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How to Lose Weight the Natural and Healthy Way

Updated on June 19, 2013

There are so many health claims, products and junk foods that bombard us everyday, flashing in our faces, forcing us to spend, consume and destroy our lives. In a world where food is packed with preservatives, sugar, and man-made flavorings combined with a demanding schedule and personal life, it is becoming harder and harder for humans to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

People today are piling on more and more responsibilities such as jobs, chores, and extracurricular activities in order to pursue happiness in this lifetime. Due to this, people are beginning to neglect their bodies and reaching towards convenience when it comes to food and exercise. Reaching toward the convenient route isn't only making us fat, sick and stupid but it is forcing us to surrender our health, bodies, and minds to large corporations that only seek us for our wallets and getting us hooked on the junk they produce.

Becoming a corporate zombie can be avoided and getting your health and body on the right track doesn't have to be overwhelming, hard, or confusing, and once you begin to gain control over your life again, you will never want relinquish that control again.

To start, you must know and realize, there is no magical potion, drug or serum that will help you lose weight and become healthy, and it is almost impossible to be able to eat what you want, when you crave it, and changing your lifestyle is not easy, at first. In order to be successful in a lifestyle and health change one must eat healthy, mostly raw foods that are nutritionally dense, exercise at least three times per week, and keep track of caloric intake and output.

With Diet, Exercise, and Calorie Counting it is Possible to Lose up to 40lbs in 12 Months.

2012. 135 pounds.
2012. 135 pounds. | Source

Weight-loss Takes Time and Serious Dedication

The journey to losing weight and adapting to a healthy lifestyle takes a serious amount dedication and time. It is very easy for one to become discouraged when immediate results are not seen, but one will see results in time if one dedicates time and hard work to reach ones weight-loss goals.

One should never become discouraged when traveling a slow, steady and natural path to healthy living. In the end one will see better and long sustaining results than those who lose weight quickly by crash dieting, following fads of extremely low-calorie diets, and scarfing down weight-loss pills and supplements. Such forms of weight-loss are extremely unhealthy, and even though one may see immediate results, one will not sustain these results for a long period of time.

Avoid products with multiple health claims and fad diets and pills at all cost.

There are so many diet fads, pills, and even dieting brownies and candy bars that many women, and men, fall victim to. These are strictly consumer products geared toward women (and men) using their weight and insecurities against them to get people to spend and purchase. These products are not the secret to losing weight like so many of them claim to be. These products will not only leave one disappointed and discouraged but they will also leave one broke, ultimately making people unhappy with the mere thought of diet and exercise altogether.

By avoiding such products, and beginning the journey of weight-loss and a healthier lifestyle, it is important to travel on the natural path. Losing weight the natural way may take longer, but by losing weight at a slow and steady rate, will prevent the reversal of diet and exercise in the long run. When one loses weight steadily and keeps it off steadily it will become harder to put the weight back on. Crash dieting and losing weight at a fast rate will allow the body to gain the unwanted fat back and will become very discouraging for future weight-loss endeavors. So, for one to lose weight and/or body fat and keep that weight and fat off, it is important for one to avoid dieting fads, products and pills, and travel the natural path of weight-loss. The longer one keeps the weight off, the harder it will become for one to put the weight back on.

Natural Weight and Fat Loss

Natural weight and fat loss requires a healthy diet that consists of mostly raw, nutritional dense foods, dedication to exercise, and calorie counting; keeping track of caloric intake and output. By combining these three key elements one will see amazing results after only a few short weeks, ultimately encouraging one to keep on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

Sugarless, protein cookie cup filled with non fat, Greek yogurt and peanut butter.
Sugarless, protein cookie cup filled with non fat, Greek yogurt and peanut butter. | Source
Homemade stuffed chicken breast (broccoli and 1 serving low fat cheese) with baked sweet potato fries.
Homemade stuffed chicken breast (broccoli and 1 serving low fat cheese) with baked sweet potato fries. | Source
homemade avocado and crab spring rolls.
homemade avocado and crab spring rolls. | Source

A Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is something many people have different opinions and views on, and most don't know or understand what proper nutrition is, therefore, for many, it is difficult to lose weight and keep the weight off because they either have a poor sense of diet, or they only stick to a healthy diet for a short period of time. A healthy diet is not something that should be short lived to lose weight quickly; a healthy diet should be sustained for a lifetime.

The main mistake many make, is the belief that “diet” means a short-lived healthier intake of foods in order to lose weight. When in fact, “diet” means ones regular intake of food. It is possible for one to have a poor diet, and one to have a proper diet.

