Trying my hand at weightloss advice
Okay, so last year I decided I was going to lose 50 lbs in 2011. I’ll admit, I only made it to 30 lbs lost, but that was in 7 months and then I got pregnant. And I’m happy to admit, I’ve only gained 3 lbs in 7 months of pregnancy. I have a lot of friends who have asked how I did it, and I’ve discovered the tips I used for weight loss have many other benefits in areas of fertility (how I got pregnant for the first time without medical assistance), allergies, child behavior, and general well-being.
I want to mention that in many ways this is hard, but I never felt deprived, never went on any crazy scheme, never counted calories, and felt great within a week or two. In many ways this is a detox program, switching to natural foods. And this isn’t as extreme as many people I know, though eventually I may get there.
The trick is eating REAL FOOD. Meat, butter, milk with fat, fruits and veggies. Not eating things you can’t pronounce, foods with more than a few ingredients, and nothing chemically modified. And what makes it easier is get your whole family on board. 1) There’s nothing in your house you can’t eat. 2) You may discover some wonderful benefits to the rest of your family (more on that later).
The first thing we cut out as a family was hydrogenated oils. What are they? They are vegetable oils that are chemically modified by adding a hydrogen atom, thereby making them a solid. Think Crisco and margarine. But they’re hidden EVERYWHERE!!! In boxed dinners, granola bars, baking mixes, the list goes on. And they’re often labeled as health foods… Basically, instead of using natural animal fats (lard) and products (butter) that our body was designed to digest (oh no, saturated fat!!!), we are now ingesting non-digestible TRANS fats that just pile up in our bodies. Not only did I lose my first 10 lbs in less than 2 months just by cutting these out, but I discovered something interesting (warning any guys reading this, it gets girly!). My PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) was probably triggered by hydrogenated oils. For the first time in my life, I had more that 2-4 cycles a year. They were regular, every 32 days. Now to those of you who are regular, this may seem like a bummer. But they were real cycles, with ovulation, lighter, predictable. Heaven! Okay, so if you want more info on hydrogenated oils, you can read on here, great stuff.
So, what else did we do? Next step was high fructose corn syrup. But isn’t it digested just like sugar? Maybe, if your body can handle it. I know several people who are allergic to it (my husband is one of them we discovered). Some people get hives and the other typical allergy symptoms. My husband was getting sick every morning for years and we never knew why. He’d been checked for ulcers, had colonoscopies and endoscopies, was taking medication daily, and it still happened. Within a week of cutting out HFCS, no more throwing up first thing in the morning. And, my kids were better behaved. Anyone with a child on the autism spectrum is told to cut out HFCS and artificial dyes from their child’s diet. Well, we discovered by cutting out HFCS pretty much cut out most dyes. If you want more info, here’s something I found for you (though I just skimmed it myself): The truth about HFCS
What does HFCS have to do with weight loss though? The main thing is that it’s much sweeter than sugar, so you crave more sweet. And it packs a lot of calories. And it’s a simple carb without any fiber or nutritional benefit. Just by cutting it out I was removing a lot of simple carbs from my diet. I then worked on removing a lot of sugar and switching to mostly honey. Then I found myself not even craving sweet anymore. Craziness for me, the chocolate addict, who couldn’t stop eating dessert at get-togethers. Who stashed candy bars all over my house. Who put tons of sugar in my tea and coffee. I realized this past Christmas how bad it was in the past when at some of the get-togethers I didn’t even want my own dessert and was perfectly happy just taking a bite or two of my husband’s. Basically I went from a sweet craving addiction to a healthy place with food.
So, back to what I did to lose weight. So, what do you eat when you aren’t eating tons of processed and prepared foods? REAL food, the stuff that God made. And how is it even affordable, doesn’t real food cost more? That was the hardest part for me. I was a super couponer, but you can’t really find coupons for meat, fruit and veggies. Well, I switched most of my shopping to Aldi. All spring and summer we were getting strawberries and pineapples for $1! Many of their items are single ingredients, not prepared boxes where you add a few things. And, I could fill a cart for between $50-60. For things that I couldn’t buy there because of my no-no’s I saved for $10 off days at Shop N Save, or splurges at Trader Joe’s. And even with only using the rare coupon on frozen veggies and such, my shopping budget actually went DOWN. I wasn’t filling my house with boxes of food to sit there for months, just because it was a good deal. We only bought what we were going to eat, so I found myself throwing less food away because it expired. I had more room in my pantry (my fridge was over-flowing), and we were snacking on apples with peanut butter, not chips and candy bars.
At this point (about 3 months in) I had plateau’d at around 15 lbs lost. I started being more active by taking walks in the nice weather and doing fitness videos, but that only lost another 5 lbs. My waist went down a lot because I was getting more active and doing the whole “fat weighs less than muscle” thing, but my scale was still sitting at 200 lbs! I’m 5’9″, so it’s not horrible, but who wants to weigh that much?!?
I started researching more. I realized I wasn’t getting enough good fats into my diet. Did you know it’s not fat that builds up fat on your body, but sugar? That’s why people with diabetes tend to be overweight! It’s fat that helps your body digest sugar! So, I switched from skim milk to 2%. Added benefit, did you know that skim milk has added ingredients to make it look like “real” milk and make it taste better? I started using more butter in my cooking. We added more meat, which also added more protein. And I lost another 10 lbs in 2 months.
At this point I was actually jogging 10-15 miles a week. I was baking all of our bread (have you seen how many ingredients are in a standard loaf of bread?). My kids were much better behaved. My husband wasn’t throwing up every day and had lost 50 lbs (how sick is that, so unfair!?!). I was feeling better than ever before, and, my cycles were regular.
Oh yeah, that’s how I got pregnant and why I stopped losing weight at 30 lbs. I was upset a bit at first, I mean, I weighed 190 lbs, more than I did when I got pregnant with the other two. I gained 30-40 lbs with each of them, I was gonna gain it all back! But you know all those lifestyle changes? Well, they really helped. Even without doing any real exercise for the first 3 months due to all the morning sickness, I kept the same eating habits. I realized I wasn’t using pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything. And I was feeding myself and my baby REAL food.
When I went to my OB appointment a few weeks ago at the start of my 3rd trimester and only 1 lb heavier than I was at my first visit, I really thought I was going to get chewed out. When he didn’t mention anything, I even asked him, aren’t you mad at me? I’ve only gained 1 lb! He replied that he could tell that I was eating well because the baby was growing at a good rate. I’ll probably only have a 7-8 pounder this time (oh joy!), but I was looking healthy, and am physically losing weight while the baby is gaining. I was making the right food choices and was obviously taking care of myself.
So, the weight loss goal of losing 50 lbs was stretched to 2 years, but is now increased to 60 lbs lost. And my whole family is healthier. When I took the kids to the pediatrician, both had only gained 1-2 lbs but had grown several inches. They’re more active too.
I could probably have lost a lot more if I had counted calories, or we didn’t eat at McDonald’s after church on Sundays (gasp!), or if I was more careful with every thing I put in my mouth everywhere I went. I have to live a little! But nothing comes into my house that has my no-no’s on the ingredient label. And if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t buy it. Anything that’s in my fridge or on a pantry shelf is good, real food. And I’m not depriving myself and caving to cravings because I’ve cut a whole food group out of my diet. And I feel great.