As a kid I’d drink milkshakes, eat pasta, meat and cookies all day every day and never could gain a pound. Fast forward to my late twenties and I found myself weighing in at 220 pounds (height: 6 ‘1 1/2’).
Gaining weight gave me a sense of pride. After all, I endured years of being a twig, wiry yet able to blow over during a strong wind. The extra pounds rounded out my face, made me look older and it was fine with me. But then the health issues started and my only way out was a change in what I ate, how often I ate and how I began to approach food.
This is usually the case, with most people falling into bad habits and not worrying about the consequences until they stare you in the face. For me the consequence was sciatic nerve pain the shot down my legs. The first two years down my right leg and the last two down my left. At times this could be crippling so my 220 pound weight was not going to fly anymore.
The first positive step was limiting my meat intake. I used to eat meat a couple times a day and switched it up to eating fish or meat when I craved it. This meant eating it every other day. At the time I still ate cheese in excess. As far as brands, not all of it was organic, that’s for sure but I’ve never bought the cheapest of anything. It was an inexact science and still is, although these days I’m far more in tune with what’s going into my body.
A Lifestyle Change
The next move was a complete change in lifestyle. It was during the time I was working 9-5 at a desk job that I gained 20 pounds in two years after gaining another 20 pounds in college. My income was solid, my lunch breaks were lengthy and my outdoor activity was limited. For reasons unrelated to my physical health I left and began to do freelance work.
This was a complete shift in daily activities and with my extra time came an increased focus on what I ate, what I spent and increased playtime. It was a change that was instrumental in losing weight and researching my own health.
A Routine Eating Pattern
Breakfast – 8:30am
I used to eat oats and fruit (banana, peach, apple) with minimal raw sugar or honey instead. Now mostly I’ll eat bananas and nothing else. If my wife makes something like raisin bread I’ll eat it and feel good about life. After increasing my fruit intake and decreasing meat consumption, I went from drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day to 2 cups a week.
Lunch – 1:30pm
We have a large lunch. We usually eat white rice. 30% of our lunches will have chicken, pork, beef or fish. We usually eat beans and sometimes cheese. We’ve gone months without cheese and we’ve gone months with it when we have the local farm hookup intact. We enjoy cooking foods with pineapple mixed in and an array of vegetables. Once in awhile we will eat pasta or potatoes to change things up.
Dinner – 8:00pm
We treat dinner as a leftover snack from lunch or whatever we can individually whip up. We eat out 1-2 times a month and eat with large groups (party’s, ect) 2-4 times a month. Whenever we are with others we are glutinous.
The periods in-between the main meals I mostly eat fruit. My fruit of choice is the banana. On a typical workday where I need energy I’ll eat 10 bananas. I like to space it out so I eat two in the morning, two after lunch, two before dinner and then four after. If I don’t eat bananas (or another fruit) it’s because there are cookies around. I do my best to make sure they are organic cookies but I’ll still eat a bunch when we have them.
My intention is to drink a few glasses of water every morning and stay well hydrated throughout the day. Sometimes I do slack off in that regard, especially when I don’t have access to great water all of the time (when traveling, like now). In the United States I drink filtered water only.
As long as my back is ok, I usually walk a couple miles a day. If I don’t walk that far it’s because I’ve been in the ocean and at the beach or other activity. I usually do something shortly after lunch and then again before dinner (6-8pm).
Often times when working I get sugar rushes from the fruit and will do pushups, dance around, stretch and whatever my body is telling me it wants to do to feel alive.
I usually detox 2 times a month. It’s always a light detox, with herbs, fruit and plenty of water. If I’ve been with friends I usually follow it up with a light detox.
I am not an expert at losing weight but I did take the personal responsibility to discover how to live a healthy lifestyle and am still improving. I did go from 220 pounds to 180 pounds in one year and have managed to keep it off. My weight will still creep up into the 186 range but my normal routine as described above will knock it back down.
I’ve also almost completely stopped eating anything with ingredients made in a laboratory. My efforts are to always eat raw or locally prepared. In my own home this is always the case. When I’m with others I typically go with the flow, while injecting my two cents whenever appropriate. If I eat something unhealthy it does not bother me, I always make sure I enjoy what I eat.
While genetics play a role in determining our weight, some simple adjustment can improve everyone’s unique situation. My wife told me not too long ago she would never see me without a gut and I was fine with that. In just a few months the gut was gone and it’s still shocking considering it was a battle I never thought would be waged.
The main thing is to eat raw foods. It’s easier on the environment, easier on the wallet, easier for the digestive system and as long as you can get access to fresh produce, it will lead to a more enjoyable eating experience.
About the Author: Jesse Herman wrote this article on behalf of JG Supplements. Jesse founded The Natural Independent and is a full-time blogger, video producer, web developer and family man. His work has been seen on Mercola, Mediaite, National Post and more.