Most Americans say losing weight is one of their top goals every year. Sadly, most folks fall short of the goal line and either never lose weight or they lose and regain only to weigh more than what they did when they started.
Yo-yo dieting is an awful trend yet for many it's a way of life. One year they gain, the next year they lose but the cycle continues. 2015 saw me join the weight-gain club, a membership I haven't held since before our son was born 5 years ago. I have been steadily maintaining my weight after pregnancy. But in 2015, I fell off the wagon. I did all the wrong things and my waistline paid for.
Was is the butter, full-fat milk and buttermilk biscuits that made me gain weight? I'll bet you said yes. I assure you, you are wrong.
Healthy fats don't make us fat, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Three factors playing into my 2015 weight gain and that have affected yours too:
- Eating Standard American Diet (SAD) foods
- Not exercising
- Not drinking enough water
Let's look at these three key factors that can help you (and I) get back to a healthy weight in 2016.
Increase Water Intake
Water is not a magic pill and alone it will not help you lose weight. But studies show in both men and women, drinking increases one's metabolic rate which helps burn fat (in men) and helps break down carbohydrates (in women).
There can be a second benefit to drinking more water. If you're drinking water you're not drinking something else which, depending on your habits, means less soda, sweet tea or energy drinks that are loaded with sugar which is bad for you in more ways than one.
I only run if I'm being chased by a rabid wolverine or a man wielding an axe. Structured exercise is not my idea of fun. I refuse to pay for a gym membership that I'll never use. I'd rather work out at home. I've found 2 effective workout routines that I enjoy.
One is a very old Zumba DVD, the other is fairly new to me, MASH Up Conditioning. The beauty of MASH Up is the workouts are 15 minutes long. Yes, that's what I said and before you laugh, try it and see if you're muscles aren't sore the next morning after 15 minutes. Yea, I was totally skeptical and the next morning I felt the burn for sure.
Whatever routine or style of workout you prefer, consult with your doctor and just start. You don't have to do 45 minutes a day, start out with 15 to get in the routine and mindset of working out and increase slowly until you hit the product's suggested time. Even my 60-minute Zumba DVD doesn't get a full hour of my attention. When I was losing baby-weight I worked out 30 minutes 4 days a week because that's what I could afford in time. Then, I maintained my weight with 3 days a week.
The Secret Weapon – Your Diet
I told you those two keys were obvious but this one is the real weapon in the war on weight loss.
Walk to your kitchen, grab everything that says “diet,” “fat-free,” “low carb,” or “reduced fat” and toss it in the trashcan.
Now say this out loud – “I am not dieting, I am eating natural, healthy foods God created.”
The secret key to losing weight is this: Stop dieting and start living a lifestyle of healthy eating that includes foods God create rather than ones a machine manufactured.
Today's supermarkets are filled with stuff that past generations would not consider food. Lost is the art of taking care in preparing meals and using God's resources in the most efficient, effective and healthy manner. Instead, most of us grew up with TV dinners, fat-free cookies (how does that even make sense), margarine and Diet Coke.
Even though my mom prepared a meal every night for us for dinner, I can look back and see how the societal norms and food villain of the year played a part in what we ate. Collectively we have been duped into thinking that a food “fortified” with a nutrient is better than eating a food that, by design has the nutrient built right in.
I don't recommend you trash your kitchen and waste everything today. I do recommend that you take stock in what you have. Look at your pantry shelves and cupboards. Is it full of stuff made my man or by God? Do you buy meals and ready to eat foods or do you buy ingredients?
The secret here is not doing a diet but living a lifestyle. Doing a diet has an end point at which time most people revert back or fall off the wagon. Living a lifestyle is making lasting changes that become part of who you are and how you live. Much like our Christian walk where we are ever-changing, our relationship with Christ is evolving and we seek to more like Christ, this is how a lifestyle of healthy eating should be.
I have been transitioning to traditional cooking over the past few years but in 2015 I let things go because we were busy camping most of the summer and it was so much easier eat store-bought burgers and chips. I know this contributed to my weight gain because the bulk of my gain came in June, July, and August – our biggest camping months. Now, I'm getting back on track. I've learned so much since 2010 I can't turn back now.
You too can learn can learn, step by step one week at a time, how to live a healthy real food lifestyle with Traditional Cooking School. In less than one hour a week, you will learn the fundamentals of traditional cooking, sourdough, cultured dairy (like yogurt) and so much more.
The support you have at Traditional Cooking School is like none other. The classes include audio and/or video lessons, printable materials and a support group on Facebook where you can ask questions and share your struggles and successes.
Why is traditional cooking important in your health goals? Because our bodies were designed by God to eat foods created by God. When we eat foods that are processed and full of chemicals our bodies have a hard time processing them. This can lead to a whole host of health issues and weight struggles.
But grace abounds! The other thing I love about Traditional Cooking School is the founder, Wardee Harmon, is a humble, grace-filled, God loving woman. This isn't a dogmatic “eat this way or die” community. It's a place of learning, growing and being covered in grace and acceptance even if you occasionally eat an Oreo thanks to Wardee's leadership.