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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
May 1

Follow us on Twitter!

Posted By iamincontrol | May 1, 2014

Want to find out when IAMincontrol has a new post?  Follow us on Twitter @IAMincontrolIA for tweets about our posts and events for teens.  Retweet to share your favorite posts with your friends!
Nov 23

Bad Fads: How Fad Diets are Likely to Backfire on You

Posted By iamincontrol | November 23, 2017

New diets are being invented all the time. If you are looking to lose weight, it may be hard to decide what diet to try. Before we even begin talking about diets, we must stress that dieting in your teens is a tricky business. Since you are still growing and developing, not getting enough nutrients can have more extreme affects than they would on adults. It really isn’t a good idea to start a diet unless your doctor advises it. That being said, how does one choose a diet? Fad diets like the Paleo diet, low-carb diet, grapefruit diet, cookie diet, military diet, and juicing diet are attractive options. So what’s the problem with fad diets?

  1. They can make you gain weight once you stop. Fad diets often provide only short-term results and many people gain back more weight than when they started.
  2. They can leave you malnourished. Fad diets usually eliminate one or more food groups that often contain important nutrients that keep our muscles, hair, nails, organs, minds, and skin healthy.
  3. They can dehydrate you. Many fad diets cause you to lose water weight rather than fat. Dehydration can give you headaches and make you feel tired.
  4. They can make you feel like crap. In addition to headache and tiredness you get from dehydration, fad diets can cause diarrhea, constipation, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  5. They can make you sick. Poor nutrition lowers your immune system’s ability to fight off illnesses.
  6. They can lead to eating disorders. Fad diets often result in water loss followed by weight gain. This fluxing of the scale can cause a lot of anxiety and feelings of not being in control, which can develop into an eating disorder.

Now, how do we figure out which diets are just fads? Here are some signs:

  1. It eliminates one or more food groups. Not only does this eliminate important nutrients, it can make your cravings for those foods even stronger. No food is completely “bad”; we just need to limit those not-so-healthy foods.
  2. It isn’t something you can maintain for the rest of your life. Dieting is a lifestyle change that shouldn’t end once you reach your target weight or size.
  3. It guarantees you will lose a certain amount of weight or inches. This is a telltale sign of a fad diet. No healthy diet should make guarantees.
  4. It claims no exercise is needed. Everyone knows exercise is important to losing weight. Claims like this are a red flag!

Check out this article for more information about healthy eating as a teen

If you want to know a bit about the history of diets and the truth about “super foods” check out this vid!

Nov 21

Fact: People who get more sleep are more awesome

Posted By iamincontrol | November 21, 2017

Would you like to be better looking, do better in school, and just, plain, be more awesome? What do you need to do you may ask? Get enough sleep! Teens need more sleep than adults. The ideal amount is 9-10 hours, but 85% of teens do not get this much. Don’t be a part of this statistic!

When you get enough sleep, life is so much more enjoyable. Getting enough sleep makes it easier to stay awake during class, improves your memory when studying, and sharpens your focus to get your homework done quicker. In addition to better grades, people who get plenty of sleep are less likely to be overweight. For those of you who are athletes, getting enough sleep can help you improve your PRs (personal records).  Also, beauty sleep is real folks! Not only will you look better but you will feel better. Not getting enough sleep can make you grumpy. As it turns out, no one likes to hang out with a grump! Don’t be a grump!

So now that we have (hopefully) convinced you the benefits of sleep, you may be saying, “But I can’t fall asleep early enough to get 9-10 hours of sleep!” Luckily, there are ways to retrain yourself to get more Z’s. Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t drink any caffeine after 2pm.
  2. Avoid screen time right before bed.
  3. Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature.
  4. Use your bed for sleeping only so that you associate it only with sleeping.
  5. Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed

Need more proof? Check out this video!

Nov 16

Expiration dates: Are they hard deadlines?

Posted By iamincontrol | November 16, 2017

Have you ever noticed a label or stamp on your food from the grocery store that says “best if used by” or “sell-by”? Many of us use these dates to judge when perishable foods, like eggs, yogurt, or poultry, will expire or go bad, but is that what those dates actually mean? Manufacturers of the food product apply dating to help consumers and retailers identify when the food is of best quality. This information on perishable food does not mean that the food will be inedible the following day, but it may not be at its peak freshness.

Federal Law does not require manufacturers to place dates on foods except for baby food and formula, so then why do they do it? Frequently, manufacturers place labels on their product so they can protect the reputation of that food. They don’t want a consumer to eat food that is way past its quality date and become upset with the manufacturer that their food is not up to par. Fortunately, two large food industry groups are hoping to develop a standard food quality phrase so that consumers cut back on food waste. Hopefully, you will be able to see these changes within the next few years!

