Since January, I've been trying to lose about 15 pounds. It seems like that would be so easy, but it has not been for me. So in the past few months I've put myself through a few tactics in hopes that I could shed those pounds and get back down to my high school weight. Unrealisitc? Maybe. I mean, I would be happy to lose even just 10 pounds, which doesn't seem an unreasonable goal to me. But it has just been so hard for me.
So, first I started working out 3 days a week with a friend, and paying a little more attention to what I was eating. When that didn't work right away, I decided to try, in addition to my workouts (I was also working out almost every day that I wasn't with my friend), limiting my calories, and counting every single one that went into my mouth. When that didn't give me instant results (the results were slow, and in fact, when I finally saw results, I had gained a couple of pounds!), I decided to try something drastic. I decided to really cut my calories, so low that I knew it was unhealthy. I've heard for the past few years that cutting calories lowers your metabolism and actually prevents you from losing weight, but I was getting desperate, so desperate measures, right?
Well, I actually lost those 2 pounds I had gained. The problem was, I was miserable, even though I was slow to admitting it. This part of my weight loss attempt only lasted maybe 3 days, and by the third day, I finally had to admit that I had no energy, I was cranky, and was constantly thinking about food because I was starving myself. I called my sister who is on a really healthy diet right now (and steadily losing weight) to talk. It was to the point where I was having to lay down every afternoon from sheer lack of energy to even walk, and the day before yesterday, my last day on this ridiculous "diet", I was even sick to my stomach because my body needed some FOOD.
My sister is experimenting with raw foods, so I wanted to give it a try, or at least research it and see if it would be for me. I knew something had to change, that what I was doing just wasn't right. So I went to the library and looked up books, but could find none on raw foods. I think it was a blessing in disguise. Instead, I found a book called Real Food: What to Eat and Why, by Nina Planck. I'm still reading the book, but so far, this book seems to present one of the most healthy and common-sense way of eating "diets" I've ever read about. And it really is mostly common-sense: reduce processed, "industrialized" foods and replace them with "real" foods with the actual nutrition our bodies need. Foods like eggs, whole milk, cheese, olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables. Many of the things included are things that we've been told are bad for us and will contribute to heart disease, etc., and eventually even kill us. But I agree with Nina that it's really the processed stuff devoid of nutrients that actually does this.
I don't mean to offend anyone who follows a strict meatless diet, it's just that I've been down the vegetarian and even vegan route before, and it is not for me. But I do plan to try some of my sister's "raw-cipes". Like I said, we could all benefit from adding fresh foods to our diets and some of the things my sister has made sound delicious, and I plan to incorporate them into my eating plan.
While it would be hard to follow ALL of Nina's suggestions, such as only drinking raw milk straight from the cow, or only eating organic produce, I think simply cutting way back on the junk food and eating more foods that we were meant to eat would benefit anyone. I realize that there is WAY to much in the way of colorful boxes, cans and bottles in my pantry and fridge. These pretty, mostly plastic and cardboard containers to me represent what's inside them: artificial, incomplete, unhealthy foods. Instead, I'd rather see colors that are real, colors that more than represent, but actually ARE the very nutrients that will help make my body healthy, and maybe even lose a little bit of weight, according to Nina.
I realize though, that too much of even a good thing is bad. I also need to go back to only eating when I'm actually hungry and stopping when I'm full. A few months back, I saw a program on TV, "I Can Make You Thin" with host Paul McKenna. It was his eye-opening show that changed the way I thought about eating and weight loss. I did his suggestions for a while, but then let myself stray from it by ignoring his suggestions of not eating while watching tv, only eating when you are hungry, and stopping when you are full, or even before you feel full. I haven't read his book, but I plan on doing that soon. I think his method will be effective when combined with the Real Food method.
If you've been struggling like I have been, please check these books out. I started my new plan for healthier eating yesterday, and all day I already felt 100% better! I'm waiting for payday so I can head to the store and fill my cart with fresh real food.