One question I am frequently asked by people is how I have managed to lose 40 pounds and keep it off.
It is hard enough to lose a lot of weight, even harder to keep it off!
Having resolved some of the inner stuff that was keeping me bound to comfort eating, I began to systematically employ new disciplines in my life.
I am a firm believer that if you try to lose weight too quickly, or by methods that cannot become lifestyle habits, you will not be successful in the long run. You may take off 5 or 10 pounds, but they will come back on just as quickly when you resume normal life.
Here are 5 things I’ve done to lose weight and keep it off.
These are part of my everyday lifestyle now!
1. Reduce stress
I know this is probably not in very many diet programs, but stress affects the body in so many ways. One way it affects the body is by weight gain. Not only does stress often affect the way we approach food: comfort eating, eating too quickly, eating too much, craving foods that cause us to gain weight; it also affects the way our bodies metabolize food.
This was not an easy thing to do because my stress was two-fold: I was a perfectionist and expected far more of myself than what was reasonable, but I had also over-committed myself and was forced to excuse myself from most of those commitments.
The result was that I was able to finally breathe again….and focus on getting healthy!
2. Vitamins and supplements
Sadly, our modern diet lacks the vital nutrients we need to keep our bodies running healthily. Furthermore, what the FDA recommends for a proper daily dose of vitamins is often barely enough to keep our bodies running at its bare minimum. Even when we eat fruits and veggies, we are not getting nearly enough nutrients to supply our bodies with what they needs, so good quality supplements are needed on a daily basis to give our bodies good solid support.
I take about Vitamin C as ascorbic acid, a multi-vitamin, a B-complex, Vitamin D, Omega 3, and probiotics.
You should determine what your body’s needs are and create your own vitamin regimen. Often times a multi-vitamin isn’t enough and with many vitamins, our bodies will simply eliminate the excess when we’ve taken too much. Do your research before taking extra vitamins.
3. Good diet and healthy portions
For most of us, our diet consists largely of grains and unhealthy carbohydrates (as opposed to healthy carbs founds in fruits and vegetables), while often miserably low in good roughage and vitamin rich raw foods that help our bodies to function at their optimum. Is it any wonder that we are a society that is run-down, sick, fatigued, and on far too much medication?
Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Many modern diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer could be prevented in many cases by maintaining a healthy diet. Fewer grains (even though the FDA recommends grains be the bulk of our diet, they are not quite so necessary in such portions!), more fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats in moderation.
Replace your supposedly “healthy” margarine with healthy fats: butter, lard, avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil. Eat probiotic-rich food on a regular basis: yogurt (not flavored), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, and other fermented foods.
However, in some cases it is possible to have too much of a good thing!
Watch your portions. Use a calorie counter, such as My Fitness Pal, to make sure your calorie outgo is more than your intake.
**Update – I have since learned that calorie counting is a completely erroneous practice and based on faulty science. In February 2017 I began a Ketogenic lifestyle. I share more about that on a page I created to the LCHF/Ketogenic Way of Eating
I know, I know….this is the one where we all groan. Me too. I’ll admit, I don’t like to exercise….at all. Okay – I do like to walk, but getting me out of the house on a walk is the hard part.
But a sedentary lifestyle is very hard on your heart!
What helped me to up my physical activity was a Fitbit. The competition available with the Fitbit spurred me to action! I wear it 24/7 – I never take it off, and it has helped tremendously!
Exercise should involve sweating, which helps our bodies eliminate toxins. Exercise also helps to release endorphins, a happy hormone.
When you exercise you feel better and you sleep better!
As much as our bodies need activity, it also needs good rest. By resting our bodies we rejuvenate our organs and empower them to work better at keeping our bodies a well-oiled machine.
Also, our brain works better and our reaction times are much sharper.
Studies prove that a sleep-deprived driver has slower reactions than a drunk driver, thereby making him a more dangerous driver. That’s crazy!
Sleep deprivation is a chronic problem in our society. Our over-taxed schedules demand that we sleep less and work more. Sleep is considered a waste of time and those who promote 8-9 hours of sleep plus an afternoon cat nap are considered spoiled and lazy.
In reality they are smart and effective, because a well-rested body makes for a more effective worker!
Not only that, a rested body has a higher metabolism because it is operating at its optimum, and a higher metabolism burns calories faster.
What is your normal wake-up time? Count back no less than 8 hours and you now have your bed time. Also, set aside time during the day to lay down. You don’t have to sleep, but close your eyes and rest….without a book or device….or the TV blaring. Turn on some soft, restful music to help your body relax and give yourself at least 15 minutes to let your body unwind.
I am admittedly better at some of these than others. But before my weight loss I was only an advocate for one or two of them. When I realized that all 5 needed to be present for me to recover from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, I also realized that all 5 were needed for weight loss.
This is the only body we have. Let’s be good stewards of what God has given us….of all 3 parts! Body, soul and spirit!