11 Habits caused my weight loss. After concluding one day that certain metabolism-boosting claims have to be tried without skepticism, I found out what truly does work on my body. (All skepticism did was keep the pounds on.)
From my past weight-loss logs that I've typically recorded, I am able to track what I ate and the exercises I did in order to determine what effectively produces results for my body type.
As a WOTHAN (woman of the house and nurturer), I have found a huge challenge in balancing between two types of kitchen preps - those for the entire family who typically maintain healthy weights and those preps for myself as I face the fluctuations I've historically battled based on wavering levels of my stress management.
Despite such challenges as slow progress, weight loss plateaus, and even weight-loss related skin changes in my journey, I've learned that good old-fashioned perseverance is what mainly produces desired results when referencing tips from good books like Phyllis Balch's Prescription for Nutritional Healing as well as frequenting such reliable sites as draxe.com.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing is a reference book on numerous health-related topics with a wealth of recommendations. Readers of this book, including myself, over time have followed the author's tips - leading strait to the grocery stores' health food sections, online, or to one of many health food stores for natural products.
The following 11 lifestyle habits never fail me whenever I return to healthier, weight-managing choices:
1. I Stopped Skipping Meals, Especially Breakfast.
What health and fitness experts say about skipping meals, with breakfast as a prime subject, is true as I've personally discovered in my own lacking experience. I've read so much information about skipping meals and the downside of letting my stomach begin to growl, that I've given up on retaining all those tips in my mind. I have only 2 types of experience to validate those experts' advice:
My positive experience: When I'm losing weight, I notice that eating good, healthy foods in various amounts (from light to liberal amounts) have supported my weight loss. The key is eating the right, clean foods, which I talk about in the #2 habit.
My negative experience: When I'm gaining weight, I notice that during that time of gaining, I skip meals - especially breakfast. The culprit every time is my hectic schedule as a working woman. When you're rushing, it's easy to (1) forget to prepare healthy meals that can be easily grabbed and (2) forget to keep healthy snacks at hand in places like a car (which I practically live in sometimes).
2. I Started Eating More Fiber And Protein
Without Turning To Too Many Packaged Products.
I realize that packaged protein bars and fiber supplements work for a lot of people. With all the supplements we already have to buy in addition to the foods we selectively buy for our entire family, these methods don't fit our budget. Fortunately, that does not leave us without the benefits of fiber and protein combined in our household diet.
Here are the foods that help boost my metabolism when I select them right from the kitchen. And I've found them to be as rich in the fiber and/or in proteins as the experts say they are: (I'll start with protein sources, some of which have fiber, before I list the main sources of fibers I eat.)
Boiled eggs, lima beans (while black beans bloat me despite how good they actually are for other people), lean grilled/baked chicken, lean beef (with very little access to the much better but very expensive grass-fed beef), salmon the way I can afford it (sometimes organic, sometimes wild, but sometimes the blundered farm-raised too), halibut when I'm treated to a meal, other grilled seafoods, almonds (raw, smoked or roasted and unsalted or lightly salted by me), almond butter primarily from Trader Joe's, peanut butter also primarily from Trader Joe's, raw pecans, a few cashews here and there, sunflower seeds, crackers that contain primarily flaxseeds with nuts, avocados, blueberries, apples, melons of various kinds, strawberries in moderation, raspberries, bananas in serious moderation, occasional blackberries (in small amounts), occasional grapes (in small amounts), okra, a lot of collard greens, a lot of kale greens (raw and cooked), a lot of mustard greens, spinach (raw and occasionally cooked), and carrots in small amounts occasionally.
Of course, from time to time, I eat those counter-productive starches and snacks to which my daughter often refers as a little "naughty". Large helpings of corn, buttered popcorn at the movies, and tortilla chips often top my "naughty" list - especially if they're genetically modified products. A little cake at celebrations or a lot of cobbler on holidays also find their way into my diet. I absolutely compromise - just another reason why healthy foods are so important in my daily diet.