Overall, expiration dates or “best by” dates on food should be used more as guidelines for quality, not for safety concerns. So when deciding whether something is edible or not, check the date, but look at and smell the food as well. Typically, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until spoilage is obvious:

  • showing mold,
  • producing an odor
  • having an unusual texture

If you are ever unsure about the quality, throw it away. If you have any more questions about food quality labeling check out the USDA website at

For more information about how food quality dates became popular and how it affects our lives, check out these videos:

Nov 14

Recognizing Privilege

Posted By iamincontrol | November 14, 2017

You might have heard the phrase “check your privilege” about certain identities, such as white privilege, thin privilege, or straight privilege. Privilege means that certain groups have benefits that are automatically given to them if they fit in that group. We all have certain privileges but some have more or different privilege than others. If you have a certain type of privilege, it can be difficult to understand how your appearance, education, or neighborhood influences your choices, opportunities, or how they move through the world. However, if you don’t have as much privilege in society because of your family’s background, your skin color, or your weight, unfair differences can seem obvious.

For example, if you have able-bodied privilege because you can walk well and do not have to use a wheel chair, you most likely do not notice curbs or a sidewalk with broken concrete. You can simply walk over or around them. However, if you are in a wheelchair and can’t go to a concert with your friends because the entrance has stairs and no ramp, or there aren’t any wheelchair accessible bathrooms, how would you feel? You would probably be frustrated that the environment benefits people with able-bodied privilege. A big part of understanding your privilege is simply noticing how the environment or laws can make life harder for people who are different from you.

Learning about your privilege is not something that happens quickly or is always easy but that doesn’t mean we should quit trying! Seek out books, videos, and art made by people who have different identifies and perspectives from you. Listening is the first step to recognizing privilege and helping to make our communities better for everyone. or

Nov 9

Body Image Issues

Posted By iamincontrol | November 9, 2017

We can all be way too hard on ourselves, wishing for something to be different about ourselves. In today’s society the television and the internet are strongly influencing people on how they should look and how they should act. In high school, I started to feel very self-conscious about my weight so slowly day by day, I started to skip meals or only eat healthy food. Over just a couple weeks you could see significant weight loss, I looked very malnourished and unhealthy. I eventually realized that I should be able to eat what I want and still feel good about myself rather than hardly eating and being miserable. So I started to put weight back on, and funniest thing is I felt better about myself than I did when I was super thin. From then on, I decided that if I was going to lose weight I was going to do it the healthy way.

What is Body Image?

  • Your body image is how and what you think and feel about your body.
  • It includes the picture of your body you have in your mind, which might or might not match your body’s actual shape and size.

What are the Issues?

  • Teens feel pressure from family, peers or media to fit into a narrow idea of beauty and attractiveness.
  • Teens are often teased about the way they look.
  • Can feel like they have a body shape nowhere near the “ideal” body shape, or might have a different shape then their friends.
  • People worry about how others see them.
  • People look at themselves from the outside or compare themselves to others.
  • Low self-esteem can lead to moods and mood swings.
  • Lead to eating disorder or depression.
  • Can lead to more anxiety and stress.

Be a Positive Body Role Model

  • Make healthy eating and physical activity a part of your everyday life.
  • Appreciate your own body for what it can do, not for just how it appears.
  • Be proud about things about yourself, that aren’t just about your appearance.
  • Accept and value others for who they are, not how they appear or look.

Check out for more information!

Nov 7

Tanning Addiction

Posted By iamincontrol | November 7, 2017

People often tan because they are so worried about their self-image to others and themselves. They are self-conscious about having too pale of skin, too much acne, and eczema. They tan to achieve darker and clearer skin. Little do they know the moment they get into that tanning bed that they could be starting a tanning addiction.

Risk factors of tanning

  • Premature skin aging – wrinkles, lax skin, and brown spots
  • Skin cancer
  • Tanning addiction

My experience

Throughout middle school and even now I struggle with acne and eczema problems. In high school and middle school, many of my friends would ask me why I don’t try tanning to help it. I always responded with “my mom would never let me get into a tanning bed because it is not for your health.” But they continued to pressure me into going tanning, making me questions whether my generation only cares about their physical appearance. Through my lifetime, I have only been in a tanning bed once and it was the worse experience I have ever had. I ended up getting very burned to the point I couldn’t sit down right on my rear end because my skin was actually peeling. After this incident, I never got into a tanning bed again because I had researched more information about tanning which made me really look at the bigger picture. Yes, being tanner might make you look good now but down the road you will actually look more aged from the tanning.

To find out more about tanning and how it can become an addiction, check out

Nov 2

What you need to know about HPV!

Posted By iamincontrol | November 2, 2017

88% of the voters from last month’s poll agreed that having only one partner, using condoms, and receiving the vaccine can help prevent you from contracting HPV!

What is it?

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. It is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI. Most people who have HPV don’t know they have it. They don’t experience any symptoms. Both men and women can have the virus.

How does it spread?

HPV lives on the skin. It can be spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Is it serious?

Most people with HPV don’t have problems. It can actually go away on its own, but that takes about two years. HPV can cause genital warts. These warts can go away on their own or grow and spread. Doctors can remove the warts, but they may come back. If that happens, you can remove them again.

  • Women: HPV can lead to cancer in the cervix, vulva, or anus. Women can get a pap test to spot changes in the cervix that lead to cancer. You can get a pap test every 1 to 3 years.
  • Men: HPV can lead to cancer in the penis or anus. Get checked for STIs if you’re having sex to make sure you can catch the cancer early.
  • Everyone: HPV can lead to cancer in the mouth and throat.

