, Nutritionist Annamarie Pontes, make recommendations for dealing with weight gain during puberty, on this episode of Mo’ Motion.

On how to discover if you are allergic or need to modify your diet: Be open minded. Observe how your body is now and remove one food group or one item – dairy, as we are talking about – go without it and see how you feel and you will get your answers right there.

How can parents talk with their student athletes about weight issues?

In my experience, parents often struggle to know how to talk to their kids about weight gain issues. It’s natural to be wary since nobody wants to make their kids feel more insecure about their bodies than they already do. They also don’t want to encourage a mindset about eating and diet that is unhealthy – so what should they do to help? On this episode, I’ve invited nutritionist Anamarie Pontes to give us the facts about nutrition, what’s going on in the body during adolescence, and a game-plan for addressing weight issues in both girls and boys during that time of life. I hope every parent listens to what she has to say and puts it into practice.

Heal, digest, and rest. It’s a formula for health that everybody needs.

As we spoke about weight issues Anamarie made a very important point. When your body is in a state of chronic stress it’s impossible to lose weight. It’s been scientifically proven. That means that the way many of us push ourselves can sometimes not only be unwise, it’s actually unhealthy on a number of levels. Nutritionist Anamarie Pontes says all of us must learn what our bodies need in terms of time to heal, digest, and rest – and provide it. That alone could address some of the weight issues kids experience during adolescence. Find out more, on this episode.

Outline of this episode

  • [0:27] Today’s guest, Anna Maria Pontes, nutritionist.
  • [3:45] The 3 most common mistakes kids make when it comes to nutrition.
  • [11:52] What makes for a good breakfast for athletes?
  • [14:46] The sugar roller coaster sets you up for a bad day – and life.
  • [19:05] How can a person know if they are allergic to things and make adjustments?
  • [23:58] How can parents and coaches foster a student-led nutritional mindset?
  • [29:50] Dealing with weight gain during puberty – for girls specifically.
  • [37:55] What about weight issues for boys? They typically want to gain weight during puberty.
  • [39:28] Food recommendations for student athletes and adults alike.
  • [42:21] How you can reach Anamaria.
  • [43:28] Anamaria’s morning recipe.

Resources Mentioned on this Episode


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