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

Questions, Answers and Resources for Teens

Use this resource for questions regarding your health, your relationships, your body and your sexuality.

While this site is informative, it is not a substitute for talking to your doctor, parents or other trusted adult.

Apr 15

5 Things to Love about the Farmer’s Market

Posted By iamincontrol | April 15, 2014

By Addie

Now that it’s springtime, I officially have my countdown ready for the first farmer’s market of the season. And it’s right around the corner! Below are some reasons for you to check out a local farmer’s market in your area this summer.

  1. Fresh (and local) produce—Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, and there is no better place to search for those than a farmer’s market. On top of that, buying local is the new trend, and it’s a good one. Not only does it help the local economy by supporting small businesses, it can be cheaper than supermarkets if you buy produce that’s in season.
  2. Free samples—Who can say no to free food? If you walk around the farmer’s market, you will likely see a lot of free samples. Take this opportunity to try new foods; if you like what you taste, ask for recipes.
  3. Getting in your exercise—Being active and walking around to all of the vendors is an easy way to get in all your daily steps and you don’t even realize you are being active. If you have a dog, take him/her for a stroll as well as many of the farmer’s markets are dog friendly.
  4. A job—Many vendors look for extra help in the summer, especially since farmer’s markets tend to be in the evening or on the weekends. If you are a people person and love to be outside, this may be a great option for a part-time job. Contact a local business if you know they are involved to ask about a job, or ask face-to-face while visiting. You never know if they might be looking another hand.
  5. Socializing—Go with a group of friends and spend time together. This is a great way to hang out with your friends that doesn’t have to cost much. Want to go by yourself? There is always a good chance you will run into someone that you know. The people that are working are usually friendly and willing to talk to anyone. And even if you don’t see someone you know, what’s not to love about people watching?!

To see what produce is in season when, visit this website.

You are in control of eating healthy, local foods.

Apr 10

Overcoming Bullying and Depression

Posted By iamincontrol | April 10, 2014

Teen girl
By Jenna

Being the target for bullying and dealing with depression were two of the hardest obstacles I have ever had to face.  I am writing this post with a smile on my face because I am proof that although these are difficult times, they can be overcome and life does become easier.  If someone had told me this in eighth or ninth grade, it would have been difficult to believe.  No matter what your age is, and no matter how sad you feel, remember there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I remember feeling alone, very sad and unloved during these times.  I also remember wondering if I left this earth if anyone would miss me.  If anyone reading this is asking this same question, the answer is always yes.   You are a unique person who is special in different ways and loved more than you know.

In junior high, I started hanging out with different people, and my best friend at the time did not like this.  Rumors were spread on both our ends.  However, my ex-best friend took it to another level.  There was a big sleepover at a girl’s house, and I was not invited due to the rumors.  I had a few friends over.  The large party kept calling me, screaming at me, bullying and leaving harsh voicemails.  My once so-called “friends” had called me every name in the book, informing me that no one liked me and everyone thought I was a “whore.”  I remember bawling the next day, wondering what I did to deserve this.  At school, I did not feel comfortable talking to anyone and I could feel people whispering about me when I walked by.  This situation, along with a few other tough times such as my close sister moving to college, and seeing my how my uncle’s suicide affected my father and family, spun me into a deep depression.  I would eat everything in sight, hoping that would make me feel better.  I became very obese.  I stopped enjoying activities I used to love doing.  I did not talk to anyone and did not feel myself.

Read More

Apr 8

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Posted By iamincontrol | April 8, 2014

You’ve probably all heard of eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia, but have you heard of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?

BDD is when a person focuses on what they think is a flaw in their body and obsesses about it.  It’s usually something that nobody else notices or thinks is a big deal.  For example, someone might think their nose is too big, and while the people around them don’t really notice it.  Even if their nose isn’t really big, that person can’t stop obsessing about it.

Compulsions and avoidance behaviors often go along with BDD.  Compulsions are when the person feels the need to do something about their problem as a result of their obsessive thoughts.  The person above might ask multiple people a day if they think their nose is too big.  Avoidance behaviors might include staying home from school because the person thinks their nose is too big to even be seen in public.  These behaviors are often a result of trying to “fix” their obsession or avoid thinking about it for a while, but in reality, these make BDD worse.  BDD is controlling their life.

In the video below, a teen was diagnosed with BDD because she obsessed over her face shape. Read More

Apr 3

How I Let Alcohol Affect My Life

Posted By iamincontrol | April 3, 2014

Teenage girl By Anonymous

The beginning of my junior year of high school was going perfect, so I thought. I had the best boyfriend and friends a girl could ask for. My friends that I would hang out with every weekend were big into partying. So I thought that I needed to impress them and give into peer pressure. I went to some parties here and there with my friends, and they were pretty fun.

One Saturday night we went to a big party an older kid was throwing. We were there for about an hour, and then the next thing I knew, the cops showed up.  Everyone at the party was trying to run and hide from the cops.  That didn’t work very well because there were only two ways out of the house, and there were cops by both of those doors.  Eventually we were all sat down and were breathalyzed. They ended up giving us all tickets and wrote our names down. The cops turned the names into our school and most of us were athletes, so we had to sit out games.

After this happened I didn’t go out for the rest of my high school career. One night of partying isn’t worth getting in trouble and having to sit out and watch everyone else play. At first I wanted to blame my friends for peer pressuring me to go to this party, but then I realized that it was my fault. No one can make me do anything, I make my own choices. If you ever run across a situation like this, don’t give in. Stand your ground and make the right choice.

Apr 1

What does being in a relationship mean?