Certain liberties just don't impose risks on my body's metabolism when it's constantly being fed the right stuff with exercise. And sometimes stress management is an underlying problem.
3. I Decided To Moderately Incorporate Cardio And Light Resistance Exercises Into My Regular Routine.
Exercise is something I do only for the build-up of metabolism. I don't exercise to burn any calories. I let the increasing metabolism take care of that burning part. So, mentally, I have less to focus on and can remain motivated with one single, manageable goal: building up the metabolism little by little.
I power walk sometimes and walk at a regular pace other times. It all depends on what I'm willing to do in the moment, quite honestly. I cycle. I sometimes do home aerobics and sometimes calisthenics like the old jumping jacks. I focus on movement for the time I give it - 5 minutes here, 30 minutes there, and all times in between.
I only exercise 3-5 days per week - cardio on certain days and light push-ups plus planks on other days. Why so few days per week? Because I know me. I know what can burn me out with the busy schedule I already have juggling home life and work. I try to stay realistic and keep my body used to a pace that seems realistic enough to continue. It has worked quite well - with slower weight loss, of course. But I am confident with that as a good solution for myself.
Building some muscle is also a solution for me building my metabolism, even though muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle formation is something I rely on to take care of my "sitting metabolism" since muscle helps metabolize fat during stillness. From what I've read and experienced, most of that takes place during overnight sleep, which I can attest to working.
4. I Replaced Conveniences Like Close Parking And Elevators With More Walking.
Again, movement is my goal. With a busy schedule coming and going, I try all I can to incorporate activities that add to my goal in the simplicity of routine movement.
5. I Began To Drink A Lot Of Water.
I've read mixed reviews about whether drinking lots of water boosts the metabolism. Well, it certainly benefits me perfectly. From the time I get up in the mornings to about an hour or more before bed, I take down over 64 ounces of water, sometimes reaching my goal of a gallon. But I never do this in one sitting. There is a life-threatening danger in drinking too much water within a short timeframe of 60 minutes. I spread out all that water-drinking throughout the day for the weight loss benefits I've reaped in keeping it as routine.
6. I Chose To Permanently Eliminate 3 Bad Foods That I Know I Can Live Without For the Rest Of My Life, While Significantly Reducing Everything Else That's Bad.
I chose to permanently kick out candy, ice cream, and sodas. That leaves a lot of liberty. With all the naughty foods to eat and all the healthy stuff I eat, I find my liberty primarily in the naturally grown foods - but when they are as readily available as the bad stuff. For example, collard greens are not readily available like a burger and fries at the drive thru. This has been a major challenge for me.
Keeping the good stuff prepared in every way possible helps me stay on task. If I am constantly eating good healthy foods, I find that I do not crave bad stuff. So, the compromise often comes during holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions in small amounts of those naughty foods. Fortunately, the regular routine of consuming good clean times enable my body to metabolize the compromising foods - as would the bodies of 2 of my kids who naturally have fast metabolisms.
7. I Began To Regularly Drink Herbal Teas That Promote Weight Loss.
There are teas that experts, like Dr. Axe, say help the metabolism. I've read blogs that disagree.
Well, my body seems to highly agree with Dr. Axe. Once again, the patterns between my weight losses and weight gains have been consistent over the years. Daily drinking certain teas after each meal and some between meals have produced rewarding results in my weight-loss journey. Here they are:
Green tea after every meal (the cream of the crop among all the teas I drink), ginger tea in the mornings (made from either fresh tea or a ginger tea bag), cinnamon sticks made into a tea (for no more than a few weeks at a time before I take a few weeks of break from it), white tea between meals, Moringa tea for health (and to reduce immune system problems, including auto-immune symptoms), Pau d'arco tea for the same reasons as Moringa, and rarely Oolong tea (which still has yet to prove its effectiveness on my body that weight loss blogs claim). Ninety-nine and a half percent of the time, I mix my teas.
