Blog: Journey of Light
by thomas

Losing Weight and Transforming My Physical Body

A short description of the lifestyle changes that helped me to loose the weight and live a healthier life.

Date:   7/6/2005 12:04:10 AM   ( 17 y ) ... viewed 2242 times

I recently lost a little over 40 pounds. I went from an unhealthy (high blood pressure and stuff) 240 to just under 200. I chose to loose the weight through a lifestyle change and not a diet. I have done the diet thing in the past and it never really worked for me. I would lose weight and then gain it back again. So I finally decided it needed to be a lifestyle change. I began by fundamentally looking at what food I was eating and what drinks I was drinking. I then began to replace the unhealthy items with what I consider to be healthier alternatives.

One of the first things I did was to cut out all the white starches in my diet such as potatoes, breads and pastas. I replaced them with whole wheat. I especially love the whole wheat pitas and tortillas. Although, you should be careful with some products which are labeled whole wheat. Many of these products are deceiving as they still contain undesirable ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup which is not a natural healthy ingredient. I now by all natural pitas and tortillas at the Whole Foods store near my house. The pitas and wraps are great for making sandwiches, quesadillas and wraps. They are very versatile. I have also used whole wheat pastas which have great flavor and can be used in any of the traditional Italian dishes. As for potatoes, I have substituted sweet potatoes for the traditional white ones.

I also looked at the fat content of some of the foods I was consuming. I simple would not buy anything that had a high fat content. Instead, I tried to find the low fat or no fat alternatives especially with cheese, and other dairy products like sour cream. One of the most important aspects of cutting out the fat is not eating fast food. If anyone doubts that, please got out and rent the wonderful documentary, Super Size Me, by Morgan Spurlock. This was truly a wonderful and eye opening film on the effects of a high fat diet on the human body. As part of the fat awareness aspect of this lifestyle change, I gave up red meat. I pretty much just eat chicken or turkey. Although, I do look for low fat content turkey and chicken. I just love the taste of turkey burgers and turkey meat balls.

Another large part of this change which was really difficult for me but one of the most important facets was giving up sugar. I truly believe that sugar is one of the worst things out there. The human diet, until recently, had very low amounts of sugar in it. Today, it seems that there are very few products that don't contain sugar. So except for rare occasions, I gave up all the cookies, chocolate, ice cream, all of it. However, I realized that if I gave it up for really long time periods and then cheated, I would go way overboard. So I decided to find desserts that had some sugar but not too much. I was told about a good dessert by my sister-in-law. You have a small cup of redi-whip with cinnamon on top. You can even by the reduced fat kind. The good thing about the cinnamon is that it helps to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Thought that was kind of neat. I know there are a lot of desserts out there that advertise they have no sugar, but the problem is that if it’s sweet and says no sugar that means that they have most likely replaced the sugar with artificial chemicals.

The last part for me was what I was drinking. Now I was never much for soda, but I was hooked on the cranberry-apple juice. Man that has a lot of sugar in it. So I gave up all drinks, for water. It’s water all the time, except for an occasional unsweetened iced tea. So many of the drinks out there have tons of sugar poured into them. I have to say that soda has got to be one of the worst things for you, whether it is regular or diet. It’s either too much sugar or too many chemicals masking themselves as sugar.

While the above concerns how I changed my eating habits, I also combined this with exercise. It is essential to combine a change in what you put into your body with a change in what you do with your body. A lifestyle change should not just consist of changes in one of these areas. They are both equally important. As of today, I try to run either a mile or a couple of miles every day. I also weight train three times a week. It’s important for me to note, that when I began to exercise I was not able to run. I had to walk around the track. As time went on and I built up my endurance, I began to combine walking laps with running laps. Now I am able to run laps without having to walk. The important thing is to take it slow at first and get used to what your body’s limits are because at first there will be limits. I know I had them. Be conscious of how your body feels. Check in from time to time to make sure your not pushing yourself too hard and causing injury.

While it may sound that I have this down pat pretty much, you should know that this is always a work in progress and it should be for you as well. There will always be healthier alternatives and more ways to improve this new healthy lifestyle. One of the ways I am improving my diet is by buying all organic produce including vegetables, fruits, meats, milk and cheeses. This is one important way of making sure that harmful pesticides, steroids and hormones are not going into your body. Another improvement is by including more and more raw food into my diet. I try not to cook any of my vegetables any more, so that I can get the full nutritional benefit out of them. I even found that many of these vegetables taste better uncooked. Who would have thought?

You should also be reminded that the amount of weight you lose is not always the most important or only way of gauging your progress. Another way is by looking at how your clothes fit. I went from a size 40 waist to a 34, which was amazing to me. So checking on things like waist size or shirt size, can be helpful as well. But don’t forget to look at your body as well. You know what it looks like. Can you see your stomach beginning to disappear or are your legs getting more defined? If you are weight training many times you replace the fat with muscle, so there may not be a tremendous loss in weight. But you will notice progress as you see your biceps getting bigger or the flab disappearing.

Lastly, some people have told me that I must have a tremendous amount of self control. I agree that I have some. However, I am more a believer of the out of sight out of mind approach. If it's not in the fridge, I can't eat it.

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