Just over a year after giving birth to our first child, I lost 16lbs I am down to lower than my pre-pregnancy weight... and my husband, well he lost a whopping 31lbs and we haven't really been doing anything. Now that you're probably pissed off that I just said that...deep breath...let me explain. So it's not that I am actually doing NOTHING, it's that it FEELS like I'm doing nothing because it's so insanely easy.
What we've done is eliminated processed foods, significantly cut down on sugar, started choosing organic food wherever possible, and are replacing favorite meals with equally delicious healthy alternatives. It's a total lifestyle change that we've implemented gradually and slowly so essentially it hasn't been a chore and just feels like second nature to us. Just by making healthier choices the weight melted off, our health has significantly improved and we both feel a billion times better. Processed foods are full of chemicals, chemically and genetically modified ingredients, preservatives and a ton of ingredients I can't pronounce and I have no idea what they are without the help of Google.
I am not blessed with magical genes or anything, but I was blessed to be raised by parents who never gave us processed foods and my mom cooked everything at home from scratch (a lot of times with ingredients from my grandparents farm). I was born and raised in Romania, where at the time processed food was pretty much unheard of. It was the norm for people to cook at home, to use ingredients that were in season, to shop for food at a market, etc. We moved to Canada when I was 10 and it was a culture shock, but one that we totally embraced. I loved Romania, but I quickly grew to love Canada. I also started to scoff at my mom's food and wished she cooked "normal" food like my new friends were eating. Things like the boxed mac and cheese (oh you know the orange stuff I'm talking about!) and I wished they took us to McDonalds every once in a while. I will never forget the look of sheer horror and confusion on my mom's face when I asked her to buy us Kraft Dinner. She took the box out of my hand and read the ingredients and the directions. She looked at the box for a long time and eventually looked at me and in a thick Romanian accent she said "What is this?! This is not cheese...this is all chimicals" (that's how she pronounces "chemicals")
I remember getting so frustrated as she put the box back on the shelf and went on to the produce section to buy vegetables that she was going to make soup with. Ugh! More soup! I was sooooo sick of soup...and I just stomped through the store behind her fuming that she was being so unreasonable. Looking back, I realize how lucky I was to have a mom that made such wholesome home cooked food for me. Too bad I didn't appreciate it until I was much older and I gave the poor woman endless amount of headaches with my whining and complaining about how she was unfair and weird.
As I got older and noticed the difference in how I looked and felt eating processed foods...I started to go back to the way I was brought up and started to make more and more food at home and started using natural ingredients over stuff that came in boxes or cans. The more I cooked that way, the better we started to feel and the weight started to melt off.
Today, we eat predominantly organic home made meals, we make juice at home with fresh fruit and veggies, added superfoods like chia seeds to our diet and life is great! Neither one of us misses our old lifestyle and can't imagine going back to the way we used to eat. You really are what you eat! Consider making a lifestyle change and you'll be glad you did...your body will thank you!
MY ADVICE TO YOU:
- Don't diet! In my opinion, diets are crap! They are not a long term solution because they are too restricting and hard to stick to so once you stop and go back to your old habits you will gain back all the weight anyway. Lifestyle changes are a real long term solution.
- Always choose organic if you have the option. Organic fruits and veggies have more nutrients than their genetically modified alternatives.
- Cook at home! You control what goes in your food and that's a huge thing for your health and even your wallet
- Learn to use natural ingredients over processed ones that come in cans and boxes
- Forget checking the nutritional label for calories and fat content...check the ingredients and make sure you're aware of what they actually are and check the amount of sugar (and hidden sugars like fructose)
- Cut down or eliminate sugar (super hard to do): sugar turns to fat...sugar makes you crave MORE sugar...sugar has no nutritional value and your body will still be hungry and you will eat more junk food until you satisfy your body's craving with actual nutritious foods will you actually be full.
To be clear, we still go to restaurants and don't always eat unprocessed foods...we just make sure that things like that are a rare occurrence and the norm is always healthy wholesome food made at home.