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teen girl with pot and beer - Girl Zone

Making choices about what to welcome into your life....

By Shari Levine

Hair up? Hair down?
Shirt in? Shirt Out?
Walk to school? Take the bus?
Eat breakfast? Skip it?

You make a lot of choices EVERY day. Some of your choices have a big impact on your life, some don't. You've probably already heard way-more-than-you-want-to about what you should or shouldn't do. Every girl works hard to discover who she is and what she wants. How can a girl make healthy choices and STILL have fun? Check out Girl Zone's guide to making choices:

Consider all of your options -- look carefully and completely at ALL that is available to you. You wouldn't buy the first pair of shoes that you see, so don't get close to the first guy that asks you to!

Decide what you want -- think about what you really want, not what OTHER people want for you, or what they are choosing for themselves. You probably don't let other people choose which TV shows you watch so don't let them choose whether you should put drugs or toxins into your body!

Learn from your mistakes -- if you tried something that you did not like, DON'T do it again. If you ate a vegetable that made you gag, you wouldn't touch it again, so why smoke a second cigarette if the first one made you choke?

List the consequences of your choice the little ones AND the big ones, from getting a stomach ache from eating too many french fries or passing out after drinking too much alcohol. You know if you don't study that you won't do well on a test, so you gotta realize that if you aren't prepared, you could end up pregnant or terminally ill!

Be aware of the reasons why you are making choices -- is it because you are feeling pressure from friends or family, or is it something YOU truly want? You wouldn't let your friends pressure you into singing a solo in a musical if you didn't think you'd be comfortable doing it, so why let them pressure you into decorating your body in ways that really aren't what you want?

Is someone pressuring you to move in a little closer, baby?

When you choose to be intimate with another person, your decision can affect you for the rest of your life. Make sure that if you DO choose to be intimate that you use the proper protection to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. But even before you consider the consequences, remember to check out if intimacy is what YOU want. Are you emotionally ready to take this step? Are you choosing to do it because YOU want to? And remember if something makes you uncomfortable you can ALWAYS choose to NOT do it again!

Here today -- gone tomorrow. Oops, I mean, here today, still here tomorrow!

Body piercing and tattoos are all the rage in many areas. But decorating the human body is not a new thing. From the beginning of time, people in all cultures have used paint, jewelry, and other adornments to decorate their bodies. If you get a piercing or a tattoo you are choosing to make a permanent change to your skin. Making this choice may seem like the right thing to do now, but it might be something you regret someday. Think carefully before you make changes to your body that are permanent. Remember to ask yourself why you are doing it. Don't do it for others. It's your body!

You are what you eat.

Knowing what you should eat doesn't necessarily mean that you make healthy food choices. Several times each day you make choices about what to eat or drink. Junk food is really tempting, especially when you watch television advertisements that say Don't just sit there, eat something, and then tell you to eat Chi Chi's chips and salsa.

Actually what we often refer to as junk foods are not always lacking nutritional value. For example, pizza has a lot of nutritional value including calcium and protein from the cheese, carbohydrates from the crust, and vitamins from the tomato sauce. However, Doritos have little if any nutritional value. Yet, they taste good and they are a quick and easy snack to eat while you are on the go.

Picture yourself at a snack bar trying to choose between a banana or a bag of Doritos. They both cost the same, and they are both easy to eat while walking to your next class. How do you choose? What are you in the mood for? A sweet, smooth banana or crunchy, spicy chips? Think about how you will feel after eating each of these foods. After eating the banana your body will have energy and feel satisfied. After eating the Doritos, you will have sticky fingers, bad breath, and empty calories.


Not only are cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol unhealthy for your body, but a teen who uses them is breaking the law. Why do so many teens choose to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and take drugs? Maybe because certain drugs can provide temporary stress relief and a brief escape from negative feelings. But, the positive effects of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol are only temporary.

When you choose to put a drug into your body, you could be endangering your health. Before you take drugs, consider the consequences of your actions, some of which are felt immediately (as in a hangover) and some long-term (as in an addiction). Remember it's YOUR body. Don't let anyone else choose for you, AND always make sure that you know why you are making a choice and what the results of that choice will be.

Hang in there, girl; life is FULL of choices. Just keep yourself aware of what YOU want and of what the facts tell you, and you'll be fine. You might make mistakes, but remember, if it tastes bad, don't eat it again AND if it's not what YOU want, don't do it!