How do I prevent this?

  • Get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine stops most types of HPV that cause cancer and genital warts. You must get two shots over 6 months for it to work effectively. Both men and women can get the shot.
  • Use a condom every time you have sex. It will keep you safe because it covers the skin where the virus is. Over half of all people who are sexually active have had HPV.
  • Have sex with just one partner at a time. The more partners you have, the higher your chance of getting HPV.


To learn more, visit

Oct 31

Are We Humans… or Superorganisms?

Posted By iamincontrol | October 31, 2017


Did you know that humans could not survive without bacteria? In fact, bacteria make up a good portion of our bodies. This fact has led some scientists conclude that we are not organisms, but superorganisms. A superorganism is defined as an organism that consists of many organisms.


100 trillion microorganisms inhabit every part of our body and make up what is called a microbiome. Just like how forests and prairies have ecosystems, so, too, do microbiomes. And just like those forest and prairie ecosystems, microbiomes rely on balance. Too much harmful bacteria or too little good bacteria can lead to illness.


Good bacteria are called probiotics and are found in yogurt and probiotic supplements. An example of good a bacterium is Lactobacillus acidophilus, which lives in our intestines and helps digest our food. Another good bacterium is Bifidobacterium bifidum, which helps heal stomach ulcers caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori.

Antibiotics and Sterilization

With the increased use of antibiotics and constant need for sterilization, we have put ourselves at risk. Antibiotics are important for killing bad bacteria, but they also kill good bacteria. Improper use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Since we get many bacteria from our environment, over-sterilization eliminates that from happening.

Bacteria are important components of our bodies and, therefore, our health. It’s important to keep in mind that not all bacteria are harmful. In order to protect ourselves from bad bacteria, we must embrace the good bacteria.

To learn more about microbiomes, visit:

Oct 26

HIV/AIDS: What you need to know

Posted By iamincontrol | October 26, 2017

What is HIV and AIDS? HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

What’s the difference? The difference between the two is that HIV is a virus that can cause infection and can eventually lead to AIDS if untreated. However, many people can have HIV for years without ever getting AIDS. On the other hand, AIDS is a condition that develops when your immune system becomes permanently damaged by the virus. It lasts for the rest of your life, and there are few treatments to help.

What happens when you get HIV and AIDS? When someone gets HIV, his or her immune system gets really weak. The immune system helps fight off infections by using your own cells as soldiers to fight off the bad guys, like viruses and bacteria that could harm you. If HIV turns into AIDS, your body becomes so weak that it can’t fight off viruses, infections, or cancer.

How do people get HIV? HIV is spread through body fluid that is shared between two people. Here are some of the ways you can get HIV:

  • Sexual contact, which includes oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom
  • Sharing needles by injecting drugs or getting a tattoo with the same needle used by someone who has HIV
  • Mother to baby transmission can occur during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding

To learn more about HIV/AIDS, visit:

To find out what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is doing to raise awareness about HIV/AIDs prevention and treatment, go to

Oct 24

To the Bone; What You Need to Know Before Watching

Posted By iamincontrol | October 24, 2017

There’s a new movie on Netflix you might have seen called To the Bone. The movie is about a 20-year-old girl battling anorexia. Although this movie is meant to be entertaining, we must always look at programs with sensitive content with a critical lens. For those dealing with mental health disorders including eating disorders, specifically anorexia, this film can be particularly triggering. The film features at least three components that specialists advise never to show on screen to protect those with eating disorders. It’s not a bad idea to skip watching this movie all together if you have any hesitations about its content. Here are some facts about eating disorders:

  1. They are mental disorders. In the past, it was a common misconception that eating disorders came from a place of vanity. Today, widely recognized as a mental disorder by the general public, but the myth persists.
  2. They can affect anyone. Portrayals of eating disorders almost always depict women as sufferers. Anyone can develop an eating disorder despite gender or sexual orientation. Notably, many times characters suffering from an eating disorder on TV and movies are white. This is not representative. People from all races and ethnicities suffer, as well as, different religions.
  3. They come in many different forms. Anorexia Nervosa is categorized by refusal to maintain normal body weight, intense fear of gaining weight along with other symptoms. Bulimia Nervosa is categorized by reoccurring binge-eating, self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives and other medications, fasting, excessive exercise and more. Lastly, there is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. A person could be diagnosed with this category if they fail to meet one of two criteria for either Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa (Diagnostic Criteria).
  4. They are extremely dangerous. More people die from eating disorders than any other mental illness. A lack of adequate nutrition can ultimately lead to death, but 1 in 5 deaths of those with anorexia is the result of suicide (The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).

Movies, music, theater works, TV shows or any entertainment should NOT be taken as factual. Please seek a doctor if you are having any mental health issues. Our Teenline is open 24/7, give us a call if you need someone to talk to at 1-800-443-8336. If you prefer to chat online, we are available Monday through Friday 8am-8pm via the link at the top on the website.

To learn more facts about eating disorders, visit: