With our pantry seemingly empty and our refrigerator busting at the seams with all things healthy and natural, I started my weight loss journey. Although I will not completely lay out the guidelines from his book I will share several things I learned that will stick with me forever. One major aspect of weight loss and overall health that I still honestly think about every time I go grocery shopping is to shop the perimeter of the store. If you think about it, the center is filled with boxes and cans and bottles of “food” filled with sugar, unhealthy oils and preservatives. It’s a great concept to remember and keep me in line. I took meal ideas from his book and would eat the same exact thing every single day (especially for breakfast and lunch) for a week or two at a time. It sounds incredibly boring but it made grocery shopping and meal planning so much easier. I can honestly say that for most all of my weight loss, I did not count calories. I ate when I was hungry and did not crash diet what so ever. I think that is HUGE in creating a weight loss journey and to changing your lifestyle. I learned the simplest things from how much sugar is in spaghetti sauce and how to make my own to what to look for in the ingredient list of boxed goods when you do want a quick and easy snack.

While many people turn to artificial sweeteners in a misguided attempt to whittle their waistlines, those fake sugars are likely to have the opposite effect. According to researchers at Yale, artificial sweeteners are actually linked with an increased risk of abdominal obesity and weight gain, possibly because they can trigger cravings for the real stuff and spike insulin levels in a similar fashion to real sugar.


More importantly, though, strength training does wonders for your body. It helps make bones denser, critical because our bones become weaker as we age, increasing the risk of osteoporosis — of the 10 million Americans suffering from the disease, 80 percent are women. (4) Strength training helps build lean muscle tissue, helping you lose more weight all over, including the dreaded belly fat. It also reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (5)

Rowing is an aggressive exercise that can burn enough calories to help you burn fat. However, the best workout available only works if you can do it regularly. Rowing requires specialized equipment, meaning you can only row when you have access to the right facilities. Also, the calories you burn while rowing will only mean burning fat if you resist the temptation to eat more food to make up for the burn. As with any workout plan, rowing will burn fat best if you couple it with a dedicated program of weight loss diet and lifestyle choices.
“Every morning I drink a cup of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and a dash of cayenne pepper,” says Michelle Keough. This helps her start her day off on a healthy note while getting her hydrated after a long night. This trick, combined with eating meals built around protein and veggies, helped her lose 20 pounds and keep it off.
The influence intermittent fasting has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off. Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.
Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
One review found that people who sleep between 3.5 and 5.5 hours a night consume nearly 385 more calories the next day when compared to those who sleep between 7 and 10 hours. (6) Sleep is critical for our bodies to repair and function properly. When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, not only are you more likely to gain weight, but you’re also at a higher risk for chronic diseases, anxiety, irritability and more.
So here’s where I have to say that I AM NOT a dieting or fitness professional. Even having to write that is humorous. I am absolutely NEITHER of those. And that is one huge reason that I was so reluctant to share my story. Yet as my sweet friends told me over our trip last month, my blog is to inspire and to them, my weight loss story could be inspiring. So once again, I am not a professional so please DO NOT take anything I say as advise. This is just my story and if it motivates one single person to change their lifestyle, I would be absolutely thrilled to have shared these glorious images 😉
Full Plate Living is a nonprofit dedicated to a simple mission: Encourage, educate, support, and inspire anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. They don’t advocate for starving yourself, spending your life at the gym, or giving up the foods you love. They’re also not about fad diets or weight loss supplements. Instead, they offer practical, straightforward steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog.
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