Today I want to introduce my dear friend Julie to you. She has been in my life since I was about 16 and we have developed a friendship over the years that I am extremely thankful for. She has recently been on a bit of a health journey and I asked her if she would share with all of us what it is she has done to regain her health lately.
Everyone, meet Julie!
Body image and being overweight has been an issue for most of my life. I can recall beginning to feel self-conscious of my weight in middle school and I struggled with my weight ever since. I am your typical, notorious “yo-yo” dieter. I grow extremely motivated, commit fully until I reached my goal and then I would gain all the weight back.
When I grew tired of the extra weight I would find another quick fix, and another, and the cycle repeated continuously. I tried weight watchers, counting calories, food journaling, paleo diet, my-fitness pal app, but could never stay consistent with the programs. I could tell that my eating habits were effecting my mood, my skin and hair, my digestive system, my sleep and really my overall health. I decided in early February to put a stop to the “yo-yo” dieting and try a program called Advocare 24 Day Challenge.
This program intrigued me because it was a combination of a cleanse along with allowing your body to absorb maximum nutrients while training your body to eat properly. I loved the program because it incorporated a schedule to follow and what categories of foods to choose from. I am an extremely structured individual, so I was able to follow the program effortlessly. I eliminated sugar, coffee, sodium, red meat, processed foods and dairy out of my diet. I strictly only consumed complex carbs, proteins, fruits and vegetables.
I taught my body how to eat 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 large meals. I began looking at food as fuel, instead of a treat. I also drank 80-120 ounces of water daily. I immediately noticed a change in my mood, my sleep, my skin and my digestive system. I began to learn my body’s negative reaction to certain foods. By not consuming foods containing sugar or gluten I felt less bloated and sluggish. I also became increasingly aware of my sensitivity to dairy products.
By eating from the recommended food groups, eating every 2 hours daily and consuming 80-120 ounces of water daily I noticed my body slimming down and dropping weight. One thing that made this change of lifestyle successful was my dedicated time to grocery shopping and meal prepping every Sunday. I would cook & store my lunches and dinners for the week so that I would always have a meal to eat. This allows you to control what you are eating and it eliminates having to rely on eating out or eating something unhealthy.
Incorporating exercise 3 days a week for 60 minutes was important to me because I knew I could see maximum results if included some light weight lifting and cardio into my weekly routine. To maintain my results, I plan to continue exercising 3 days a week, continuing to make healthy meal choices for 80% of my meals and allow 20% of those meals to be what I consider a “cheat” meal. Allowing myself 2 cheat meals a week keeps me from feeling deprived or restricted and less guilty when I do want to enjoy a slice of cake or a piece of pizza! Another tip is trying new recipes. Finding healthy alternative to your favorite foods is so fun and is very satisfying!
The word “diet” is a drag to me. I like to think of it as a lifestyle change. Don’t be discouraged by the number on the scale, but rather focus on how you are feeling and how your clothes are fitting when you are trying to achieve results! Learning how to eat properly and making your goal to be healthy and happy is what is going to lead you to success.