Many of us go through life striving to reach and maintain our natural body weight. I know I am not alone in this. The fitness industry and diet industry are as huge as they are for a reason. With so many books, guides, and ideas out there… how do you know which one to follow?
Though, I have never had 100s of pounds to lose, I have been in the business of maintaining my body for as long as I can remember.
Back in my early 20’s I decided that I would do a pageant in order to try to win a scholarship for college. At this time, I had no idea that white bread wasn’t good for you. I met with a personal trainer and he gave me a couple of tips to drop my fat percentage. I was currently around 15% (I lifted weights all the time at that point in my life). In 6 weeks I had dropped my fat percentage by 3% by changing from white bread to whole grain and by reducing the amount of dairy I was consuming.
I continued to work out and ate as clean as possible. I cut all sugar from my diet. I managed to win the swimsuit award in the pageant. However, the prize was a swimsuit…. that wasn’t going to pay for college tuition! However, I did learn that nutrition was pretty important.
In my early 30’s I had my first child and I was thrilled. I was excited to see how long it would take to lose the 30 pounds of pregnancy weight I had added to my body, lovingly so. The first 20 pounds dropped off in about 2 weeks because I was eating so clean and I was breastfeeding. Easy peasy. But that last 10 pounds wanted to hang on for a while.
At this time, I am eating a plant-based diet and decide to kick up my working out after a year of healing from a crazy labor injury and decide to do Beach Body workouts along with walking daily. This was the trick I needed. Clean eating with movement to get rid of those last 10 pounds. I never starved myself or restricted my calories. Eating whole foods and moving my body was a big component.
It was time to maintain. Then we move to Portland, OR and there are vegan options everywhere. My family and I went nuts trying everything. Which means we tried a lot of processed foods. This isn’t really in the best interest of your body if you are wanting to maintain your natural body weight and maximize your health.
Processed food is NOT health food
Tack on another injury that prevented me from working out with all the processed food… I gained 20 pounds. What the?! So the last few months I have been limited my processed foods and delighting in whole foods and movement. And so far I have released 15 pounds. Instead of worrying so much about the scale. This time I am measuring my success by the way I feel and how my body is responding to the food I am giving it. I have found that eating whole foods combined with moving my body with activities I enjoy is really doing the trick.
Types of movement I do: walking (something I have done my entire life), doing yoga, some strength training exercises, bike rides, hiking, playing with my son, dancing, and pretty much any other movement that sounds fun.
The other thing I have been focusing on is my mindset. I am making sure my self-talk is creating the feelings I want in my life… which is all good stuff. I want to love myself everyday and feel positive everyday regardless of what is going on. I approve of myself. I embrace myself. Mindset is key. I’d say it is the biggest factor in all of this.
I encourage people to go with a lifestyle change. One that will be able to be maintained throughout your life that actually provides health benefits to you. Instead of causing harm, if not now, than down the road.
Lean & Clean discusses all of these things as well and more.
Hannah does an excellent job of explaining why its important to make the food choices she recommends. She even includes a helpful shopping list and a 2 week meal plan to start you off on eating whole foods. And the best part – you get to eat the delicious food until you are satisfied.
By following Hannah’s tips, my family and I are eating healthier and saving money on food. What’s not to love about that?!