For the last two years I have been slowly putting on some extra weight - nothing huge, 5lbs - 10lbs. I told myself that this was just the mid-30's spread and that my metabolism was starting to shift and I had also decreased in exercising off and on over that time.
"This is normal", I told myself over and over again and what was a few pounds anyways?
So I just increased my exercise routine, still determined to eat as I was and to fight those extra pounds by some good old fashioned exercise...but wait, it has been 10 months and I haven't lost a single pound! If anything I have put on a pound or two.
Now, I wouldn't care what the scale said if my clothes were fitting better and I felt leaner and healthier, but that is not the case. All my weight is sitting around my middle - the most dangerous place for extra weight to sit!
I am pretty sure I know what is happening - I have slowly been neglecting my diet and allowing much more processed foods into my life - fast food (I am crazy over hamburgers and fries), creamer (you know the kind - the stuff that lasts for a year in your fridge!), store bought cookies and snacks is only to name a few! Plus, I love to bake, I particularly love to eat whatever I bake, which is often filled with sugar, white flour and bad oils (like margarine and vegetable oil).
But, here is the big BUT...I also love my body and want to be fit and healthy! I love the feeling of my muscles taunt and stretching, not so much my fat jiggling! Plus, there is the old saying "junk in, junk out". How can I be healthy when I am filling my body with foods I can't even pronounce when I look at the labels?
So here is my challenge to myself and to all of my family and friends:
For two weeks:
1. Stick to a diet of whole, unprocessed foods.
You know the kind - foods that are in the form in which God created them, fresh, unprocessed and simple. You can also think of this as part of a "Green Challenge" - real food = less packaging!
2. Eat 3 meals a day, with 2 snacks - never miss breakfast and do not eat for two hours before going to bed.
Breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day - it is the most important meal of the day. Eating consistently over the course of the day helps maintain your metabolism and insulin levels. Helping you burn more calories and store less fat. Eating before you go to bed is the best way to ensure you gain weight, our body goes into repair mode and starts to store all that "fuel", normally as fat.
3. Ensure I am getting 25g of fibre every day.
Fibre not only cleans out your insides, but it helps stabilize your insulin levels, which will increase your metabolism, help you absorb the nutrients in your food better and help decrease the ups and downs in your energy levels throughout the day.
It sounds like a pretty easy challenge - that is until you really think about it! We are such a processed generation that I didn't even realize all the processed food I eat until I sat down with this challenge in front of my! Some of my biggest processed culprits are things I never gave much thought to - salad dressings, packaged yogurt, condiments, sauces, high sodium spice blends, plus all the breads that are filled with preservatives to increase their shelf life.
So for the next two weeks, I am going to be thinking about what food I use to fuel my body, is it good, whole food that will increase my health or is it just something to fill me up. I encourage all of you to take this challenge with me, and as I post over the next two weeks, I would love to hear your comments about your journey to better health!