Without Counting Calories

Without counting calories

DaNelle and her husband

This is a story of how I lost 35 lbs.

Without counting calories.

Without portion control.

Heck, without even exercise.

My weight loss story probably sounds a lot like yours. I didn’t think much about healthy eating (or my weight in general, really) until I was fat and sick. Do you remember thinking you were overweight in high school and then when you look back at those pictures, you wish you could look like that NOW? Well, that was me too.

I hate reading stories without some stats, so here goes. I am 5’6″, and when I got married I was 128 lbs. It’s not like I weighed myself on my wedding day (okay, maybe I did). But I got a new drivers license right after we were married in 2001, and that’s the number that’s been in my wallet for the last 11 years.

DaNelle and her husband with Honda Accord with Just Married.It seemed like only months after we were married, I gained 25 pounds. All of a sudden, I was 155. That’s a size 12-14 jeans. I blame it on Kevin.

Just kidding! Actually I should blame it on school, hospital food during nursing school (it was free, you guys!), brownies, and frozen food. Lots of frozen food, because it was cheap. I had no clue what it meant to truly be healthy. I thought eating healthy meant just eating low fat food.

My quest for health began once my health started to decline. After I had my two kids, I had horrible back pain, and I began to feel dizzy a lot. After 2 back surgeries and countless doctors, I felt like I had no help from the medical world at all. It was very difficult to care for my family, and I knew that there had to be something I could do to feel better.

My Weight Loss Story: How I lost 35 lbs. Without Exercise or Counting Calories | Weed 'Em and ReapI didn’t care about my weight. I just wanted to feel better.

Okay, maybe I cared a little, but STILL it was more important to feel strong and healthy.

I heard my sister-in-law was doing a juice feast to heal her body, and I became interested because at that point I was willing to try anything to feel better.

Feasting on juice was great in detoxing me from sugar, white flour, and junk food. But a juice cleanse isn’t optimal for long-term health.

Looking back, I can’t totally slam juice cleanses because I did experience a significant detox in my body. I only lost 8 pounds, but I was also able to detox from pain medication and junk food. I don’t usually recommend this for other people and here’s why: I don’t think the minimal nutrients in fruit and vegetable juices necessarily help my body as much as the avoidance of all processed foods during that 30 day juice cleanse. As my body detoxed from chemicals primarily found in junk food, I felt so much “cleaner.” For that I am thankful. But juice cleansing is a drastic measure, and it can put a lot of stress on your kidneys, liver, thyroid, hormone function and, ultimately, your metabolism.Have Your Cake and Lose Weight Too! For all the benefits, my body definitely suffered during that juice cleanse. I had extreme flu-like symptoms, experienced kidney pain, and felt weak and dizzy for most of it.

Now I understand that I would have experienced a suitable cleanse just from eating homemade foods and avoiding anything processed or packaged or chemical-laden. I wouldn’t have had to experience such horrible symptoms and it definitely would have been cheaper. Not to mention easier on my life!

If you are set on still doing a juice cleanse, I would only recommend a short one. Like one that lasts for 3 days to a week at the most. I would also recommend implementing a cleanse (whether it be with juice or eating fruits and vegetables) only during the summer months. When the weather is hot outside, we tend to crave cleansing foods anyway. Think watermelon, cantaloupe and salads. Your body will naturally do better with a cleanse during summer than it would during the cold months.

By the time I was finished with my 30 day cleanse, I transitioned to a vegetarian, plant-based diet. I lost weight slowly yet steadily on this diet (about 1 pound a week). But I was definitely NOT feeling better health-wise. I was still experiencing significant inflammation, muscle weakness, fatigue, and depression. I continued on my plant-based path and with each step I restricted my diet more and more. After a year on a plant-based diet, not feeling much better than before and still with some weigh to lose, I decided to do something even more drastic.

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