Many of you have been asking me about my current weight loss journey, so I thought I would write it down in a place that I can refer to and update. Before you read on, I want to make a few things clear. I do not fancy myself an expert in weight loss, nutrition or food. I’m not a nutritionist, dietician, health expert, doctor, nurse, trainer or any other professional in regards to food, exercise and weight loss. This is my personal journey. I’m not here to convert you to my ways, but maybe you’ll find something here that you can incorporate for a healthier lifestyle.
I have struggled with my weight throughout my teenage years and adult life. I’ve tried a variety of ways to lose weight – meal replacement shakes and bars, pills and supplements that are supposed to absorb or block fat, paid weight-loss program subscriptions both online and in person, counting calories, counting points, and sad to say, even skipping meals. The one thing that worked for me was the South Beach Diet, up until I stopped following it and gained back all the weight. The SBD provided me with sound advice that I tried to follow even when I wasn’t on the SBD, such as eating whole wheat breads and staying away from starchy foods, like rice and potatoes. Another thing I learned being on the SBD is that in order for a diet to be successful it has to be a lifestyle change that can be maintained for life.
My current weight loss journey started with the search for a recipe for honey sweetened whole wheat bread. Little did I know how that recipe would change my life. My search lead me to a website called the “100 Days of Real Food.” At first I was only interested in the bread recipe, which was super yummy, so I started checking out the other recipes they offered, and discovered that this family was dedicated to a non-processed food lifestyle. I thought it was pretty interesting and would like to try sometime.
A few months later I was at a party where I had an interesting discussion with a friend. He was telling me how the wheat in the United States is not the same wheat that was grown and eaten 100 years ago. He told me that when he was in Italy he could eat the pasta every day without problems, but once he got back to the US, wheat products made him sick. I can still remember everything about the conversation, especially the plate that was in front of me that was nothing but products made with wheat or flour. I decided that since I was unemployed and I had the time, I would try a wheat free, non-processed food/sugar week of cooking.
I lost five pounds the first week, so I decided to try it again for another week. I lost five more pounds. But it was more than just the weight loss. I had energy and didn’t experience the afternoon slump. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, and it was easier for me to wake up in the morning. There was an overall change in the way my body felt internally, including an increased clarity of mind. I decided to stick with it. I also decided that I wasn’t going to follow any specific diet. My diet was going to be the real food diet. I also decided to cut out alcohol, but may add it back in at some point.
I’m not 100% processed foods free. I’m probably at a 97% though. And I am not 100% organic either. I’m probably 50% organic. For example, I still eat milk and cheese, because at this point I don’t have a way to make my own. I still buy some foods that comes in cans, but I am careful to read all food labels and make sure that what is in the can is all natural with no additives or preservatives. What it comes down to is: if it’s not real, I won’t eat. I am completely wheat free, but not totally grain free. I still eat rolled oats, steel cut oats and quinoa. I am also completely processed sugar free. I only use raw honey or pure maple syrup to sweeten my food. So what do I drink? Water and milk. I have a glass of milk (cow or coconut) with breakfast in the morning and then I drink water the rest of the day. I usually add some lemon or lime to my water to flavor it. I do not drink any kind of soda or juices. I did drink hot tea when it got freezing cold. I don’t like coffee or iced tea. I do drink home made smoothies.
I haven’t had fast food since July 1. I do eat at restaurants but am very selective about what I eat, and it’s not just salads. I make our meals from scratch, and no, it doesn’t take hours for me to prepare our meals. In fact I’ve got several recipes that take about 30 minutes to make. I’ve found some delicious recipes for wheat free baked goods that satisfy my cravings for muffins, cakes and cookies. I find recipes that are low carb or no carb, paleo, low-fat, low-calorie, or if I find something that looks good, I’ll modify it to meet my needs. Interestingly, I don’t have cheat days. I don’t want cheat days. I know that if I eat wheat based, processed sugars and processed foods that I will experience cramping and feel like I have a hangover the next day.
Some people will argue that it is more expensive to eat this way. Our food budget did not change due to this change in lifestyle. It is a little pricier to buy ingredients to make baked goods, but those are treats and are not in the house every day. And honestly, in the long run, I’d rather pay more money to eat real food than to save money by eating cheap, processed foods only to have to pay medical bills and prescriptions to treat a variety of ailments associated with a bad diet.
Anyone, that’s pretty much my story. I started on July 1, and as of today (April 12) I am down 42 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am still losing weight although much slower than when I first started. I’m 12 pounds from my goal weight. I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Here is a list of my favorite websites. They all have a Facebook page as well.