Between gaining weight in college and gaining an incredible amount of weight when I was pregnant with triplets, I have definitely been on the weight loss train…probably more times than I care to think about.

I wish I could say my appearance didn’t matter to me. But I’d be lying. I do care. I feel better when I fit into my clothes. I have more confidence.

That said, I’ve tried a lot. Just about everything works, at least for a while. But I don’t just care about my weight. I care about the way I feel, as in my energy levels. I care about my long-term health. I care about setting a healthy example for my kids.

4 things I’ve done that are what I’d call mistakes… or least strategies I wouldn’t suggest:

  1. Restricting calories. Ah, the typical trap we all fall into. Does it work? Sure! If you have willpower of steel. Most of us cave and end up gaining even more weight back when we start eating again. This falls into the ‘it works’ camp, but it’s not a sustainable way to live unless you’re okay feeling low energy and a little hangry (hungry-angry).
  2. Fake food meal replacements. 2 shakes or bars a day? Yup, I’ve tried those too. (And recommended them!) Here’s the thing, you get hungry. I’m definitely a protein smoothie for breakfast kind of girl, but two meals gets a little nuts. By 3pm I’m ready to chew my arm off. Not to mention, the majority of meal replacement plans out there have sugar and funky ingredients (like processed soy and artificial fillers). If you find a great brand that you trust and it’s a plan that works for you, then proceed by all means. However, I prefer a long-term strategy of real food (are you really going to drink 2 meals per day forever?).
  3. Going vegan (purely for weight loss anyway). Yes, it’s all the rage. And it’s a wonderful choice if you want to avoid meat for ethical reasons. And plants are super healthy!! I went vegan to feel better and heal my digestive system, and I certainly did. Weight loss was an awesome side effect. I was vegan for 6 years. When I first changed my eating habits, I lost 10 pounds in days. The weight literally seemed to fall off me. But it didn’t work forever. Too many grains lead to sugar cravings and weight gain over time. I still consider myself plant-based because my intake of plant foods far outweighs animal protein. But I have more balance now for the long term.
  4. Over-exercising. Running marathons kept me slim and trim in my twenties, but I also felt over-tired. And then the kiddos came. I didn’t want to invest the time away from my family anymore. Plus, an ugly newsflash happened as I got older… running no longer changed my body the way I wanted it to. It stopped working for me, darn it. There are many runners who have more balance than I did, so I am by no means saying that running marathons=over-exercising. It’s just an example of the way I did it. And by the way, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. If that worked, I would do it! I am a recovering sugar addict, you know. If I could eat candy all day and simply run it off with no long term effects, I would. 🙂

4 Things I’ve Discovered that Actually Work:

  1. Drink water Drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day. Go for a gallon if you can! When your energy is low or you’re feeling hungry, you might just be dehydrated and need more water. Water is essential for good digestion (less bloating!) and helping your body move the toxins out. Check out more information and tips to get more water here.
  2. Kick the sugar The #1 needle-mover I’ve found for clients is nixing the sugar. It’s not just about the calories, it’s how the sugar is metabolizing in your body. Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store fat. When you lower sugar intake (and remove refined sugars), the results are amazing! Not only for your waistline…better sleep and sustained energy are two awesome side effects of getting off the sugar rollercoaster. If you want to try kicking sugar, download my free guide.
  3. Determining which healthy foods work for you. You’ve likely read conflicting information about beans, grains, eggs and more. Should you be eating them or not? Well, the answer is, only you can figure that out. Doing an elimination diet (like the one I take clients through in my seasonal cleanses) is an awesome exercise to figure out which foods give you energy, and which ones cause inflammation and stubborn weight gain. For me, figuring out eggs and peanuts are not ideal made a huge difference! When your digestion is working properly, weight is released easily, without deprivation. Try it and find out how great you feel! Find out about my seasonal cleanse here.
  4. Eating real food. Like I said, I’ve tried cutting calories. One way I did this was through calorie-controlled frozen meals and other ‘diet’ foods that contained more artificial ingredients than food. Our bodies don’t know what to do with all those ‘food-like’ ingredients. They cause inflammation, stubborn weight, digestive issues, and they mess with our hunger and fullness cues making weight loss without deprivation and hunger really difficult. Eat real food that sustains you and provides your body with the macro and micro nutrients it needs to feel good. Sound too hard? I’ve got a guide for you. Download my free guide to eating real food in a busy life.

Losing weight shouldn’t have to be so darn challenging! I hope this helps:)

What strategies have proven effective for you?