Check out Part 1 of Danielle's Story here
So, this begins the top two's of what I discovered the "secret's" to weight loss are.....
Number one. GET ACTIVE!
For so long, I would "eat well". Eating well enough will make you lose lots of weight, right? Even if you are inactive most of the time? Err - wrong! I knew that, too, because I would go through random weeks of "eating well" and not lose a pound. My metabolism was non existent. I had hurt it for so long, was I just miraculously expecting it to begin functioning properly? I guess!
I confess, I was on week 7 of the couch to 5k and had not really lost any significant weight. A few pounds maybe? I was totally discouraged (at this point, I was also focusing more on the numbers that I saw on the scale. Not good! Don't do it!). But, I knew I was losing inches, because my clothes were beginning to become way too big! That was progress, right? It was. I was losing inches and they were melting away.
When I was finished with the couch to 5k, the pounds began melting off. It was like my metabolism "clicked" and got the memo that I really was trying to get healthy, all in the right ways. I continued with the running, but also wanted to add in different forms of exercising. I knew I needed to begin some strength training, so I picked up Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. (This began a whole "movement" within my circle of friends, which was amazing to see! So many picked the Shred up. I lovingly adorned us with name "shred heads"!)
Just to back track, I began running end of August 2010. Began strength training as well late fall. By winter, I had reached a huge milestone - I finally weighed under 200 pounds!
On July 9, 2011 - an even bigger milestone. I was 162 pounds. Exactly 100 pounds less than what I weighed when I decided that I needed to change my life. In 11 months, I lost 61 pounds, which averages out to 5 1/2 pounds a month. A very healthy rate to lose weight. (Random tangent that I want to throw out there - crash diets, fad diets, whatever diets, miracle drinks, weight loss shots, etc - DO. NOT. WORK! If you truly want to change your life, you need to change your lifestyle habits, and change what you are putting into your body - for life!)
So, I have covered a lot of "poundage" here. I want to emphasize the bigger picture though.
When I began the journey to a new me, I was looking to get thin. That's it. I thought that if I were thin, I would enjoy life more, my kids more, etc. But what I failed to realize is that it is SO MUCH MORE than that! I could run five miles and eat a couple of donuts, but would that be healthy? No! I could still lose weight and get thin, I could run five miles each day then come home and eat a sleeve of Oreo cookies. I could still lose weight. But I would be effecting my health by the junk that I was putting into my body. I would have a thin body, but my insides would not be so healthy. We want long term health here, right? I know I want to be around until my ripe old age to see some grand babies!
Okay, number two! WHOLE FOODS! (No, not the grocery store, but that is a pretty cool place too!)
At the beginning of my journey, which was all the way back to my 262 pound self, I knew that some foods were healthy and some foods were not. But up until this very point right now, it has been a learning journey, and I will continue to learn! I love learning about new foods and what good things they can offer to our bodies. And here is the bottom line when it comes to food for me. Does it come from a factory? Probably not good for you. Did you get it out of a box? It's probably not good for you! Did it grow from the Earth? GOOD FOR YOU! Yep. There's my secret. My family has essentially cut out every pre-packaged food that you could dream of. Our kitchen counters and fridge are PACKED with fresh fruits and vegetables. We don't have room for anything else! I allow myself to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I want, but do try to keep it even (meaning, not just eat fruit all day - vegetables are essential).
That brings me to another thought. What kind of butter do you buy? Does it have a list of ingredients in it? Do you know what in the world half of that stuff is? Probably not. If you don't understand it, don't buy it. Guess what my family uses? BUTTER! Yes, REAL butter. You know, the cream-and-salt-as-the-sole-
ingredients sort of butter. No fake stuff here. Our bodies know how to process REAL food, not random stuff that was created in a lab to imitate food. Now, we don't eat a whole tub of butter in one sitting. It is all about balance. A teaspoon of real butter on my sweet potato is so much better than a bunch of fake butter on my sweet potato! And my body is excited because it can recognize CREAM and SALT! Butter! Yum! Fake stuff? No! Say it with me now!
So, as a recap, most of my diet consists of fruits and vegetables. For protein, I prefer nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, natural peanut butter, seeds like sunflower seeds, etc. No salt added, of course. While lean meats are okay once in awhile, if you cannot afford free range, organic meats, you are potentially exposing yourself to antibiotics and hormones and genetically engineered stuff that they feed to the animals (don't believe everything the commercials tell you about "no hormones or antibiotics"! They are trying to sell you a product, after all). We do usually have chicken, turkey or fish for dinner, but I try to keep my portion small.
As far as eating goes, I tend to "graze" all day versus eating gigantic meals. This keeps my metabolism going and keeps me feeling great. I am never "overloading" on food. I will graze on fruit, vegetables, nuts, and things like Greek yogurt (the real Greek yogurt, folks), mozarella cheese, cottage cheese, etc. But as I said, my diet mostly consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Things from the Earth, right? We have also cut out most starches like bread and pasta, in place using quinoa and bulgar wheat.
I do realize that this may seem so extreme to some, but look at our country and how unhealthy we are in general. Our obesity and disease rates are at epidemic levels, and it ALL leads back to what we are putting into our bodies! There is nothing wrong with occasionally splurging and having a junk food, but as long as you are not eating that junk food all of the time, there is no harm. (In fact, some weekends we splurge and order Chinese! Who doesn't love Chinese?!?!) Also, I have kids. We make goodies all of the time. It's one of my absolute favorite things to do with my two and four year old. Instead of using pre-packaged cookie or brownie mixes, and icing out of a tub, we make everything from scratch. Our bodies can process it because we use whole ingredients versus something from a box, made in a factory. (And have you ever looked at the ingredient lists on those things? Scary!) And, before I begin rattling off on something else - people ask me all of the time if I've "cut things out". No way! I bake goodies with my boys all of the time but have adapted to eating one and it being enough. Another part of this process is self control. (And if you have no self control when it comes to certain foods, DON'T BUY IT! If it's not in the house, you can't eat it! Remember my pregnant self raving about ice cream? Yeah, THAT is my problem food, and it is rarely in our house because I seriously cannot control myself. If I do buy ice cream for the boys, it is a flavor that I do not like. Creative, right? Haha!)
Before I became pregnant with our third in September of 2011, I had reached 154 pounds. Sure, I could afford to lose more, but I was HEALTHY. I came to realize that the numbers on that scale meant so much more than what they were telling me. It wasn't just about how much weight I've lost, but what I've learned on the way to getting there. How active I was, what great foods I was putting into my body, and my body was thanking me for all of it. (Because it would NOT be thanking me if I was working out 5 hours a day and living off of Doritos!) It is about overall well being. Not just a number.
I could go on and on and write until my fingers fall off! But I have enjoyed sharing my journey with you. There is so much more to the story, this is just the surface. I would love to offer any help or encouragement if it is needed, or if you have any questions, feel free to email me! email@example.com
It is my hope and prayer that my story will inspire you and encourage you in your own journey. If I can achieve it, you can achieve it too. No one is exempt from getting to this point, or even beyond!
To your health! :)