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This June my family moved 3+ states North East.  In addition, my youngest son who was our foster son for 21 months went home to be with his family in late May.  There has been so much change and I chose not to pay close attention to our diet during this time.  I did not add on an extra 20 pounds, but my pants are snug and uncomfortable.  In the Spring, I focused on loving my family intensely and this Summer I am focusing on decreasing inches.

We go through times that our life is more important than focusing closely on our diet.

My Goal: Decreasing Inches

Today is a new day.  I have time to focus on my diet and my health.  I have the goal to go from size 10/12 in pants to a size 8 in pants. While I was easily able to attain this in Italy with fresh, real foods, I’ve found it difficult in America with a supermarket full of processed foods and meats with additives.1  

Focus Points for Health

My Healthy Lifestyle Methods

When I really want to focus on decreasing inches, here are some of the methods I employ:

1. Decrease sugar and carbs. I begin to read the products I purchase to see if they include any added sugar. Surprisingly, even sandwich meat often includes dextrose (another name for sugar). In fact, there are many names for sugar that need to be identified in order to avoid sugar.

Note: You can find a list in the footnotes below.2

As for carbs, our body uses carbs for energy and for building vitamins and minerals that we are missing. We will easily get our basic carbs from vegetables, so rather than loading up on extra empty carbs (breads, chips, rice, etc.), I prefer to focus on nutrient dense foods that make it less necessary for my body to make it’s own vitamins/nutrients. I limit my carbs when I want my body to focus on burning extra body fat and thus inches.

2. Increase healthy fats and nutrient dense foods. While dietitians taught for many years that fats were the enemy, science has proven that unprocessed fats are essential for our well being. “The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat. We’ve learned in recent years that fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain’s integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for maintenance of optimal health but they can not synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources.”3 Thus for a healthy brain, we need essential fatty acids (aka healthy fats). When we eat healthy fats, our bodies are more satisfied and we do not have the cravings that we experience when we are eating a low fat/high carb diet.

Summary: Processed fats increase nutritional needs and increase weight, while healthy fats meet nutritional needs and decrease excess weight.

Note: A list of healthy fats are included in the footnotes below.4

Nutrient dense foods have a similar effect. When our nutrient needs are met, our body has less cravings. We feel nourished, because we ARE nourished. When we limit our calorie intake and decrease the amount of nourishing foods we eat, such as eating salads (healthy for fiber, but void of substantial nutrients) we are starving. Literally. Starving your body makes you hungry, adds to your cravings, and leads to bingeing. Super unhelpful for trying to change pants sizes!

Summary: Nutrient void foods increase nutritional needs and often increase weight, while nutrient dense foods meet nutritional needs and maintain/decrease weight.

3. Decrease your serving size. I say this third, because decreasing your serving size while keeping extra sugars/carbs and not including nutrient dense foods with good healthy fats is not helpful. If I ate a plain bagel for breakfast, a half a sandwich for lunch with sugar filled meat, and a small serving of pasta for dinner, I may lose weight as a result of less food entering the body, but I’m also depriving my body of nutrients and I will not be able to sustain the diet. By day 3 of this, I would be willing to storm my neighbor’s home to consume the entirety of their just delivered Papa John’s Pizza. What your body is saying is, “I need fats!” So instead, give your body healthy fats in correct serving sizes.

I’m still playing with this, but a correct serving size of nutrient dense food looks more like this:

Breakfast: Two pastured eggs, a handful of cherries, maybe some spinach mixed in if you are feeling fancy (if you do coffee, consider bulletproof coffee that involves mixing coconut oil and butter together, shaking, and you get a frothy coffee drink without the cream)

Lunch: A few slices of no sugar turkey meat or leftover chicken from dinner, a few slices of grass-fed milk cheese (if on dairy), a sweet potato, and a serving of some vegetable (again leftovers from dinner are great) – use the broiler or the stovetop to reheat . . . it tastes MUCH better.

Dinner: Pastured chicken, grass-fed beef, or grass-fed lamb are good choices. We often make Indian curries with a little bit of broth, a little bit of meat, and lots of vegetables, then use cauliflower rice if we are attempting to lose inches. You can also do a simple saute with meat and veggies.

4. Staying active. This is definitely a last priority, why? Because it is ABSOLUTELY true that decreasing inches or weight is 80% food and only 20% activity. Most people spend 80% of their time focusing on exercise and spend less then 20% of their focus on food resulting in a vicious cycle of calories in and calories out. That is not only cruel, it’s insane. You cannot work out enough to pay for poor food choices.

You stay active because it is good for your body and it builds muscle which helps you to maintain your core and lose inches. You do not work out to fight the ice cream you had last night. That mentality is has to go. Again, 80% good food choices and 20% staying active. Do you need to adjust your mentality? Most people do.

5. Everything else. I truly believe the four things above are the main focus points on decreasing inches. However, there are a few other things that can get in the way of weight loss/losing inches as well as contribute to poor health. I’ll list them below:

 Product ingredients – many products contain endocrine disruptors that lead to weight gain

 Soy – Soy contains compounds that mimic estrogen and can lead to weight gain as well as man boobs.

 Plastics – Plastics also have compounds that mimic estrogen, same issue. Heated and heating foods in plastics are the worst offenders.

 Antibiotics (in foods and overuse pharmaceutically) – farmers used to use antibiotics to fatten up their pigs, because pigs with no stomach bacteria gained more weight than healthy pigs with healthy gut flora.4,5 Enough said. Oh, and go take a probiotic.

 Hypothyroidism and other medical conditions – Medical conditions can make decreasing inches hard. This is also why I learned to never judge or praise others who had more or less inches than I do. There are medical conditions that make people unable to gain weight easily and there are medical conditions that make people unable to lose weight easily. If you have immense trouble, get your thyroid tested (a whole panel), look for nutrient deficiencies, and check for hormone imbalances.

 Pesticides – The pesticides in our food are not only carcinogenic, they also can lead to weight gain as they act much as antibiotics do on our body. They destroy our gut flora.

 And more – I cannot cover all of the reasons that losing inches may be more like scaling a high rise rather than just climbing a hill. Everyone and every body is different.

Please PM me if you would like to hire me as your health coach as I love to work one on one with my friends and family to help them meet their health goals.
You can also continue to follow these posts on Facebook –> here and my Instagram account –> here.

Brooke Shambley
THE Boholistic Mom


Resources and Sources:

1. More information on additives in meat – USDA –> http://bit.ly/31xNNrg (though I do not trust their idea of healthy additives, do you?)

2. List of the names for sugar and common places extra sugar is hiding – Dr. Axe –> http://bit.ly/2L0eSgP

3. Essential fatty acids and human brain – PubMed Journal Article –> http://bit.ly/2ImXVvA

4. List of healthy fats – Boholistic Mom –> http://bit.ly/2WQki0m

5. Fattening of Pigs on Antibiotics (article from 1955) –> http://bit.ly/2XSeeWq

6. Antibiotic usage in pigs – Wageningen –> http://bit.ly/2RmLLFQ

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