My husband and I made a decision this summer. It was time to take our health seriously. We have seen example and example of the effects of failing health, and we were determined to do everything in our power to keep that from happening to us… to keep that from happening to our children.
Having always been “chubbies,” we’ve run through the gamut of weight loss plans and diets, all in the name of getting healthy. Yet, I can honestly say we are likely WORSE off for every one of them. The time, money, and health impact has been utterly ridiculous. Ironically, one of the worst, in my opinion, has been the “doctor approved” one that put us back over $3000.
In the past, we’ve both had health struggles including hormone imbalances, hypertension, and fertility issues. Society tells us it is because we are fat. And maybe that’s so. But here’s the what we finally decided… here’s the little tidbit that changed everything for us…
Yep. In order to achieve a healthy weight, we had to get healthy. That’s a big bite to swallow (pun intended).
So, where do you start? What is your first step in the journey towards a lifetime of healthy behaviors?
We started by hiring a trusted professional to lead us. We chose Thomas Jusayan, brought into our lives through volunteering with Big Brother Big Sister years back. His company, Peak Performance, ministers through nutrition and fitness. This dude is a wealth of information, and not the typical work-out-and-starve-yourself stuff... the this-is-how-the-body-works stuff.
Thomas taught us a lot about what we needed to do as well as correcting bad information we've received over the years. He is very much about an all natural/organic/whole diet, which resonated heavily with our desires for a non-toxic lifestyle. The following is an accumulation of what we learned from Thomas as well as through some independent research. Hopefully Thomas is reading this and nodding his head in agreement and not shaking his head thinking we missed the target!
Of course, weight loss is definitely a factor considering we are both overweight. So, if you are wanting to get healthy and you weigh 90 pound, this may not be the tips for you (contact Thomas!).
- Trade out toxins.
- Regain healthy metabolism.
- Maintain alkalinity.
Through these goals, we have been able to transform our health and bodies over the last six or so months. We both feel great, and our bodies are starting to take healthy form. We have adopted lifestyle changes that are maintainable, even coming out of the most difficult time for healthy choices… the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Check out these before and in progress photos:
Let me be clear: though the process to break habits and addictions (read note below) was difficult, we are not on some strict diet. We have reformulated the way we nourish our bodies, a change that we have decided will follow us throughout our lifetime.
Aforementioned Note: I used to think food addictions, especially sugar addictions, were a crock of bull hockey. I had heard the science and ignored it. After breaking the addiction and still struggling with it, I am a believer!
So let’s talk the “why” behind our goals and action steps, right? That’s why you’re here!
Trade Out Toxins
Toxic chemicals surround us. They are in EVERYTHING now days: cosmetics, cleaning products, candles, furniture, building materials, clothing… you name it. And some of them are pretty awful (I posted more about that here). And MOST of them we have no idea the possible health impact. We are bombarded by them. But whether or not you think candles cause asthma or window cleaner causes cancer, know this…
The liver is our body’s filter. We eat things, things get absorbed, the liver works through it and decides what to do with it. For everything that our body that the liver doesn’t recognize, so all of those synthetic chemicals, the liver stores them away in our fat. Our fat acts as a barrier between the chemicals that could do our bodies harm and our cells until we can properly break them down and get rid of them. I’m pretty sure when the fat surrounds these chemicals, it makes this sound: “bloop.” Getting the visual?
So, the more chemicals in our bodies, the more our body recognizes the need for fat. Your body resists getting rid of fat and even goes into fat production in order to encapsulate these toxins. Are you having your “a-ha” moment, yet?
Let’s talk dieting. You cut your calories in order to lose weight. You may just eat less, but many times you opt for “low fat” and “sugar free” alternatives to the crap you eat. As you starve your body and your body starts to shed fat, the toxin-to-body-weight ratio goes up (and if you are eating those chemically-derived diet foods, it goes WAY up). Your body does the best it can and starts to run processes more efficiently to adjust to your new caloric intake. Your metabolism hits the floor, since quickly burning off calories is counterproductive to your body’s need to survive. Within a short amount of time, your body is now made adjustments to maintain (not lose) on your low calorie diet, and even starts to ramp up fat production to protect itself from those chemicals in your system. Better yet, when you start eating normal amounts of food again, your body ramps up this fat production big time. Oh yeah… rebound fat! We’ve all experienced it. In fact, generally, our bodies pack on more weight in our rebound than what we originally lost while dieting. Now ain’t that some crap?! And the stress that this whole process has put on your body has its own health implications.
Society told you that you are fat because you have no will power. Society told you that your fat is a sign of weakness. Society points at you and calls you a glutton. Yet, society has the whole weight loss game all jacked up.
This being said, my first recommendation in heading towards better health and a healthier weight is to trade out those toxins, not only in what you eat, but also what you inhale and spread onto your skin (your body absorbs these toxic chemicals in these other ways, too). Help your body naturally break down these toxins (I recommend ingesting pure, therapeutic-grade citrus essential oils) and drink plenty of water to help flush them out. Then, get rid of toxic products around the house, including cleaning products, personal care items, cosmetics, air fresheners and candles, etc. This is where essential oils have heavily come into play in this process, since they offer all-natural, detoxifying, and effective alternatives around the home.