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Yes, with water and tea, I constantly drink all day. This becomes an overall inconvenience to which I have to continuously adapt in the shuffle of things to do all day. With a busy schedule and stressful situations that demand my attention, I have often allowed this high-maintenance routine of drinking-drinking-drinking to dwindle. Drinking when I no longer feel like tasting green tea and it's associate teas, plus running to this bathroom-that restroom, must be accepted as a part of life if I am going to continue reaping the benefits of consuming all the right stuff in such a form.
8. I Began To Regularly Take Supplements That Promote Weight Loss.
In Prescription For Nutritional Healing, late author Phyllis A. Balch listed vitamin deficiency as a common problem in obese people. She also listed other supplements that promote weight loss. So, based on what she advised in her book, plus findings written in other resources, here the supplements that I take on a daily basis:
UltraHair by Nature's Plus as a multi-vitamin due to my hair's tendency toward lifelessness with diet changes, salmon oil along with flaxseed oil capsules (because good oils do contribute to my weight loss, as I've noticed), 1-2-3-4 Probiotic Prebiotics (balances my appetite while it offers me premium digestive benefits, helping my weight loss noticeably), Rhodiola Rosea (to reduce the fat-storing affects of stress-related cortisol in my belly), Collagen (to promote muscle formation and skin tightening that's greatly needed during my weight loss) and spices that I add to my food (ginger and cayenne).
9. I Began To Keep The Good Fats In My Daily Diet.
Among the plethora of weight-loss and health blogs that I've read over the years, I owe a shout-out of thanks to the experts who said that regular intake of good fats (among few other lifestyle contributors) can play a key role in eliminating bad fats. My body agrees. Here are those fats that I regularly consume in moderation with my foods:
Avocado (as the creme of the crop among them all), coconut oil in meticulous moderation (only because it causes acne flare-up for me while providing acne cure for others, despite the wonders it reportedly does for weight loss), salmon oil supplement, flaxseed oil supplement, and extra virgin olive oil (either California Ranch or Trader Joe's as my personally preferred brands).
10. I Stopped Habitually Eating Late.
From time to time, I find myself eating late - especially when my whole family goes out for a late dinner or we're at a late function together. But that's pretty rare. And there are the late-night munchies I sometimes get.
Apart from those exceptions, I typically eat before 7:30 p.m. On good days (which occur more than once a week), I manage to eat nothing after 7p.m. I've noticed excellent and significant results on the scale when I do this for just 1-3 days consecutively.
11. I Started To Put More Effort Into Going To Bed Before 11 p.m.
My body fully responded to this simple advice from experts. I try to turn in long before 11 p.m. most days.
"Everything in moderation" is a good guiding statement. But I've been challenged at times that I could be causing problems in my body with so much of this "healthy" stuff mixed into my system: the herbal teas, supplements, spices, the selected fats, and the heavy water-drinking. (Of course, I've never heard concerns about the healthy foods I eat.)
When confronted with the thought of so much of this unconventional stuff in my system, I do a comparison. When I was eating poorly, was I causing problems in my body with so much of this following stuff in my system? Donuts every week, fast food multiple times every week, sweet beverages almost everyday, candy, occasional ice cream binges, fried this-fried that plus french fries, potato chips every week, bread in every form desirable, frequent cookie binges, and so on. Some comparisons just don't take long to convince me.
There is one key method to losing weight that I did not include in my list. Reserving the mention of this significant part of my weight loss as a conclusion is because, for me, it's really in a class all by itself among all weight-loss tips. It's the driving force we all call motivation.
Staying motivated for a lifetime is a challenge. It's actually the challenge for maintaining a healthy weight once it has been achieved. The whole reason I'm able to blog about the journey to which I've returned is because of my current motivation - continually visiting resourceful websites like Dr. Axe, our site that gives real-life testimonies of those who actually took experts' advice with relatable reports of our journeys, other websites, and participating in support forums like ours. In fact, in order to continue with the 11 habits that boost my metabolism, I must remain motivated.