A healthy diet consists of mostly raw, fresh foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, oats, whole grain breads, fruits, poultry, fish, and a little “red meat”. It is ideal to have a balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Also, one should always make sure the level of protein is much higher than the level of carbohydrates and fat in every meal one consumes. This is due to the fact that protein is essential in the growth and development of ones body (muscles, skin, hair, organs, tissues, tendon, ligaments, etc...) and carbohydrates and fat are used to aid the protein into the muscles, organs, and tissues. Too much carbohydrates and fat in a single meal will result the body to “overflow” in glucose ultimately storing the access glucose in the body as unwanted fat.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Exercise will not only burn the unnecessary and dreaded fat, but in turn, it will build necessary and healthy muscle needed for day to day life. Being physically active will make one feel healthier, more awake, and physically as well as mentally stronger. Being active is not only great for the body, but it is essential for the mind as well.

Exercise releases endorphins which ultimately gives one the feeling of happiness. Exercise has been known, and proven to decrease feelings of anxiety and depression; if one feels happy, and less anxious and depressed, one will ultimately have higher self esteem and hopefully continue on the path of a healthy lifestyle.

The most effective way to burn fat, is lifting heavy weights (necessary for both men and women). Lifting heavy weight ensures that the body will burn calories and fat in all the unwanted areas of the body (especially the mid section). It is also greatly important that one stays active on off days from the gym by being involved in light to heavy cardio, such as, taking a long walk, run, or hike.

Exercises

Lower Body (legs, buttocks, hamstrings)
Upper Body (arms, chest, shoulders)
Cardio
squats (there are many different forms)
push ups
walk
lunges
lateral raises
jog
hamstring curls
deltoid preses
run
calf raises
bench press
bike
leg extensions
bicept curls
swim
leg curls
tricepts
hike
deadlifts
pull ups
zumba
These workouts can be done at home or in the gym. These workouts can be preformed with no weight, light weight, or heavy weight. (Workouts are not limited to these, there are many more workouts that can be done to burn fat and lose weight)

To achieve any weight-loss goal, exercise is a crucial part of the process. Exercise (especially weightlifting) allows one to target certain areas of the body and burn fat.

There are many bodybuilding forums that can help one better understand their particular body and find a workout regime that will work. Bodybuilding.com

Counting Calories

Counting calories is not for everyone, and if one does decide to count calories, one should do it in a very healthy way (either under supervision of a doctor or after one is well informed and educated on the topic).

When beginning to count calories for weight loss, one should begin by going on a low calorie diet. One should begin by consuming no less than 1500 calories per day (unless it is under the supervision of a doctor) to cut down body fat. If and when exercise is introduced, one should allow the body to burn more calories than one is consuming; this ensures that the body burns fat, and builds muscle. After several weeks(depending on ones particular body type) one should begin to increase their caloric intake, by 300-500 calories; this will ensure that one is still losing weight, burning fat, and building muscle (even though weight loss will slow) but it will also ensure that the body does not begin to deplete ones muscle, this is because the body will no longer be in starvation mode. After a specific weight goal is achieved one can increase the amount of calories to be the same (or more) than that are being burned to make ensure weight maintenance.

Before pregnancy, 2009. 155 pounds.
Before pregnancy, 2009. 155 pounds. | Source
Pregnancy, 2010. 175 pounds.
Pregnancy, 2010. 175 pounds. | Source
After pregnancy (August 2011). 164 pounds.
After pregnancy (August 2011). 164 pounds. | Source
October 2011. 145 pounds.
October 2011. 145 pounds. | Source
March 2012. 135 pounds.
March 2012. 135 pounds. | Source
July 2012. 120 pounds.
July 2012. 120 pounds. | Source
January 2013. 125 pounds.
January 2013. 125 pounds. | Source

My Story

In August 2011 my daughter was seven months old and I still weighed 164 pounds (my personal heaviest). Every time I showered, got dressed, or looked into the mirror, I hated, even despised what I saw staring back at me, criticizing and judging me.

The hatred toward myself was a daily routine and grew very normal, that is, until I started speaking about it out loud. It was then when I realized I was depressed about my self image and I was more self conscious than I have ever been in my life. The next morning, when I approached myself in the bathroom mirror, I promised myself, I was going to change my lifestyle and become a healthier and fit person, so that my daughter can grow up admiring a strong and healthy woman (with a healthy self image).

I began my journey by changing my diet first. I knew if I wanted to become healthy, I had to eat healthy. I also knew, I didn't want to fall into a fad or corporate diet, I wanted to know exactly what I was putting into my body.

I only bought and ate: natural, organic, whole and raw foods. The only foods I ate were:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Beef (limited)
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potato
  • Fruits (very limited)
  • Nuts (limited)
  • Seeds (limited)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Protein Powder

I only drank water and coffee, and limited my alcohol intake to 1-2 days a week.