You won’t be able to completely halt your exposure to toxic chemicals, but limiting what you can will allow your body’s natural detoxification processes to keep up.
Regaining Healthy Metabolism + Maintaining Alkalinity
After all the calorie cutting and failed dieting, both of our metabolisms were shot. You know that skinny person you know who eats all day long and never gets fat? Yep, healthy metabolism. You want that.
So, does the aforementioned skinny person eat all day because he has a healthy metabolism or does he have a healthy metabolism because he eats all day? Trick question! The answer is both!
Now that we have built up our metabolisms, we find ourselves hungry after a few hours of not eating.... and eating every few hours keeps our metabolism pumping. Cool, huh?
Want to know another cool thing about building up your metabolism? On those times you struggle with your eating or stray from your guidelines, your body is equipped with the calorie-munching metabolism so that it doesn't affect you negatively. Throughout the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we ate our fair share of "treats", neither my husband nor I gained a single pound. When my husband found out in late October that he had to have emergency back surgery, resulting in weeks of limited mobility, he continued to lose weight. Why? Healthy metabolism.
So how do we regain a healthy metabolism?
- Intake more (eat more and more often); or
- Exert more (exercise more)
Naturally, both is better.
Thomas laid out a full meal plan for each of us, partially determined by how we carry our weight (don’t ask me… I just took his word for it). Luckily, my husband and I’s dietary needs were similar, making meal prep easy. Here is an example of my meal plan. Note: this meal plan is both for purposes of overall wellness as well as boosting metabolism.
The meal plan followed a few basic principles:
- Choose all natural, organic (when available), whole foods.
- Eat every 2-3 hours. Don’t skip meals. This means you will have 5-6 meals small per day.
- Choose foods that lead to an alkaline state in the body over an acidic one. Click here for a handy chart on food alkalinity/acidity.
- Eat in combination. Balance your meals and snacks to include multiple food groups, helping your body best absorb the shock of carbohydrates.
- Work on maintaining a balance of 40% protein, 20% healthy fats, and 30% carbohydrates throughout the day. This was far more protein than what we were previously consuming.
- Focus on most of your carbohydrates coming from vegetables. This leaves little room for carbohydrates from legumes and grains (preferably sprouted), which we limited to 1-2 servings per day.
- Treat yourself once per week. In order to make this a lifestyle change and keep us from feeling deprived, Thomas encouraged us to have one treat meal per week. Obviously, the more heavily you treated the longer it would take to recoup, but since we aren’t racing to a finish line but rather on a life-long journey, that doesn’t matter so much.
One major adjustment was breaking our coffee habit. It not only leads to acidic states of the body, but in my case, it couldn’t be consumed without unspeakable amounts of sugar and creamer. This process was made much simpler with NingXia Nitro, NingXia Red, and energizing and uplifting essential oils like peppermint and tangerine.
Here are some eating tips we learned along the way to help us in our successes:
- Start with a nutritive cleanse. This helps break the body’s addictions and really helps you jump in full force to a better eating regimen. You will be so happy to eat some lean chicken with some seasoned broccoli after your cleanse. We started with an all-raw, all-produce cleanse (here), which we weren’t the biggest fans of (though it was definitely effective). The 5-Day Nutritive Cleanse by Young Living is much simpler and tastier and actually may be a bit cheaper when all is said and done.
- Turn to essential oils when feeling stressed, anxious, or discouraged. So many times we turn to unhealthy foods, so essential oils can definitely help with the mental blocks that stand between you and your healthier self.
- Find ways to incorporate veggies into your meals were you can. Add them into your scrambled eggs; eat a bunch with lunch and dinner. It can be hard to center every meal around veggies, so shove them in where you can.
- Consider powdered green shakes or Multigreens capsules to help fill the voids or to get you through those on-the-go days where eating plates full of vegetables is difficult.
- Keep easy snack options readily available so you don’t skip meals. Raw almonds, apple + peanut butter, yogurt + blueberries, pre-chopped and seasoned cucumbers, protein bars, etc. One of our favorite easy meals is organic powdered vegetables + Pure Protein Complete shakes. We get a wide variety of veggies and protein all in one glass. Granted, the taste isn’t delectable, but if you chug it, you’ll do just fine! 😉
- Prep ahead of time. For example, I cook our veggie + egg scrambles for two days, throw them into food storage containers, and they are ready for my husband to take to work and me to eat when I get home from the gym. We have no excuse during these times of extreme hunger to grab anything else, and busy mornings never get in the way of wise meal choices. Pack your food the night before so you have no excuses the following day.
- Make enough so that you have leftovers of dinner for the following day’s lunch. This eliminates one meal to prep.
- Have sweet tooth fixes on hand. Mine was bars of super dark organic chocolate. I could break off two little squares and curb my cravings without the glucose spike. My husband’s was a handful of cocoa powder dusted almonds. Pick something that doesn’t completely wreck your dietary goals but still satisfies that sweet tooth. NingXia Red is also a great carb craving deterrent, especially if you add a drop of Ocotea in it. Or… try Slique or Slique Tea to bust cravings.