Posted By addie | April 1, 2014


The results are in!

Last month’s poll question was:

When do you consider yourself in a relationship?

You guys said:

  • If we hang out a lot (11%)
  • If we’ve gone on one date (33%)
  • When we call each other boyfriend/girlfriend (55%)

Being in a relationship can mean different things to different people, and when you’re in one, you might want different things than someone else.  Watch this video to see what other teens look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Read More

Mar 27

Why I Will Wait

Posted By iamincontrol | March 27, 2014

Teen couple
By Alexandra

Growing up in today’s society, it feels that everyone is having sex. Sex is everywhere, TV, music, movies, and hearing it from peers. During high school many of my friends lost their virginity by the time we graduated. I always sort of felt out of place, because I was still a virgin. It was not because I had religious beliefs I wanted to follow, it was just because I didn’t really have a stance on whether I wanted to wait or not. Therefore I decided to do some research and decide how I felt about sex.

I am a very visual person; I like pro/con lists a lot. When researching reasons to wait/not wait to have sex I put them into a chart. Many of the reasons to have sex were to grow emotionally closer to another person, feel pleasure, and show someone how much you love them. However, the reasons not to have sex were very daunting. STIs are among the number one reason to not have sex. They can impact your life and your partner’s life drastically.

Read More

Mar 25

Finding a Best Friend

Posted By iamincontrol | March 25, 2014

Best friends
By Priscilla

I grew up with different friends throughout middle school and high school. During middle school, I had a group of girlfriends that turned out to be not the best examples for me in later years.  At the time, I just wanted to be liked by them, so I joined their group back then. I did not know very many people because I was the new kid in town at that time, but I learned to make new friends throughout middle school.

I found my best friend in 7th grade. She has been a great friend since then because she has always been there to encourage me to make better choices when I am not making the right decisions. I am so thankful that I found a friend that will help me through anything. In high school, she was the first one to tell me more about her faith and how that has helped her get through things. I did not want to be involved, but because she was I thought I would give it a try and attend a church service with her. I ended up thinking it was not for me, but then later realized it was.

Read More

Mar 20

Battling Depression

Posted By iamincontrol | March 20, 2014

Depressed teenage girl
By Jenna

One day you wake up, and you’re just not the same. Depression hit me hard my freshman year of high school. I started to see myself in a whole different manner, and suddenly, my life was spinning out of control. Feeling empty, worthless, and sad became a part of my everyday life. It was the beginning of the hardest thing I’ve ever faced in my life.

To escape what became my ugly reality, I began cutting for emotional release. To me, feeling physical pain felt better than the emotional pain. It was an addiction. I hated myself and believed that I screwed up everything. Nobody could tell me any differently; I just couldn’t believe that I was loved by anyone or that anybody would care if I were gone. The worst part of the whole thing was that nobody knew I was suffering except me. I would come home from school and cry for hours. If crying didn’t make me feel better, I’d cut myself just enough to numb my pain for a while. Then, I’d put a “mask” back on and pretend like everything was fine again.

Read More

Mar 18

Sports Anxiety

Posted By iamincontrol | March 18, 2014

Sports anxiety
By Anonymous

There are plenty of people willing to speak up in favor of the value of participating in high school sports. We’ve all heard about how fun sports are and how they teach valuable skills like teamwork, hard work, and commitment. But for some people, sports can be a source of extreme anxiety and stress. That was the case for me.

As a freshman in high school, I made the varsity softball team. After the announcement was made, I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to get home and try my uniform on. I set the goal to be a four year starter and promised myself I would practice harder and longer than everyone else. My hard work paid off, and I became the starting third baseman. I was on my way to achieving my goal.

Then, during my junior year, everything changed. A new freshman made varsity and she also desired the third base position. I pledged to work even harder and practiced every moment I possibly could. Despite my hard work, I arrived one game to find a Junior Varsity jersey on my seat. I had lost my starting position.

This was one of the most devastating experiences during my time in high school. I cried for days and blamed myself for not working even harder. I became incredibly anxious for every practice and game, afraid that I would make mistakes and never get my position back. So much of my self-esteem and self-worth had come from my softball success, and I began to feel like I had less value as a person. I constantly worried about my softball performance and found it hard to have fun with my friends or concentrate on other activities. I eventually earned a starting spot again the next season, after spending an entire year obsessing over this sport and my worth on the team.

Read More

Mar 13

Unexpected Motivation

Posted By iamincontrol | March 13, 2014

Football player
By Anonymous

When I entered high school, I was overweight and out of shape and started football camp. I was teased by upperclassmen, but instead of just letting them keep making fun of me, I decided to do something about it. I used that as motivation to make a change and started working out daily. I ended up losing 25 pounds by the end of my first semester in high school and I was in the best shape of my life.

By the end of football season, I was playing with the varsity team and making an impact as part of the team. By my sophomore year, I had lost 35 pounds and took the starting varsity spot from one of my teammates who had made fun of me every day the year before. That was a better feeling than any type of payback I could have given him. I was angry, but instead of using violence, I used my anger as motivation. That one year of being bullied as a freshman set the tone for the rest of my high school career and taught me that it is not okay for anyone to be bullied because of their weight.

In my case, if I had not been bullied, I would have been content with being overweight and never would have changed my lifestyle. I still use that motivation in college to not be content with choosing a less active lifestyle and doing what makes me happy. While it’s never okay to bully others, I used the situation to my advantage to make a change. It is never too late to become physically active, and even choosing to take the stairs over the elevator is a step in the right direction.

Bullying is a serious issue across the country, and it is always important to stand up for yourself and be happy with who you are.