I cut out:

  • Sugar
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Pork
  • Deli Meat
  • Cheese
  • Dairy
  • All Processed Foods
  • All Fast Foods
  • All Frozen Foods (except for vegetables)

I also ONLY cooked and ate homemade meals. I never ate out at restaurants (unless it was a special occasion) and I never ate fast food or pre-cooked (pre-packaged) meals from the grocery store.

After about a month, I began to see results, I lost my first ten pounds, by changing my diet alone.

Once I believed I had my diet under control, I began to exercise three to five times a week. In the beginning, I did home workouts with light weights. I also began to take my daughter out for more walks, and instead of avoiding the hills, I embraced them. I used the stairs instead of the elevator (or escalator) in any building I was in. Then, once I fell into a workout routine, I began to use heavier weights in my home workouts, and I began to go to the gym at least once a week. I also continued to do fun daily activities with my family to keep myself active and happy.

After three to four months, with diet and exercise, I lost a total of twenty pounds.

With diet and exercise, I did lose a large amount of weight, but I still needed to lose another ten to twenty pounds to achieve my personal goal, so I began to count calories on top of dieting and exercising.

When I first began to count calories, I kept my intake low (around 1500), as I began to cut down my body fat, I slowly began to intake more calories to aid my body in building strong muscle (and to keep the fat off). I began to intake more calories the more I exercised.

(remember: every person has a different body that reacts in different ways, please speak to a doctor or do extensive research before going on a low calorie diet, or counting calories).

In about ten months, I finally reached my goal and lost a total of thirty-five to forty pounds.

Today, I continue to exercise and eat a healthy diet, but I no longer feel the need to count calories (since I now have a better understanding on portion control and what is deemed healthy for my particular body).

I have kept the weight off for over six months, and I feel healthier, and more confident than ever.

I went from living a lazy lifestyle that I filled with junk food and depression, to living a very active, fit and healthy lifestyle that I fill with activities, exercise, natural food, and family.

If I can do it, you can to!

Fun Activities

There are many fun activities one can partake in during any season to keep themselves active, fit, and healthy.

Summer/Spring/Autumn:

  • Hiking (and/or camping)
  • Jogging or running
  • Walking
  • Road biking
  • Mountain biking
  • Roller blading
  • Become involved with a sport
  • Swimming (Summer)
  • Puddle jumping (Spring)
  • Playing in the leaves (Autumn)
  • Weight training
  • Yoga (outside)
  • Kayaking

Winter:

  • Ice Skating
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Sledding
  • Building snowmen
  • Weight training
  • Dancing (inside)
  • Yoga (inside)
  • Zumba (inside)

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    • Mommymay profile image

      Heather May 4 years ago from Ohio

      Congrats on your weight loss and on being healthier! You did it the right way and deserved it!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      First of all, congrats on losing weight! That is fantastic. You look very fit and happy!

      I have been browsing through hubs on diets off and on for over a week, and your Hub practically fell on my lap! Your last hub was so good that I wanted to keep reading them, and I'm glad I did. This is nicely written, and has facts in it that I see a lot of women avoid (building muscle, and gradually adding caloric intake after a certain point so you don't lose muscle, etc). Some females don't seem to care as much about muscle, but I think it is very important. Building muscle helps burn calories at a higher rate, and a toned body is beautiful!

      I want to go on a diet, and I have started phase one of it, but I am in the process of whipping together my own personalized plan. I am very into fitness, and am usually pretty fit, but the past 4 months I have gained weight due to a new lifestyle. I don't like to conform to fad diets, and I don't believe in the "easy pill", so I really enjoyed your article. I like realistic facts about the process. I'll glean a few facts from this for my own plan. Thanks!

    • JamiJay profile image
      Author

      Jami Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      Thank you for the comments.

      Kathryn Straford, you are very welcome! I am glad I could help. I also believe muscle is really important for every person, and women should focus more on muscle instead of strictly weight loss. I also find bodybuilding forums to be the best when looking for a clean diet and nutrition plan as well as workout plans. You should look into Jamie Easons plans, she has very good information. Good luck!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Thank you, I will check that out!

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Awesome, JamiJay! As a professional nutritionist, I often cringe when I read other's blogs or articles of weight loss. I was extremely happy after reading yours. You did it the right way and are offering great advice. Kudos to you for a great article! ;)

    • JamiJay profile image
      Author

      Jami Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      @MaximumFatLoss (Abby), that is an incredible compliment, thank you so much.

    • profile image

      fzraomcmzr 3 years ago

      I am curious to find out what blog system you are utilizing? I’m experiencing some minor security problems with my latest website and I would like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations?

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