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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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Quick, natural weight loss with simple diet & easy exercise

Works for Me Wednesday bannerWelcome to Works for Me Wednesday, sponsored by Rocks In My Dryer. This week, my tip has to do with that nemesis called weight loss.

(New update below)

After six full-term pregnancies, let's just say the scale didn't tip in my favor. I was trying to eat well, and usually lost extra weight from breastfeeding, but this time it didn't help. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, so I prayed.
And prayed
And prayed
And prayed

One day, my friend told me about her low-carb self-modified Atkins diet and how well it was working for her. I saw the proof on her smaller frame and knew her approach held the key for me. Quick evaluation revealed I was a carbohydrate freak, and protein and I were barely on speaking terms.

I didn't realize that as a result, the terrible combination of too much carbs and little protein caused everything I ate to turn straight to the blossoming fat pockets on my body. What I needed, was to use up all the energy in my food instead of letting it store, and then use my abundant fat reserves for backup.

I decided to break up with Mr. Carb and start courting protein: I upped my protein intake and dropped carbs to 30 grams or less a day, give or take. Considering my diet was full of bread and sugar (both large carb sources) and that I'd eat more than 30 grams of carbs just for breakfast with my favorite breakfast food, cereal, I was definitely eating way too much.

No wonder I hadn't been able to lose weight.

My new meals consisted of eggs with ricotta cheese, little or no toast, more steak and chicken, and snack of peanut butter celery sticks or almonds or cashews. When I do eat bread, I eat low carb bread. (Only net carbs count: net carbs is the fiber grams count deducted from the total carbs listed on the package).

But that's not all. I began small exercise sessions in my bathroom. Yup, the smallest of these small rooms in the house, excluding the wash closet. I began to do squats while brushing my teeth or hair, and side kicks standing next to the bathroom while waiting for Stridex to dry on my face so I could apply lotion.

This easy exercise regimen along with my diet has dropped me ten pounds since June, twenty from my all fat, no-muscle postpartum weight at two months after delivery. I've gained noticeable muscle, which weighs more than fat and lost inches. (This is why the scale is not your friend and the tape measure is.)

Here's what I've lost so far. Postpartum references my stats at 2 months post-delivery.:

  • Biceps: 1" (same postpartum)
  • Waist: 1.5" (2" postpartum)
  • Hip: 3" (5.5" from postpartum!)
  • Butt: 2" (3" postpartum)
  • Thigh: 1.5+" (2.5" postpartum)
  • Calves: .75" (same postpartum)
  • 19 lb. lost postpartum

And I'm not killing myself with exercise. This is user friendly and do-able. If it works for me, it can work for you too!

Go ahead. The next time you brush your teeth, try a few leg squats. And bypass that cereal and toast for a banana and eggs.


Updated to add:
Transitioning off carbs can be difficult if most of your diet consists of carbs. The first struggle is figuring out what to eat because that means no more cereal, toast, bagels, cookies, crackers, chips, pancakes, pastry, rice, pasta, or lots of dairy unless the grain items are specifically low in net carbs. And fruits and candy are out while you're losing because sugars translate to carbs which turn to fat.

So what do you eat? Think protein and veggies and lots of water which you need anyway but probably aren't getting anywhere near enough of in your current diet: meats (watch out for processed meals), eggs, nuts, soy, veggies. Go for stir fry meals made with olive oil and seasoned to taste, and try a few fish meals or hearty soup and stews (cut out the potato and rice).

Once you start the transition, you'll find for the first three days that you feel ravenous. But you're really not starving. Your stomach just thinks it is. If you really monitor what you put into your stomach: three eggs with ricotta cheese and a slice of provolone over ham, you're eating enough. But your stomach thinks it's hungry because it craves carbs and processes food differently than you want it to.

It's used to having an abundance of carbs to get energy from with more to spare which it stores. In those first days, your body must learn to burn off protein instead of carbs, and then get its resources from your stored energy--your fat. Around day three, you will begin to feel full quicker, and notice you feel lighter. When that happens, congratulations! You're body is switched over.

In the mean time,
push yourself to drink more water to help fill your stomach in that transition period.

Keep this transition period in mind because you don't want your body to transition back to burning carbs from food, which it will do if you slip back into your carb-dependent diet. Encourage yourself by remembering this is a temporary phase. Once you reach a weight where your clothes fit well and your body can move better, then you can begin adding back carbs in small increments until your weight maintains itself.

Balance is the key. Best wishes, all.



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8 Comments:

At 12:31 AM , Blogger Nikki said...

Okay, I'll try it. I think I'm a bit of a carbohydrate addict anyway. And I definitely need to lose this baby weight.

 
At 2:39 AM , Blogger Kathy in WA said...

So glad to hear you're having success. I'm stuck at a nasty plateau myself and can really appreciate the encouragement.

Thanks for sharing!!! :)

Duckabush Blog

 
At 7:12 AM , Blogger Desiree' said...

I read your works for me wednesday on rocks in my dryer and I have also been doing the Atkins diet since December of last year. So far I have lost about 25 pounds. I even kind of took a break for the summer. But I started back when school started and I have already lost 3 pounds. I discovered the same that I was a carboholic. Sugar wreaks havoc on my system. I love your blog and love what you are doing with your house. It is a far away dream/nightmare for my husband and I to build our own house someday!

 
At 10:29 AM , Blogger JHS. said...

Congratulations! So glad it worked for you!

JHSEsq
http://www.jhsiess.com/hereslookingatme/

 
At 12:25 PM , Anonymous Barbara H. said...

For me the problem is how the break that carb addiction when that's what I want and crave all the time in many forms. It's something I know I need to cut back on but don't want to.

 
At 1:14 PM , Blogger (Jim &) Brandy Brow said...

Nikki--You can do it. Go girl!

Kathy in wa--Remember to actually pull out the tape measure. One of the times I plateaued in my weight loss before trying this method, I felt like I was a bit smaller, but the scale wouldn't budge past 145 lb. Then I pulled out the tape measure and realized I still was losing. So don't let that scale fool you. Keep up the good work.

Desiree--Aren't those carb and sugar cravings the worst. They are such comfort foods, it was hard for me to let them go. But once I did, I felt so much better. Thanks for letting me know you like my blog. Building your own house is a lot of hard work, but it's worth it. Even the waiting part. ;)

jhs--thanks.

Barbara h.--I won't lie. Cutting carbs when that's the majority of what I ate was hard. At first I couldn't find anything to eat. But that was because I was so unused to looking for those kinds of foods. I'm adding an update right now to talk about the transition off carbs.

 
At 1:28 PM , Blogger Laane said...

Wow, that's a huge success! Congrats!

I wish I could do it too, but I'm on a very low protein intake, because I have a metabolism disorder.

Go on, and keep us updated!

 
At 6:35 PM , Anonymous Amy Jane said...

If you have time to click over I found a great quote about changing habits that resonated so much with me-- basically connected to your 3-days comment. (I only ever made it through one day like that-- no one ever told me the 3-day rule.)

Part:
"Old habits are strong and jealous. They will not be displaced easily if they get any warning that such plans are afoot; they will fight for their existence with subtlety and persuasiveness."

It is so true for me!

Congrats on persisting and seeing success!

 

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