Generally I do not write articles about myself. Generally. However, I do have a story to tell that I hope will be of inspiration to someone and that is why I’m making an exception. I don’t merely right articles or have an interest in health arbitrarily. There are many reasons for why I write, like a sincere desire to help others, with my own personal struggles not being the least of them. Weight gain, inflammation and severe sinus issues plagued me. If nothing else it proves that I am not immune to the pitfalls of life and more specifically a western diet and lifestyle. If you find yourself in a struggle don’t despair but take comfort in the fact that with knowledge, time and effort most any issue can be mastered and overcome.
How I gained the weight
I can sit on my butt with the best of them. Oh how easy it is to plop down on the couch and watch another mind numbing episode of (fill in the blank here). This is an insidious trap because inactivity feeds off of and breeds more inactivity. The more I sat the heavier I got and the more I didn't want to become active.
I was already about 20 lbs. heavier than normal when I returned to my hometown and then it happened. A combination of home cooking, fast food and the weekly stop at the “soul food” restaurant packed on an additional 20+ lbs. I gradually gained 42 lbs over a 16 year period of time. Sounds familiar? In addition, unbeknownst to me, I was suffering from severe allergic reactions to the inflammatory foods I was consuming. The result was a sinus issue so extreme that I was popping Sudafed twice a day. I blamed the usual suspects like dust, pollen and pet dander even though these never bothered me growing up and I didn’t have a pet to be exposed to pet dander so I don’t know why I considered that one. Grasping at straws I suppose. Add frequent nosebleeds and headaches to the mix and I was miserable and resigned to taking over-the-counter medications.
Stress is often a common denominator when it comes to weight gain among most people and I was no exception. My work in law enforcement was demanding and working many hours off duty left me fatigued which always compounds stress related issues. When you throw in the demands of family and everyday life chronic stress was a constant companion. An annoying, relentless, and pound producing companion! In short, the more cortisol, the more hunger increases and we know what happens next.
How I lost the weight
Although I don’t remember the exact date it happened I do remember the day I woke up startled, expecting to see someone in the room because I could hear them snoring. As I looked around frantically I slowly began to realize I was the only one in the room and it was me I heard snoring. I actually woke myself up and it was then I knew something had to change. At that time I realized I was approximately 40 lbs overweight and slowly falling apart at 32 years of age. Something had to go and I decided it was the weight instead of me. Intuitively I knew I was eating horribly. I confess an extreme weakness for Krystal burgers, soul food and Oreo cookies. Don’t even think about asking me to share! The amount inflammation in my body must have been astounding. Unfortunately, at that time in my life I had just began my journey to better health and sharing with others health related information and was not knowledgeable enough to really help myself. I did know enough to stop the fast food and slow down on the cookies but my food consumption evolution had only just begun. Thankfully I continued, little by little, and discovered the way I should go. Slow and steady does win the race. And when it comes to weight loss slow and steady is wonderful because it provides the stability you need to keep the weight off for good.
As I neared the end of my weight-loss journey I encountered an eating plan geared towards diabetics and those with pre-diabetes. After a few tweaks I reformulated the plan and began to use it and experienced great success. Most of us know how difficult it is to lose those last 5-10 lbs. and I wasn’t excluded. With the anti-inflammation food plan I eliminated or limited significantly sugar, dairy and non-healthy fats intake. Combined with moderate exercise my metabolism skyrocketed and I exceeded my weight goal by two pounds. Before anyone gets the wrong impression please realize that my consistent habits over a three to four year period lead me to my goal. There is no magic formula, no silver bullet. You must be consistent over the long term for sustained success.
Having spent many years in the military I knew exactly what I needed to do to get the weight off from an exercise point of view. Admittedly I hate running. I find it torturous, beneficial, but torturous nonetheless. As you can imagine the weight didn’t come off easily because I found it difficult to commit enough to running but I did it anyway. I have two points to make here. The first is that sometimes you have to do things that you really don’t want to do to achieve your goals. Just make sure they lead to positive results. The second point I want to make is that one should definitely look for activities that excite and connect with you. For me I have found cycling to be a great workout and it has done wonders. Search for what gets you moving and do it. Track your progress, keep raising goals and hold yourself accountable (or find a buddy to help hold you accountable).
I definitely believe in supplementation. Any supplement that is truly natural and provides non-toxic nourishment for the body I’m all for. Be diligent about what you buy and understand that it is nourishment the body needs not gimmicks. If you’re supplements are chemically based and filled with synthetic materials and synthetic vitamins beware. These things tend to create inflammation and encourages weight gain over the long term.
My primary goal for sharing my story is to let people know that with forethought, perseverance, and consistent change you can begin to lay the groundwork for long term and sustained weight loss. Establishing a sound eating plan and consistent activity will lay a proper foundation in case other issues need to be addressed (e.g. poor thyroid function, adrenal fatigue, the need for cleansing, chronic stress, etc.). I cannot stress enough how important it is to avoid gimmicky diet plans and supplements that could cover up or even exacerbate the issues given as an example above. Gimmicks can mask the true nature of why you are gaining weight or are unable to lose it. If you are interested I will be more than happy to provide my phase one and phase two eating plan food charts. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward them to you. Go in good health!