- Drink water. Really, do it. Add some citrus oils to your water to help flavor it, helping your body in its natural detoxification processes as well. In addition, I read a fact once that we mistake thirst for hunger a good portion of the time. Interesting, eh?
- Don't forget to season your food. And, you can use salt if your palette desires. Since you are cutting processed foods out of your diet, for the most part, sodium intake will not be high. If you want to love your food, show some love to your food. Put the effort in to make it taste good.
- Don't be afraid to throw away junk food that talks to you in moments of weakness. We threw out "bad" foods during our cleanse, cleansing our pantry alongside our bodies. Have snacks on hand for the kids? Make them healthy snacks. They can use the lifestyle change, too!
Here is an example of our meal schedule throughout a day:
My husband -
5AM – Greens+Protein Shake
8AM – Eggs+Veggie Scramble @ Work
10AM – Apple+Peanut Butter
12:30PM – Lunch (Last night’s dinner – Grilled Steak, Broccoli, Green Beans)
3PM – Greens+Protein Shake
6PM – Dinner @ Home (Baked BBQ Chicken, Asparagus, Peas)
9PM – Bed
(He prepares powders for two shakes and one snack before bed. The eggs and lunch are already ready to go since I prep them before hand.)
8AM – Greens+Protein Shake
11AM – Eggs+Veggie Scramble + Sprouted Grain Toast w/ PB
2PM – Lunch (Last night’s dinner – Grilled Steak, Broccoli, Green Beans)
4PM – Yogurt + Blueberries + Almonds
6PM – Dinner (Baked BBQ Chicken, Asparagus, Peas)
9PM – Greens+Protein Shake
1AM – Bed
The next part of regaining a healthy metabolism is exercising. This one trips people up, but it doesn’t have to. Think of it this way…
Can you devote 4% of your day to better health? Let’s say you spend another hour on making better meal choices. You are up to 8%.
Here are some of my best tips for creating and sticking with an exercise plan:
- Figure out at time that works for you and stick with it. For my husband, it is at 5:30 in the morning before work. There is always something during lunch or after work that can prohibit him from going to the gym, but at this odd hour in the morning, he has no excuse. My friend Abby leaves her children at day care for a bit longer to take the time to exercise after she gets off work. Make it work!
- Work out daily, taking one day for rest/recovery. This helps you get into the habit, as well as increase results.
- Exercise for an hour. Your body doesn’t even go into fat burning mode until after 20 minutes of elevated heart rate.
- I have this friend, RC, an essential oil blend for respiratory comfort, that makes an amazing workout buddy on cardio days. Its amazing how much better your perform (thus getting more out of your workout) when your body is getting proper oxygen!! He also happens to be very uplifting and inspiring on those days when I’m just not “feeling it.”
- Mix it up. Not only will this keep you from getting bored with exercising, but it will also keep your body guessing, which is always great for results in fitness.
- Build muscles at least 2 days a week. Interesting fact: you continue to burn calories after lifting weights far after your workout is finished.
- Choose a gym that offers group workout classes. This is a great way to push yourself to do workouts you would otherwise not do. Plus, you may even find some classes that are fun. Expose yourself to all different workouts. This white girl actually learned she likes Zumba and loves U-Jam (all about shaking that butt), and finds yoga and kickboxing great workouts, too. I get pushed during Body Pump (weight lifting to the beat of music) and Athletic Training Club like no other workout pushes me!
- Don’t let soreness be an excuse. I lean on my essential oils to relieve sore muscles so I can go to the gym without excuses or distractions.
- Use NingXia Nitro after hard workouts to give you the energy to get through the rest of your day.
- Side Note: Gym equipment is icky. Thieves Spray is a wonderful friend to have around at the gym.
- Stay at home with the kids? Pick a gym that has child care. This not only eliminates excuses but also turns gym time into “mommy’s hour” time. Who the heck doesn’t want “mommy’s hour” time?
- Don’t be afraid to get help. If you don’t know the bicept curl machine from the leg press machine, get help. Many gyms offer complimentary training sessions to help you learn to use the machines. I had Thomas coach me through 6 weeks of exercises to get me familiar with proper exercise and fitness techniques.
So there you have it: 2700 words of my weight management plan. Do I know it all? Nope. I am constantly learning. I do know that I have been able to maintain my healthier diet for nearly six months now, even through Thanksgiving and Christmas, without feeling deprived or starving myself.
Scared? Don’t be! If I can do it, you can do it! And better yet, know that these changes will have health benefits far beyond your weight. Are you ready to feel better? Are you ready to have more energy? Are you ready to be the better you? Are you ready to say “my skinny jeans are too big!”? Let’s do this!
If you would like help in starting your weight loss journey the healthy way and are interested in learning how essential oils can help break the barriers to a healthier lifestyle, feel free to contact me. I love sharing wellness!
And just because we could all use a little graphic love to kick us in the pants: